See our latest 2013 review of Indochine Vietnamese Bistro. The following is our original 2007 post:
Evening restaurant review
It was only very recently we stumbled across Indochine Vietnamese Bistro (hats off to the gourmand syndrome blog), on the site of the former Flying Scotsman and before that, Gepettos. Now three months into it’s tenure, things seem to be panning out for this new venture. On a recent Thursday outing, we had the standard worries about visiting a new restaurant. Would the inevitable kinks of a new operation be worked out? Would we be the only ones there? Would they have a liquor license yet? O.k., that last one might just be me!
Thankfully, we were pleasantly surprised. Upon entering, we were quickly greeted by a friendly member of staff, who offered us our choice of tables. We also happily noted we were in the presence of lots of other happy-looking diners, and yes, most had glasses of wine. We chose a table by the window and sat down eagerly awaiting our menus.
The dining room was surprisingly upscale, bright and simply decorated with the odd South-East-Asian motif or knickknack scattered about. The staff were all professionally dressed in matching simple black outfits. It was not the mom and pop setup I had imagined in advance.
We quickly chose our drinks. The wine list was small, but well-rounded. I chose a pinot noir priced at a reasonable $5.29. Wendi went for the Jasmine Tea at $1.99. Although drinks were a simple choice, the food was far from. It’s safe to say that the Indochine menu is extensive. Appetizers, broths, stir frys, noodle dishes, rice dishes, curries, build your own fresh spring rolls. I’m sure I am forgetting even more options. It took more than a few moments to fully comprehend the extent of the menu.
Whilst a large menu is no bad thing, some direction from the service would have been appreciated. Some elements were a little confusing and we could have benefited from more explanation. E.g., just what would you get if you ordered a ‘broth’ as the menu suggested for family-style dining? In the end, we chose some common dishes to see how these fared.
We split an order of the Shrimp Lettuce Wraps ($8.99).
These were about as good as any lettuce wraps I have ever had. In fact, better than most. The dish featured perfectly moist shrimp pieces and assorted diced vegetables served over mee-krob-like noodles. The shrimp and vegetables were coated in a slightly sweet sauce, just right, not overly cloying as so many renditions often are. Fresh Iceberg lettuce and a hoisin sauce completed the plate.
For our mains, we chose the Lemongrass Chicken ($9.99) and Chicken Curry ($9.99) to share:
The first thing we noted was that the chicken in both cases was not exclusively breast meat. The meat was a wide selection and as such, required some “de-fat/skinning” at times. I was more than happy to oblige; however, Wendi was a little more apprehensive. I would assume this is a more traditional way of serving chicken, but I imagine it could be potentially off putting to more than a few Western palates. I’m not sure what the solution could be. Change the dish, change the menu, or leave things as they are. Maybe the majority of people aren’t as picky as we are. I don’t think I am too far off the mark though in betting a good deal of people expect breast meat.
This said, both dishes were very good. The thai-like curry was probably our favourite. Deliciously rich courtesy of the predominant coconut milk, not too spicy, but certainly not bland. Topped with onions, the sauce also included a mix of both sweet and standard potatoes. That may be my first sweet potato in curry and now I want more!
The lemongrass chicken arrived at the table with a very powerful aroma of fish sauce. After my initial apprehension subsided, the flavour was great and not at all what we expected. On more than one ocassion, we both commented, “how interesting.” We both meant that in a good way mind you. The entrees came with a generous portion of steamed white rice (brown was also available).
Portion sizes were commendably large. Indeed, the total bill was roughly $40 for two glasses of wine, a pot of tea, an appetizer and two entrees, a bargain. With the leftovers, I have no doubt we could have happily fed a third person. Based on this first experience, we shall certainly be back to Indochine, and ready for even more adventure next time!
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I’m not aware of a website for Indochine, it is located at 230 S 1300 E, Salt Lake City, UT
Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC; I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’ve worked extensively with multiple local publications from Visit Salt Lake to Salt Lake Magazine, not least helped to consult on national TV shows.
I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for the better part of fifteen years. I’m largely fueled by a critical obsession with rice, alliteration and the use of big words I don’t understand. What they’re saying about me: “Not inaccurate”, “I thought he was older”, “I don’t share his feelings”.
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