Indie Cafe

March 07 2005 - 10:27 AM

As an Edgewater resident and Thai and sushi enthusiast I was thrilled to hear of this mystical Thai place that has great sushi. I initially thought they meant Thai Vietnamese – Thien Noodles on Clark – a true one of a kind. A neighbor mentioned it so we went. Then a friend said something. then my aunt called. Let’s just say word is out.

OK. Here’s the deal. Indie Cafe is just OK.
What makes the place special is the way the food looks.

On our third trip to Indie Cafe, after a failed attempt to park and go
to Tweet, we had a different point of view.  We sat down promptly at
7:40pm on Sunday and the place was packed. I think maybe one 2-top was
open. We wanted to have a moment for the rest of our order but asked for the crab wonton. Stacy insisted. I got away without ordering it twice
before so this time we forwent our previous sushi appetizer. I am
fairly surprised that you can get away with Thai and Sushi at the same
meal. But it seems to work out. The wontons were bite-sized and pretty
on a long tray. Stacy, the afficionado, determined that they ranked 3rd
behind Dao, her favorite, and Thai Pastry, her runner-up.

Then we waited. We got the wontons and ate the wontons. Then we waited
some more. Pitfall of a popular restaurant, packed on Sunday night. At
about 8:10 we placed our order for a Las Vegas roll and Smoked Chile
Combo.

The Smoked Chile Combo looked good. The plate partitioned the sauce to
one side and it was garnished nicely and served with rice plateaued and sprinkled
with black sesame. It was a combo of chicken and shrimp but had just
two of the 41-60ct. shrimp. It was ok. Given the presentation of all
the items it is relevant to note that the ingredients are average and
the sauces (so far, red curry, massaman, panang and smoked chile) are
all very sweet but not very hot.

The Las Vegas roll sounded good. Crab tempura roll with tuna and
yellowtail on top. The maki came out and silly me I didn’t notice in
the picture that they are supposed to be dice. ‘Las Vegas’ Ah. Looked
nice however the six pieces were capped with the fish instead of
wrapped. So for $12 you get a crab tempura maki and the equivalent of 1
piece each of yellowtail and tuna. Compared to typical $12 rolls
elsewhere; caterpillar, rainbow, dragon, etc. It was kind of
underwhelming. It was more underwhelming when I realized it had little
taste. It was very similar to the Santana roll we had last time –
scallion, tuna, avocado, spicy mayo… Drizzled to perfection with the same
sauces and organized meticulously, it still was bland to taste. The
yellowtail even got lost. Stacy tasted no crab, to her relief as she’s
not a crab-fan to begin with. It wasn’t bad so much as didn’t live up
to promises from recommendations to the fantastic plated presentation.

In short it’s a good Thai restaurant that has woken up to presentation. They
just need to up the ingredients a little. And maybe add 2 or 3 squeeze
bottles with different sauces. Good fish. Good food. OK service (it was
a crowded Sunday night) But Great presentation.

I’m Damn glad they’re in the neighborhood and will surely go often but
I’d be surprised if they are as good as the reader seems to think:

Arun Sampanthavivat
might want to take note of this place, as the food here comes closer to his exquisite cuisine than anything
else in town, and at a fraction of the prices at Arun’s.

I’ve been planning a trip to Aruns having never indulged in Hauté Thai
cuisine but I would think to  compare Indie Cafe to Thai Pastry only Thai Pastry
is much better. The sushi is definitely above average. But not fantastic either.

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