Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Don't Cry For Me Indochine- We Didn't Forget You

It's very rare that food moves me to tears, it's not that I'm that picky, it's just that it has to be THAT good to evoke those powerful emotions.

Or have a generous helping of jalepenos on it. At Indochine Cafe today it was a little of both.
I have to start out with saying that Jean and I went to Indochine WAAAY back in April, it was actually one of our first NTT before they even had a name. Unfortunatly, I thought she wrote the review since she had the pictures and she thought she sent the pictures and I was just being a lazy bum again.

It wasn't until this last week when I emerged from two major projects in my life (moving and a new menu at work) that we realized that we hadn't posted anything!

I'm not sure how you could ever forget anything as good as Indochine Cafe. Set in an "interesting" part of Hamilton Road, most people would pass it right on by. But beneath it's simple, but well kept exterior is the pride of a family, a culinary gem, and the realization of the American dream.

Family owned and run by Amp and Phuong Mi, he's from Laos and she's from Vietnam, they came to this country to escape the regimes of their home countries. Once you enter, you become a part of the family as well. (today Amp was making me try his own lunch that he had been trying to get back to all day!) And let me tell you... Can this family cook! Fresh, soul stirring food made by people who truly believe in what they are doing.

Back in April, Jean and I got a plethora of dishes, (all in the interest of the blog of course!) and even today I still got too much food! It's so hard to choose and even harder to not stuff myself stupid.

We started with the Cha Gio eggrolls and the Laotian style Goi Du Du, a green papaya salad with fried pork skins, tomato and cabbage. The Goi Thit Bo, grilled beef with onions, herbs and chili lime sauce is a favorite at our house.

You can't talk about Vietnamese cuisine without pho being the first thing discussed. Indochine's pho, as well as all their other soups, is heavenly. Fragrant broth, heaps of noodles, perfectly cooked meats and with the pho, a heaping side plate of basil, cilantro, jalapenos and bean sprouts to add as you see fit. The homemade rice noodles in chicken soup, Banh Canh Ga, are tender yet chewy, enrobed in a rib sticking chicken soup. Mi Xa Xiu, egg noodles with bbq'd pork are in a chicken broth that is lighter, but still fragrant and dotted with fried shallots and cilantro.

Not in the mood for soup? I'm just getting started... Bun Cha Gio Thit Heo Nuong is rice vemicelli with grilled pork, lettuce, carrots, daikon radish, bean sprouts and herbs with a sweet and spicy dressing and chopped.. egg rolls. Not kidding. This dish has a couple hot eggrolls chopped up and placed on top for an extra layer of texture and flavor. This is also my go-to dish for take out since it it just as good cold as hot.

Last, and most certainly not least is what brought me to tears today: Banh Mi.

A true product of two cultures as the result of colonization, banh mi is a crusty French baguette, split, smeared with butter and topped off with daikon, carrots, cilantro, jalapenos (hence the crying) and your choice of meat. I usually get the bbq pork and pate, but we all know how I feel about pate...

While there isn't anything in the way of desserts, you have to try the Ca Phe Sua, coffee topped off with condensed milk, or the Tra Thai, smoky, sweet thai tea with cream. You'll need some milk fat to tame those jalapenos..
You can call for weekend specials, and if they are anything like what the owner was eating for lunch today (squid stuffed with ground pork) you won't be disappointed.

Open Tuesday-Sunday 11 am to 8 pm, make sure you don't stuff yourself stupid (unless you want to) at this hidden gem.

Indochine Cafe
561 South Hamilton Road
Whitehall OH 43213
(614) 231 7357

Indochine Cafe on Urbanspoon


  1. Wow, L3, what a great review! Makes me want to get seriously hungry, then make a pilgrimage ... Thanks!

  2. it was so great to meet the two of you tonight. I'm adding Indochine Cafe to my virtual post it on my blackberry. Sounds delicious!

  3. By the way, your follower button is not working. :)