Curried Away: A trip to Indo Thai is a gastro-journey to the intoxicating flavors of Southeast Asia
Like getting off at the wrong train station only to find you’ve entered into a magical fairyland, stumbling upon Indo Thai along a strip plaza off 82nd Parkway
Like getting off at the wrong train station only to find you’ve entered into a magical fairyland, stumbling upon Indo Thai along a strip plaza off 82nd Parkway was tantamount to being transported to an exclusive dining car on the Orient Express.
Where refined-retro meets feng shui, Indo’s interior undulates with curvy architecture, soft pendant lighting, and polished bars that serve up cocktails and made-to-order sushi.
The extensive menu is a culinary atlas through Indonesia, Thailand, and Japan, and, with little sense of direction, my husband and I admitted we needed a good tour guide. Our knowledgeable waiter was up for the job with fantastic recommendations, advice as to determining our “hot” thresholds, and even rigged my chopsticks with a straw to help me avoid an embarrassing fling of food.
We started our gastronomic tour at the Japanese side of the menu, swimming with more than forty sushi and sashimi options. Our patient waiter gently steered us to the Dynamite Roll of baked white fish, masago, and scallion with a hint of spicy mayo. Laid out like a line of dominoes across a wavy white plate and drizzled with a heavenly soy-based sauce, the presentation was nearly as divine as the first taste. The delicate baked fish bestowed this roll a warm and soft chew, the flavor transcended to even greater heights by the perfect complementary dip.
We skipped over to Thailand for entrée selections. I settled on a house specialty: the pan fried, sushi-grade sea bass with traditional Thai red-curry sauce. My less adventurous husband opted for the familiar pad Thai with chicken and shrimp and “level-3” heat. At Indo Thai, “1” is woosy and “10” means that you best be related to the chef to handle it.
Known locally as the “sushi queen,” Indo’s owner Laura Heryadi (born and raised in Indonesia) insists on making all the sauces for both Indo Thai locations every day and that attention comes across as smart and precise as a Kabuki dancer. Besides Heryadi’s five signature curry sauces, she has a reputation for turning out exceptional renditions of basil, peanut, Sam Rod, ginger, and garlic, all of which can be ordered by the bowlful to accompany stir-fried meat, fish, or tofu.
My moist and slightly caramelized sea bass arrived on a delightful bed of portabella mushrooms, asparagus spears, and avocado slices. But the wisdom of the dish lay in the red-curry sauce, a layer-by-layer composition of flavors that satisfied my every taste bud.
The pad Thai followed suit, no cheat ingredients, the sauce perfect in every way. The nearly transparent rice noodles had the right amount of stickiness to tie in stir-fried egg, peanuts, bean sprouts, and green onions, and the chicken and shrimp obviously hit the wok just in time to cook through without toughening up.
And did I mention the hillside of white rice served with each entrée? Excavating hunks from the side of the mound proved to be the ideal way to sop up every last drop of the superb red curry.
Alas, the rice did us in and our stomachs were screaming for mercy before we could venture on to one of the hibachi dishes with perhaps scallops or filet mignon floating in a clear soup alongside fried rice and vegetables. Hibachi will be first choice on our next visit to Indo, and we promised ourselves to save room for the sweet sticky rice dessert with fresh mango sauce.
Then there’s Indo’s happy-hour specials. We took note of the table tent card touting Thai spring rolls for $2.50, a list of appetizers such as baked spicy mussels and tempura calamari for $5, and a substantial line-up of sushi rolls for $4.
Whether you’re well-versed or a novice to the world of Asian cuisine, Indo will serve you a first-class experience and, believe me, the ticket price is well worth the ride.
Indo Thai Sushi & Hibachi
980 82nd Parkway,
Myrtle Beach, (843) 692-7000
47-A DaGullah Way, Pawleys Island, (843) 314-3543
11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday & Saturday