|Indo Kitchen's mie goreng noodles|
Was it reading "Committed," Elizabeth Gilbert's follow-up to "Eat Pray Love" in which she returns to Bali, that got me in the mood for Indonesian food? I don't know, but driving around Alhambra I spied Indo Kitchen on an anonymous side street and decided it was time to give it a try. I kinda knew that even among L.A.'s fairly small selection of Indonesian restaurants, it might not be one of the best ones, but proximity counts for a lot. It's a kind of funky little place, pretty much empty at 7 on a Saturday night.
|Indo Kitchen's fried chicken and tamarind soup|
Sam liked the basic fried chicken with rice covered in fried garlic, though the tamarind soup it came with is probably an acquired taste -- very sweet, with undefinable hot melonish cubes floating in it. I can't try an Indonesian restaurant with ordering miegoreng, since the fried noodle and vegetable dish was the first Indonesian food I ever tried on a train from Jakarta to Bali. The thin fried noodles were a touch greasy like they're supposed to be, with chicken and plenty of cabbage making it slightly less nutritionally damaging -- a nice, satisfying plate of noodles, with some crazy hot sauces available if more heat is desired.
I sold Matt on Indonesian food by describing the tangy beef rendang I had tried at places like Indo Cafe, but Indo Kitchen's wasn't all that -- not enough sauce, and not enough seasoning in the sauce to make this dish work. Watercress with shrimp paste and chiles was a nice green addition to the meal. While it's a modest place, the menu is pretty big, and there's plenty of unusual dishes like goat curry soup with vegetables, tongue satay and crispy fried frog legs. Prices are very low, and Indo Kitchen isn't bad if you're just craving those fried noodles, or need to stay in the SGV, but otherwise I'd probably return to Simpang Asia in West L.A. instead.
5 N 4th St