Indochine- Ab Fab

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  • scene: I'm too sexy for my food
  • sip: Speciality cocktails- mojito, lychee saketini, etc
  • savor: A taco from La Esquina before your meal
  • sit: With your fabulous friends; with your anorexic friends
  • spend: $$$
  • address: 430 Lafayette Street (between Astor and 4th Street)
  • phone number: 212-505-5111
  • website:

Indochine has achieved a legendary status of chicness, even releasing a book featuring all of the fabulous people who have “dined” there during its first 25 years of existence.  Everyone from Madonna to outrageous drag queens and strung out Club Kids grace the pages, and they all have one thing in common: there is no way they were at Indochine just for the food. Indochine, to me, is just like a gorgeous model: It has looks, a sexy vibe about it, attracts all sorts of people that want to be associated with it, its late night escapades are legendary, and there is no way that food is a big priority.  They may as well just offer cocaine as an appetizer…

That said, this place has been around forever, and has established its own nook in the NYC dining scene. You see, no matter what the food tastes like, I will always go back. Inochine is a prime example of vibe trumping victuals.  Indochine has a hushed voices, candle-lit sense of glamour, chatter and plans, the sort of place where everyone seems to be plotting for late nights of mischief.  Let’s be clear, not everyone every night is dripping in fabulosity, even they need to let the normals in to survive for over 25 years.

My first couple of times at Indochine, I was completely repulsed by the food. My initial notes included “salty duck confit salad”, “chewy salty sticky short ribs”, and “mushy texture of rice.”  During a more recent visit, I was pleasantly surprised at the freshness and variety of textures in the Summer Rolls, as well as the rich flavors in the broth of the Spicy Shrimp.  I enjoyed the bites of the Spicy Chicken that I tried and even got down with the sauteed rice, even though the other rice on the table with the Chinese sausage was pretty mushy still. The vibe at Indochine is simply intoxicating, like sipping a potion that makes everyone look sexy and sound interesting. You want to bask in the glow of the very low lights (we needed extra candles in order to read the menus) and stay all night.

The food is edible, and at times very enjoyable, but at the end of the day, it is just not about that.  Kate Moss famously said “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels,” and that really is the perfect way to sum up Indochine.

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