Diners are curious – what happened to the Indochine Café on Mildred in Fircrest?
It closed July 12 - and in the same location, Royal Thai Bistro opened Aug. 1. Heng Han is the owner of Royal Thai Bistro. His brother Eric Han manages it. The menu is mostly Thai - a change from Indochine's broader focused Southeast Asian menu – but one of the Indochine Café assistant chefs joined the staff at Royal Thai Bistro.
Hong Ngov and husband Sean Yean, who owned the Mildred Indochine Café, still own and will continue to operate the sister Indochine Café on Pearl - and the head chef Savath Sok remains at the Pearl restaurant. And here's the back story.
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Indochine Cafe owners Hong Ngov and husband Sean Yean, decided they needed more family time and shut down their Mildred location. Hong Ngov's parents -- her father Chhung Ngov and mother Kim Taing -- own the original Indochine Seafood & Satay Bar on Pacific Highway in Federal Way, which they opened in 1995. Hong's sister Ly Ngov owns the Indochine Asian Dining Lounge on Pacific Avenue in downtown Tacoma, which opened in 2005.
"We never saw our children," said Hong Ngov, explaining the Mildred closure. She said she and her husband were stressed running both the Mildred and Pearl Indochine restaurants -- which opened in 2005 and 2007 respectively -- simultaneously and found they were not spending enough time with their two children, ages 10 and 11.
Hong Ngov and Sean Yean are pictured here in 2005 when they opened Indochine Cafe on Mildred. News Tribune file photo
Is the Pearl location in jeopardy of closing? Ngov said they have no intention of closing it. Ngov said the couple owns the building that houses the Pearl Indochine Cafe. They were leasing the Mildred location. With their Mildred lease expiring this year, they thought it the best choice to just focus on the Pearl Indochine. They briefly closed the Pearl location from July 1-26 -- Ngov said they were moving in new equipment -- and reopened July 27 with lunch and dinner service. They previously only were open for dinner.
The menu is still the same at the Pearl location – a mix of Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian and other Southeast Asian dishes. The same favorites are still on the menu – including fresh spring rolls and Vietnamese Imperial rolls, grilled lemongrass chicken, Cambodian pineapple curry, drunken noodles, curries and satays. Here, a look at the menu.
Ngov said she's worried customers don't understand what's happened with the restaurants because they shut one down briefly and closed the other. "We want everyone to know we are not closing anymore!" she said. "We only have one (restaurant) to take care of," she said. "We are going to be offering the same kind of food. We'll have the same food we've always had."
So expect to see the Indochine sign removed soon from the Mildred location (there is a temporary banner introducing Royal Thai Bistro in place now). Royal Thai Bistro manager Eric Han said that diners will find many new dishes at Royal Thai Bistro, including:
Pattaya Party Seafood: A dish of mussels, scallops, prawns and calamari in a chili paste sauce with fresh basil, mushrooms and bell peppers, $13.95.
Crying Tiger: A grilled New York strip tossed with chili pepper, lime, and Thai basil, mint and cilantro, $12.95.
Thai catfish: Lightly breaded and fried catfish served on a bed of panang curry sauce and chopped lime leaves; $15.95.
Golden duck: Steamed in herbs then deep fried golden brown, sliced and deboned served with steamed vegetable and Royal Thai Bistro sweet and sour sauce, $19.95.
Royal Thai Bistro
Where: 2045 Mildred St W., Tacoma
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; noon-9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays
Indochine Café on Pearl
Where: 4612 N Pearl St, Tacoma
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; noon-9 p.m. Saturdays. Closed Sundays now, but they intend to begin serving dinner from 3 p.m.-9 p.m. on Sundays beginning Sept. 1.
Info: 253-761-2727 or www.indochinerestaurants.com
Indochine Seafood & Satay Bar
Where: 31406 Pacific Hwy S. Federal Way
Indochine Asian Dining Lounge
Where: 1924 Pacific Ave.
Info: 253-272-8200 or http://indochinedowntown.com/
UPDATE: This post was updated to make the distinction that head chef Savath Sook remains at the Pearl Indochine. An assistant chef has stayed on to cook at Royal Thai Bistro.