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Page history last edited by Mark P 15 years, 7 months ago

Indonesia Restaurant Review


At Indonesia Restaurant, a very empty restaurant at the edge of the tenderloin in San Francisco, we ordered a wide assortment of dishes (from the menu option that provides a sampling of the restaurant's wares). All of them were okay but two really stood out. If we went back we wouldn't order the sampling menu again but rather go for the particular dishes we know are good. A large fraction of the dishes used the same good-quality peanut sauce, but we can't call a dish good just because they added peanut sauce to it. Here's low-down of each dish (in the order of arrival) so you know what to order and what to skip:


  • Krupuk Udang. "Shrimp crackers." Funky salty potato-chip-shaped items tasting vaguely like shrimp. Okay. The peanut sauce first makes its appearance as a dipping sauce and its (high) quality is remarked upon.
  • Emping. Although the waiter described them as "bean crackers," the menu claims they are made from melinjo, a kind of nut. These were much like the others but instead of tasting like shrimp tasted a bit bitter. We thought both these types of crackers were okay but I think we believed the tastes in both of them weren't quite right for our palates. These were also supposed to be dipped in the peanut sauce.
  • Pangsit Kuah. A soup of meat and won-tons and greens. Fairly unexciting.
  • Otak-Otak Panggang. Fish cake, wrapped in a banana leaf and grilled, (similar to a tamale). We didn't find the texture of the fish cake appealing, and I was slightly disturbed by the fact that they stapled the banana leaf shut.
  • Lumpia Semarang. Quite large egg rolls stuffed with chicken, tofu, carrots, bamboo shoots, and green onion. Decent, though fairly greasy. (Greasy enough that one person couldn't finish his.) Also served with the peanut sauce.
  • Gado-gado. A salad of green beans, lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, and more shrimp crackers, dowsed with lots of the ever-present peanut sauce. While the sauce was good by now we were sick of it. And this had way too much to even make it pleasant to eat. Nor were the vegetables particularly good quality.
  • Sate Ayam. (Satay.) Grilled marinated chicken skewers, coated with a sauce that, while it had a hint of peanuts, was a different taste than the peanut sauces from before. (Well, either that or we had grown used to it.) Although the chicken had not much flavor on its own, with the sauce the dish was fairly decent.
  • Ayam Kalasan. Very good. "Java style" chicken: chicken coated with a spice mixture that made it look so dark we thought it was beef until we cut into it. The spice mixture (marinate?) had permeated the chicken so much so that most of the meat inside was quite dark. I don't know how to describe the dish. The web describes it as Indonesian fried chicken but I don't think that's quite apt. I'm tempted to say I thought ginger-garlic-soy sauce mixture when I tasted it, but that doesn't seem right given the ingredients in the recipes I saw for it on the web. Who knows. But in any case, definitely heads above the other dishes.
  • Rendang. A beef dish, reminding me of brisket with a sauce that seemed to combine tomatoes and red curry. Also very good and heads above the

    other dishes.

  • Kari Udang & Telor. Shrimp and potato chunks in a thin and weak yellow curry-ish soup-sauce. Decent.


We also had rice, but it only seemed really appropriate for the last curry dish (because of the amount of liquid in it).


The meal ended with good creamy coconut ice cream topped with tiny jello pieces.


As you can guess from the number of items, I got to take home lots of leftovers. Sadly but unsurprisingly the two best dishes entirely disappeared during dinner.


The only other thing I want to note about this restaurant is the slightly confused waiter who couldn't figure out how to put down plates of food on his own. Even if there was space on the table, he looked at us until we either took the dishes or pushed around the dishes on the table to make the empty space appear at a different place on the table.


Total for the tasting was $30/person (including tax and tip) because it required them cooking so many different items; the regular menu is much cheaper: most entrees only cost eight dollars. The restaurant can easily provide a satisfying meal for $15/person sharing regularly ordered entrees and appetizers.


Original Announcement



This Wednesday at 8:00pm (either tomorrow or today depending on when you are reading this -- sorry for the short notice, I had a busy weekend) we'll head to Indonesia Restaurant in downtown San Francisco for (surprise!) Indonesian food.


Please tell me if you are coming!



Due to a small crowd last week, we went somewhere else (review will be posted next week); thus Indonesia Restaurant is still in the queue for this week. Well, either that or Borobudur, another decent Indonesian restaurant, half a block away. :) See you Wednesday at 8:00pm.


Please tell me if you are coming!


Comments from Other Attendees


Contrast with Borobudur, another Indonesia restaurant, at which I ate the following night. -mark

Feel free to add remarks here.

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