If you take the shuttle between the Lake Shore and Water Tower campuses, you may have noticed a chic-looking restaurant near the intersection of Thorndale Avenue and Broadway in the middle of two worn-down buildings, Indie Cafe (5951 N. Broadway) provides a modern take on Thai food.
The inside of the cafe is spacious, with intricate light fixtures that resemble origami contrasting against dark walls and booths. There are also modern Asian paintings lining the walls with bright, candy-colored tones that add a fun pop of color.
I went with a friend for dinner, and we agreed that it would be a great date spot because it wasn’t too loud, the seating was cozy and a candle at each table added to the ambiance.
In addition to typical Thai appetizers such as crab rangoon ($5.25) and edamame ($3.75), the menu offers various types of skewers (eggplant, shishito pepper, beef and asparagus) for between $2 and $3.75 each.
My friend and I split two to start the meal. I chose the bacon-wrapped scallop skewer ($3.50) and she got the coconut-glazed pork ($3.25).
Bacon doesn’t typically come to mind when I think of Thai food, but it definitely picked up the flavors well. It was glazed with a sweet and sour sauce, and was still so crisp that it crackled when I bit into it, adding a nice crunch to the tender scallop.
The pork in the other appetizer was moist and the marinade added a sweet coconut flavor to the meat.
I would definitely recommend trying a skewer to start because it packs a lot of flavor in a small bite.
I ordered the basil chicken ($8.25) as my main dish. It was a mixture of ground chicken, green beans, onions and basil, all served with white rice (brown for $1 extra).
The mixture tasted similar to the filling of a lettuce wrap, but the light sauce had basil and some spice from hot chili peppers,
which added flavor to the chicken and crisp green beans without making the dish soggy.
My friend ordered the Indie signature curry ($10.95). The dish was a combination of a traditional pot roast and massaman curry, containing cubes of beef and potatoes in addition to eggplant and cashews. She liked how thick the beef cuts were and the variety of ingredients.
We agreed that the portions and quality were fair for the price, and both of us had leftovers to take home.
While Indie Cafe may not offer a $6 student special like other local Thai places do, the preparation and quality of each dish is above average and well worth it.
Next time you’re on the Lake Shore Campus, make sure you don’t just pass by Indie Cafe.