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Anyone tried Green Elephant Gourmet or Indochine?

Original post made by Jocelyn Dong, associate editor of the Palo Alto Weekly, on Jul 25, 2006

Just wondering how the fare is at two of south Palo Alto's newest restaurants, Green Elephant Gourmet (Charleston Shopping Center) and Indochine (formerly Mint Leaf, at Midtown).

Any early adopters out there who can give us their take? Thumbs up, thumbs down, dishes to enjoy or avoid?

Thanks.

Comments (33)

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Posted by vicki
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 26, 2006 at 6:49 pm

I have had lunch at Indochine and was not impressed, the food was bland booring and the place was empty, what we need is a Japanese place in midtown, for the moment subway is the best healthy deal


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Posted by Allen Podell
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 27, 2006 at 7:50 am

Allen Podell is a registered user.

We had dinner there last night, and the shaken beef was great. The beef morsels melted in our mouths, and the spicing very fresh, with garden veggies and basil. The fresh spring rolls were fresh and as good as any I have ever had, and were moist, not tough like those that stood around for a while. The sweet basil chicken was good, not great, with the chicken a little more cooked than we like. All white meat, no grizzly pieces. The elegant chop sticks were a challenge, as they were thin and slippery. Overall, we liked having a local restaurant this good. The decor was pleasant and the restaurant was nearly full. Moderate, not inexpensive food, moderate noise level, with good sized portions. We will return to eat the shaken beef and try a new dish.


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Posted by Jocelyn Dong
associate editor of the Palo Alto Weekly
on Jul 28, 2006 at 11:38 am

Jocelyn Dong is a registered user.

Thank you, Vicki, Allen. I went to Indochine last night and sampled three dishes: the shaken beef (anyone know why it's called that?), the Indochine gourmet delight fried rice and the clay pot lemon-grass chicken.

Overall, it was a pleasant experience. I agree, Allen, about the shaken beef -- delicious! One of my dinner companions put a cube of beef in his mouth and exclaimed with every bite about how tender it was. I liked the well-defined flavor, complemented by the lettuce and tomato.

The fried rice -- with egg, onions, tomatoes, chicken and prawns -- also measured up. Distinct but subtle flavoring elevated it above your standard ho-hum fried rice. This was a dish, not just a combination of ingredients that had been randomly stir fried together.

The lemon-grass chicken tasted a bit bland -- oddly lacking in the lemon-grass flavor. The onions took center stage more than anything else. I'd try a different dish if/when I go back.


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Posted by K&L
a resident of Walter Hays School
on Jul 29, 2006 at 9:21 pm

We tried indochine tonight with our two kids (10 and 7); good satay and fried rice for the kids; lemon grass shimp soup was tasty, but not the best we've had; same for basil chicken. Service was adequate, and atmosphere was pleasant. Not worth a long drive, but fine for a simple, last-minute neighborhood escape.


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Posted by KC
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 30, 2006 at 11:15 am

We were very impressed with the Green Elephant. Beautifully presented, tasty food, pleasant and helpful service. My kids ordered chicken dishes which are also typically found on standard Chinese menus, but the ginger salad I ordered was quite different - mixed at the table. I plan to return and try some of the other Burmese dishes.


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Posted by Casey
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 3, 2006 at 10:04 am

Tried Green Elephant Gourmet at lunch. At first, I was disappointed because of the limited number of lunch specials to select from and most of them were more Chinese-American in nature; e.g., General's Chicken, Lemon Chicken, etc. So, I went with the General's Chicken, which I almost never order and it was surprisingly good. The lunch also came with a soup, salad and choice of fried or white rice. Unlike at other places, the General's Chicken here was NOT an deep-friend, overly breaded chicken nugget. Just moist and tender pieces of chicken in a tasty yet amazingly spicy sauce. I'll definitely return to try some Burmese items. While the restaurant is billed as Burmese and Chinese Food, most of the items (at first glance) seemed to fall within the Chinese side of things.


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Posted by junya
a resident of Ventura
on Aug 8, 2006 at 10:18 pm

Green Elephant continues to amaze me.

First, I was not prepared for the passage from the nondescript strip mall to the elegant decor of Green Elephant. I had just happened by during a bike ride, so I felt inappropriately dressed. But the next surprise was the warm welcome I received - like I was an old friend returning after a long absence - that immediately melted my discomfort.

Then came the menu. I was hoping for a greater selection of Burmese, and was disappointed to see a menu that looked like standard American Chinese restaurant fare. Don't be fooled - there's nothing common about this cooking! As an earlier poster mentioned, the food is beautifully prepared: like those mouth-watering glossy photos you see in expensive cookbooks. I had to stop and enjoy the sight before devouring. But of course, food is about taste - and that was the ultimate surprise. We ordered vegetarian dishes, specifying my food restrictions: no egg, no garlic. This is the kind of test that distinguishes a chef who truly understands how to combine the flavors of food, from one who merely follows recipes. The dishes we got at Green Elephant convinced me that there is a top-notch chef sandwiched between the malt shop and the car insurance - offering family dinners (soup, appetizer, 1 entree/person, rice and dessert) from $12.95-16.95 per person. I could go on about the particular dishes we ordered but, essentially, that's irrelevant. Just go and try something (and encourage the owner to offer more Burmese!). I feel confident that anything I order there is going to be far better than average for East Asian restaurants in this area.

Don't be surprised if you see me raving in posts all around. I'm not connected with the restaurant, or its owners, in any way. I just want this place to be successful, so we don't lose such good cooking!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by maribee
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 9, 2006 at 9:28 am

Green Elephant: our first visit in a nutshell: Yum!

There were 3 of us and we tried 3 of the small number of
Burmese dishes and 2 of the Chinese variety:

Tea Leaf salad: great flavors, tossed tableside with care,
Milt loved the garlic overtones

Poodi (potato curry with pancakes): we're weren't quite sure
how to approach this but spooning some of the
tasty curry onto torn bits of naan-like bread
worked for me. We ended up ordering a bowl of
rice just so the none of this would be "wasted".

Mango Beef: Surprisingly light and sweet. Fresh mango made this
dish come alive! Not overly saucy but what was
there had a nice balance with the right level
of sweetness. Did I mention the tender beef?

Fish Fillet in Garlic Sauce: The chili flecks in this dish gave
it a good level of hotness for us, which is to
say hotter than we normally eat, but not to the
JingJing level (which I can't tolerate any more).
The fish was delectable!

Coconut rice noodles: Somehow our order for this dish almost got
forgotten by the staff, but not by us. We had
just enough room for one more dish so we didn't
a small wait while they cooked the noodles after
our reminder. Good play! This treat is another
"mixed tableside" dish and it was a good opportunity
to thank the owner for a memorable meal.

Looking forward to trying more of their various salads, and to
try their take on some of our other favorite Chinese dishes.
Plus if their Chow Fun is the same caliber as the rice noodles,
I made be a customer for life...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jocelyn Dong
associate editor of the Palo Alto Weekly
on Aug 9, 2006 at 9:45 am

Jocelyn Dong is a registered user.

I'm so glad to read the comments about Green Elephant Gourmet. I stopped by a few weeks ago and picked up their menu and, like everyone, was a bit thrown by the preponderance of Chinese dishes. My assumption: the Burmese dishes would be the stand outs, and the Chinese fare would be of your average strip-mall quality.

Judging from the comments here, that assumption is wrong. :) Now I look forward to trying it out.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sheri
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 9, 2006 at 12:17 pm

Based on recommendations from several people in our neighborhood (Monta Loma, bordering Palo Alto), we had dinner at Green Elephant last night. What a find! Everything we ordered was delicious, service was excellent, prices very reasonable. Hot and Sour Soup is available as a vegetarian option, which we had. Excellent flavor, definitely spicy so be forewarned. Owner Christine plans to add more Burmese dishes to the menu eventually. They tend to be more time-consuming to make than Chinese fare.

Today (Wed 8/9/06) is their grand-opening so head on over and check it out!

BTW, the name of the restaurant is based on the Burmese symbol for each day of the week. Owner Michael was born on Wed and the elephant is Wednesday's symbol. They added "green" to the name to evoke the image of freshness and nature, because their food is prepared with very fresh, healthy ingredients.


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 11, 2006 at 8:16 pm

Just finished up take out from Green Elephant and all I have to say is YUM! My husband is the pickiest eater you will find, especially when it comes to Chinese food, but he practically scarfed down his plate. We ordered (I'm pregnant, so forgive the excessiveness!): Sumusas, Potstickers, Mixed Vegetables, Burmese Curry (Beef), Lover's Chicken, and Beef Fried Rice. Everything was so good. We'll definitely be going back.

I asked the server if they would be adding more Burmese dishes to the menu and she said definitely. So we'll be keeping our eyes open for that!

TWO PREGNANT THUMBS UP!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Don of the Indochine
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 13, 2006 at 5:57 am

Reference the question on the name 'Shaken Beef' - it's not because the beef had hiccups, was cold and shuddering, nor laughung, giggling, or wigging. The best answer I can get from the chef is simply 'You have to shake the beef in the wok.'

Thanks so much for coming in to the Indochine.


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Posted by Casey
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 18, 2006 at 9:32 am

Been to Indochine twice. Had basil chicken once and red curry beef the other time. Both times, the meat seemed a bit dry and overcooked.


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Posted by David Lieberman
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 19, 2006 at 10:18 am

Ate at Green Elephant last night.

The restaurant is lovely but the food is bland and uninteresting.

If you are interested in Burmese food try Rangoon on Bryant between University and Hamilton. It has many more Burmese dishes, the people are very nice and they have a lovely dessert called Falooda.

David


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Posted by Soft Target
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 22, 2006 at 6:34 pm

We tried some of the Burmese dishes at Green Elephant and were pleased.

The tea leaf salad were seperate piles of lettuce, tomatoes, tea leaves and some other goodies left to be mixed up with a dressing.

The mohinga fish stew was a fine rendition.... a reddish broth with bits of fish and a pleasant toothsome noodle.

The Burmese chicken curry was perhaps the least interesting of the three, but still a decent curry.

Overall, I find it to be a pleasant neighborhood stop and a definite improvement over Feng Yuan.


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Posted by Ronbo
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 22, 2006 at 8:32 pm

I'm still shy of the Green Elephant. It's those two streamers of fly paper hanging by the kitchen windows. I think they are illegal. Tell me they're gone and I'll try the food.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sophie
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 26, 2006 at 12:50 pm

When I went to Green Elephant Gourmet, there was only one thing I can say....
GREAT
REFINED
EXCELLENT
EXQUISITE
NATURAL

Exciting to see and eat everytime you go.
Liking the food and never wanting to stop.
Elegantly decorated with beautiful utensils for you to dine in.
Palate dishes that will make you want to eat nonstop.
Hard to resist not to come in when you past by it.
Appetizing in appearance and aroma that will make you slober.
Neatly decorated and cleaned everyday to make a pleasant atmosphere.
Tasty by having its own strikingly attractive flavor in all the dishes.

Now that you know what Green Elephant is like, stop thinking what to eat tonight and head out to the best restaurant in town!

"Oh, and don't forget if you go there and eat $100 worth of food, you'll get 15% off!"

*offer ends August 31st*

Bon appetite!~


 +   Like this comment
Posted by San Mateo Foodie
a resident of another community
on Sep 3, 2006 at 8:48 pm

We had dinner there tonight. The food was very good - beautifully presented and I felt a higher caliber of chinese food. We ordered samusas, dumplings, veggie chow fun, veggie friend rice, spicy eggplant and pork curry. The pork curry and eggplant were particularly good. I was somewhat disappointed by the service initially. Although we went to dinner very early and were only the second party to be seated we did not get our appetizers for almost 30 minutes and our entrees only after 50 minutes to an hour and only after I complained to the owner that 4 parties seated after us started getting their entrees before we received a single bit to eat. They did apologize and tell us there was a mix-up because our waiter was new. I didn't quite buy it as all the waiters were going to all the tables and they were not particulary crowded but the owner offered to take 10% off our bill and tried to be attentive the rest of the evening. The food was very good so we'll probably give then a second chance. The decor is understated, elegant, and lovely. They just need to work on the professional service angle a bit!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Melanie Wong
a resident of another community
on Sep 7, 2006 at 4:20 pm

Hi Jocelyn, here's a report from lunch today with some photos.
Web Link


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Posted by Josie
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Sep 17, 2006 at 10:02 pm

I went to the best restaurant in town last night! Can anyone guess what it is? Yes, it is the gReeN ElePhant!!! I though the place was great, the food was delicious and the staff members was so friendly. The samusas was absolutely divine, it is cooked with mint and chilli that will leave your mouth watering. The Curry beef was so tender and juicy with its delicious burmese curry sauce. I tried their brand new dish called "pumpkin pork," and it was the delicious beyond belief. There are no words to describe how great of a place the Green Elephant is. Welcome to the neighborhood!


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Posted by Mike
a resident of another community
on Sep 17, 2006 at 10:05 pm

Hey, the person who commented at the top; you have some grammar problems...I was just looking through the site and I thought that the Green Elephant Gourmet is getting the best reviews. I've been to some restaurants in Palo Alto; but never anything like this. Maybe one day I'll try the food there at the Green Elephant, it does have nice reviews. And the food does sound like my type of food; so yah..I'll do it.


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Posted by Tomas
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 22, 2006 at 1:59 pm

I had lunch at this place and thought it was just ok. I tried comparing their dishes to those from another Burmese restaurant in downtown called Rangoon, and I would say Rangoon's are much better. Not being Burmese, I can't tell you which ones are more authentic, but I prefer the flavors from Rangoon.


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Posted by David
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 22, 2006 at 11:01 pm

I had dinner with my parents at Green Elephant Gourmet tonight and we really enjoyed the food. We were very impressed with their beautiful presentation, tasty food and friendly service. We tried their new dish Pumpkin Prawn tonight, and we thought it was great. We also had some Chinese food like Eggroll, Hot and Sour Soup and Honey Walnut Prawn. Everything was delicious. I must come back.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Elaine
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Sep 23, 2006 at 11:13 pm

Today a friend took me to this place in town that I must say was F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S!!! This place was absolutely wonderful. Everything we tried was tasty. The staff memebers are friendly and nice, and if you have not tried the place. Then I HIGHLY recommand checking it out! Bon appite!
Ps: By the way, it's the restaurant called Green Elephant Gourmet, in the Charleston Shopping Center!


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Posted by Lena
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Oct 2, 2006 at 10:12 pm

I went to the Green Elephant tonight with my parents because a friend recommended to me, and had a great time. The food was different from the food at St. Claire Gardens. It is definitely worth trying, like the tea leaf salad was delicious, the coconut noodle soup was so rich and creamy. It was all so tasty, and the place was decorated so lovely, and comfortable to dine in. Overall, we were quite pleased and would come again soon!


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Posted by Ellen
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 2, 2006 at 12:44 pm

Yes the food is good. I went to do pick up today and was surprised there was not a convenient place to sit and wait except on a high chair looking directly at diners a few feet away. I was aghast that ants were running all over the cash register counter. When I commented to the waitress about the problem I was amazed that she didn't clean up the trail of ants running all over or make an apology. This makes me wonder what is happening in the kitchen?


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Posted by lou
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 27, 2007 at 11:01 pm

Intrigued by the recommendations on this space, we tried Green Elephant Gourmet this past week. First timers. We selected the fixed price dinner "B" - and we were disappointed. The
soup was extremely spicy. (We had mentioned that we were not fond of spicy food). The
Chinese Chicken Salad has so little chicken that we made a game of finding a "prize" piece.
The General Chicken was so coated with gooey coating that it was hard to find the chicken - and the honey shrimp was drowning in sauce. We ordered the fried rice which was soggy.
Afterwards I inquired if tea came with the dinner. The answer was yes, but we did or Su Hongs. Next time IF we go, we'll order from the menu. Any suggestions?


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Posted by lou
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 27, 2007 at 11:04 pm

Something got omitted. It should have read.....

Afterwards I inquired if tea came with the dinner. The answer was yes, but we did NOT GET IT UNTIL WE ASKED. WE PREFER RANGOON or Su Hongs. Next time IF we go, we'll order from the menu. Any suggestions?


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Posted by ekonic
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 5, 2007 at 2:52 pm

Green Elephant Gourmet is a pricey (really too pricey for what is essentially a neighborhood restaurant; $20 for dinner for one, although, to be fair, I ordered prawns, which are always expensive) white-tablecloth restaurant serving Burmese & Chinese food. I was unimpressed by the "Burmese" items I tried, which were simply uninteresting. A glance at the Burmese section of my Oriental cookbook confirms that Burmese food, like Indian & Mandarin, ought to be spicier than what this restaurant is serving. My samosas were stuffed mainly with potato & served with a sweet dipping sauce that had only a hint of spiciness. The sauce on the fruity-nutty prawns (prawns sauteed with pineapple, papaya, mango, red & green Bell peppers, & cashews) appeared to be the same sweet sauce served with the samosas without even the hint of spice. The pineapple seemed to be canned, although with cooked pineapple, it's difficult to tell. The overall effect was dull & somewhat cloying. The coconut rice lacked coconut flavor & might as well have been plain white rice, which would have suited me: this restaurant, unlike most Chinese restaurants, charges for rice; maybe plain white rice would have been free or less expensive. The decor & general ambience were pleasant, although I could have done with a softer level of music, which seemed to be a cross of Asian (samisen or sitar or a similar plucked instrument) & Western instrumentation & tonality. Service was good, without being overly attentive. Presentation of food was attractive, with a flower decorating my entree plate & the prawns & fruit attractively laid out, not just piled in a heap on the serving platter. There appears to be no charge for tea, but, unlike in most Chinese restaurants, the customer must ask for it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ekonic
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 5, 2007 at 2:54 pm

Green Elephant Gourmet is a pricey (really too pricey for what is essentially a neighborhood restaurant; $20 for dinner for one, although, to be fair, I ordered prawns, which are always expensive) white-tablecloth restaurant serving Burmese & Chinese food. I was unimpressed by the "Burmese" items I tried, which were simply uninteresting. A glance at the Burmese section of my Oriental cookbook confirms that Burmese food, like Indian & Mandarin, ought to be spicier than what this restaurant is serving. My samosas were stuffed mainly with potato & served with a sweet dipping sauce that had only a hint of spiciness. The sauce on the fruity-nutty prawns (prawns sauteed with pineapple, papaya, mango, red & green Bell peppers, & cashews) appeared to be the same sweet sauce served with the samosas without even the hint of spice. The pineapple seemed to be canned, although with cooked pineapple, it's difficult to tell. The overall effect was dull & somewhat cloying. The coconut rice lacked coconut flavor & might as well have been plain white rice, which would have suited me: this restaurant, unlike most Chinese restaurants, charges for rice; maybe plain white rice would have been free or less expensive. The decor & general ambience were pleasant, although I could have done with a softer level of music, which seemed to be a cross of Asian (samisen or sitar or a similar plucked instrument) & Western instrumentation & tonality. Service was good, without being overly attentive. Presentation of food was attractive, with a flower decorating my entree plate & the prawns & fruit attractively laid out, not just piled in a heap on the serving platter. There appears to be no charge for tea, but, unlike in most Chinese restaurants, the customer must ask for it.


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Posted by Dhana
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 9, 2007 at 9:41 am

I give this place a Thumbs Up! You can check out my review of this restaurant at Web Link


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Posted by nat
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 2, 2007 at 2:44 pm

I hadn't been to Indochine for a long while. It used to me called the Mint Leaf and is in Midtown on Middlefield Road.

I went with 3 others last Saturday for dinner and we really enjoyed it. We had Pad Thai, made with thin soft rice noodles instead of the heavy wide ones I've had elsewhere. The sauce was so delicious.

The beef in the shaken beef is very tender, made from filet mignon we were told. We all loved the Vietamese coffee (it was iced) and the mango sticky rice is the best I've had.



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Posted by Asian Food Enthusiast
a resident of Gunn High School
on Sep 21, 2007 at 2:18 am

Green Elephant is a nice restaurant with good general-appeal food, a lovely decor and atmosphere, and very nice friendly service. (It appears to be indeed dulled down for the standard "undaventurous " American palate, but one can request that the food be cooked more spicey.) Our Asian family is fairly picky about Asian food, and we patronize restaurants based on the current quality of their fare, not some "former reputation of excellence". (We find the perhaps formerly-excellent-Mings to currently have both lousy food and even worse service, for instance, and we are also not impressed by the current fare offered at the formerly-reputed Chef Chu's these days either.) We find Green Elephant to be quite acceptable as one of our local Asian restaurant choices for family dinners out.


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