1015 N. Charles St., Mount Vernon, Baltimore, MD, (410) 539-4636
We'd been waiting patiently for Indochine in Mount Vernon to open, so we were pretty excited when, by chance, we happened upon their "soft opening." We took our seats by the door but noticed our mistake when we started to sweat. As we contemplated making this a takeout order, our waiter informed us that there was much cooler seating in the back. We happily moved towards the cool. Here, there were several groups seated and a television tuned in to the latest daytime court drama. There were some unfinished projects-an empty picture frame on the wall, a cardboard box here and there-but overall, it was nicely appointed and comfortable. Our appetizers, the Goi Cuon Chay, vegetarian garden rolls ($4.95 for two), were very generous and loaded with fresh basil and mint that helped defeat the heat-or was it the air conditioning? Soon after, the Bun Dau Huu Chien, or rice vermicelli bowl with tofu ($8.95), arrived. We had inquired about the pho, but there won't be a vegetarian broth until their "for-real" opening June 6th. But we couldn't have been happier with the vermicelli. It was loaded with flavor and more crispy fresh mint and basil, plus thinly sliced cabbage and zucchini. The lemongrass was deliciously prominent. It rocked! We also tried the Thit Xao La Que, stir-fried chicken with basil sauce ($14.95). We asked for it spicy and they made it to our liking. It was like a Vietnamese take on a classic Thai dish. The service and the food were both outstanding-and they're not even officially open yet. We can't wait to see what'll happen when they actually are.