Story and photo
by Becky Billingsley
Laura and Heri Heriyadi arrived separately in the United States from Indonesia in 1988 and first settled in California; him in Los Angeles, her in San Diego. They both ended up in Florida, and that is where fate matched up this chef duo.
Laura has a degree in computer science and Heri is a degreed mechanical engineer, but they both evolved into restaurant work. They have two daughters: Wuii is five, and Lindsay is four.
After a dozen years working in other people's restaurants, they launched the first Indo in 2009 at the north end of Myrtle Beach across the street from the Dixie Stampede. Laura just opened the couple's second restaurant, Indo Thai Sushi Hibachi, at 47 Da Gullah Way in Pawleys Island, in the former location of Emi Bistro and Sushi Bar.
Heri works full-time at Ichiro's in Myrtle Beach as their sushi chef, and Laura handles much of managing Indo. After dropping the girls off at school she goes to the Myrtle Beach restaurant to make all her sauces, then heads to Pawleys Island about noon, where she stays and cooks until 8 p.m. before going back to Myrtle Beach.
When at either restaurant, Laura makes it a point to go into the dining room to greet guests.
"I love Pawleys Island," she said. "I love the people here...in our Pawleys Island restaurant we have more locals."
You can see a framed photo of Laura and the girls in the new restaurant, along with several gilt-framed magazine, newspaper and internet articles published about the couple and their wonderful food.
The decor hasn't changed much from when the space was Emi. In the dining room there is a fresh coat of hazelnut paint on the walls and dramatic black linens on the tables. High ceilings and tall windows provide a light and airy effect.
In the lounge area the sushi bar now melds into the cocktail bar, and three booths have been added by the windows.
Out front is a shady, tropical-feeling al fresco dining area.
What's to eat
Laura makes sauces for both restaurants every day.
"The sauces are very important," she says. "I'm not comfortable letting anyone else do it yet. Thai food is all about fresh ingredients, and you have to pay attention."
The Indo staff stays full-throttle busy preparing sushi (they have two pages of choices) as fast as their nimble fingers will move.
There are common rolls most sushi lovers will recognize such as Crunch Roll, Rainbow Roll, Spicy Tuna Roll and of course the ever-popular California Roll.
Other more exotic sushi choices include the Hawaiian Roll with salmon, pineapple, asparagus and cream cheese cooked tempura-style and served with coconut flakes and coconut pineapple sauce; the half inside-out Viking Roll with crab, salmon, cream cheese, avocado, eel and fish roe; and the Special Myrtle Beach Roll with tuna, dolphin, salmon, cream cheese, crab, masago and avocado.
Sashimi is also served, including single pieces, an 18-piece sashimi dinner, sashimi/sushi combos and the Jumbo Boat with three rolls, 30 sashimi, 20 sushi, Tuna Tartare and two appetizers.
A special lunch menu is available with $8-$11 choices that include a salad and spring roll, but the regular menu is also available all day. Both the Thai and Japanese choices are extensive, with dozens of dishes in each category.
In addition to sushi the Japanese menu includes hibachi meals featuring steak, chicken and several different seafoods served with clear soup, fried rice and vegetables.
But it's the Thai menu that shines at Indo, and it starts with appetizers such as Tong Yod where a crab/curry/cream cheese blend is inside crispy wonton purses; and Golden Winter Shrimp where a whole large shrimp is surrounded by a tasty minced vegetable and herb blend, wrapped in a wonton skin and deep-fried.
Both appetizers are served with Laura's fresh dipping sauces, and my favorite is the peanut sauce. A few other sauce choices include Fresh Basil, Fresh Ginger and Garlic, and it is worth return trips to try them all. You can also pick from the sauces to build an entree to your liking.
Thai entrees of course include Pad Thai and several Thai curry dishes like Masaman Curry with herbs, tamarind, sweet potatoes, onion and roasted peanuts. But it's the Indo Specialties that are most interesting, such as Chicken Volcano with chili garlic sauce; Sizzling Duck; Crispy Golden Crab featuring soft shell crabs; and Salmon La Bamba that includes salmon, sea scallops, bacon, vegetables and basil sauce.
Indo is all about freshness and light, including the Heriyadis' dazzling smiles.
Where: 47 Da Gullah Way, Pawleys Island
Noise Level: It of course depends on how many people are in the restaurant, but it never gets so noisy you can't converse in normal tones.
Vegetarian Options: Veggies Soup, House Green Salad, Fresh Mixed Vegetables Entree, Vegetable Curry, Vegetable Sushi Roll and the Vegetable Hibachi Dinner.
Smoking: Allowed at the outside tables.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; 4-10 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Prices: Sushi rolls are $5-$14; entrees are $12-$23.
Check for Two: A friend and I had green tea, two appetizers and two entrees for lunch, and the tab with tax was $40.77.
The Blue Crab
The Blue Crab in Pawleys Island is now open, and diners are streaming in for well-prepared seafood, salads, sandwiches and suds served in a relaxing, friendly and rustically chic beach surroundings. This is a Diving Dining Group restaurant, and crab is the specialty of the house with whole steamed Blue Crabs, Winyah Bay Crab Dip, Crab Cake She-Crab Soup, Fried Soft Shell Crab, Crab Flatbread Pizza and Snow Crab. Other seafood choices include Baked Lemon Garlic Oysters, Bangin' Shrimp, Littleneck Clams, Steamed Cluster Oysters, Po' Boys, Shrimp Louis, Grilled Tuna, Fried Shrimp and Fresh Catch. There are also non-seafood choices. The Blue Crab is at 9448 Ocean Blvd. in Pawleys Island, and the number is 979-2722. It's open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
Mike Zemke, the former Vice President of Operations at Divine Dining Group, and two partners are planning to open seven Donatos Pizza restaurants throughout the Grand Strand. The first one is now being built in Garden City near the new Wal-Mart under construction. Donatos is a chain with about 200 units in five states. In addition to pizzas the Donatos menu lists stromboli, finger foods, oven-baked subs, salads and desserts. Zemke hopes the restaurant will be open in July, and he is already scouting for the second and third locations.
J&W Produce, owned by Josh Johnson and Richie Wheeler of Aynor, recently initiated the area’s first Community Supported Agriculture program designed to offer residents in Horry, Georgetown and Marion counties the opportunity to purchase a share of the crops produced.
The concept is based on a seasonal commitment, where community members pre-pay for shares of the season’s harvest and then receive weekly boxes of fresh vegetables.
Participants purchase a share of the farm’s spring (May-June) and/or summer (August-October) harvest. Investment in the CSA program ranges from a Family Share (family of four) at $380, Small Share (ideal for two) at $280 and a Single Share (ideal for one) at $180. Produce currently being grown at the J&W farm include beans, egg plant, radishes, beets, green onions, rutabaga, broccoli, lettuce, yellow squash, butter beans, mixed leafy greens, sweet corn, cabbage, okra, tomatoes, cantaloupe, green peanuts, turnips, carrots, peas, watermelons, cauliflower, potatoes, zucchini squash, and cucumbers. To sign up call J&W Produce at 855-3348 or visit them online at JWProduce.com.
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