Monday, April 23, 2018

Muldoon's - Revisit

Took the picture after it was finished... ;)

Holy moly, I can’t believe I haven’t written about Muldoon’s since 2011. The other night we met up with one of hubby’s oldest friends who was in town for his daughter’s soccer tournament. It was a kind of last minute thing on a Saturday night in prime dinner hours in Carmel/Westfield area, so it was challenging to decide where to go. I mean, let’s face it, Carmel is a bit of a food desert. I mean there are some places I really enjoy, but hard to find a quality place that takes reservations and still had one available.

We started with Pizzology, but they only take reservations very early or very late and we didn’t want to get stuck waiting for an hour with not much around. We decided on just meeting on Main Street in Carmel, thinking we might do the Pint Room because hubby’s friend really likes craft beer. However, when we walked in, even though there were probably 6-8 open tables, they were on a 40-minute wait because they said their kitchen was really behind. So I appreciate that they didn’t just seat us and make us wait forever for bad service, but it seemed like a bad situation for a restaurant on a Saturday night. We saw many, many people turned away.

We ended up just going across the street and getting a table at Muldoon’s. I haven’t been there in ages. We got there before hubby’s friend, so we went ahead and ordered an appetizer. We had the buffalo chicken dip ($9.75), which is a family favorite. I make it a fair amount for buffalo chicken-type occasions, and it is one of my son’s favorite things. This one tasted a lot like mine—buffalo hot sauce, cream cheese, cheese and chicken. Mine also has ranch. It’s an easy recipe to make, but I appreciated that this one was nice and tasty. It really hit the spot. The chips were good (not great) but were tasty with the hot, creamy dip. There were also carrot and celery sticks, but seriously, who really wants veggies with their dip? Only a couple got eaten. I do think for nearly $10 the portion of dip was a tad on the pricey side, particularly when you consider the size of the tenderloin, which is similarly priced.

Speaking of, for our main dish, hubby and I split the tenderloin sandwich ($10.95). This is one of those giant tenderloins that Indiana is so famous for. This is one of the thicker versions and they know what they are doing. It’s got good flavor, pretty good moisture and good crispiness. You sort of need a bit more mayo than they give you because the tenderloin is so big. Love topping it with some red onions, and they have nice crunchy pickles as well. I was a little sad when I saw my daughter’s mini tenderloin version ($8.95) because it was on a little brioche looking bun. Much more attractive looking than our bun. If I were ordering there on my own, I would definitely go with the mini. Hubby and I barely finished our regular sized one that we shared. As for sides, I think my daughter won that one as well. She got the loaded baked potato—you can’t really go wrong there right? We just stuck with chips because I remembered not loving the fries. The chips are just your standard ruffled chips from a bag. I did order a house salad to start—which was a large salad for the price. I liked the really big chunks of blue cheese in the dressing too.

Hubby’s friend had the shepherd’s pie ($12.95), which is a bowl filled with the ground beef, veggies and topped with mashed potatoes. I didn’t get a bite, but he seemed happy and ate it all. My son had a burger that was just pretty standard from my taste. Nothing overly unique about it.
I have a hard time not ordering the tenderloin when I go, considering I seem to only get there every 6-7 years, but I would be interested to know what else is good as there are several items on the menu that are intriguing. So if you have any suggestions for me, let me know. 

Muldoon’s
111 West Main Street, Suite 100
Carmel, IN 46032
317/571-1116
http://muldoons.net/




Monday, April 16, 2018

A2Z Cafe - Revist


It has been awhile since we went to A2Z and my daughter always nags me about going because she really likes it. Also, hubby had never been, and it is very convenient to my parent’s house, where we were dropping off my dog for some dog sitting, so it worked perfectly. 

We started with an order of the fried biscuits ($7 for 10 or $4 for 5). These are good little morsels—they are sugared on the outside, so they really come across more like doughnuts. They do serve them with apple butter for sweetening them up even more. They are tasty little nuggets for sure if you like to start your breakfast off with a little sweet appetizer.

I wanted to get something different, so I tried the eggs and feta ($7), which was listed as a house specialty. It is scrambled eggs, spinach, mushrooms and feta and served with a side of toast. They do a nice job with the scrambled eggs—not drying them out too much. And I liked the salty edge from them feta. The spinach was a little chewy--like the pieces were too big. They were kind of hard to cut or chew through. Their toast is quite delicious. The bread itself is really good and they toast is just the right amount. I also ordered a side of bacon. Yeah, I could’ve kept it vegetarian, but nah. The bacon was really tasty. And I liked that they asked me how crispy I wanted it (duh, always super crispy!).

Hubby loved his dish. He went with the tater tot scramble ($8.50). So they take tater tots, scrambled eggs, bacon, ham, and shredded cheese and they scramble it all together and top the whole thing with sausage gravy. Seriously, this dish made him so happy. And even though sometimes I worry that mixing so many things up in a dish can just taste like a mess, this didn’t. The bites I had were quite tasty. And he cleaned his plate. It also comes with a side of toast, again, very tasty toast.

My son had the steak and eggs ($12), which includes 2 eggs your way (he ordered them scrambled) and a skewer of beef tenderloin. And there were potatoes and toast. So they give you really nice pieces of steak. My son, a huge steak lover, was thrilled to add some steak into his breakfast, which is a meal that often can go steakless. He kind of ignored the eggs. But he was down with the steak, potatoes and toast. He basically had a steak dinner for breakfast. He was happy. Oh yeah, he also had a short stack of pancakes on the side ($4) because that is the stage of life he is in (he has grown 4 inches in the last year). He also enjoyed them. They were light and fluffy. Tasty pancakes if you are a pancake person.
My daughter had a special, the crab cake benedict, which has been one of her favorite things since she ate one in Washington D.C. and fell deeply in love. They did theirs with a crab cake and an English muffin, which she thought was a little starch heavy and she wished it just had the crab cake. Or at least more of the crab cake. The eggs were done perfectly though and she is a lover of potato, so she was happy with these as well.


Overall, a really nice mom and pop breakfast (and lunch as well) joint with solid, tasty food. If you are looking for something warm and comforting made from good ingredients and with friendly service, check this place out.
A2Z Café
4705 E 96th Street
Indy 46240
317/569-9349



Monday, April 9, 2018

Road Trip: Cincinnati--Taste of Belgium


Hubby and I were in Cincinnati for a quick trip for one of his oldest friend’s milestone birthdays. We ate food that was provided at the party for dinner, but I was excited that there was a Taste of Belgium right down from our hotel and that they opened early so we could grab breakfast on our way out of town the next day. 

The reason I was so excited was buckwheat crepes!! There was a French place in Oakland years ago that I used to eat lunch at with my legal colleagues that had the absolute best crepes.  I have forever been on a quest for one as good. 

I ordered the “the OG” ($11), which is a buckwheat crepe with a runny egg, Gruyere, ham and mixed greens. In theory, this is exactly what I like. In execution, it was fine, but not amazing. It came across a little dry, even with that runny egg. The crepe was a little thicker than I prefer. And I think I prefer my mixed greens more on the side to eat alongside it, as I want to. Also, the egg wasn’t really seasoned, and it took forever to get salt and pepper, which was not on the table. I believe an egg should be seasoned (at least salt!) and if the kitchen isn’t going to do it, then it should be left to the patron to decide with shakers on the table. So it was a little disappointing.

Hubby had the chicken, biscuit and gravy ($12), which was better than mine I thought. It was a biscuit with a fried boneless chicken breast, pepper gravy and a sunny egg on top. There was a lot going on there for sure, but I really liked the super light and crispy panko-type breading on the chicken. And they kept it tender, even though it was white meat. Again, I am a believer that an egg should always be seasoned and this one wasn’t. It wasn’t as noticeable because the chicken and gravy had seasoning in them, but still. Am I the only one who thinks this? Anyway, he also ordered a side of goetta, because well, we were in Cincinnati. Seemed like the thing to do. If you haven’t had it before, it’s a combo of oats and sausage (sort of like poor man’s sausage), with lots of seasoning and is pan-fried crisp. It was tasty, although I think I like it as part of something else (see goetta eggs benedict at Nada) best.

All in all, I was a little let down with this meal but maybe my expectations were just too high. Lots of good looking items on their menu though, and I can’t say I wouldn’t try it again.


Taste of Belgium (several locations)
3825 Edwards Road
Cincinnati, OH 45209
513-396-5800
www.authenticwaffle.com

Monday, April 2, 2018

Ukiyo


I was excited to try Neal Brown’s new restaurant venture, Ukiyo. I have been a couple of times, but am mainly focusing this post on the most recent visit, as the first one was very soon after they opened and I like to wait a bit longer than that before I write about a place. We were with another couple, which was nice so we could order more items.

First of all, I really like what they have done with the space. They took the old Recess which was always sort of industrial in its feel and warmed it up with some texture and color variations. The sushi bar area is light and bright and the main part of the restaurant is dark and more dramatic. I was happy to sit in the sushi bar area this time because it was still light, and it made my pictures prettier. It’s pretty dark in the main room. But it gives it a nice ambiance,
We started with the salmon tartare ($12), the octopus “dumplings” ($10) and the fried chicken kaaragge ($12). That fried chicken is great. I have had it both times and once for lunch (review to come) and it’s always been delicious. It is pieces of fried thigh meat, which is very crisply fried and it is lightly tossed in a honey sauce and sprinkled with matcha powder. It is an interesting combination of flavors. I always think I won’t love that much sweetness in a savory course, but this is balanced nicely and the chicken is just so well done. Definitely a must order. As far as the others, the salmon tartare is beautiful and bright, but is not seasoned a lot. The melt in your mouth fish was just crying out for some acid. But then again, you know me, that’s how I am. I just would have liked to see a little more to it that what it was. The toasted bread underneath was very good—light and soft but toasty too. As for the the octopus dumplings, I think they are misnamed. When I am in an Asian restaurant and I read the word “dumplings” on a menu, I am expected soft wonton-wrapped bundles filled with something. These are actually more like fried balls of dough that are dotted with bits of octopus inside. They are more like a bread ball and less like a dumpling. It’s a matter of preference I guess, but they weren’t my favorite thing, but maybe if I had expected something different, I would have enjoyed them more. I did enjoy the bonito flakes waving in the air on top. I think that’s always a very cool effect.

From there we went on to order sushi. We got the ”Hachiman,” ($15) which is farm raised blue fin tuna roll, which was avocado on the inside and chunks of the tuna on top. We also had the “Izanami” ($12), which was spicy shrimp kaarage and Japanese mayo. Finally, we had the “Uke mocha” ($19), which was crab and avocado inside and salmon on top. I think the sushi is certainly the star here based on what I have had. Both times the rolls were my favorite part for sure. Even the “designer rolls” are pretty simple though, and the fish is certainly the focus. They aren’t hiding the quality with showy things like lighting it on fire, and they aren’t dousing it with sauce. I’m not saying I don’t like a good gooey roll when I am in the right mood, but these were nice in their simpliciy. I am trying to think which was my favorite of the rolls we have had and I might say the shrimp kaarage because I liked the texture variation. But they were all good. Again, they are on the simple side (there was certainly a part of me that was thinking a little thin slice of lemon or a touch of jalapeno would have jazzed it up a little), but hey, I’m not the chef. Fish-wise, it is some of the best and freshest in town. 

As we ordered the sushi, we also decided to add one more hot dish to our order. We ordered the barbecued catfish on our server’s recommendation. Honestly, as it turned out, I was so glad we ordered this one—it may have been my favorite all around item of the evening. It was catfish sort of done in the style of barbecued eel (which they don’t serve because it is endangered, which I respect). This dish was great. Nice sticky rice, lots of scallions and several nice pieces of very tender catfish in a slightly sweet, slightly spicy sauce. I would happily eat this whole bowl myself. There’s always a next time right?

Overall, I feel like Ukiyo is still finding its exact groove, but it is off to a nice start, and it’s a place we need in Indy. I hope they keep tweaking things and I am hoping maybe one day there will also be some full-on dumplings on the menu because they’re one of my favorite things and now that they’ve said the word I really want them. But in the meantime, get the sushi and the catfish and the fried chicken. You’ll be happy. I will say I was a little surprised they weren’t busier on a Friday night, but it’s certainly a place worth checking out. And they take reservations! So that’s always a plus.

Ukiyo
4907 49th Street
Indy  46205
317/384-1048


Monday, March 26, 2018

Red, The Steakhouse


We had a gift certificate to Red that we had been sitting on for awhile, so we decided to use it before we just totally forgot about it.  The kids are always in for a steakhouse, so we took them along.

As we looked over the menu, our server approached. She was nice but so soft spoken, we really couldn’t hear a word she was saying. The restaurant is kind of loud and she was so quiet, not a good combo when you’re trying to hear the specials. Anyway, we decided on a few appetizers and ordered those. We shared the beef tartare ($14) at my daughter’s insistence, even though lately I just keep being disappointed with beef tartares around town, and we also got the tuna poke ($16). I enjoyed the tuna poke—it was nice chunks of tuna with compressed pineapple and cucumber with a sweet chili vinaigrette. Apparently it was supposed to come with plantain chips, but we never got any. I ate it with the toasty crackers that came with the steak tartare or just on its own. It had a nice acidic flavor from the pineapple. It would have been better with plantain chips I am guessing. The tartare, as usual, was a disappointment. It had a few capers mixed in with the beef, and some shallots, but no real flavor. It was totally flat. I even asked for some lemon wedges to try and give it something, but even that didn’t help (I’m thinking mustard here people, and some more capers). We didn’t even eat it all. Just too boring.

We had a couple of salads as well. My son ordered their blue cheese wedge (no tomatoes) ($12), and to be honest, it was the best thing on the table all night, and one of the best wedges around. I liked it because it had plenty of blue cheese and dressing. So often once you cut into the lettuce, there is just not enough dressing. Not so here. There was actually more blue cheese than there was lettuce. My son asked if it would be rude to ask for extra lettuce. It also had pickled onions, crispy pancetta and croutons. And seriously large hunks of blue cheese. Really good. Much better than the house salad ($11) that hubby and I split. It was mixed greens with candied walnuts, goat cheese and raspberry vinaigrette. So in this salad, there was very little cheese and the dressing was more sweet than vinegar-ish. I would always get the wedge here if I went again. I did like the mixed cheese and olive oil that they gave you with the complimentary bread, which was warm and delicious.

For my main, I just ordered a shrimp appetizer, because I could tell that there was going to be way too much food (I was right). I had the lemon garlic shrimp ($19). It was large shrimp on top of a slice of bread with a very rich buttery sauce and some very thin lemon slices. It was a good dish, but still a lot of food considering I ate some of everyone else’s. The shrimp was cooked pretty well and I liked having the bread underneath to soak up the sauce., which did have a touch of acid from the lemon.

Hubby had the carbonara pasta ($34), which was enough to feed all four of us. It was a giant bowl of pasta with a creamy sauce, more of the shrimp and some pancetta and peas. It was a little heavier and creamier than most carbonara we have enjoyed, but it wasn’t bad.  Although it wasn’t great either. Hubby did get several meals out of it in the following days.

My daughter had the tuna tataki dinner ($38), which was a large portion of tuna that was sesame crusted and sliced, and served with ginger, scallion and a ginger lime soy. The tuna was good—cooked rare as it should be and the sauce was nice. It was also really big and she made a couple of meals out of it as well. I thought it was weird that it didn’t come with any type of side dish such as rice or something. I mean, I know steakhouses want you to order sides separately, but with a dish like this, the typical steakhouse sides don’t really match up.

My son had a prime filet ($49), which we all shared. It was a good cut of meat, but was cooked too rare (even though he ordered it medium rare). It was still good because it was such good quality beef, but it would have been better if it were just cooked a little bit more. Didn’t seem to overly bother my son who ate every bit of it before we could barely sneak a few bites. We did also order some sides—the mac and cheese with bacon ($13)(you can also get it plain or with lobster or with crab) and the au gratin potatoes ($11) at the suggestion of our server. The au gratin was really good, sliced potatoes in a nice creamy, cheesy sauce. The mac and cheese was not good. I don’t know if it was the bacon aspect, but it was overwhelmingly smoky—almost like it had liquid smoke in it.  It was a huge portion that went mainly uneaten.

Finally, we shared their doughnut holes with chocolate sauce, salted caramel sauce and raspberry jam ($13 for the large order). These were sort of like beignets—with lots of powdered sugar. Not bad, but not as good as an actual beignet, and not as soft as you might want for a doughnut. A little more of the sauces would have been helpful too, especially with the larger order. They do have a nice dessert wine menu with several nice options by the glass.

All in all, not a place I would probably look to go back to, but if I did, I would definitely get the wedge salad.

Red, The Steakhouse
14 West Maryland
Indy 46204
317/757-3144



Monday, March 19, 2018

Cobblestone Grill -- Revisit (Lunch)


The other day I met a friend for a quick lunch at Cobblestone.  I haven’t been there in ages—and they have remodeled the inside since then. It’s much darker and feels more modern than the last time I was there.

We ordered two things and shared. The first thing was the Southwestern chicken sandwich ($12) and the southern BLT ($11). Both were very good and had some nice touches. The chicken sandwich was a grilled chicken breast topped with avocado slaw, Gruyere cheese and Sriracha aioli. It was all on a brioche bun. The first thing you notice when you bit into this sandwich is the acidity of the slaw. And mixed with some hunks of creamy avocado? It was so good. The cheese and aioli rounded out the flavors nicely too, giving it some heat and some rich saltiness. It was a touch on the messy side, but tasted very good. I upgraded to fries for my side. They were good fries—maybe could have stood just another minute in the fryer though, some were kind of soft. And they served them with ketchup, which is kind of boring. I should have gotten some extra Sriracha aioli on the side.

The southern BLT was also very good—they use fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese, bacon, and bib lettuce. I always worry that the tomatoes will be too thick, but these were nice and thin. The pimento cheese added nice flavor and a little bit of spice. The bacon was very crisp, so depending on how you like yours; you may or may not like this as much. I like my bacon super crisp, so I was good. My friend wished it was softer.

Both of these sandwiches were very good. They have the sandwich thing down. I like a mix of flavors and you gotta have some kind of sauce to keep it from being dry and to keep it interesting. Both of these had all of those things, and to be honest, I’d be hard pressed to say which one I liked better. 

The service was friendly and prompt, although the place wasn’t very busy. So, who else has been there lately?




Cobblestone Grill
160 South Main Street
Zionsville, IN 46077
317/873-4745


Monday, March 12, 2018

Blue Sushi Sake Grill


You know I am on my search for a new favorite sushi place, so I was excited when I got some emails about the opening of a new place in Ironworks, which is conveniently located near my house. I have been twice since they opened. They may still be working on some kinks with consistency, but I am pretty sure this is a place that I will return fairly regularly based on what I have had so far and the its proximity.

On both trips we had the tuna tataki ($13) and the truffle salmon ($11). These are both sashimi style presentations—or like a crudo. They were both thin slices of the fish. The tataki was seared with pepper on the edges, crispy garlic chips on top, and in a light sauce. The first time we had this, we really enjoyed it. The second time, while we enjoyed it, it was much more peppery, almost to the point of making it not enjoyable. Almost. I’m not sure which is the way they intend it to be, but I am  hoping it was the first version. I am sure we will try it again and find out. The truffle salmon is really good—and unique. Again, thin slices of fish, topped with hot sesame oil, salmon caviar and sitting in ponzu. These are both also on the happy hour  (HH) menu—you can get them for $10 and $8.50 during that time.

On both trips we also had the crunchy rice cakes with spicy tuna ($11/$8.50 HH). Again, they were a little different on each visit—the first time the rice cakes on the bottom were a little over fried and overly crunchy, but we really enjoyed the flavor of the spicy tuna. So we wanted to try them again. This time they were perfect and probably my favorite thing we had. These will be a regular thing. Basically, they are fried bits of rice cakes, topped with spicy tuna, scallions and ponzu sauce. They were definitely a favorite at the table with our friends. The first time we also ordered the blue balls ($7/$4.5 HH). This was one of the items that made us realize we do not care for their spicy “crab” mixture. It was a tofu skin stuffed with spicy crab and deep-fried. Now, the fry on these was so good, and I love tofu, but the fishy taste of the spicy crab was not good. Again, it was the classic problem of a place calling something crab that was decidedly fishy.

So I guess this didn’t bode well for our luck with the “thriller” roll ($11), which was shrimp tempura inside and spicy crab mix, creamy “thriller” sauce and ponzu. It was broiled on top with the spicy crab and creamy sauce. The heat did not add to the already questionable taste of the spicy “crab.” However, a friend told us you could substitute real snow crab, which we did the second time (for an upcharge) and I really enjoyed it the second time. It had a touch of heat on the top of it, and the fresh crab was much tastier.

That second time we also had a couple of other rolls. Probably the most popular one at our table was the “spicy gringo” ($8/$5.50 HH), which is salmon, tuna, white fish, ginger with garlic chips and a barbeque wrap and shallots on top. It had interesting flavors and texture and like I said, everyone enjoyed it. We also enjoyed the “beach,” ($13+ $3 for snow crab substitution). It was albacore, spicy tuna and in our case, snow crab (normally spicy crab), burdock root, and avocado on the inside. It had ponzu and Serrano peppers on top. It was also tasty, although again, we subbed out the spicy crab for snow crab. I didn’t really care for the burdock root, as it was really hard—didn’t add to the texture component to me. So, it’s weird because the spicy tuna is really tasty, but the spicy crab is too fishy.  Finally, we also tried the maguro tuna nigiri, just because it’s a good way to see the quality of the fish in comparison to other places. It was excellent. 
The service was good on both visits, and I like the atmosphere of the place. There are people of all ages, and the restaurant has a modern feel. The wine and drink list is decent, and like I said, it’s close to my house.  They also take reservations through yelp, so that’s always a plus in my book.
It’s solid, and easy, and will probably go into my regular rotation, even though I wish it wasn’t a chain. But it’s a pretty small one anyway.  I also wish that it was a little more consistent, but hopefully that will come with time.  There are a lot of interesting things to try, and lots of good happy hour specials. The menus are a little overwhelming between the happy hour menu and the regular menu (if you are there during happy hour). And the print is so small; it makes me feel like I need to remember to bring some reading glasses, which just makes me feel old. Boo. But overall, I enjoyed the food and experience.



Blue Sushi Sake Grill
2413 East 86th Street
Indy 46240
317/489-3151

Monday, March 5, 2018

Vanguard -- Revisit


For whatever reason, it has taken us awhile to get back into Vanguard—not sure why. I have always enjoyed it and they have a new(ish) chef (Adam Ditter) who came from the now-shuttered Longbranch (hard to believe that already two restaurants have closed in that same space). Anyway, hubby and I stopped in recently without a reservation and scored one of the last tables.

We started with the salmon pastrami dip with house kraut and house made pretzel bites ($7). This was a really tasty share plate. You have to really enjoy the seasonings in pastrami, as they are strong here, but a bite with the acidic kraut and the absolutely wonderful, soft pretzel bites was great.  It is a unique dish and quite tasty…Perhaps just a couple more of the pretzels would be great though, as the dip is quite plentiful.

Next we shared two starters—the gnocchi salad ($11) and the carnitas ($12). I loved the gnocchi salad. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but it was truly most like a green salad with gnocchi mixed in. And tomatoes, peppadew, banana peppers, red onion and nice hunks of feta. There was a sherry vinaigrette on it, and it was dressed all the way through (hallelujah). I read this menu descrition and thought, it sounds like it will have nice acid, and it did. It was very good.

We also shared the carnitas, which was presented very attractively. There were two crusts that were described as cheddar piecrust, which was filled with the carnitas. There was also apple sauce and crème fraiche served with it—the apple sauce was on the dish, the crème fraiche on the side. I sort of wished it had been reversed. I didn’t care for the sweetness that the apple sauce gave the dish, but I liked the slight sour flavor of the crème friache. The meat was very tasty. It was hard to really get a full feel of the taste of the crust because of the apple sauce, which was a little bit of a bummer, because I was very intrigued by the idea of the cheddar crust.

For our dinner, we split the fried chicken ($21). We were torn between it and a tuna special that came highly recommended, but I hadn’t had this new version of the fried chicken and wanted to check it out. They brine it in adobo and it is served along with coconut cauliflower rice. The dish has a decidedly Asian flair to it, and I really enjoyed it—especially the chicken. It had a great spicy, sort of smoky flavor that went all the way through to the tender meat. The dish was served with several lime wedges, which were good both on the “rice” and the chicken itself. I love a dish with extra acid on the side.  You get four pieces of chicken, so it is certainly easy to share. I’m a little undecided about how I feel about the cauliflower rice. It is certainly different, and lent a unique flavor….but still tasted like vegetable rather than a starch.

We decided to get dessert because it was Texas sheet cake, which is a family favorite. What makes it “Texas” in my mind though is the addition of a fair amount of cinnamon, giving it a slightly spicy flavor. That seemed to be missing from this version. They also put nuts in the icing, which I skip when I make it, because I prefer it with a smooth texture. It was a fine dessert, but not outstanding. They served it with a scoop of ice cream.

All in all, if you haven’t been, or haven’t been in awhile, it’s worth going back to Vanguard—especially with so few grown-up restaurants in Broad Ripple. 




The Vanguard
6319 Guilford Ave
Indy  46220
317/254-1147


Monday, February 26, 2018

St. Elmo -- Revisit


It’s been like 7 years or something since we just went to St. Elmo for a regular dinner (we’ve been for some organized fundraisers etc., but not to just order off the menu). And the kids had never been. Oh, and I had a gift card from a silent auction (I have a little problem with silent auctions) so we finally got in there. I felt like it was our duty as parents to get the kids in there.

So, they took us through the maze of the restaurant and to a table downstairs that miraculously had a serious draft even though it was in the middle of the room. That was a chilly table. Our server was very nice though, if not a little overwhelmed. They were pretty busy—although I think they always are. 

Hubby ordered the obligatory shrimp cocktail ($15.95). I have said it before, and will say it again, I think the sauce is dumb. Too hot to enjoy. Hubby likes it though, and I know people have a weird obsession with it, so let’s just agree to disagree. They have nice big tender shrimp, and hubby made strange painful moaning noises when he ate it. So there’s that.

Hubby and I then shared the chopped BLT salad ($11). Even as a split, it was very generous. This was a very tasty salad. It had chopped romaine lettuce, Gorgonzola cheese, tomatoes, bacon and fried onions. They whole thing was tossed with a nice amount of their house vinaigrette. It was nice because everything was bite-sized and I loved getting the hunks of blue cheese. I would happily eat this one again. My son had the Caesar ($11) and really enjoyed it as well. It was also nicely dressed.

Moving along, the boys wanted steaks, and since I knew there would be more than enough to go around, us girls ordered a couple fish entrees. All the entrées  come with tomato juice or bean soup. I know it’s tradition, but do people really get the tomato juice? The kids got the bean soup and hubby upgraded to the lobster bisque (+7.95). The kids love beans and thought the soup was fine. Hubby was very disappointed with his bisque and I can’t blame him. It was really boring. Lots of rich, none of that depth that you want in a bisque. Maybe no sherry or something? There were chunks of lobster or crab in there, but it didn’t save it. He ate like two bites and left the rest. This was probably the biggest disappointment of the evening.

My son got the 8-ounce filet ($42) and hubby had the 14-ounce ribeye ($41). Both steaks were very good. I thought the ribeye was a bit better. When you get a great ribeye, it can easily beat a filet, but often they’re too fatty and chewy. This one was perfect. And this is not to say the filet was bad, because it wasn’t. Steaks are certainly strengths here, as they should be. I like that the price of the meal also includes a potato side (as well as the soup/juice). Hubby had fries and my son got a baked potato. They are both standard, but hit the spot with your steak.
I had the tuna steak ($35), which was a huge piece of tuna, along with sushi rice and a ball of wasabi and some seasoned soy. It was very good quality tuna, however, when they asked me if rare was okay, I didn’t expect it to be ice cold in the middle. I just pretended it was sashimi and it was fine, but I would have preferred it to be at least somewhat warmish at least all the way through. Obviously, I have no problem eating raw tuna, but when you expect a cooked piece of fish, you expect it to be a little warm. Even though I got rice with this dish, I also get a potato side so I had the baked potato as well. A perfectly normal baked potato. My daughter had a fish special that left a bit to be desired in my opinion—tasted a little fishy to me—but I appreciated her willingness to try something different.

We decided, hey why not, let’s have dessert. My kids have a strange obsession with giant pieces of chocolate cake. They can come from foodservice, and they’re just as happy. It’s weird to me. Cold cake is not my thing. But anyway, they ordered St. Elmo’s version, and they were happy. We also ordered the cookies and milk—this was actually a fundraiser dessert item so how could we say no? There were three warm gooey chocolate chip cookies and a glass of Trader’s Point whole milk. A very nice and comforting dessert. And it was all for charity. So the calories don’t even count. Right?

All in all, this was a better experience than I have had at St. Elmo, not that I have been that many times. It’s a solid steakhouse, and I’m glad since it’s one of the few local ones. I’d stick with steak overall, they were definitely the stars. Oh, and that salad.

St. Elmo’s Steakhouse
127 S. Illinois Street
Indy 46225
317-635-0636