Monday, January 21, 2019

LouVino


Hubby and I were dropping our daughter off at a friend’s house in Fishers at dinner time and just did a little search to see what was nearby. We ended up settling at LouVino as a kind of last minute choice. It’s a small chain out of Louisville, with a couple of locations outside Kentucky, and according to their website, one coming to Mass Ave soon.

Anyway, it’s meant to be a wine bar—a fairly big selection and most you can get buy the glass. Unfortunately the very first one hubby ordered they were out of. We settled on a couple of choices and looked over the menu. They mainly have shareable small plates, but some of the bigger ones that you can make an entrée out of it you want to. We were torn between the duck fat frites and the stuffed tots. We ended up with the “loaded baked potato tots” ($9). I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but it was basically like mashed potatoes, cheese, bacon and scallions mixed together in balls and then deep fried. They were served with a side of their homemade ranch. They were pretty good, but a little bland I guess. Neither of us felt like we needed more than 2 and we were done. They just needed a little something more—you couldn’t really taste the cheese and other ingredients that much, mostly just the potato. Not a bad thing, but not as exciting as I hoped. I did like the ranch dressing. It tasted fresh and house made. It had a thinner consistency than those store-bought ones that seem sort of like they are made with chemicals.

Next, we had the fried chicken tacos ($10). Again, not exactly sure what to expect, but it was basically exactly that. Tortillas that were grilled, filled with mashed potatoes and cheese, topped with a piece of boneless fried chicken breast and gravy. An interesting concept, and I guess the tortilla made it a hand-held, but I didn’t really see the need for the tortilla. The piece of chicken was seasoned really nicely though and cooked just right so it was tender and juicy. It was a tasty bite of food, but then again, you know I am a sucker for fried chicken. I probably would have rather dipped it in the gravy to keep it crispier, but I am sort of a crispy crust fanatic.

Our last savory course was the best one, the shrimp and grits ($13). I’ll be honest, I was pretty much expecting the shrimp to be chewy and tough because so few places get it right. To the point that I rarely order shrimp at a restaurant. But this was very good. The shrimp were actually lightly breaded and fried so they had an appealing crunch and were cooked just right. They were very good. The cheesy grits they were sitting on, were also very good. And of course, you know I am a sucker for a perfectly cooked egg. There were also some crispy bits of ham. All of that stuff made for a great dish. The part I didn’t like about it was the “spicy maple” sauce that was luckily mainly on one side of the bowl.  I didn’t care for the sweetness that it added, and we kind of dammed it up on the plate so it stayed out of most of our bites. Next time I would hold this sauce. If I were summing up the food overall, I would say it was pretty good and pretty rich and hearty. I was sort of craving something acidic and bright to go along with each dish. I would have loved some green tomatoes or something like that with the shrimp or the chicken. 

We decided to get dessert and it followed the rich pattern, but when you are eating chocolate chip cookie dough beignets, you kind of don’t care. They were pretty darn tasty. Hubby was a big fan especially. They are fried doughnut balls, and they are filled with lots of chocolate chips and batter that is super hot. They serve it with a vanilla anglaise dipping sauce for just a little extra decadence. They were tasty though. Sorry I didn’t take a pic after I had cut in to them! Much more interesting.

Overall, I would say if I lived in Fishers, I might go to this place on occasion. I don’t think it is really a place I would go out of my way for though. Even though nothing was bad, it wasn’t super exciting. The interior is sort of upscale chain feel—lots of wine décor. It was comfortable enough, although a couple came in and got seated right next to us and one of them reeked of cigarettes and some kind of cover up attempt--perfume or something. It sort of put a damper on my taste buds. But what are you going to do? I do wish they didn’t seat everyone so close together when there were many empty tables though. 

Have you guys been?

LouVino
8626 E. 116th Street
Fishers. 46038
317/598-5160


Monday, January 14, 2019

SoBro Café


I met a friend for lunch the other day at SoBro Café. It’s the beginning of the year, and like so many, I may have overindulged a bit over the holidays, so I am looking for places where I can still eat out and be somewhat healthy. SoBro Café sort of seems like one of those kinds of places. Because you know I am not giving up going out to eat.

I ordered the mushroom skillet ($10.49), which was fried potatoes on the bottom and was topped with sautéed mushrooms and onions, two eggs, goat cheese crumbles, and diced tomatoes. Before you say, “hey, fried potatoes aren’t very healthy,” I will say I only ate like two of them, just to try them. I really liked the flavor of the dish—they used some truffle oil on the mushrooms, which some people get all worked up about, but I don’t mind its use in moderation. I love truffles, and the essence of it was a nice add. The mushrooms were cooked well, and there were lots of tender onions too. For some reason, I spaced telling them how I wanted my eggs cooked (and they didn’t ask), so they were a bit overcooked, but honestly, I will eat an egg just about any way, so I was fine. But next time I would ask for them over easy. I loved the kick from the goat cheese and the acid of the tomatoes. It was a nice combo. And wasn’t too bad health-wise, since I didn’t eat the potatoes. On that subject, I wished they had been a little crispier, but if they were, it probably would have been more of a temptation, so that was ok. 

My friend ordered the “shrimp po bro,” which was their take on a po boy. Shrimp was not fried, which added to the healthy aspect, and it was served on a hoagie roll with kale slaw, and a tangy remoulade sauce. They say it had an Asian twist, and I will agree. I thought it was good, but the bread was a bit big for the sandwich. I liked the acidity of the sauce on the sandwich though, and the shrimp were cooked properly.

All in all, I would say that I was able to meet my needs to go out to lunch and eat fairly healthy. I like that you can order off the brunch or lunch menu, and I like how warm it was in there on a very cold day. I was sad not to order the biscuits and gravy, which I love, but again, trying to stay healthy, right?

What are your favorite go-tos when you want to try and stay a bit on the healthy side for lunch but you still want to go out?

SoBro Café 
653 East 52nd Street
Indy 46205
317/920-8121




Monday, January 7, 2019

Duke's Indy


You know as soon as I heard there was a new place specializing in fried chicken that it was going to go on the short list. It still took me longer than I wanted to get over there, but I finally managed it recently to celebrate a friend’s birthday.

Duke’s is a honky-tonk bar on the south side of downtown. It’s out there in a kind of industrial area. The location just sort of adds to the ambiance though. They have live music (it started around 8:00) and a short menu on a chalkboard. Basically you can get a whole fried chicken, a half of a fried chicken, and then a choice of 3 sides. There’s a tater tot waffle, crispy brussels sprouts, and spicy mac and cheese. Or you can get “the whole damn thing” which is a whole chicken and one of each of the sides ($35). This is what we did. Plus an extra ½ chicken. 
Drink-wise, they specialize in some slushy alcoholic beverages, on this night it was slushy egg nog and slushy prickly pear margarita. It was pretty chilly out though, so hubby and I opted for beer and wine. Our server was friendly, although mostly just came around to bring food and take food orders, so we did a lot of our drinks directly at the bar.

The food was really pretty darn good. The chicken was HOT out of the kitchen though (temperature hot)—so hot you couldn’t really taste it at first. Once it cooled down a little bit though, it was really tasty. The crust wasn’t really thick, but it was seasoned really well—not like a lot of breading, but mostly seasoning directly on the skin. They served it with hot honey and their homemade hot sauce, but I didn’t really think it needed either. The dark meat especially was very tender—as usual I found the part of a breast I ate to be a bit dry, but I think that’s the nature of the beast oftentimes. And I like the dark meat best anyway. You also get more breading/seasoning to meat ratio with the thigh and leg, which adds to the taste.

The sides were very good. I really loved the tater tot waffle. It was a giant waffle made of, well, tater tots I am assuming, and man was it tasty. They put a big dollop of sour cream and butter in the middle and it is just awesome. I do have a weakness for tater tots though. The mac and cheese was popular the table—it is spicy though—made with hatch chilis. It was almost too spicy for me, but I still enjoyed eating some. The sauce is kind of runny too. But, it’s a nice sized portion. The Brussels sprouts are delicious too. I appreciate the relative healthiness of them—or maybe just the fact that there is a veggie offering. The crunchy brussels sprouts has chunks of apple in them, pickled red onion,  and pistachios. It’s a tasty addition to eat with the chicken. I’d say if I ranked them I would say tater tot waffle would be first, Brussels second and the mac and cheese third.

I’m not sure how the service is supposed to be, but if you are okay getting your own drinks at the bar, it’s not too bad. The chicken takes a little while, which I actually appreciate, because I assume it means they’re making it fresh. It’s a fun place with a totally different atmosphere than anywhere else in Indy, and I would happily go back. They’re also open for lunch, with actually a larger menu than dinner, but no fried chicken option (other than a fried chicken sandwich). There are several sandwiches and sides and I would be interested to try other than it is so far away.

Dukes Indy
2352 S. West Street
Indy 46225
317/643-6403




Monday, December 31, 2018

Brozinni Pizzeria - Revisit


Ok, it’s possible that I have written about this place once or twice, or maybe ten times, but I honestly feel like it is my civic duty as a blogger to make sure everyone knows about it. So my daughter needed me to drive a friend to Greenwood, and I was more than happy to oblige, because I immediately thought, “I can get Brozinni!”

You always have to start with garlic knuckles. These are just twists of dough, but they come sitting in a pool of garlic butter. I was sad when I heard our server ask the table next to us, “Can I start you with an order of garlic knuckles?” And they said no. I had to restrain myself from going over there and telling them they were making a huge mistake. But I didn’t go. My daughter would have been horrified. But the knuckles are really good, and the extra sauce is imperative for dipping your crusts later.

This was the first time I had been for dinner. At lunch you can just order a slice of pizza, but at night it’s whole pies only. So we “suffered” through it and ordered one for the two of us. I got my classic pizza topping, mushroom and red onion, and my daughter got pepperoni. Even though we got the “smaller” 16-inch version, it was way too much food for us and made for a hearty second dinner the following night. This is hands down my favorite pizza place in Indy. It is one of the few New York style pizzerias in Indy, and it pulls off that authentic chewy, foldable crust. And one of the benefits of ordering a whole pie is that they make it to order so I got a lot more uniform mushroom and red onion distribution. On a slice, for my combo, they just take a cheese slice, add my ingredients and then add a little more cheese. Still good, but not as proportional.

Bonus points to the waitress who carded me when I ordered a glass of wine. We all knew she wasn’t fooling anyone, but it increased her tip anyway. Seriously, if you haven’t been, check it out. Totally worth it. 

Brozinni Pizzeria
8810 S. Emerson Ave
Indy.  46237
317/885-0911


Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas!

I'm taking a week off to celebrate the holidays with my family! I hope you are all eating and drinking well! Please share what you will be making/eating for the holidays!

See you next week with a new post! Cheers!


Monday, December 17, 2018

Turf Catering Kitchen- Dinner at Turf!


Pretty sure I have told you this before, but Turf is one of the best things going for a dinner party with friends. You can have up to 10 people (it’s a squeeze, but we managed) and the chefs will develop a menu for you. You can BYOB and the whole menu is $85 per person. They don’t skimp either.

And the food…well it was amazing. First, we had a crostini with Petite Basque cheese, topped with cooked tomatoes and olives and drizzled with pistachio and herb pesto. This was one of my favorites—I mean add olives to stuff and you know I am going to like it. But I really appreciated the combo of saltiness, acid and rich creamy cheese. And I got to eat pistachios, which is something I avoid at home because my son is allergic.

The next course was family style poutine. It’s funny, poutine is our comfort food at home---the thing my kids will make when they’re on their own. It’s simple, and this was a good one. Crispy, thin fries tossed in a salty, beefy gravy and topped with lots of fresh cheese curds. It was kind of addictive and while it seemed like a ton of food (they brought out two big bowls for the 10 of us), we managed to eat it all. My only complaint here is that I wish the fries and/or the gravy were a little bit hotter.

Next, they brought us a beautiful bright salad with all kind of things in it-there were chickpeas, hearts of palm, greens, tomatoes, avocado, pickled red onions, roasted cauliflower, and boiled egg. And the real treat of the salad were the bites of smoked trout scattered throughout. The whole thing was topped with an herb vinaigrette. This was pretty much like my perfect salad. All my favorite things. 

The main entrée was a wagyu filet of beef that was topped with this insanely rich oyster mushroom ragout. There was a mustard buerre blanc underneath it. This was a very popular dish at the table. It was perfectly cooked (medium rare) and the mushrooms added a nice nutty flavor. There was a hint of truffle oil as well. I will admit, I was getting pretty full though and took some of mine home. Delicious though.

But just when I thought there was no way I could eat another bite, they brought out dessert. This sounded kind of simple, and I guess it sort of was, but it was so, so good. It was hot chocolate cake with marshmallow cream and caramel and ice cream. Seriously, I don’t’ know what made this cake taste so good, but I asked them for an extra piece to take home to my kids because I knew how much they would love it. I think that marshmallow throughout really made it have that hot chocolate flavor. So, so good.

All in all, this is such a good deal and a fun way to have a dinner party with friends where you don’t have to clean up. You have the place to yourself and can drink what you want. They’ll even let you pick the music if you want. And the people there are all so nice. It’s an intimate setting and you can talk to the chefs and ask questions if you want. They will also make accommodations for dietary restrictions if you let them know. I highly recommend it! And for what you get, it’s a great deal. 

P.S. They have some of the best sandwiches for lunch too. Just check the schedule on social media first, because they aren’t always open if they are catering.



Turf Catering Kitchen
8155 Castleway Ct West
Indianapolis, IN 46250
317/288-0173



Monday, December 10, 2018

U.S. Adventures: One Flew South, Atlanta Airport


So I know a lot of you all travel, and if you travel from Indy, you’re bound to go through Atlanta at some point. And if you do, do yourself a favor and go eat at One Flew South. It’s not just good for airport food, it’s just good. If it existed in Indy, I would eat there all the time. I am now considering planning long layovers in Atlanta when I travel. Seriously,

Anyhow, there was a bunch of us, and I got to try a bunch of things. One of my favorite things were the poke tacos ($16). I am sure this comes as no surprise to those of you who regularly read my blog. But these things were so good and seasoned just right. There was lots of fresh avocado, daikon sprouts, a slightly spicy salsa and sea salt. So, so good. We ended up ordering about 4 orders for the table (there are three per order) because they were so popular. We also ordered some Cajun shrimp toast, which was interesting. The sauce was a spicy creole type sauce, but it also had a slightly Asian flair with sesame on it. The shrimp were pretty spectacular because they were cooked so perfectly. The bread had onion and bacon in it. 

We had a sushi roll to share as well, and it was really, really good as well. It was the kamikaze roll ($16), which had tuna, salmon, and nigiri inside, and was served on top of a spicy mayo and wrapped in this interesting white soy paper. Simple, but just enough of a spicy sauce to make it shine.
I ordered the salmon hot pot ($24) for my main dish which had this really tasty and sticky unagi fried rice that was topped with some tofu, shitake mushrooms, some greens, and a miso broth. Oh yeah, and that beautiful hunk of seared salmon. Delicious. The flavors were deep and so good.

My daughter had the duck confit croquettes ($14). These were little balls of grits and peas with duck confit and topped with citrus, fennel slaw and yuzu vinaigrette. She liked them ok but didn’t think they were as good as everything else. She would pass on this next time.
My son had the specialty burger, the “Seoul Burger ($18),” which had bacon, kimchi, white American cheese and a special sauce. He had the sauce on the side. It came with fries and it was also delicious. Juicy burger, Brioche bun and nice crispy fries. But with an Asian flair. Totally worth getting.

We even had this wonderful yuzu tart for dessert, which hit the spot after a lot of rich and salty food. And having a nice dinner after a leg of traveling is a welcome break. Seriously, if you find yourself in Atlanta at the airport with some time to kill, check it out. 

One Flew South
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
6000 North Terminal Parkway
Terminal E
Atlanta, GA 30320
404/209-8209




Monday, December 3, 2018

Liter House


Hubby and I went to Liter House the other night. We had been before, but there’s been some chef shake ups, so I wanted to wait to write about it until the new chef had been in charge for bit. The current chef is Adam Ditter, formerly of Longbranch and the Vanguard. You can see some of his Longbranch/Asian influences on some of the specials, such as the one I ordered, but overall the menu maintains its German theme.

We started with the potato latkes topped with raclette cheese and sauerkraut ($10). This was a generous serving and so, so good. There were a couple of large crispy potato pancakes topped with the melted creamy cheese and then some caramelized sauerkraut and onions. This was such a good combo with the crispy edges of the potatoes, the creamy richness of the cheese and the acid from the sauerkraut. I would totally get this again. They also do a version with mortadella instead of the cheese, but I don’t know how you would pass up the cheese.

Hubby ordered the pork schnitzel ($18). This was an intensely tender piece of fried pork tenderloin topped with a creamy mushroom sauce and homemade spaetzle. Wow, this was such a great dish. The spaetzle was tender and held up really well to that mushroom sauce. It was a great combo. Everything was cooked just right, and I was impressed. Luckily hubby was up for sharing, because I ate a fair amount of his.

I ordered one of the specials of the night, which was the mapo tofu ($14) Let’s face it. I will order mapo tofu just about any time I see it on a menu. German restaurant? No exception. So it’s hunks of tofu on rice with a sauce that had black beans, garlic and a hot Chinese sauce that was so hot, it was almost too much for me. I have had the chef’s version of this dish at his other restaurants, but I feel like this was the hottest one yet! Definitely a lasting residue of spiciness with this one. I love this dish and general, and this one was well done, but it was to the point heat-wise that I would likely not order it again here because it detracted from the taste of everything else (luckily that creamy sauce on the schnitzel helped). If you really like super spicy though, I would go for it. Also, they might want to warn people about the heat level.

We had some time to kill before we picked up our daughter, so decided to have a dessert as well. We had the chocolate cheesecake with pretzel crust and blueberry beer compote ($8). Wow, another great combination of flavors with the sweet cheesecake, the salty pretzel crumbs, and the tart compote. Get a little but in every bite and it was perfect.  I appreciated how all the food overall was so well balanced.

Hubby was also happy to see more German style beers and appreciated the price points as well. He had the Dunkel for $6 and was pleased. Our service was very good, and the crowd was pleasant. It was busy but not ridiculously loud. I also really appreciated the fact that it was the proper (warm) temperature in there for a winter night. I hate freezing in restaurants and I always seem to whether it is summer or winter. My only complaint about the atmosphere is that we were seated at a high-top table in the bar and the either the stools are too short for the table or the table is too tall for the stools. I felt like I needed a booster seat. As it was, I sat on my foot all night to prop me up a bit. 

I have also heard that they are working on opening a Texas-style smokehouse in the back and I look forward to trying that when it opens as well. 

Overall though, I was very impressed and look forward to trying more things on the menu. What have been your favorite things?

Liter House
5301 N Wintrhop Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46220
463/221-2800

Monday, November 26, 2018

Ukiyo -- revisit


Recently I met a friend for lunch at Ukiyo. It has been quite a while since I was there, and the cold days make ramen sound good. I was happy when we got there to see they have sort of condensed the lunch and dinner menu into one and include ramen for both. I love the new small plates format as well. Of course, they still have the full sushi menu, but the rest is focused on shareable plates.

At lunch I had a half portion of the pork shoyu ramen ($9) and my friend the half order of chicken ramen ($9). They also have a vegetarian option, and I love that they offer the half portions, because I think they are plenty big. Plus, then you don’t feel like you’re over ordering if you want to try something else, which we did. The ramen is good—it is not spicy at all but has a nice depth of flavor in the broth. They were both on the mild side, but all the ingredients were tasty—I liked the fact that the slices of pork in mine weren’t fatty and were very tender. The only bad part of the ramen was in my friend’s chicken version. The pieces of chicken suffered from being a little gristly. 

We also had the bacon and cheese okonomiyaki ($10), which was the standout. So glad I ordered this, and the feeling was held by my friend as well. So okonomiyaki are Japanese pancakes made with shredded scallions and cabbage, and I believe some mountain yam was in there. Plus, of course, the bacon and cheese. There was a sauce drizzled on top and bonito flakes. This was the reason that I went back less than a week later with my daughter. That pancake was so tasty. Lots of flavors in there, lots of umami as they say. Seriously, next time you go, give it a try. It is rich though, so you will want to share it.

So at dinner, we ordered it again, and enjoyed it just as much except that it came at the very end of our meal and we had overordered and were getting pretty full. The first thing that came out was their version of tuna tartare called maguro zuke ($16). It is large cubes of tuna with chunks of nagaimo, which is a type of Japanese yam. These chunks are raw and it has a really interesting light and crunchy texture that is a cool contrast to the tuna. Not going to lie though, I would rather have more of the tuna and a little less of the yam. There were also some Chrysanthemum greens. It had a light shoyu sauce, that was maybe just a little light for my taste. I appreciate the freshness of the fish etc., but I would have loved a little more of the salty flavor of the sauce. 

We also had a hot chicken bun to share ($3), which was also quite delicious. I love a good Japanese bun, and this was a good one. The bun itself was really tender and I appreciated that it wasn’t as fat as some I have had, so it had a good ratio of bun to fried chicken. The crispy coating on the fried chicken was so crisp it just shattered when you bit into it. It was coated in a kind of hot honey sauce that didn’t feel ridiculously hot at first but built up in your mouth. Add some pickles, and you have a great little bite. 

We also shared the pork katsu donburi ($14), which I also really enjoyed. The pork was breaded and fried crisp, egg, and these melty sweet soy onions. It was all served on top of steamed rice. A really nice dish with crunchy bits and lots of smooth silky texture as well. It had a good, slightly sweet flavor, but also with the hit of soy. We both really enjoyed this. 
We also felt like we should order a sushi roll as well, since well, it’s a sushi place right? My daughter picked the crab, avocado and salmon roll ($17). The ingredients are some of the freshest around, and I love the actual crab in there—but I guess maybe I am realizing that I like some of the gooey sauces on my sushi. This one had a very light sauce on top, but honestly, it was so light, it isn’t particularly memorable to me. I get letting the fish shine, but I like a little burst of flavor too I guess. Bottom line, I think there’s a lot more flavor in the small plates, and I would probably just stick with that part of the menu on future visits. It is certainly the part of the menu that lures me back in.

All in all, it’s a great addition and I like that we have a lunch and dinner place with such an interesting Japanese menu. I like that you are no longer limited to only ramen for lunch and that you can get ramen at dinner and have more options than just sushi as well. It’s funny, because my first review I thought the sushi was the star compared to the other dishes we had, but now I think my opinion has flip flopped.

I am excited to see how the menu keeps evolving and changing with the seasons. I look forward to checking it out again soon. Let me know your menu favorites.

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




Monday, November 19, 2018

Foxgardin Family


I should have written this post ages ago, but we kept going back before concerts, and before I knew it I had been three times and had written about it never. So I will do my best to keep it brief, but we went to several concerts this summer at Ruoff/Kilpsch/Deer Creek and I was looking for somewhere to grab dinner beforehand that would take a reservation and was not a chain. Difficult in this neck of the woods. And the food at Ruoff? Well it’s appalling. Hey, Guy Fieri is not my thing but at least those burgers they had there a few years back were edible. 

Anyhow, I stumbled on Foxgardin, which is actually a good option location-wise. It in a location that you can stay off of 37/69 too much and avoid that awful traffic (seriously, you northsiders, I don’t know how you do it). And it’s a quick 5-10 minutes into Ruoff after. And they give concert-goers a discount off the bill. 

We went with the kids a few times and alone once and have tried a lot of things. Highlights were the tomato and burrata salad they had at the end of the summer which featured nice, ripe Heirlooms. The burger ($12) was also a highlight, and we didn’t discover it until the last visit. It is juicy and cooked to order and has a nice Brioche bun and just the right amount of cheese. The burger was more of a fat-style burger, but not so big that it was ridiculous. The buffalo wings ($9.50) were also solid. A nice amount of kick. They weren’t mind blowing, but tasted good with the burger and salad (hubby and I split the three). The little fried mashed potato balls were tasty as well. They became slowly addictive as you ate them.

Other things that were good, but maybe not quite as good as the burger and salad were the fish and chips—nice batter, but fairly basic, fish and chips. Also, they push their steaks and always have these special prime options. My son has had a regular filet ($27) there and enjoyed it. I don’t think he thought there was really anything that made it mind-blowing, but it was a good, solid steak. Same goes with the fish tacos ($12)—not bad, but not something I would rush to order again.

Several times we have also gotten the pretzel bread with beer cheese and pimento cheese ($11). This is also a family favorite, although I prefer the pimento cheese to the beer cheese (which I think is just a bowl of the beer cheese soup that is also on the menu). The bread is spot on though.

The first couple of time we also had this savory pancake that had some heat and sweetness (I am thinking hot honey?) but it was weird because it looked really ugly the first time, but tasted really good, and looked really pretty the second time and wasn’t as good. So I am not sure which version was the intended version, but it was an interesting dish. 
Pancake 1

Pancake 2
My least favorite things I have had was the buffalo chicken pasta ($9) and the crab cake. The pasta was really big, and for a buffalo chicken flavored dish, it was kind of bland. The carb cake had that all filling, no crab vibe going. We have also had spotty service here. Sometimes it’s great, and on about half our visits, our service was pretty slow.

Overall, you can see it is kind of a mixed bag here, but there are golden nuggets scattered throughout the menu. And I appreciate that they change the menu up regularly and also always have specials. Someone in the kitchen is using some creativity and keeping the menu new and different.  And I appreciate the discount before a concert. It’s probably not a place I would seek out just for a regular dinner out, but it is definitely a place we will go again before a concert. 

This is also a place that I would really like to hear back from you guys on though for possible dishes in the future—what have been your favorite things?





Foxgardin
 10410 Olio Road
Fishers, IN  46046
317/336-2036
www.foxgardinfam.com

Monday, November 12, 2018

Nesso


Nesso is the newest Cunningham Restaurant group project in the old Cerulean spot at the Alexander Hotel. It’s pretty new, and I usually try and wait a bit, but the perfect opportunity arose to check it out, so we did. Plus, since we are always on a quest for interesting Italian food, it was quite appealing.

First of all, I was impressed by the effort put into remodeling the interior. I always thought the old Cerulean interior was interesting and modern, but they have certainly improved it in my mind. There’s darker wood, and a much warmer feeling. It still feels very modern though. Our server was attentive, and it was one of the circumstances where it felt like the company had put some effort into staff training. Our server was also knowledgeable about the menu and offered suggestions.

We started with the bread plate ($5) and the bruschetta ($10) for appetizers. They have a nice bread plate with several fresh bread options, including focaccia and sliced Italian bread. They serve the bread with roasted garlic olive oil with a touch of balsamic, as well as butter. The bread plate was well done. We all really liked the bruschetta as well, which included several toppings such as white beans with cheese, wild mushrooms, mustard greens and tomato. It was all on the same plate, but sort of separated by flavors, and every one was good. I enjoyed mixing some of the richer flavors with some of the more acidic flavors from the tomatoes. It was a crowd favorite at the table. We also ordered the grilled artichokes, because they are also a family favorite. They are very good as well and have nice crispy grilled edges. They were heavily seasoned with garlic and herbs and were served alongside a salad of citrus, fennel and red onions with hazelnuts. I enjoyed the freshness of the salad, but I am not sure I loved it with the artichokes. The artichokes were nicely cooked though so that they were tender inside with the charred exterior.

I love love that they have true first course sized pastas. So you can truly make it a first course, or you can have a very light dinner. I love pasta that is interesting, but so often Indy restaurants give you so much of it that it looks unappealing the minute it is set down in front of me because it is just way, way too huge. Our server warned us that they were two-ounce portions, and they are also priced appropriately in my opinion for the quality you get. Hubby and my son had the bigoli ($12), which was outstanding. It is a large spaghetti-like pasta, but thicker and was in a black pepper, egg, parmesan and guanciale sauce. A small amount went a long way, but it was rich and delicious. And a small amount was all you needed. My daughter had the gnocchi ($16) which was also very good. She questioned it a bit because it included pears in the toppings but ended up really liking the combo that also included fried sage, hazelnuts, grana Padano cheese, goat cheese fondue and chicken-focaccia meatballs. The gnocchi were small and somewhat dense but had a nice crisp exterior from being pan-fried. An interesting combos of flavors for sure. For my main dish, I ordered the risotto with a rich broth, lots of parmesan, butter and some foie gras, which was all topped with sliced truffles ($15). Again, I loved the fact that I could order something this rich and decadent, and not regret it because of a massive portion. It was small and just the right amount. Ok, I might have seared the foie a bit and maybe put in a little more, but it was a really tasty combination.

The main dishes at the table were the branzino ($34) (picture shows a half portion that my kids split) and the veal ($28). Both were excellent, and completely different from each other. The fish was light, and the skin was very crisp and a bit salty, which both kids devoured. The sauce was an herb basil aioli and had potatoes, fennel, and lemon. There was also a touch of chili, giving it a hint of spiciness. All the flavors combined together for an extremely well-balanced dish. The veal was on the opposite extreme, extremely rich and extremely hearty. The veal was pan fried and topped with walnuts and gorgonzola cheese, as well as capers and parsley salad. I appreciated the briny kick from these, but hubby thought there was almost a little too much going on for him, and he didn’t think the dish needed all the cheese AND the capers. I thought it was pretty darn tasty though.

We didn’t get any dessert, but I look forward to trying these one of these days, particularly knowing Hattie McDaniels is running the pastry kitchen. All in all, it was one of the better dinner experiences we have had in Indy lately and I hope they continue to grow and succeed. So far, so good as far as I am concerned. 

Nesso
339 South Delaware
Indy  46204
317/643-7400