Monday, August 3, 2020

Big Lug -- Revisit

As you know if you’ve been reading my blog lately, I have been kind of picky about where I will eat right now due to concerns about safety. We are only eating outside and I am looking for places with nice space, employees who are following the rules and you can see they are taking precautions. One of the first places we went—and one of the places we go the most right now is Big Lug. I love their patio right on the Monon and we all agree that we really enjoy their food. So I am just going to highlight a few of our favorite things we’ve had over the last few visits. We have our regular favorites and have tried several specials recently.

To start with, I love the slushy alcohol drinks they are offering this summer-there’s a frozen margarita and a rhubarb version as well—they are even better swirled together (between $9-11). My family also usually orders the fried cheese curds ($8) to start as well—my kids describe them as fancy cheese stick nuggets. I like that they give you a couple of dipping sauces as well—green goddess and chipotle sauce. Both are good. They know how to fry things well at Big Lug and you will see that theme continue on several other things we typically order.

Like the “People’s Champ” ($7 small/$11 large)  (large pictured) for instance, which is sort of like their version of a popular fast food chicken sandwich—they brine the chicken in pickle juice and then fry it in their light batter. Its served on a small or large knot bun with more pickles. This is a very good sandwich and is typically ordered by someone at our table in either the small or large size.

Oh—and for the last month or so they’ve also started doing breakfast bagel sandwiches on Saturday and Sunday mornings and these are tasty as well—pictured is the bacon, egg and cheese bagel ($5) but they have a bunch of other flavors too—a good option if you’re out on the Monon in the morning. 

Burgers here are also a good option and I have had the Phrisco Melt on numerous occasions. The fam also often goes for the straight poutine, particularly when the weather is colder. But what has been one of the most popular sandwiches with the male half of my family recently is the Cuban ($8 half/ $12 full). It has braised pork belly, ham, Dijon, Swiss cheese, dill pickles and all on a smashed grilled Hoagie bun. It’s very well done for sure.

Recently we have had a couple of specials as well—most recently I had the Heirloom BLT special ($14). These were beautiful sliced heirloom tomatoes, lots of bacon, Bibb lettuce, and everything spiced mayo. I liked that they season the tomatoes and that they cut the bacon into smallish pieces, making it easy to eat (although making me sad when a couple pieces fell on the ground). I had the onion rings for my side (I appreciate the flexibility that they give you to switch out any sides you want—even though I am sad to see the tater tots are off the menu. I have a weakness). This sandwich was great and was exactly what I wanted for a summer lunch. And these are exactly the kind of tomatoes you want on a BLT—I like that they wait til they have good ones in season to offer this sandwich. One of the last times we went we also tried their specialty taco pizza ($12) which was very interesting with a tortilla layer on top of the crust and then, ground beef, refried beans, pico de gallo, cheese, black olives, green onions and some drizzled sour cream.

All in all, this is one of our regulars that everyone can agree to. I like that that they have a weekly specials menu to give some changing options, that they change the regular menu every once in a while, and that there are many things on the regular menu that are super tasty. I also appreciate everything the owners have done to support the local community during this pandemic from offering groceries from their restaurants to opening one of their restaurants to Second Helpings. This is a place that is worth supporting for that alone, but the food is damn good too. 

Big Lug Canteen
1435 East 86th Street
Indy  46240

Monday, July 20, 2020

Provision - Revisit

So right now when I go out to eat, I only will eat outside—so finding the right combo of a nice outdoor area and good food isn’t always easy—but likely the next few posts you will read will be some of our outdoor adventures. Speaking of which, please please share any great ideas for places to try with great patios, especially places that might be new to me! And I am already getting stressed about thinking about when it gets too cold to eat outside, but I am a worrier. 

Anyhow, we wanted a higher end sit-down place where we could get a reservation for an outdoor table—it seems a lot of places won’t guarantee outside tables. But Provision was a good choice. We’ve always liked the upstairs patio and it was a beautiful night. And we could reserve it. 

The tables are nicely spaced as well, and the servers were all fully masked even before the Mayor’s orders. We started with some appetizers—the tuna tartare ($22) and the king crab toast ($36). We also got a bread basket ($7). I have had all of them before, and all of them were very good. The bread basket at Provision is one of my favorite in town—next to Vida maybe. Cunningham Group seems to put out a good bread basket. Provision’s version has baguette from Blue Dog Bakery in Louisville (if you haven’t been there, you need to go—they do make some of the best baguettes in the Midwest), pretzels, naan, cereal bread and butter as well as dipping oil. All really good. Definitely worth the price. The tuna and the crab dish have always been good and this time was no exception. I like the seasoning on the spicy tuna mix with the crunch of the rice cake underneath—there’s a slightly spicy aioli as well. I really enjoy the crab dish, which is in a buerre blanc sauce with a bit of heat and served on super buttery brioche. It’s really rich and decadent—I tried to eat it as a main dish before and it was a little much. Definitely a great thing to share with a group. And a really tasty, buttery bite.

My daughter and I shared the halibut dish that came with udon noodles, mushrooms, tosaka (a type of seaweed) and yuzu-chile glaze ($46). I appreciated that they split the dish in the kitchen so we each got our own serving. The fish was good—maybe a tad bit dry. I loved the noodles and mushrooms with the slightly tangy, slightly spicy broth. My daughter actually preferred the fish to the noodles and I liked the sides the best, so there you go. It was a good dish though. 

My son had 10-ounce Iowa premium filet ($46). He could not stop talking about how good this steak was. It was perfectly cooked and nicely seasoned (from the small bite I convinced him to give me). They give you a little portion of Robuchon potatoes, which are like equal parts mashed potatoes to butter and are always delicious. We also got a side of “loaded tater tottler” ($9). This was my least favorite thing of the night—It was sort of three large fried potato pieces with a lot of spicy mayo underneath and bacon on top. Just didn’t really come together for me somehow. But really this was the only miss of the night.  Hubby had the charred shrimp appetizer ($21) for his main and was very happy—it is perfectly grilled shrimp with avocado, curry emulsion and kimchi apple. A great blend of acid and heat and smooth richness from the avocado. They definitely know how to cook shrimp.
We also shared some desserts, which were really good—especially the Indiana sugar cream pie ($10) with Turkish coffee ice cream. Even though the kids ordered the triple chocolate tarte (love the potato chip crust)($10) and really enjoyed it, everyone was fighting over the pie.

All in all, this was a great (although pricey) meal. It was so nice to enjoy a bunch of things, all cooked really well, on a nice night outside in the fresh air. It gave a little sense of peace in what is a fairly stressful world right now. Sometimes a great meal in a great environment can make you kick back and relax a little, even with a global pandemic. I have struggled with going out at all but was really glad we did in this case.  And remember, keep the recs coming!

2721 E. 86th Street #200
Indianapolis, In 46240

Thursday, July 9, 2020

King Dough -- Revisit

One of the last places I went to eat before the shutdown was King Dough and it was one of the first that was requested by the fam when we decided to venture out (and I mean to sit outside and eat somewhere). So at King Dough, they are basically offering their food as carry out (don’t worry you can get drinks too) and then you can sit and eat it at their outdoor tables. So they aren’t really serving it to you, but they put it in a box and they do give you some disposable plates etc. to use. 

We got a bottle of wine to share (you can only get whole bottles FYI) and the kids all got some drinks. We had to wait a bit to get a table in the shade but got one just before our food was ready. We had the meatball starter ($14), a Stinky Pete pizza with an egg on top ($18.25), a burger and fries ($13), and a baby margarita pizza ($8.5), also with an egg on top. 

I was happy to see that from my first visit till now, things here are consistently good. The crust is what makes the pizza so yummy I think and even though this one didn’t have quite as much of the “stink factor” that the first one I had did, it still tasted great.  My only knock on both pizzas were neither egg was cooked quite enough, leaving a bit of gelatinous white. The burger is a surprise hit for a pizza place, and I think it ends up being one of the better burgers in town. They serve a 5-ounce smash burger with American cheese, pickles, lettuce, tomato, grilled onions and secret sauce on a sesame seed bun. I like that the bread is not too much for the burger and it is just a super tasty, and again, consistently solidly good (this is probably the 3rd time ordering a burger). Well worth ordering, even at a pizza place.

And I didn’t mention the meatballs, but they have become a perennial order as well—and for a person who is generally not a meatball lover, they are very good. Really tender and great with the fresh marinara and ricotta. 

All in all, a good relatively safe (as far as distancing and cleanliness goes) option if you really need to get out of the house and get some food. Honestly, if I lived closer, I’d be getting carry out a lot from them. Too bad they don’t have a location further north. 

Also, please keep sharing your favorite safe, outdoor places to eat...this is about as far as I am going right now---not quite ready for inside seating,

King Dough
452 N. Highland Ave
Indy 46202

Monday, May 18, 2020

Turf Catering Kitchen - Revisit

I have written about this place before, but I need to make sure you keep them in mind in these crazy days. It’s purely selfish, I don’t want them going out of business. To be fair, I could say this about a lot of places, but I had been missing their sandwiches for a while, and they just started doing them again for lunch, so you should check them out if you haven’t, or get one again if you have in the past.

My kids have never gotten to try the sandwiches before because they were always in school when we got to grab lunch (they are only open Monday through Friday) but it is now one of their favorite places as well.

My daughter got the burger, which my son had had the week before and was very impressed. It’s currently a double decker brisket burger ($12)  with cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato and caramelized onions. Oh, and their version of an “in and out sauce.” Ok, both my kids get it without the lettuce and tomatoes, but they loved the burger—and I think my son knew he would get a bite if my daughter ordered it because she rarely finishes things. He decided to try something new and got the chicken melt ($12). It was roasted chicken, onion, cheddar, mustard. Again—he got no onions. He really enjoyed this one too—it was super-hot and melty. And similar to my all-time favorite Turf sandwich, the turkey club ($12)—which is a hot sandwich with smoked turkey, lettuce, tomato, bacon, Swiss and black pepper mayo (love that mayo). You can’t go wrong with the turkey club for sure, but hubby convinced me to try something new because I was really intrigued by the grilled cheese with truffled egg salad. 

I was so not disappointed. Amelia’s bread, grilled with cheese, and stuffed with egg salad with a distinctly truffle taste. The bread was toasted perfectly, the cheese was melty, and the truffle scent and taste were just right. And it was one of the more unique sandwiches I have had in ages. I like that while the have standard sandwiches that you often see (that turkey sandwich for instance), they also mix it up and give you some new things to try. 

These are some of the more interesting sandwiches going in town, and they are delicious. Probably one of the top 3 carry outs I have had in quarantine. The kids have decided it needs to be a weekly event, and I agree. I look forward to trying some of the various options and would be happy to eat any one of the above-mentioned. Also, they give you house made chips with each sandwich that are also delicious (super thin and crisp) and I always get a little tub of pimento cheese. It’s one of my favorite pimento cheeses in town and I like spreading the pimento cheese on the chips. They are also doing some limited grocery items as well (flour and yeast for instance if that’s still a problem).

If you like an interesting sandwich with super high-quality ingredients, get on over there. They are also taking orders to bring to healthcare workers. I think Friday lunch is going to be our day as a family, although I can’t lie—I wish they did the regular menu for dinner once or twice a week—it would be a regular dinner choice for us based on my somewhat disappointing carry out we have been doing since quarantine started. We are being cautious at our house about going out even after the restaurants can open so we are always still looking for great carry out options. So feel free to let me know your favorites.

Turf Catering Kitchen
8155 Castleway West Drive
Indy 46250

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Juicy Seafood Indy

Well, about 9,834 days ago, before quarantine, the family and I finally got up the nerve to go try one of the “Juicy” places that are popping up all around us—seriously there are at least 3 in a 3-mile radius of my house. Trying to decide which one to try, I was looking online and ended up letting health department grades make the choice. We went to the one that is in the old Squealer’s in Castleton—officially Juicy Seafood Indy.
So here’s the deal with the whole “Juicy” thing (because I honestly had no idea what to expect other than crab. So the schtick is they service your choice of various shellfish in a giant plastic bag filled with several choices of spiciness and well as several choices of seasonings—the choices are lemon pepper, garlic butter, Cajun and juicy special (which is all three mixed together). Each bag comes with potatoes and an ear of corn. You can add 2 boiled eggs or ½ pound of sausage to a bag for $1.75.

They have a bunch of combos if you want a variety of seafood (or you could easily share). Dungeness crab will always be my most favorite shellfish (that and soft-shell crab) so when I saw that, I knew that’s what I was going to get. It is the most expensive except for the three-lobster tail dinner at $30, but Dungeness is just better. So you get basically a whole crab’s worth of legs, and the crab itself was good. I had no problems with the quality of the crab. I had the lemon butter seasoning and low spice level. The taste of the seasoning wasn’t bad, but it was pretty much flavored oil so it was pretty greasy feeling even though it wasn’t fried. I think if I went again—and it’s possible we might—I would just ask for some of the dry seasonings and have it steamed in the bag with some extra lemons. Maybe just a little “garlic butter” to dip in.  The corn was pretty inedible to me—super squishy—but that’s pretty much to be expected. The potatoes were boiled potatoes. They were fine. Anyhow, when they serve it to you, they shake it all up before serving it to you.

Hubby also got one of the combo  bags—his was filled with a lobster tails, some shrimp with heads on (you can do either on or off) and crawfish (about $30)--and he added sausage. The crawfish was not good and the shrimp and lobster were fine. He actually really enjoyed the sausage though. He had the Cajun seasoning. Overall, he liked mine better—both the seafood and the seasoning. I think he would be happy to share some Dungeness and add some sausage.
The kids went for the fried side of the menu, which seemed like a bad choice—but as it turned out, most of it wasn’t bad. They did share some of ours too. My daughter had the fried whitefish basket ($11) and my son the fried shrimp and tilapia combo ($12). We also had some buffalo wings ($6) and hush puppies ($3.50) for starters. (My son is on a buffalo wing kick right now and orders them most places that offer them). My daughter’s fish had bones that were a bit of a turn off, but my son enjoyed his fried platter and the wings. I’d say the hush puppies were underwhelming. My son said his wasn’t as good as my crab, but he said he would eat it again if he got some crab too.

So the whole atmosphere of this place is interesting—as noted, the big bags have a fair amount of “sauce” and are quite messy, they give you bibs and rubber gloves to eat your food with. A bit of foreshadowing I guess. And I guess you don’t have to worry about too many people touching your food since it’s in a plastic bag. My daughter was somewhat disturbed by the negative environmental impact of so many giant plastic bags coming out of the kitchen, and I can’t say I don’t agree. I do like knowing there’s a place to get Dungeness crab out, as it’s not something you see a lot of places. I think everyone would go back, but I am not sure how soon it will happen.

Décor-wise, it’s like a cross between Joe’s Crabshack and Red Lobster. Also, on a Sunday, it was packed. We had to wait. I think they were short a few servers too because service was a little spotty and a little slow, even though our server was really nice and helpful with ordering.
Anyway, I am wondering if you do pick up from them, if they just give you the giant poofy plastic bag…

Juicy Crab Indy
5899 E 86th Street
Indy  46250

Monday, April 6, 2020

Root & Bone

Whenever there’s a new restaurant that highlights fried chicken on the menu,  you know I gotta try it. Made a reservation with the fam and headed over. This is apparently a third location of a restaurant started by Top Chef winners—the first two locations being in Miami and NYC.  The menu touts itself as “honest southern food.”

We started with some “Grandma Daisy’s Angel Biscuits” ($7). You get an attractive cutting board with two biscuits on it, honey chicken jus, sea salt and benne seeds (which are like artisanal sesame seeds as far as I could tell). I liked the biscuits—they have a crispy exterior and soft interior, but I did not care for the honey chicken jus—it was just too much like drinking sweet buillion. Give me some soft salty butter any day—or do what I did and eat them with the pimento cheese from the next dish. (They also have fried chicken biscuits as appetizers which might be a better option, but I did not try them).

The fried green tomato “BLTs” ($11) were probably the most disappointing dish of the evening for me. These were little stacks of fried green pickled tomato, a pig dollop of pimento cheese, tomato jam, and then a slice of pork belly bacon and some greens on top. The best part was the pimento cheese aspect of it as I mentioned. I enjoyed just eating it with the biscuits. The fried green tomato part didn’t really stay in the crust, I didn’t really care for the tomato jam (too sweet for me) and the bacon was so fatty it was hard to eat. This one would be a skip for me, although I would enjoy it if they sold a side of the pimento cheese. It was tasty.

At this point, we hadn’t loved anything, and were a little nervous. We ordered a bunch of things to share—of course as mentioned, we ordered a half portion of fried chicken ($19). When it came, based solely on appearances, I wasn’t sure, but it was really quite good. It’s not a thick breading, but it had nice flavor and the meat was exceptionally tender. They say it’s brined in sweet tea—didn’t taste tea per se, but it was very tender. Even the breast. 
We also ordered the shrimp and grits ($23). So this was an interesting and very tasty take on shrimp and grits. There was a nice pile of very creamy grits topped with just cooked shrimp (certainly nowhere near overcooked). There were pickled onions, some sweet corn, andouille sausage and beer jus on top.  Oh yeah and some soft broiled cherry tomatoes. I tell yeah, there was a lot of stuff going on, but it was good stuff. The tomatoes were the only part I wasn’t sure about, but mixed together with the other stuff, they added nice acid.

We also got the cast iron seared trout ($26). It was local red trout with a corn johnny cake, charred lemon, asparagus, and gribiche sauce—which is a sauce made with parsley, Dijon and boiled egg. I didn’t get a lot of the sauce on my bite (it was a little swish on the side of the plate), but the fish was cooked just perfectly and was well-seasoned. The johnny cake was kind of charred—I am assuming it wasn’t meant to be black. The rest of the plate was good.

Luckily, we had also ordered some sides anyway—the star of the two that we ordered was the gooey corn spoon bread ($8). So it was like a super soft corn bread—almost more like corn pudding topped with a huge dollop of cheddar and buttermilk cream. This was a table favorite for sure. The buckwheat cheddar waffles ($6), which sounded interesting, were a little less successful. They were two small very soft buckwheat waffles that had melted cheese on them and were served with bourbon maple syrup. This came across as a dessert with cheese on it. I expected the waffles to be less sweet than they were and then when you added the syrup, it really felt like dessert. Or breakfast. In fact, they feature these waffles in a dessert, which is probably a better way to eat them.

I liked the interior, and it was packed on a Sunday night, so I know some of you have been. What was your experience? 

Root & Bone
4601 N. College Ave
Indy 46205

Monday, March 23, 2020

Yujo Ramen and Boba Tea

I met a friend for lunch the other day at Yujo. I am always game for a new ramen place. This is more of your quick service type of place where you order up front and then pay and they bring it to you. The interior is pretty simple and straightforward.

So their main thing is ramen and boba tea but they also offer a few other things like Japanese fried chicken and gyoza. However, we just tried the ramen. They had some interesting varieties of ramen, but we both ended up going with the spicy ramen ($13.50)—it is sort of the classic ramen that you think of—a miso and pepper-based sauce with wavy noodles, a slice of pork, a marinated egg, corn, fermented bamboo shoots, sliced scallions and charred beansprouts. There was also a garnish type piece of nori but I popped it out because I don’t like it when it starts to get kind of fishy tasting, but that’s just me. They also use some spicy chili oil on top. 

This was a very solid bowl of ramen. I added an extra egg (+$1.50) because that’s just what I do. The broth was extremely flavorful and the eggs were cooked just right. I really liked the crunch from the charred bean sprouts as well. Now I know that the big slab of pork is traditional, but I had a bowl in Rhode Island that had little bits of ground pork and that was so much better to me. I hate using chopsticks to try and bite off pieces of the pork.

However, overall, a very good bowl of ramen. Plenty of noodles, plenty of flavor and some unique takes—like the bean sprouts. There are also several other options that are a little more unique—one ramen that was yuzu-infused. Another is topped with black garlic oil. There’s also a veggie ramen. All sound very worth trying.

One thing I would change/add is to offer a smaller size option for lunch and maybe make a combo like some of the other places do with a couple of gyoza or a couple of pieces of fried chicken perhaps? Because I try to eat somewhat light for lunch, and I don’t know that this place has a real going out to dinner vibe for me. Speaking of which, there’s no alcohol. Like I said, lots of boba tea if that’s your thing though.

Let me know if you’ve tried this place—especially if you have tried some of these other items. I’m intrigued!

Yujo Ramen and Boba Tea
9431 N. Meridian Street
Indy  46260

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Support our Local Restaurants...and get yourself a little something

Taking a break from my regularly scheduled blog posts (new post next Monday). Support our local restaurants who are struggling right now with decreased business. You can buy a gift card, order some food to pick up curbside, or order some other goodies. Whatever you can do, please support them. Seriously, if you like any of these places, buy something from them. This is hard on all of us, but particularly service-based industries. 

This is an evolving list. If you know of someone to add (or you are a restaurant that wants to be added), please let me know!

Please wash your hands and stay healthy.

Peace and Love,

Gift cards:

Alley's Alehouse at Pinheads:

Baby's: (call and order by phone)


Big Lug/Sahm's/Half Liter/Liter House :

Daredevil Brewing:

Goose the Market:


Meridian, Blind Owl,  Broad Ripple Tavern

Mikado: Doing phone orders for gift cards (10% off) and will mail 3167/’972-4180

Curbside pick up: (* designates some limited delivery as well)

Ale Emporium:

Alley's Alehouse at Pinheads:

Ali'i Poke:

Ambrosia: (offering a gift card promotion)


Anthony's Chophouse (Carmel):

*Baby's: (delivery through grub huh/uber eats as well)

Bee Roasters:

Beholder: (email

*Between the Bun: (delivery through grubhub)

Big Lug:


*Biryani Hut:

Blind Owl:

Broad Ripple Brewpub:

Brozinni Pizza:

*Clustertruck: . (Use this code as a friend of Jessica for discounted first order)

Cork & Cracker:  (curbside wine!)

*Daredevil:  (doordash.grub hub plus some limited delivery from Ironworks locale)


The Dugout:

Ellison Brewing:

*Ember Urban Eatery:

Ezra's Enlightened:

*Fat Dan's:

Foundry Provisions: Text order to 317/348-4358

*Gallery Pastry Shop:

*Giordanos: T (offering free delivery for online orders placed with code “FREEDELIVERY”.)

Grindstone Public House (Noblesville):

*Hot Box:


Illinois Street Food Emporium:

Iozzo's: call  317-974-1100. Working on delivery.

Lil Dumplings (Fishers): 317/953-6411 (soon to be on grub hub)

Mama Carolla's:

Mashcraft Brewing:


*Michaelangelo's (Noblesville):

Movable Feast:

Nameless Caterers:

Patachou :


Prufrock Coffee:

Pull Up Grill & BBQ:



*Scarlett Lane Brewing:


*Siam Square: (delivery through door dash/grub hub)

Soupremacy: soing delivery soups certain days:

*Squealers: (delivery via door dash, grub hub, uber eats)

Tea's Me:

Three Carrots:

The Legend:

Tiger Lilly: 317/516-1914

*Turf Catering: (looking to add delivery soon as well as pick up dinners).

Twenty Tap:

*Ukiyo: (Call 317/384-1048 for delivery and carry out)

Other yummy things:

Delivery lasagna: Gift card:

Savor V (baked goods): (with every purchase she makes a donation to IPS schools)

Other shopping (that supports restaurants):

Tyner Farm (local meat):

Monday, March 9, 2020

Oakley's -- Revisit

Hey guys, just a reminder—don’t forget about Oakley’s. It is still a great option for a nice dinner out with a lot of different flavors for everyone. I know it’s outlasted so many places, and that everyone loves the hot new thing, but this place is still solid.

We met my sister and her husband over there the other day to save them a few miles (they live west). They seated us in the chef’s table, which was fun, but you definitely need to want to be in the action. I will start with saying I love the professionalism of the staff and their prompt service and knowledge of the menu items. 

My sister and hubby started with the classic shrimp corndogs ($2.75 each). They really enjoyed them. I have had them many times before but wanted to try something else. I rarely pass up deviled eggs so we had the red chile tamale deviled eggs ($5.75) and the prime rib dumplings ($13.75). Both items were very, very good. I liked the bit of heat in them with the corn, lime and cilantro flavor—there was also some smoked chicken on top making them a little more filling than most. There was a little crispy corn crisp as well—like I said, these are much more than most deviled eggs—a lot going on, but lots of great tastes. 

Hubby was oohing and awwing over the dumplings and they were also really good. Again, much more to them than your typical dumpling. They were full of steak, spinach and leeks, and sitting on poblano crème fraiche. Oh yeah, and topped with sweet corn pico de gallo, cotija cheese and with crispy bits of tortilla on top—again some great Mexican-type flavors and great combination of textures as well as flavors.  There are always a lot of flavor combos going on in Oakley’s dishes—sometimes it is almost overwhelming to try and figure out what’s what, but everything almost always tastes good.

Like the next dish, which is a perennial favorite of mine. The “Toad in the hole” ($13.75) is a variation of your classic cook an egg in the hole in the toast. So this version has got your egg cooked in the hole of a piece of Brioche, but it is also topped with artichokes, prosciutto, roasted pepper and olive relish, arugula, candied walnuts, Brie, mushroom truffle and red pepper coulis. Whew! That’s a lot of stuff. And you know, you pretty much can’t even see the egg, but man is it tasty. It’s one of my favorite things at Oakley’s. You can kind of get a different flavor profile with each bite if you want to by dipping in the various sauces. But you get at least a little of the eggy bread in most bites, and that’s always a good thing.

Hubby ordered one of his regular Oakley’s favorites for dinner—the pasta with a crushed tomato sauce, roasted garlic ricotta and pancetta ($19.75). And as always, he added the chicken and artichoke meatballs (+$6.75). This is a great pasta dish that has been on the menu for a long time for good reason. I like the extra acid of the artichokes and tomatoes and the artichokes seem to help keep the meatballs moist.

I ordered a special ($35.75) that was also really good—it was a seared tile fish filet that was topped with all kinds of things—there was carrot puree, small pasta, some aioli, roasted veggies and lots of other stuff that I have forgotten. There were olives and other acidic bite that I really liked. Again, a ton of things going on, but the fish itself was really light and  tender.

My sister had scallops ($15.75) and my brother in law the short rib ($32.75). I didn’t really try theirs so I can’t really speak to them, but they seemed to like everything they had a lot. And as always, they were beautiful.

We had a couple of desserts—the Dan’s chocolate bar ($9.75) and the special ($9.50), which was an olive oil cake with berries and a wonderful homemade raspberry sorbet. I wasn’t expecting to like the olive oil cake as much as I did, and I really liked it. Honestly, the chocolate bar is a little dense for me—extremely rich and thick. It typically comes with coconut ice cream, which neither hubby nor I really like so we substituted the roasted banana yogurt from another dish which was really good and interesting. The bar is served with some chocolate ganache, cherries jubilee, and dehydrated chocolate mousse. I did like the variation in textures—I just couldn’t eat more than a bite or two. Also, side note: Oakley's has one of the best dessert wine menus in town.

All in all, for a special night out, this is a great place to remember. There’s a lot going on in pretty much every dish, but it’s fun to try all the various flavor combinations. And the main ingredient is pretty much always prepared exactly perfectly. And it’s nice to be cared for by a professional staff who is not at all snooty. I do sort of wish the menu changed slightly more than it does, but on the other hand, I have certain favorites that I love as well. 

What are your favorite items at Oakley’s?

Oakley’s Bistro
1464 W 86th St
Indianapolis, IN 46260
(317) 824-1231