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
317/602-8672



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
317/669-0315




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,
Erin



Gift cards:


Alley's Alehouse at Pinheads: https://alleysalehouse.com/

Baby's: https://www.instagram.com/p/B9w47rHgkda/ (call and order by phone)

Beholder: https://beholderindy.com/product/gift-certificates1/

Big Lug/Sahm's/Half Liter/Liter House : https://sahms-restaurant-group.myshopify.com/




Daredevil Brewing: http://daredevilbeer.com/store/

Goose the Market: https://ecommerce.custcon.com/Purchase/Select?c=c06da07e-a312-4e79-b85d-f653163a4eb7

Iozzo's: https://www.giftcardmall.com/e-gift-cards/iozzos-garden-of-italy-egift-card


Meridian, Blind Owl,  Broad Ripple Tavern https://lux.securetree.com/

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: https://www.ale-emporium.com/?fbclid=IwAR0kaW3FtewrGruelb5er5-xx18m9RucxVMTmhf6pLVGhNKro31tBQlLcas&fbclid=IwAR0kaW3FtewrGruelb5er5-xx18m9RucxVMTmhf6pLVGhNKro31tBQlLcas

Alley's Alehouse at Pinheads: https://alleysalehouse.com/

Ali'i Poke: https://aliipoke.com/

Ambrosia: https://www.ambrosiaindy.com/ (offering a gift card promotion)

Amelia': https://ameliasbread.com/

Anthony's Chophouse (Carmel): https://anthonyschophouse.com/

*Baby's: http://babysindy.com/?fbclid=IwAR1b2LP83RS5PWrfTQf1LISCD4VuUNaQkwhL5-knJpQMUVuSc-4BPn6oU3g (delivery through grub huh/uber eats as well)

Bee Roasters:  https://www.beecoffeeroasters.com/

Beholder: https://beholderindy.com/ (email info@beholderindy.com)

*Between the Bun: https://btbindy.com/ (delivery through grubhub)

Big Lug: https://www.biglugcanteen.com/restaurant/

*Binkley's: http://www.binkleyskitchenandbar.com/menu/

*Biryani Hut: http://www.biryanihutindy.com/

Blind Owl: http://www.blindowlbrewery.com/

Broad Ripple Brewpub: http://www.broadripplebrewpub.com/

Brozinni Pizza: http://www.brozinni.net/

*Brugge: http://www.bruggebrasserie.com/index.html

Circle City Soups: https://www.circlecitysoups.com/ or call direct:  317-632-3644

Circle City Sweets: http://circlecitysweets.com/ or call direct:  317-632-3644

*Clustertruck: https://www.clustertruck.com/ . (Use this code as a friend of Jessica for discounted first order)

Cork & Cracker: https://www.corkandcracker.com/  (curbside wine!)

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

Delicia: http://deliciaindy.com/

The Dugout: https://www.thedugoutindy.com/

Ellison Brewing: http://ellisonbrewing.com/home/

*Ember Urban Eatery: www.emberurbaneatery.com

Ezra's Enlightened: https://ezras-enlightened-cafe.square.site/page

*Fat Dan's: https://www.fatdansdeli.com/

Foundry Provisions: http://foundryprovisions.com/ Text order to 317/348-4358

*Gallery Pastry Shop: https://www.gallerypastryshop.com/

*Giordanos: Thttps://giordanos.com/no-contact-delivery/ (offering free delivery for online orders placed with code “FREEDELIVERY”.)

Grindstone Public House (Noblesville):  https://www.grindstonepublichouse.com/

*Hot Box: https://www.hotboxpizza.com/?fbclid=IwAR3YXt2cSnmjcJKfI2SX_QFI6VJyFZdys8EGn-B1l7pBMm1x7FG4CZCP-GQ

*Iaria's: http://www.iariasrestaurant.com/

Illinois Street Food Emporium: https://www.eatincarryout.com/

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


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

Mama Carolla's: https://www.mamacarollas.com/

Mashcraft Brewing: http://www.mashcraft.com/home/

Meridian https://lux.securetree.com/

*Michaelangelo's (Noblesville): https://www.michaelangelosbistro.com/

Movable Feast: https://www.feast317.com/

Nameless Caterers: https://namelesscatering.com/


Patachou :https://cafepatachou.com/menu/

Pizzology: https://pizzologyindy.com/

Prufrock Coffee: https://www.prufrockcoffee.com/

Pull Up Grill & BBQ: https://pullupgrill.com/

Sahm's: https://sahmsplace.com/

*Savor: https://savorcarmel.com/

*Scarlett Lane Brewing: https://www.scarletlanebrew.com/south-broad-ripple-tap-house/

Shoefly: https://www.facebook.com/ShoeflyPublicHouse/?hc_location=ufi

*Siam Square: https://www.siamsquareindy.com/ (delivery through door dash/grub hub)

Soupremacy: soing delivery soups certain days: https://www.soupremacy.com/

*Squealers: https://www.squealersbarbeque.com/ (delivery via door dash, grub hub, uber eats)

Tea's Me: https://www.teasmeindy.com/

Three Carrots: https://www.threecarrotsindy.com/

The Legend: https://www.facebook.com/166589785238/posts/10157744784410239/?d=n

Tiger Lilly: https://www.facebook.com/tigerlilyrestaurant/ 317/516-1914

*Tinker Street: https://www.tinkerstreetindy.com/menu/

*Turf Catering: https://www.turfcateringkitchen.com/ (looking to add delivery soon as well as pick up dinners).

Twenty Tap: http://www.twentytap.com/

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


Other yummy things:

Delivery lasagna: https://sendafriendlasagna.com/ Gift card: https://sendafriendlasagna.com/collections/frontpage/products/30-gift-certificate


Savor V (baked goods): https://savorv.com/ (with every purchase she makes a donation to IPS schools)

Other shopping (that supports restaurants):




Tyner Farm (local meat): https://tynerpondfarm.com/shop






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
www.oakleysbistro.com


Monday, February 24, 2020

Daredevil Hall - Revisit


Recently we were stuck without a reservation on a Saturday evening due to the uncertainty that comes from tennis tournaments and we thought we could maybe get into Daredevil and we were right. There was a pleasant crowd but there was still space, and although there were a number of us, we got one of the tables with chairs and not the benches, so all was good. 

We started with some pork rinds ($5) and hot pretzels ($7).  We were actually very pleased with both. The pork rind platter was quite generous and we were glad to have 5 people eating form it, and we still didn’t eat them all. They are fried pork skins, and they drizzle them with a molasses sauce, which is a bit sweet. I was undecided how I felt about this sweetness, but decided it was pretty good. I might have preferred something more savory, but I appreciate the creativity. They were just the right amount of light and crunchy.

The pretzels were also good—they are covered with brown butter and lemon and sea salt and served with hot beer cheese. They were a little more unusual than your average soft restaurant pretzel, and they were good with the beer cheese—which I only wish was a little sharper. Hubby enjoyed dipping the pork rinds into the beer cheese.  Overall, everyone really liked both apps.

Several of us went with the smash burgers—I had the single hall burger ($10.50). Several others had them as doubles ($12.50) or singles. I like the smash-style patty even though it’s not super thin—but it is a tasty burger. If you get it the way it comes, it has lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, remoulade and American cheese. That’s how I got mine. Other than the tomato, the toppings were good. I like the remoulade on it—I like burgers with a special sauce. It is cooked just right and was excellent. Everyone with a burger was very happy. It’s one of the better burgers in town. I had mine with a side salad, which was fine. The fries here are the only thing I find a little disappointing because I just want them to be hotter, saltier, and crispier. 

My mother-in-law had the midwest fish fry ($18) which is beer battered cod (12 ounces of cod—it’s a good size) served with fries. Usually it comes with tartar sauce, but she subbed it out for remoulade. This fish is very, very good. It was a favorite at the table. I think hubby ate almost as much of it as she did. The fish was tender and juicy and the breading light and crisp.

Hubby had the special sandwich of the month, which looks like it is on the regular menu now—the Cuban ($13). It was a tasty sandwich, but not quite as good as everything else. It is smoked pork loin and ham topped with Swiss cheese, picked and mustard on a pressed hoagie roll. Maybe because the pickles have a lighter pickle to them, they don’t stand out on the sandwich as much as I like them to with a Cuban? I am not sure. It was definitely a good sandwich, just not quite as good as the burgers and fish.

Oh, and I didn’t know that they even had dessert but one of the choices was little fried balls of bread pudding with caramel and chocolate dipping sauce. These were so dang good for some reason. Seriously, do yourself a favor and give them a try. Soft inside, but crunchy outside. Strangely addictive. 


Anyhow, from top to bottom, this meal was great. The service was on, the room was the right temperature and we could hear each other talking (the live music they have sometimes can be a little overpowering in the room). And the food was very tasty. A good standby in our neighborhood and I am glad to see the menu get mixed up and improved as they figure it out. 

Daredevil Hall
2721 East 86th Street
Indy  46240
317/757-2888



Monday, February 10, 2020

Offshore at Sun King Brewery


The family and I went in to try the newest Sun King restaurant in the old Three Wiseman spot in Broad Ripple. They have a relationship with Pier 48, which has recently opened a restaurant downtown. This one is called “Offshore.” So you can get a pint of beer and some seafood—they explained it is all flown in daily and is very fresh. There are several non-seafood items as well. 

I was torn about what to order because several things looked good, but I ended up settling on the “Rachel Marie” lobster salad ($14.50). Hubby had the “Midnight” Cuban sandwich ($12.50), my son had a bowl of clam chowder ($8) and my daughter and boyfriend the Italian flatbread ($12).

I really liked that lobster salad—it was really unique and interesting. The lobster was super fresh and tossed in a crème fraiche-based dressing with a ring of seasoned dressing around—sort of like a Louie dressing or a remoulade. Then, on top of the pile of lobster was a fried poached egg with all kinds of little fingers of the fried batter making a beautiful presentation. When you cut into the egg it was yolky and delicious. And all the crunchy bits gave great texture. The only thing I would add is a squeeze of lemon (serve it with a grilled lemon would be perfection). This was not a super filling dish, but it was extremely good and extremely well-executed. I would get this again for sure. 

Hubby enjoyed their version of the Cuban sandwich. It is made with cider brined pulled pork, bacon, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard and it’s all stacked on Leidenheimer bread, which is the classic po boy bread made in New Orleans. It wasn’t your classic flat smashed Cuban sandwich, but it was a really good sandwich. And that bread is delicious, even if not a po boy—light inside with just the right amount of crunch on the outside. I kept sneaking more and more bites. It really grew on me.

My son had a bowl of clam chowder which comes with cornbread. It’s a full on cream-based soup, but with nice flavor and nice pieces of clam that weren’t all chewy. The cornbread was just ok—maybe would have been more interesting with a nice dollop of soft honey butter or even just some nicely salted soft butter. 

My daughter and boyfriend enjoyed the Italian flatbread which had pepperoni, capicola, salami, mozzarella, smoked provolone, and lemon ricotta. An interesting variation on a classic combo of flavors. They liked the soft crust. I am guessing there are still pizza ovens in there from 3 Wiseman, and it is a good use of the equipment. Regardless, they did well with it. Flatbreads always make me wary, but this was good and they have some interesting toppings. They also had some fruity non-alcoholic drinks that they really enjoyed. 

We also shared an order of whoopie pies ($5). They were simple, but I liked the marshmallow butter cream. The sandwich part was nice and soft as well. 

All in all, I find this menu interesting and the ingredients are all high quality and they clearly know how to not screw up seafood. Would love to try the fish and chips as well as the lobster roll. It’s not cheap, and I wish there were a few more wine choices (not much of a beer drinker), but I will take it. I am looking forward to a second trip. What do you guys think?

Offshore Broad Ripple 
(in Sun King Brewery)
1021 Broad Ripple Ave
Indy 46220


Monday, January 27, 2020

Livery--Revisit


We had a family night out the other night and one of the places the kids repeatedly ask for is Livery. Everyone really likes it and it’s one of the places when people ask me where to eat on Mass Ave, I always recommend.

Anyhow, it had been awhile since we had been and one thing we all knew was that we wanted was empanadas. It was just a matter of which flavor, how many, and at what stage of the meal. The negotiations began. So we ended up settling on getting a couple of appetizers and then including a bunch of empanadas with some main dishes and sharing it all.

To start we had the carnitas taquitos ($10) and the artichokes ($9). There were two fairly large taquitos filled with carnitas meat and topped with Amarillo gastrique. There was a little escabeche salad with it and some guacamole. Everyone gave this dish great reviews. The taquitos were nice and crunchy and I really liked eating them with the creamy salad. Hubby loved the salad on its own and ate it all even after the taquitos were gone. I agreed, it was a well composed dish.

The artichokes were also very good. They were grilled half artichokes that had a chili vinaigrette and a grilled lemon served alongside. I loved it with the squeeze of the really juicy lemon. Another great, really well composed dish—and the oil and the acid from the vinaigrette and lemon really accentuated the artichoke and that is something that is often a challenge for restaurants to pull off in my experience. Both appetizers were enjoyed and devoured.

For dinner we had chicken, lamb, and mushroom empanadas ($9 for three).  We ordered a lot of them and our server sort of gave us the side eye about it, but whatever. Our family loves the chicken empanadas and this time was no exception. They are stuffed with seasoned chicken, tomato, and beans, and served with what they call an avocado salsa but is basically like a light guacamole. They also serve a little kale salad on the side with the empanadas. Again, the chicken is one of our standard orders. We tried the lamb for the first time, which was ground lamb in a tomato-based sauce and served with a poblano crema. These were also really good and I would say table-wise, they were probably the favorite over the mushroom, although hubby and I really liked the mushrooms ones as well. They had huitlacoche and white cheddar inside with the mushrooms and were served with a jalapeno crema. We also got some of the bean puree that usually comes with the cheese empanadas at my daughter’s request.  I was really torn about which I liked best. I’d be hard pressed not to get them all. They do a great job with empanadas. 

I was also really impressed with what appeared to be a new menu item to me—the potato tart ($15). It is a crustless tart of crispy sliced potatoes that was topped with burrata cheese, mushrooms, arugula, tomatoes and tomato crema. I loved the slightly smoky flavor in the potatoes and the nice amount of acid from tomatoes. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this dish, but we were very pleased. 

We also had the skirt steak with polenta/Manchego fries, broccolini, tomato crema and jalapeno butter ($18). The steak was seasoned and cooked very well and was a generous dish that was also a crowd favorite, but a particular favorite of my steak-loving son.

All in all, while we always have enjoyed Livery, food-wise, this was top to bottom one of our best meals. The service was a little slow and absent at times, but otherwise, we had a good experience. And it is nice to see it routinely busy, as it deserves to be. I was also happy to see some variation in the menu as well, even if certain things don’t change. What are your favorite of the empanadas?

Livery
720 N. College
Indy 46202
317/383-0330


Monday, January 13, 2020

Madera


It’s funny how you guys sort of know where I live—as soon as this place opened, I started getting messages about whether I had been there. And yes, it is really close to my house so we were excited by a new non-chain to visit.

It’s a “tex-mex” menu which apparently means lots of smoked meats—some on buns and some as tacos. Most of the toppings are pretty much the same across the board and there isn’t a ton of variation. There are also four different barbecue sauces on the table to use—original, sweet, hot, and chipotle mustard.  But I am ahead of myself.

First, we ordered chips and queso ($7) and we were impressed with the fresh fried tortilla chips. They were hot and really crisp and you could tell had just been made. The queso was tasty, but nothing that really made it stand out—white queso with some green peppers mixed in. But the chips made it worth ordering for sure. They also served it with some soft flour tortillas as well if that’s your thing. 

The rest of my family ordered tacos with various forms of meats inside ($6-$8) and most with pickled onions and guac on top. I ordered the pulled chicken sandwich ($8) which was according to the menu also supposed to come with red onions and guac but only showed up with the pickled onions. I think the sandwiches are the way to go here—or even maybe just the meat by the pound. It was the exact same meat in the tacos, but it felt weird to put barbecue sauce on tacos, but you really need it I think. I tried all the sauces and they were good—I appreciate that they are slightly unique from other places. My favorite sauce by far was the chipotle mustard sauce—I typically like mustard sauces but I really liked this one because it had a little heat that mustard sauces don’t usually have. I also thought the pulled chicken was really good on its own. There was a fair amount of the more tender dark meat mixed in. When I saw it, I worried it would be dry, but it was very tender. The bun and the tortilla were sort of unnecessary. And they were kind of unexciting—nothing really adding to the meat. Next time I would just split the pulled chicken by the pound and eat it with sauce. I feel like the main ingredients of the meat and sauces have been thought out, but the rest was sort of just ok. The mac and cheese and fries we all shared were just sort of average and standard, as were the buns and the guac on top. I would recommend a nice dipping sauce with the fries to jazz them up a bit.

The other meats were decent too, although hubby thought the brisket was a little dry, likely because it was chopped up so small. He agreed with me that probably just getting the meat on its own was probably the way to go. 

We ended with some churros ($5). They didn’t taste bad (I mean, churros!). But the sauce tasted pretty much like Hershey’s and there was nothing to make them really stand out., Would love to see a fancier tasting sauce—maybe something with dark chocolate and cinnamon or dulce du leche. And even if they don’t want to make it themselves, there’s plenty of local folks they could ask to help.

Atmosphere-wise there are a lot of TVs showing sports, but I liked that the sound was off on the TVs so it didn’t become impossible to have a conversation. The server was efficient and the staff was friendly. I look forward to seeing how they evolve—I would love to see more effort put into sides, desserts etc. that it seems like they are putting into the meats and sauces (and the house fried chips). And I really enjoyed that mustard sauce. And the proximity to my house.

What do you guys think? Have you been? 

Madera
5711 E. 71st Street
Indianapolis, IN 46220
317/845-1336


Monday, December 16, 2019

Verde


Ok, it’s a chain, but it’s in Ironworks (there are some other central Indiana locations as well), and I had to try it because that’s super close to my house. A friend and I headed over for a weeknight meal. I was surprised it wasn’t busier than it was—usually new places seemed to be packed in this town no matter what they are. But It was probably only about half full.

Anyhow, we settled in and ordered a couple of the barrel select margaritas ($16)—which is their top shelf margarita. It has fancier liquors in it and it also has a fair amount of orange in it. It was a good margarita but maybe just a little too orange for me. I think I would try the house margarita next time. They also brought the obligatory chips and salsa. The salsa was fine—had a mild, fresh taste. The chips were not good.  They were like the cheapest grocery store tortilla chips. And not warm. You can make chips so good (just look at Nada) or go with quality non-homemade chips, but these were disappointing. I guess on the bright side, I was not tempted to eat more than a couple.

It’s also a really big menu (as it seems that most Mexican places are). There is a fair amount of tasty sounding items (I would like to try the ceviches, which I love when done well, but it was just too damn cold out). We settled on sharing the empanada trio ($12). There were three—one with chicken, one with steak, and one with cheese and corn. They served them with a special salsa and pico de gallo. They were all pretty good. The cheese one was nice and rich and I really enjoyed the slightly pickly topping on the steak. I also liked adding some freshness from the pico de gallo. I sort of wished for a light crema or guac but I enjoyed them all. The crust was nice and crisp. Mind blowing? No. Quite tasty? Yes.

We then ordered their street tacos—you can get them in sets of three or order three different ones, which is what we did ($15). I had the tinga chicken, fish, and shrimp (the fish was one of the signature flavors). I will say the fish was probably my favorite—I liked that the fish was in smaller hunks rather than one big piece. This made it much easier to eat. The fish had a slightly spicy chipotle flavor and was topped with red cabbage and a slice of avocado. While I love avocado, this big slice was a little hard to eat (sorta like when the fish is one big piece). Maybe chop it up or use some guac for extra flavor? Same goes for the shrimp taco which was basically the same seasonings and toppings. However, these were whole shrimp and kept spilling out when I was eating it. Again, would love it if they chopped them into smaller pieces to make it less messy. The chicken taco was a bit easier to handle—it was seasoned shredded chicken topped with queso fresco. The menu said crema too, but I wasn’t seeing any. I got some extra pico de gallo and used the lime and salsa with the tacos and they were decent. Most interesting tacos I have had? No. But not bad. I liked the empanadas better and next time I would try something other than tacos. The elote corn on the side was mushy and sort of lukewarm.


Service was decent, but maybe a little slow at the end considering it wasn’t that busy. It took a fair amount of time to get the check. I am sure we will be back at some point considering the proximity to our house…so please send me your favorite items.

Verde (multiple locations)
2727 East 86th Street
Indy  46240
317/280-7410