Thursday, May 24, 2018

Caplinger's Fresh Catch


Ok, quick little reminder/extra post about Caplinger’s, especially right now since they have fresh soft shell crabs you guys! I have been tortured by pictures of various restaurants’ soft-shell crabs and haven’t been able to get any. I informed hubby that we were going to lunch to make sure we got some before they go out of season. He was happy to oblige. So we were debating our strategy on the way there—maybe one dinner, one sandwich and share? Or should we even be distracted by bread? Well when we got there and found out the dinners usually have about four crabs, we just decided to go with that and split it. Oh, and add a quarter pound of fried oysters. Why not right?

So we ordered the dinner ($16.99). It also comes with two sides and a couple of hush puppies. Now, sides have been a struggle for me at Caplinger's. As much as I love their fried seafood and their fresh fish market, I have yet to find a side that I love. So I decided to just be uninteresting and go with fries. And hubby got red beans and rice. Oh yeah, and that order of oysters (around $6).

I love soft shell crabs. I loved these soft-shell crabs. And I loved that they gave me 5 of them because they were small (they were tiny for real!). They give you their remoulade sauce to dip them in, which is tasty for sure. The thing I realized was that I now love their fries! I was expecting some boring giant steak fries or something that I wouldn’t end up eating. What I got was heavily seasoned crinkle cut potatoes that were delicious in ketchup. I have finally found my side. Sadly, hubby didn’t think much of the red beans and rice, but he also loved the fries. And those hush puppies are moist and tasty too.

The fried oysters were very good too. Smoking hot out of the fryer and these oysters were huge. In a quarter pound, there were five. If I had any complaint, it might just be that they were SO big. But they were super juicy and fresh, and the breading was great. These people really know how to fry up some seafood. And I like that you know its fresh because, well, it’s a seafood market as well. They serve the oysters with cocktail sauce and it is very good. I was undecided if I preferred them dipped in it or the remoulade, so I just traded back and forth between bites.

Anyhow, if you like soft shell crab like I do, or if you haven’t tried it, here’s your chance. You can just go with the dinner like we did, or you can get them as a sandwich (right now there are two to a sandwich). And keep telling me if you have sides you are passionate about. I haven’t tried them all yet.

Caplinger’s Fresh Catch
7460 North Shadeland Ave
Indy. 46250
317/288-7263

Monday, May 21, 2018

Road Trip: Blackberry Farm--Walland, TN


Wow, I recently had the opportunity to go to Blackberry Farm with a bunch of girl friends. It is one of those bucket list foodie type places. It’s located near Knoxville, Tennessee just adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. If you have some extra cash burning a hole in your pocket, and you love food and the outdoors, you should add it to your bucket list.

I’m not going to go course by course through every meal, as it will only remind me how decadent I was for the three days we were there, but suffice it to say, you really need to bring your stretchy pants. And while the accommodations are expensive, the food is all included (not alcohol) and they are very generous. For instance, at one breakfast, I had decided to go with a slightly healthy option, but when I just casually mentioned to a friend that I would love to try the biscuits and gravy, there was a plate in front of us to share as well in minutes as our ordered breakfast.

Anyway, speaking of breakfast, they do it right. The menu changes slightly every day so you don’t get bored with the same stuff (you can always get the B&G though if you ask). Everything I had was very good, with the strange exception that the kitchen did not seem to be able to poach an egg with a runny middle. But if you got an over easy or sunny egg, you were fine. A star is the grits with pimento cheese and bacon on top (and this was just a side dish). I would say the other favorite was the simple, but comforting B&G. But you can see, we tried several items and they were happy to bring you as many things on the side as you wanted as well. The lemon scones were amazing.

We never had the totally traditional lunch, because we arrived back from a hike late one day and they just laid out a giant picnic table with a ton of different things including barbecued chicken and ribs, and a plethora of salads and sides. The favorites here were the mustard and Bourbon beans and the strawberry, rhubarb, and beet salad. There was so much food though. Wow. Oh yeah, and a whole plate of desserts as well—a favorite here were the berry hand pies. The second lunch we had was part of a cooking demonstration with their Farmstead Manager, Dustin Busby. It was awesome. He showed us how to make homemade ricotta, homemade pasta filled with cheese and herbs, smoked onion jam dressing for our salad, which contained roasted beets and cauliflower, and individual almond financiers. Every single thing was great, and it was really fun to see how easy it was to make it all. We are already planning a party to make all of the items again. Honestly, it might have been one of my favorite meals.

You can eat dinner at The Barn or The Dogwood. The Barn is the more formal restaurant, and is just stunning inside. The Dogwood is the slightly more casual restaurant that is set in the original farmhouse (they call it the main house). Originally we were going to do the Barn twice and the Dogwood once, but ended up switching it around after eating in both. To be frank, the service in the Barn was pretty off the night we were there, and the service at the Dogwood was brilliant. I also enjoyed the slightly more rustic dishes on the Dogwood menu. The flavors just spoke to me more. The highlight at the Barn for me was their beef tartare, which was so good—pretty sure there were some truffles in there as well as roasted mushrooms. It had such a good earthy and well-seasoned flavor. A table favorite was also the potato salad, which was lightly creamy and topped with trout roe and sliced fried potato chips. They also had amazing desserts—several had a key lime pie that was amazing and I ordered a rhubarb sorbet with a cake that was also delicious.

At the Dogwood, one of my favorite dishes was a clam dish that had beer, butter, garlic, fennel and mustard that was recommended by our hiking guide. I ordered this one twice (one of the few things offered both times we were there). I actually got the recipe and was surprised at how little cream and butter was in it. It felt extremely decadent and delicious when I was eating it and now I can’t wait to make it myself. Add some lightly charred grilled bread and this dish was perfect. The salads they make are wonderful—they always have a nice texture variation and plenty of acid (often with something like pickled red onion). One night I also had an egg dish as a starter that was also rich and delicious. I like that the servings aren’t ridiculous since you get four courses every time. The desserts at the Dogwood were also less fancy, but also delicious. One night I had chocolate sea salt sandies and one night a large slice of chocolate cake and vanilla icing.

All in all, it was a really fun trip with a lot of really good food. There are also a lot of fun outdoor activities as well if you like that sort of thing. If not, there’s also a spa, pool, and of course, the cooking lessons. If you have the chance, I say add it to your list. Just start saving now. 

Blackberry Farm
1471 West Millers Cove Road
Walland, TN 37886
865/984-8166
www.blackberryfarm.com 





Monday, May 14, 2018

Provision -- Revisit


We took my sister and her husband out for their birthdays (they are close together) and they chose Provision. We were happy to go back and check it out. It still just as busy as it has been since it opened from what I can tell, so you can see how much this area was crying out for a restaurant like this.

Before we even got our orders, they brought us a nice amuse bouche, which was a crispy slice of bread with blue cheese and a nice little acidic sauce. Very tasty. Then we started with the bread plate ($5), because it’s just really good. They seem to always have a soft German pretzel stick and slices of Blue Dog Bakery baguette, which are some of my favorite things. This time there was also Naan, and a grainier type of bread. They serve it with nice soft butter as well as some flavored dipping oil. The bread is delicious in either.

I really think they shine at appetizers at Provision. We had the king crab toast ($36) and the tuna tartare ($22). Both of these are excellent, and in my mind, worthy of being dinner if you have a smaller appetite. The king crab toast is pieces of light and buttery brioche-type bread that is toasted and then topped with nice hunks of king crab with jalapeno, Thai basil, and Thai chile beurre blanc—basically an amped up butter sauce. But it is used in just the right amount so as to not take over the delicate flavor of the crab. This was a table favorite and my brother in law nearly ordered a second one for his dinner.

I really liked how they have changed the tuna tartare from how it was originally. It’s funny, because it kind of reminds me of the dish I like downstairs at Blue Sushi Sake. It’s basically fried little rice cakes that are topped with chopped and seasoned tuna tartare. There's some nice spicy sauce on each piece and some red onions and cucumbers. I thoroughly enjoyed this, as did everyone else.

For my main, I was swayed by the special, which was halibut cheeks with all kind of seasonal sides—asparagus, morels, and spring peas and then garnished with a rhubarb salsa. Loved the acid and kick the rhubarb gave to the dish. It added so much brightness. The veggies were all good. Sadly, the halibut was a touch overcooked and came across a bit dry. I was happy to get my first morel of the season though. It was very springy dish for sure.

The boys both had steaks because in the past, hubby had enjoyed steaks that others had ordered. They do season their larger bone-in steaks quite a bit.  The filets on the other hand aren’t quite as heavily flavored, and I think hubby ended up thinking he liked that better. They do nice Robuchon potatoes with their steaks as well, so at least you get a little something with your steak, unlike many places. We also ordered a side dish to split—the potato bacon terrine ($8). Can’t really go wrong with basically a giant tater tot wrapped in bacon right? My sister ordered a starter for her main—the lobster dumplings ($18). They are sauced with chile oil and a sweet soy vinaigrette. I just had a bite—we had a lot of food. They were good, but nothing that really jumped out at me. And not as good as the other two starters. We all shared a piece of sugar cream pie with coffee ice cream for dessert. It is tasty and I like the way they brulee the top of it, giving it just a little crunch when you stick your fork in it.

All in all, I think Provision continues to be a solid new restaurant for the northeast side. The service has improved tremendously since they opened, and I appreciate that they change the menu up a bit with the seasons (I would love to see even more variation). Next time I think I am going to do a dinner of all appetizers and I will be perfectly content. 

And hey, here’s hoping something good goes in the now-closed B Spot just down the sidewalk. It’s really helping my mood to have so many new places that are good so near by.

Provision
2721 East 86th Street
Indy  46240
317/843-6105


Monday, May 7, 2018

Road Trip: Bread Basket- Danville (Revisit)


We went back out to Danville for a return visit to Bread Basket. My sister and her family really love this place and I looked forward to trying it again as well. So it is kind of a hike from Indy, but if you’re up for an adventure, or if you live on the west side, check it out.

On this visit, I tried the veggie quiche of the day with a side of bacon (+3.29). This was a very tasty quiche. It had mushrooms and spinach in it as well as Swiss cheese. The inside was light and moist and the crust was flakey and tasty. That makes sense since they are known for their pies. The bacon here is also very good. Just the right amount of crispiness and nice and salty.

Hubby went with biscuits and gravy ($4.99 for half, $7.40 for full) topped with eggs (+$2.99). He was very happy with his choice. They do a really nice job with their gravy--it is thick and well seasoned and they certainly know how to cook eggs. He kept saying he was going to stop eating it but ended up eating pretty much all of it (I had some bites obviously). They are quality B&G.

Ok, this place is known for the cinnamon rolls, and seriously, they are some of the best I have had. But, even better, they take the day old rolls and make them into French toast ($11.49). This is what my dad had, and what he usually has (my parents are big fans of this place). It is truly decadent, and even for me, who rarely eats sweets for breakfast, I just kept going in for more bites. It is crazy, the rolls are sweet, the cream cheese frosting is sweet, there’s powdered sugar and butter, and then you can drizzle it with syrup. But, wow, this is addictive. I did take just a regular cinnamon roll home that we ate for dessert for a couple nights (they are huge). These are seriously good. 

My mom just had a standard breakfast with eggs, bacon, potatoes and toast ($7.49). They do a nice job with this as well. And the toast here is really, really good. They make their own bread (you can buy loaves as well) and it makes the toast shine. It may be one of my favorite parts (it came with my quiche as well). My sister had a half a breakfast sandwich and potatoes ($7.49), which is just as delicious partly because of that same toast.

Anyhow, they do breakfast really well—the baked goods are great and any dish that includes them is going to be a winner. Let me know if you have been.

Bread Basket
46 S. Tennessee Street
Danville, IN  46122
317/718-4800


Monday, April 30, 2018

Love Handle - Revisit


I met up with my friend Suzanne and went to Love Handle recently—she had really good things to say, and my last meal at the old location was good. They have really expanded into a pretty large storefront on the east end of Mass Ave. It’s a casual, cute space with bright green and yellow vinyl upholstery and kitschy décor. A big chalkboard announces the menu, and they have kept up their love of all things hearty and including many parts of animals that aren’t always highlighted on local menus—tongue, gizzards, sweetbreads, etc. Lots of pork belly on there as well (and more approachable items too). They have a breakfast and lunch menu (and you can order from either at lunchtime) and they have added some dinner selections as well. I am particularly intrigued by fish fry Friday. Going to have to go check it out.

Anyhow, we decided to get a couple of things and share, as we usually do. When I saw chicken schnitzel and waffle ($12), I knew I would have to try it, and man is it delicious. It is one of those dishes that as soon as you start eating it, you know it’s going to be something you crave. It’s a thinner waffle than many, but I like the size of it---it compliments the chicken rather than overpowering it. And even though I don’t typically like sweet things for my meal, this was the perfect flavor combination. The chicken was very heavily seasoned and just so savory that the sweet butter and waffle was a perfect match. The chicken was really thin, but so darn good. Seriously, this is an item I keep thinking about. I hope it’s on the menu next time I go.

I was intrigued by the “Jen” sandwich ($14 I think?) because it had pork belly with jam, but also blue cheese and pickled daikon. Normally, again, I don’t go for something sweet on a sandwich, but seems to be common here, and I do like blue cheese with jam. However, this sandwich just didn’t wow me as much. The thing about pork belly is some pieces are really good and some are just too fatty for me. And I really wanted more blue cheese to balance everything out.  Also, it seems like back at the other location they gave you some popcorn with your sandwich, but now it’s a side you have to pay extra for, which is sort of a bummer. But they are certainly doing interesting things here. I think maybe I like the breakfast items the best, but that’s not really surprising given how much I like eggs. And breakfast.

You should go check this place out though and see what you think. And let me know what your favorite items are.

Love Handle
877 Massachusetts Ave
Indy 46204
317/384-1102
https://www.facebook.com/LoveHandleIndy/


Monday, April 23, 2018

Muldoon's - Revisit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Monday, April 16, 2018

A2Z Cafe - Revist


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

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

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

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

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


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



Monday, April 9, 2018

Road Trip: Cincinnati--Taste of Belgium


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

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

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

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

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


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

Monday, April 2, 2018

Ukiyo


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

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

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

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

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

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


Monday, March 26, 2018

Red, The Steakhouse


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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