Monday, June 13, 2022

9th Street Bistro

Some good friends have been inviting us to go to 9th Street Bistro in Noblesville—we have been there twice with them in the last couple of months and I have been meaning to write it up, but I am lazy and busy and well, I am sitting in the airport waiting on a flight delay, and here it is! Honestly, this is one of the better new (ish?) places in the Indy area and is a labor of love between a husband-and-wife team who came back to Indiana in 2020 to open this place (and we all know how that went….)

But this place is a little northern gem in the Indy area. Both times we have been here, they have highlighted seasonal items and have cooked them just right. I love that they change the menu fairly frequently, and seasonally, but also offer a daily?/weekly? specials menu with such things as the “fried thing of the day." The first time they were empanadas. The second time…soft shell crab. You wanna win my heart? That’s the way. Why it is hard to find, I don’t know. I mean, I get that there aren’t crabs in local waters…but you can get fresh seafood any which way these days. I don’t know why I don’t see them on all menus. 

Anyway, both fried bits were delicious. And I (of course), loved the soft-shell crab. The crab was perfect. The sauce alongside (a tartar-ish aioli) was tasty. I could have lived without the bread underneath honestly—I felt like it just soaked up all the tasty sauce. The crabs were great though—and so were the empanadas—which now appear to be on the regular menu with a seasonally changing theme.

The first time we also had the bread plate with pimento cheese and the whipped butter because my daughter was home on spring break and if she could live on bread, she would. The focaccia was great—the whipped butter was also so tasty that we bought some to take home—the pimento cheese was good, but nothing mind blowing. Tasty, but not the best I have had. 

This last visit we also had the burrata starter and the asparagus starter. Both were very good and had lots of interesting flavor profiles—the burrata had a sweet edge, as it was served with apricots and orange honey and topped with crumbled pistachios. The asparagus had an Asian bent to it, and was topped with fried egg aioli, sweet soy and fish flakes—love the way the blow in the breeze. While I liked this dish—and the asparagus was just perfectly cooked—it was a little on the sweet side—I would have loved a little acid from somewhere.

The chicken at this place is amazingly good. I don’t typically order chicken, but I split it with my daughter the first time and had a bite of our friend’s version on this night. It was just a simple roasted chicken half (de boned) but man, it was so tender and had so much flavor, I would definitely order this again. It was served with a simple salad with locally grown veggies.

Hub and I split the pasta dish (there is always a pasta dish, but they change it up frequently). This one was house made spaghetti with a lemon cream sauce and sauteed shrimp and had fried capers on top. So good—so good. Would definitely get this again as well. One friend had beef wellington—which I didn’t try but looked delicious.

All in all, this is probably one of the best new (to me) restaurants I have tried in Indy in a while. Will definitely go on our rotation list. They also do a weekly special carry out dinner deal on Sundays (I believe) that look tasty, although I haven’t tried one. I signed up for the emails and always think they sound good. Now that I have tasted how good the food is, I would imagine these would be really good. 

9th Street Bistro

56 S. 9th Street

Noblesville, IN 46060


Monday, March 14, 2022

Tinker Street - Revisit

Recently a friend invited us to go to Tinker Street. I haven’t been there for several years—which is true of a lot of places lately--whole pandemic and all. We’re back to going out a little bit more widely now. 

Anyhow, we started with the Brussels sprouts ($17), the chicken and caviar ($27) and the cured tuna ($18) (there were 5 of us). All of these dishes were very good. The Brussels sprouts were honestly some of the best I have ever had I think. There were the sprouts, caramelized onions, hazelnuts, Point Reyes blue cheese, preserved lemon-thyme vinaigrette and then served with multigrain toasts. I really liked the blue cheese with it and the tangy vinaigrette. Actually, we ended up having a second order with dinner. 

The fried chicken thigh was also so good I ended up ordering another one to have on my own for dinner (with some more of those Brussels sprouts). It was fried just perfectly and served with a hoecake, caviar and pickled onions. It was drizzled with crème fraiche and some jalapeno honey. Seriously, what a great bunch of flavors. Again, I was so sad about only having a small bite of the shared one, that I went ahead and just ordered it again for my dinner. It’s an appetizer, but it is pretty filling.

I enjoyed the tuna myself, but others didn’t like it as much as the other items. It was cured with smoked soy so it had a little different texture than most tuna crudo type things that you might taste, but I enjoyed it. It was served with yuzu gel, avocado puree and a slaw made with pickled beets. I liked all of it except for the beets, which I never like. 

My husband had the pork belly ($26), which is one of the classic items they have had at Tinker Street since the beginning. He said it was good, but I think he enjoyed the apps better. To be honest, I think they sounded better overall than the entrées and I will likely always order from this part of the menu. 

We also had the doughnuts for dessert ($11). They are ricotta doughnuts with maple ice cream. They were also very good. Generally, I find you can’t go wrong with doughnuts. We also had the s’mores bar ($11) which was also really good—it had a chocolate custard and marshmallow cream that was seared on top to give it that campfire taste—and it had an ash dust alongside There was a graham cracker crust too. Also, really good. I do have a weakness for singed marshmallow.

It was a very good meal and I was glad we got to go back. We will certainly add it back into the rotation.  Just remember, it’s 21+ and they now take reservations.

Tinker Street

402 E 16th Street

Indy 46202


Tuesday, February 15, 2022


I know it’s been awhile, but I have to let you know when I have a great meal at a new place. Recently my husband and my son went with me to check out Bocca, which is in the old Shoefly spot. I like the remodel and it feels a lot more like a nice restaurant with a pretty bar, rather than a lunch place. The front door is strangely not really marked, but it is in the same place as Shoefly was if you ever went there. A nice sign on the door might make sense (and maybe a curtain or something to stop the draft from the door to some of the tables).

It was actually still Devour when we were there, and I did order it because there were some good options—I often don’t, but it seemed like a decent deal if you wanted to try a dessert. The Devour price was $45 for 3 courses. I chose the tuna appetizer which was marinated raw tuna with avocado, red onion, olives, and oranges—it had a tangy vinaigrette with some heat from a few peppers and a little truffle flavor. It was delightful and one of the most creative crudo/tartare versions I have seen in a long time. It was really good and I would easily order it again. The boys ordered the arancini ($12)—arancini are fried arborio rice balls and these are filled with gooey fontina cheese. They are served in a nice light and fresh marinara sauce and these were absolutely delightful as well. We were extremely happy at this point in the dinner and started to get nervous that maybe we had peaked.

Well, my son and I also had very good pasta dishes. The one I got with my devour was the mushroom lasagna (normally $22 on the regular menu). It was a rich white sauce-based veggie lasagna with pesto, shitake mushrooms and spinach. It was very rich and decadent, but also quite delicious. I like the way the pesto gave a hit of something to cut through the bechamel. My son got the Bolognese ($21) which was fresh tagliatelle with meat sauce and a mushroom ragout on top. The pasta was perfect and the flavor was good. I liked that even the tomato sauces were fresh and acidic. He loved it and between the three of us, it was gone pretty fast.

The only let down was the carbonara ($21), which is typically one of hub’s favorites. It is spaghetti (did not seem fresh) with guanciale, egg, black pepper and romano cheese. It is meant to be a pretty simple dish and the egg and cheese are what make it rich and decadent. This one just fell flat for some reason—the pasta itself wasn’t as good and the dish was just a little one dimensional. 

The dessert was not a star either—it was the bombolini which came with devour (usually $12), which are fried doughnuts with lemon curd. The doughnuts themselves were just a little dense and we didn’t finish them. I saw the tiramisu come out and it looked good—I would probably try this next time. And I have had friends tell me how much they liked the bombolini, so maybe it was just an off night for this particular item.

All in all though, we were really excited by the food, the menu and the place—the server was very nice as well and the wine list was interesting. We had a nice Italian Soave that we then ordered from the wine store because we enjoy it so much. I would recommend it and will happily plan a trip back, which is not something I saw often about Italian restaurants in Indy.


122 E. 22nd Street

Indy. 46202


Monday, August 16, 2021


I’ve been excited to try this place for a while—it’s new so of course everyone seems to be trying it so make a reservation in advance if you want to go. It’s located at the Bottleworks too—but it’s a full sit-down restaurant. It’s also a Cunningham joint. It’s got a modern vibe inside, unfortunately was freezing when we went inside (classic Hoosier move) but luckily, they had a sort of outside area with a garage door so we sat there so we didn’t need to have parkas on in July.

Anyhow, we started with several apps—the soft-shell crab tempura with chili aioli and cabbage (hold the candied peanuts because my son is allergic) ($18). We also had the bao buns with grilled pork, Asian slaw and miso aioli ($16). Both were really good. My favorite was the crab—it was perfectly fried and still really hot and crisp and the aioli was just spicy enough. My family loved the pork buns and they were good—I liked the crisp edge on the pork and the fact that they had a different flavored aioli for those—hate it when places repeat the same sauces on everything. I also liked that the pork wasn’t too fatty.

We shared a bunch of stuff for our main dishes. We had the mapo tofu ($12), the umami noodles ($16), the robata grill salmon ($27) and the robata grill Wagyu striploin ($95). Yes, the steak is a huge splurge that we had to convince hubby of, but it was well worth it in the end and both he and my son still talk about that steak and how they will definitely be ordering it again. Wagyu has that melt in your mouth quality and then the super high heat of the charcoal robata grill gives everything it cooks a super crisp grilled edge that not only adds flavor but texture to the outside without tasting like it is burnt. We asked for our miso-glazed salmon to be pretty rare and it was really wonderfully cooked as well—super tender inside with that crisp edge. All the robata entrées come with “wasabi mooncakes,” which are basically hash brown cakes with a little wasabi flavor. They were tasty and each plate came with 2, so we each got one. Anyway, as you can probably tell, the robata stuff is really good. I would like to try it all.

Hubby and I also really liked the mapo tofu, but I can’t seem to sell my kids on tofu and my daughter doesn’t love really spicy things. It has a spicy bean sauce on it and it was pretty spicy, as it should be, and really well done. There were toasty rice cake balls in there as well—I love the combination of these textures of the crisp tofu that is still soft inside and the rice cake. I would easily get this again, especially in different company where I could share as it is a generous portion. 

The only let down were the noodles. They were kind of dense and stuck together—maybe like they were a bit overcooked. The favors were pretty rich—pork belly, edamame, black garlic and parmesan. There was a lot of umami, but it was just too much if you ask me. I was pushing for the tamarind noodles which probably have more of the taste I would prefer, but hopefully the noodles would not be overcooked next time. Honestly with so many options on the menu we didn’t get to try at all (dumplings, sushi, tartares, etc.), I would probably just skip the noodles next time and go with something else.

We did get a dessert as well and it was very good too. It was the marshmallow pudding with miso caramel and a sesame seed wafer. It was interesting and different and really tasted like marshmallow, but somehow more sophisticated with the miso and sesame. This was a hit with everyone.

All in all, we had a really good meal and it is one of the places my daughter has requested to go again before she goes away to college on the East Coast. I will keep you updated. 


850 Massachusetts Ave, Suite 100

Indy  46204


Monday, August 2, 2021

Sully's Grill

I keep hearing about this place from friends and neighbors, but frankly, it’s a hardware store so I also keep forgetting there’s a restaurant in there. But recently I had the opportunity to try it and was quite happy with my lunch, and the creativity of the menu.

I shared Bavarian pretzel sticks with nacho cheese ($7) to start and these were good. Ok, nothing spectacular, but solid. The breadsticks were HOT, soft and had the appropriate amount of salt, and the nacho cheese was your typical nacho cheese. With the creativity in the rest of the menu though, I would love to see a more interesting homemade cheese dip served alongside—just a thought.

I had the smoked chicken breast sandwich ($12) for my main and I loved it. It was listed under the “craveable” section of the menu, and I will definitely agree that it has become a dish that is craveable to me. The chicken was very tender and it was topped with black garlic aioli, Havarti cheese and pickled zucchini. All of these flavors together were really interesting and different and I especially liked the pickled zucchini. This was a total page from my book—while I love proper pickles made with cucumbers, I am not a fan of quick pickled cucumbers, because, well, I am not a huge fan of cucumbers. I often make quick pickled zucchini to eat with sandwiches or various Asian dishes in place of cucumber salad. There was also some greens on the sandwich that added to the texture variation. Overall, a nice take on a chicken sandwich that was different and delicious.

The crowd on a lunch time during the week was mostly older women for some reason—maybe they’re the ones who have discovered this place so far—and there’s some seating in the hardware store and some in the restaurant section and some outside. The server was very friendly and pretty quick. I will definitely give this one a try again for sure—and honestly it is probably one of the closest places to eat around me for lunch so makes a nice option.

So if you need to hit up a local hardware store and get a bite to eat, this is a great option. Or heck, just go for lunch regardless. They also have a weekend brunch menu that looks interesting.

Sully’s Grill

Sullivan’s Hardware Store

6955 N. Keystone Ave

Indy, 46220


Monday, July 12, 2021

Nesso - Revisit

A trusted twitter friend mentioned a great meal he had recently at Nesso (thanks @tokenwhitedude) which made me intrigued to go back, especially now that the whole family is finally fully vaccinated (thank you science). The first meal or two I had here were great and then the food seemed to go toward that generic Midwest Italian giant portion thing for a bit. But I am happy to report that they are back doing great food and interesting pasta combos (with some “classics” to make everyone happy). They also have a nice variety of protein main dishes, although we didn’t try any on this visit.

Man, the appetizers were great. I honestly think I would consider making a meal of them next time, or at least getting more of them and splitting a pasta or entrée with someone. We had the carpaccio ($15), the focaccia bread ($5), the burrata ($13), and the crab arancini ($15). That carpaccio is a perfect version of carpaccio. Extremely thin sliced raw beef topped with arugula, parsley oil, parmesan, lemon, fried capers and topped with these cornbread croutons. Wow—this is a dish that had the perfect amount of salt and acid. I think it was everyone’s favorite.

However, the burrata was so good too—mostly because of these amazing lightly roasted tomatoes that burst in your mouth when you ate one. I am totally doing this with my garden cherry tomatoes. Simple, but so good. There was also a topping of candied onion and salsa verde. A bite with everything was just great—the cheese was the perfect smooth rich foil for it all. And it was served with sliced, toasted and oiled bread. The focaccia was also superb (and when my daughter is with us, we order all the bread)—even though it would be hard to not order it every time. It was served with olive oil and balsamic to dip in, as well as herby butter, neither of which was really necessary because the bread was so good, but it was nice to have. It was also good with the burrata.

My daughter also has a love affair with arancini and we almost always have to order them if they are on the menu and these were very good—they were very moist inside (unlike a lot of arancini in this world) and had a nice cheesy interior studded with bits of crabmeat. They were served on top of a fennel aioli, which was delicious with them as well as a tomato sauce on the side (which I found unnecessary). I appreciated the lemon wedges as well for an extra acid hit, as well as the pickled and slight spicy vegetables on the side.

We all got different pasta dishes for dinner. We had the agnolotti ($18), the ravioli ($20), the lobster tortellini ($27) and the bucatini alla nerano ($20). I think the two vegetarian pastas (the agnolotti and the bucatini) were the favorites but they were all good. The agnolotti was little pillows stuffed with cheese and mushrooms in a very rich parmesan broth with truffles shaved on top. If you like mushrooms and truffles, you can’t really go wrong here. However, like I said, super rich. No way I could eat this whole dish of pasta by myself. The bucatini had a pesto type sauce but made with zucchini and walnuts. There were small chunks of zucchini in there as well. More truffles on top and lots of parmesan. It was really good too—and while it was rich and creamy, it was well-balanced. 

The ravioli were large and stuffed with ricotta cheese and were then topped with a lamb ragu—there were peas in there too. My son had played a lot of tennis that day and basically wolfed it down because he was so hungry. I think he liked it but I didn’t get a bite. 

Hubby ordered the lobster tortellini which as stuffed with lobster mousse and had chunks of rock shrimp alongside. There was a light tomato sauce and some lemony breadcrumbs. The dish was good, but probably my least favorite—although I am not a huge tomato sauce with seafood person.

The kids had some amazing dark chocolate gelato for dessert and everyone was happy. This was one of the best meals I have had in Indy lately for sure—and I was so impressed with the finesse especially in the appetizers. 

This is definitely a place to put back into the rotation, and I would argue one of the best Italian places in the city. Have you been lately? What do you think?


339 South Delaware

Indy  46204


Monday, June 28, 2021

Juniper on Main

Recently I had an opportunity to try this new place in Carmel with some friends. It has been on my list but if I am honest, I sort of forgot about it so when my friend mentioned it, I was looking forward to it. They have a nice patio and we chose to sit outside (which turned a little wet when a sudden downpour came through but luckily, we had an umbrella which mostly shielded us). 

We started with the deviled egg flight ($10) and the hot pimento cheese ($12). The better of the two was the pimento cheese which was served more like a queso type dip rather than your typical spread. It was served with naan bread that was toasty and hot and some grapes. The naan was very good with it and the cheese was good although not super spicy. I loved deviled eggs and I was excited by the various flavors that rotates. However, I found them to be a little bland—the actual egg part needed salt for sure and acid wouldn’t hurt. They were topped with various things—one with blue cheese, one with pickled red onions, one with what I think was sausage, one with bacon, and one with corn. Of the bites I had the blue cheese was best for the little kick of salty cheese, but like I said overall, these were under-seasoned. I would skip them next time.

For mains, hubby and I decided to get the fried green tomato appetizer ($11) and the blackened catfish dinner ($20) and split them for our meal. The catfish was probably the best thing on the table all night. The seasoning was just right with lots of flavor and a bit of heat (thanks to our server for the suggestion-she was spot on). The grits served alongside were dryer than I typically would prefer but a little with a bite of the fish and some of the quite flavorful remoulade sauce was tasty. The okra tasted like it had no seasoning at all and was just barely cooked. It was described as “garlic sauteed,” but I didn’t really get any garlic flavor. I didn’t eat a lot of it. The fish was very good though and worth ordering again. The fried green tomatoes were also very good—they did a great job with the crispy breading and I was pleased to see that it actually stayed adhered to the tomato—something that seems to be a challenge for many kitchens. They were super crunchy and good with the lemon aioli and maybe even better with some of the remoulade from the fish. These are a good choice too. 

All in all, there were certainly hits and misses, and overall, a lot of things could have used a little more refinement with seasoning (not the fish though, it was great), but it was an enjoyable meal. Our server was very nice and so is the patio (I didn’t even see the inside actually). They don’t take reservations except for parties over 6, but we didn’t have to wait right at 6:00 on a Friday (although we got one of the last tables). I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts as I don’t feel like I hear a lot about this place.

Juniper on Main

110 E. Main Street

Carmel, IN 46032


Monday, June 14, 2021

Garage Food Hall- Chapati, J's Lobster and Fish Market, and Azucar Morena

The kids and I are on summer break and we had to run an errand downtown so it seemed like a fitting time to go check out the Garage Hall at Bottleworks. I had walked through it recently, and was impressed and was looking forward to trying a few things. I have two teens, and they were both impressed with the “coolness” of the place and said it felt like it was in a different city so that’s probably the ultra teen compliment. 

We all agreed to get different things so we could try lots of stuff. My daughter got an arepa and fresh squeezed juice from Azucar Morena, I got a lobster roll from J’s Lobster and Fish Market and my son got chicken tikka masala and naan from Chapati. 

Everything we had was good, but I think we all agreed that we liked my son’s tikka masala ($14) the best of everything we had. The enthusiasm of the son working in the front talking about his mom’s cooking was awesome—he also told my son it would take a few minutes because they really are making things pretty fresh. It was a very generous portion (my husband happily finished it for lunch the next day). It had more unique flavors than your typica tikka masala. The naan was some of the best I have --much more flavor than naan often has  —my son liked watching them cook the naan against the oven walls. It was very cool to be part of their “soft open” and I would highly recommend. 

My lobster roll ($18) is the classic variation of a lobster roll. They use toasted bread, which if I am honest, was one of the best parts—it was delicious. Perfectly toasty and crisp and buttery. The lobster was cooked just right and was tender and there was just a touch of mayo, some shredded lettuce and melted butter and Old Bay on top. I would have loved a squeeze of lemon and was surprised they didn’t even have lemon wedges available, but you know me and my love of acid. The quality of the seafood was great and you can’t really go wrong with buttery lobster, although you could make it really sing with a squeeze of lemon (just saying). I like the way they serve the whole thing on top of chips—some seasoned and some plain. Definitely worth having if you are a lobster fan!

My daughter had the domino arepa ($9) which is a little Venezuelan sandwich made with corn meal instead of flour—it was stuffed with black beans, white cheeses and butter and then had a guacamole type spread as well. It was tasty too—although hard to eat like a sandwich because the fillings were kind of falling out. Again, I would have squeezed a little lime on it if I had been at home, but the ingredients were good and I like the slight sweetness from the bread. She also had a fresh squeezed juice with pineapple, orange and passion fruit. It was delicious. Slightly expensive but a very large size and extremely good (she developed a taste for the “POG” in Hawaii and has a hard time finding it).

Overall, it was a great experience and I look forward to going again—there’s a fish and chips spot we want to try and a poke place as well. Not to mention burgers and tacos and oysters as well as things I am surely forgetting. So, if you have had something that really blew your mind please comment and let me know what it was.

Garage Food Hall


906 Carrollton Avenue

Indy 46202


Tuesday, June 1, 2021


Recently hubby and I went out to dinner with some friends to celebrate their anniversary. It was a Monday and I was sort of  surprised how busy this place was! We had to wait about 40 minutes to get a table outside, which is good for them and gave us a chance to walk around and check out the Bottleworks buildings. The Garage Food Hall was doing a big business as well. We had a quick drink in the temporary hotel bar (which was empty unlike everywhere else) and then headed back to Bodhi when we got the text that our table was ready.

I have always loved the outdoors space here—when it was Black Market and now as Bodhi. They have mature wisteria growing through the roof and it is a nice spot. They are still doing good social distancing as well, which is appreciated. I also like the updates they made to soften the interior feel a little bit with plants and new lighting.

The friends we were with are like us and like to try lots of things, so we started with three apps. We had the spring rolls ($9), the crab puffs ($12), and the chicken wings ($15). They give you nice portions on all of the apps, and our favorite were probably the crab puffs—which were like crab Rangoon in a slightly different shape than usual. The spring rolls were mostly outside crunch without much inside. The wings were fine too—the little bits of crispy garlic on the side were tasty, but they weren’t overly spicy. None of the apps were amazing, all were fine, and I think we decided that next time we would save more space for more main dishes, which were clearly the stars.

And we ordered several items to try. Probably my favorite of all of them (but they were all good) was the chili and basil stir fry (Pad Kra Prow) (we had it with the chicken) ($17). It had some heat at medium, but you could appreciate the taste of the basil in the dish. It also had onion and red bell pepper, and I really liked the addition of edamame, which was unusual and very tasty. This was delicious.

We also really enjoyed the shrimp pad Thai ($15). At first it seemed like there weren’t a lot of shrimp in there, but they were buried in the noodles. The rice noodles were plentiful and I love a good tamarind sauce combined with the chopped peanuts and crunchy bean sprouts. It is just the right combo of sweet and spicy and the shrimp were cooked perfectly, as were the noodles. I would definitely order this again as well. 

Our next favorite (and some at our table liked it best) was the laab salad (which we had with pork) ($16). It was a nice change of pace with its chili lime dressing to give a nice hit of acid. There was a lot of minced pork, onions, red bell peppers, lettuce, herbs and crispy rice bits. Honestly, it was hard to pick favorites because they were all so tasty.

The last dish we had was the massaman curry ($21 with beef). It was by far the heartiest, richest dish It came with Naan bread on the side, which we thought was slightly odd in a Thai restaurant—and honestly it was better with the extra side of rice  ($3) we ordered instead. The curry had big hunks of beef, carrots and fingerling potato. Very stew-like in my mind. It had a deep flavor though and also a nice touch of heat (we pretty much ordered everything medium).

All in all, this was a really tasty dinner—particularly the entrées. I love the interior of this place (as well as the outside seating) and I look forward to returning. They had a nice cocktail list and a decent wine list as well. Keep in mind, you have to be 21 and over to eat here, but what a nice addition to Mass Ave. They don’t take reservations, but it looks like you can add yourself to the waitlist on their website. We will definitely be back so let me know your favorite items. 


922 Massachusetts Ave

Indy 46202