Thursday, February 26, 2015

Murphy's @ Flynn's

The family and I used to frequent Murphy’s a fair amount before its move. It was a kitschy space that the kids really liked. And I liked that my son, who loves steak and lobster, could get either or both for a very reasonable price. When the construction at Keystone and Fall Creek started last year, Murphy’s decided to move because they knew their business would suffer. They moved in with Pat Flynn’s at 52nd and Allisonville. They’ve been there for a while now, but we hadn’t made it over to see what the new “Murphy’s @ Flynn’s” would be like. We were curious as to how they combined the menus etc. 

It appears that Murphy’s is the more dominant theme there, although the menu is much larger, incorporating some of the Flynn’s dishes as well (pizza, sandwiches, etc.). Most of the green booths from Murphy’s have been moved, and they have actually done a decent job of incorporating them into the existing space. Sadly, they’ve lost the wine list they had at Murphy’s, which wasn’t amazing, but had a couple of decent reds on it.

We had several different things, mostly that were from the Murphy’s old menu I think. I had a filet dinner ($17.99), which I split with my son. You still get a soup or salad (I think maybe you got both before?) and they still happily have the blue cheese dressing, which is old school, and really chunky, and hubby’s favorite. The lettuce itself is a mix, and just ok, more of just something to soak up the dressing ( We ordered an extra cup of clam chowder because my son really enjoys it. It’s more of a cream heavy version, but had a decent taste. A little hotter temperature might have been nice, although my son didn’t mind because he likes things a little closer to lukewarm. You also get your choice of potato. I went with the twice baked because I don’t remember seeing it on the menu before. It was fine—mostly some cheese on top of a seasoned baked potato. It didn’t have a lot of additional flavor than a regular baked potato, maybe less without any butter. The steak was the best thing on the plate—it was cooked as we ordered it and was nice and tender. They have a pretty decent quality beef for that price point. I also missed the yummy pieces of garlic bread that Murphy’s used to put on the plate (although my son wanted me to be sure to reassure everyone that they do still have the little baskets of crackers on the table, which he loves).

Hubby had the rainbow trout ($16.99), which is seasoned and broiled. Actually, hubby had requested it pan-crusted (which is an option on the menu) and they didn’t do it. He ate it anyway, but said it was pretty bland and didn’t have the crunchy bits he likes from previous experiences. He was trying to be all healthy and got broccoli as his side, which he then didn’t eat because it was barely cooked. Like I said though, he loves that blue cheese dressing and was greatly relieved it was still on the menu.

My mother-in-law had the fried lobster dinner ($17.99), which has been a favorite of ours in the past. How can you not like deep fried lobster? I would have a hard time eating a whole dinner of it (they used to offer it as a combo with a smaller steak) but a piece from her plate was a nice crunchy treat (they also do offer it as a starter). My in-laws both out-ordered us on the sides—they both had hash browns (which I also don’t remember from the old Murphy’s) and I really enjoyed them. They were more almost like potato cakes; with a softer more mashed interior and a really nice crispy edge. I ate as much of these as they kindly shared and this is the side I would get on a future visit.

I think if you stick with the steak and add these hash browns, and with the salad and that blue cheese dressing, you can get a nice solid meal. I can’t speak too much of the Flynn’s items, but I’d be interested to try the pizza. I saw a couple come out of the kitchen and they were nice and thin and looked pretty good. Ever had one?

Murphy’s at Flynn’s
5198 Allisonville Road
Indy 46205
Murphy's @ Flynn's on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 23, 2015

Recess - Revisit

It has been awhile since I’ve been to Recess. I am always telling people it’s one of our best restaurants and then I’ll look back and think, holy moley, it’s been a year since I’ve been there. So in the name of research, it was time to return. 

I’m sure you know the drill with Recess—it’s a set menu. This one was $60 for the four courses. You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit. Well, you do get to choose a course some times. This time it was the starter course. The choices were a salad of chicories, green beans, fennel, Parmesan, horseradish and rye croutons with a creamy anchovy dressing or golden beet-carrot soup with shaved Brussels sprouts, pickled cabbage, pulled pork, crème fraiche and caraway. I went with salad. Not a fan of beets that much and carrot soup isn’t my thing either. I did have a bite of the soup and it tasted much like it was described, but like I said, not my thing. Glad I went with the salad, even if it was my least favorite of the courses. The lettuce was just a lot of fairly bitter greens—there was also horseradish grated on top, which also added a strong flavor. I just felt like it needed something to balance it a bit—and there wasn’t much dressing to it, so you mainly just tasted a lot of fennel and bitter greens and the horseradish. Others at the table liked it better than I did I think.

I liked the next course a lot more—it was halibut with multi grain risotto, squash sofrito and truffle arugula coulis. The fish was perfectly cooked and perfectly tender. It was seasoned simply with salt and pepper—perfect to go with all the flavors underneath. I enjoyed the texture and light crunch from the “risotto” which was more like a wild rice mix. There were bits of the squash mixed in, which broke up the purely crunchy risotto. I really liked the flavor of the arugula truffle coulis, which gave it a bright kick from the fresh arugula.

The Fisher Farms beef ribeye was probably the favorite savory course at our table. It was served atop a potato-root vegetable mash with roasted broccoli rabe and grilled scallion chimichurri. You can just look at the picture to see how beautiful that steak was. And again, the freshness of the chimichurri, but with a slightly smoky taste from the grilled scallion in it, made for the perfect winter sauce with beef.

I was really impressed with the desserts. Again, we had a choice—either apple butter cake with spiced cider sorbet, salted caramel, sage and pecan or blood orange panna cotta with sesame biscuits and blood orange-cherry compote. Hubby and I ordered one of each to try, and honestly, would be hard pressed to pick a favorite.  Well, we each leaned slightly toward a different one. I really liked them both, but was really impressed with the blood orange panna cotta. It had the exact right combo of tartness from the orange combined with the creamy custard. And when you added the really strong sweet/tart compote with each bite, it was heavenly. Loved the almost savory flavor from the biscuits as well—they were perfect with the custard and compote. The apple butter cake was wonderfully tender and how can you really go wrong with a warm salted caramel sauce? I really like the way they play with a traditional base—like the custard or the sorbet and infuse them with more unusual and unexpected flavors. Again, both were outstanding.

Recess maintains its hold on the title of one of Indy’s best restaurants as far as I’m concerned. This may have not been my favorite top to bottom meal at Recess, but it was still very enjoyable.You may not always love every single item you are served, but you are certainly likely to try some things you might otherwise not have tried. I can’t say either of those desserts would have jumped out at me on an a la carte menu, but I was very happy I got to try both. 

4907 N. College Ave
Indy 46205

Recess on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Egg Roll #1

Egg Roll #1 has been on my list For-EVER. So I finally got motivated to go. I was in the mood for pho, heard theirs was good and convinced the BFF to check it out with me. It’s a bit of a hike for me, but I am always willing to travel for a food adventure.

The first thing that sort of surprised me was how sort of new the place looked. It was much larger and more modern than the sort of dive spot I was imagining. When you walk in, there’s a large counter where you order. I appreciate the large pictures to the right of the register of most of the menu items as well in case you aren’t sure what they all are. They do a lot of different stuff—Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese food, but I was always told about the Vietnamese food being good, so that was the direction I was going.

I felt like in a place called “Egg Roll #1,” that it would be just wrong to go in there and not order an egg roll right? There was a Vietnamese option on the menu (item # 1) ($3.95 for 3) so I ordered those as well as a bowl of Pho. I got the Pho Tai to be exact ($7.25) which is the rare beef pho.

I thought the egg rolls were just okay, actually, which was kind of a bummer. They were filled with what seemed to be ground pork and some veggies as well. They were wrapped in rice paper and fried. They were on the smaller side and cooked very, very crisp. I don’t know—even with the seasoned fish sauce to dip them in. One of those items that aren’t worth the calories for me.

My pho was good—I mean, it was solid pho. It had all the required ingredients—beef broth, lots of noodles, onions, thin slices of beef and onions and hunks of scallions. You got the side plate with a lot of bean sprouts, a few pieces of jalapeno and some Thai basil (no cilantro, boo). There was a little bit of cilantro on top of the soup, but none on the side plate. There is a little area by the front register where you can get some extra onion/cilantro mix (and more limes! Yay!) so I did that.

Like I said, it was decent pho, but it certainly wasn’t the most flavorful broth I’ve had. It helped after I threw the peppers in, as well as some Sriracha and soy.  After it sat a bit and the flavors of the peppers and basil kind of melted into the broth, it got better for sure. It’s the kind of thing/place that if it were in my neighborhood, it might be a solid pho option. But being so far away, it’s probably not going to hit my radar again although I am interested to know if the Thai stuff is good. Some of the pictures on the wall were intriguing.

The BFF had a small bowl of hot and sour soup ($2.75) and another dish off the Vietnamese menu, the name of which I cannot recall (#15 perhaps?). It was egg noodles on the bottom with sautéed pork and shrimp on top. It was a decent dish too—even if the pork and shrimp were a touch on the tough side. I actually thought the hot and sour soup was egg drop soup when they first set it down. It was heavy on the egg and not a lot of other stuff in the soup. It was also heavy on the sour part of the flavor and not so heavy on the hot part. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t really hot and sour soup to me.

It was an enjoyable lunch, and I am always up for trying something new. Did anything blow me away? No. Can you find better pho around town? Yes. But it’s not a bad option if this is your side of town. The place did a decent business and while the staff was very business-like, they also came around to check on you and make sure you didn’t need drink refills.

So who else has been here? You know I want to hear what you think is good.

Egg Roll #1
4576 S. Emerson
Indy  46203
Egg Roll No. 1 Pho No. 1 on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 16, 2015

Pizzology - Mass Ave

I hit up Pizzology on Mass Ave with a friend for lunch the other day. It was actually my first time going to the new location. Well, I guess it’s no longer the newest location, now that the one in West Clay has opened. It’s been awhile since I’d been to Pizzology and I was looking forward to seeing what was new on the menu.

The first thing we shared were the artichoke fritters ($8). I hadn’t seen them before and they were really, really good. Of course, I am a total sucker for artichokes. They were gooey and cheesy with nice bits of artichoke rolled into a ball and deep-fried. The cheese they use is goat cheese and there was also lemon in there, so they were nice and tangy, which you know is totally my thing. They were super crisp and hot and dusted with salt. They serve them with a roasted Fresno aioli—it was really nice with them too. Not heat spicy, but a nice deep chili pepper flavor combined with the creamy rich mayo.

We also shared a pizza that I had never had before—and one that was new on the menu since I had last been to Pizzology (like I said, it’s been awhile). The pizza was the rosmario ($13.50). It’s a white pizza (no red sauce). It’s topped with mild, earthy fontina cheese, wood-roasted mushrooms, rosemary and caramelized onions. It sounded like a unique and really tasty combo to me. It was good, but it didn’t have as much flavor as I expected with rosemary as one of the ingredients—the use of rosemary was fairly light. I liked the flavor of the mushrooms. You can tell they’ve been roasted in the wood-burning oven.  I think a little sprinkle of sea salt on top might complement the rosemary flavor. I do like the crust here—and we got a little taste of the red sauce too by asking for a side of the marinara to dip our crusts in—a nice way to get a little bit of both worlds. Honestly though between the two, the fritters are what stood out for me.

I like the spacious interior of the Mass Ave location—and the big open kitchen is a cool thing to watch. I wasn’t a fan of sitting on one of the bar stool tables along the window—if you sit on the window side (it’s a banquette type of bench), I was too far from the table. No problem for me, we just switched because it wasn’t that busy yet. Our server was very friendly and let us know when there was a mistake in our order and corrected it quickly. A nice addition to Mass Ave.

608 Massachusetts Ave
Indy 46204

Pizzology Mass Ave on Urbanspoon