Monday, February 13, 2017

Northside Social --Revisit

We snuck out the other night to grab dinner with friends while our boys were in a  55-hour long tennis tournament (ok, it was only 5 hours, but seemed like longer). We were undecided about where to go, and I remembered that Northside Social had a new chef, Dean Sample (check out his instagram for some of the new dishes).

To be honest though, I hadn’t been in quite awhile, so while I can’t really say exactly how much of the menu had changed, but I can tell you that just about everything we had was tasty.

To start with though, it was strange when we walked in—the restaurant was only about 1/3 full but they wouldn’t seat us without a reservation. We were on a time crunch so we walked into the bar, but when we started discussing it, we thought it was weird since the restaurant was so empty, so my friend’s husband went back up and then they sat us right away. And by the time we left there were still several empty tables. Anyhow, once we were sorted, we ordered some salads and dinner. I just had a green salad ($5) with blue cheese dressing and it was solid. It had chopped up tomatoes and red onions and was mixed greens. Hubby had a Caesar ($6) and was happy.

I ordered the potato-crusted basa ($21) and I have to say, it was delicious. Basa is a tender white fish made crispy on the outside with potatoes that are crusted and then pan-fried. The fish was great, and the lemon butter sauce on the fish makes it for me. It has such nice lemon flavor and herbs on top. I love my acid for sure and I didn’t even use the extra lemon wedge on the side. The sauce was just right. It was served with brocolini and mashed potatoes underneath. The potatoes were fine, but we all ordered a side of mac and cheese ($8) to share and it might be one of the better versions in town. I like that they mix the pasta with green chilies and make the top super crunchy with breadcrumbs. It is a very good mac and cheese.

One friend ordered the spicy Spanish triggerfish ($21) and it was very tasty as well. The fish is a bit thicker and denser than the basa, but remained tender and was a good match for the heartier, spicier flavors of the spicy Spanish shrimp sauce and the ratatouille. There were these really great roasted tomatoes in there that just sort of exploded with flavor. It was a good and interesting dish.

Hubby was excited to see a cassoulet ($21) on the menu, as that is one of his favorite things. They do a pork version here. It’s basically a bean and meat casserole. He liked the dish and the pork that was in there but thought the sausage wasn’t as tasty, but he said he would totally order it again, and liked that a restaurant is actually offering it.

The portions here are good-sized and I don’t think anyone of us finished our entrées. Our server was very friendly and helpful and kept up with our drinks.

Overall, it’s a nice place to grab a more grown up dinner in Broad Ripple. The new chef seems to be mixing up the menu a bit and producing good dishes. If you haven’t been in awhile, you might want to check it out again. And let me know what you think.

Northside Social
6525 North College Ave 
Indy 46220
317/253-0111

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Brozinni Pizza

You guys, if you’ve been following me for a bit, you know Brozinni is one of my places. Let’s face it, pizza in this town is not that good. Seriously, we can argue about this all day long, but you know I’m right. There’s lots of pizza, and there’s some good pizza, but there’s a lot of crappy pizza. Mostly crappy.

My all time favorite though is Brozinni. It’s New York Style and it just has the right chewy, foldable deliciousness. One slice is big enough for your lunch, well, with some garlic knots on the side, and you’ll be all set (be sure and dip that crust in the garlic sauce).

I introduced my hairdresser to them on my last visit, and she used to live in NYC. She has texted me since telling me she can’t stop thinking about it.

If you haven’t been there, you should probably go check it out. It’s what pizza should taste like.

Brozinni Pizza
8810 S. Emerson Ave
Greenwood IN 46237
317/865-0911


Monday, February 6, 2017

LongBranch

Hubby and I decided to hit up Longbranch the other night for an early dinner. We went on the early side because of all the positive write-ups lately, we were worried that we wouldn’t get in. However, this place is a bar and the night we were there (which was a Friday), we didn’t have to wait at all. It didn’t really start to get busy til we left. It’s also a big place, so not as much competition for seats.

They are known for their cocktails, so I felt like I should try one, even though I am typically a wine person. I ordered the “Sayonara” ($9), which had rum, sake and a nice citrus and ginger flavor. Hubby had their version of an Old Fashioned. Both of us enjoyed the drinks—I really liked the pickled ginger garnish in mine. 

We started with the Rangoon ($7) and the egg rolls ($8). Both of the dishes were excellent. I liked that the Rangoon had shrimp inside them instead of the tiny little flakes of crab that you usually see. The chunks of shrimp were larger and actually recognizable. The wonton part was super crispy and freshly fried. They were served with their housemade sweet and sour sauce, which is something I don’t typically eat—you know that bright pink sauce that is more sweet than sour…but this one was really good, much more depth to it and much more acidic kick. It was a great match. 

The egg rolls were really good as well—they put a nice hunk of monkfish inside theirs, and I really enjoyed this to give them more weight and more complexity than your typical veggie egg roll. It gave a nice silky texture as well. They give you a sampler of three different homemade sauces with the egg rolls and these were tasty too. There was a ginger scallion dashi, a duck sauce, and hot mustard. I liked the ginger scallion sauce the most, although the duck sauce was tasty too. I don’t really go in for hot mustard sauce typically just because it is so overwhelming. They do a very nice job with the sauces here, much more interesting than what you typically see in a Chinese restaurant.

For our main dishes, we got a couple of things to share. I ordered the tofu entrée ($10) and we really enjoyed it as well. It was chunks of tofu that were lightly breaded and fried and mixed with sautéed eggplant and a miso sauce. There was a nice amount of microgreens on top as well as some sesame seeds. I find that tofu dishes often have more flavor and seasoning than some other dishes in general, and this one was no exception. I like the soft texture of the eggplant and tofu and the richer flavor of the sauce on this one. My only complaint was that after it sat for a bit, the stuff on the bottom sort of became a bit greasy.

Hubby ordered the short rib with avocado rice and an egg ($16). This is short rib done in the more Korean style, sliced long-ways and not slow cooked in the way you typically see short rib on menus. I liked the way they made the rice extra creamy by mixing it with the soft avocado, and how it added a richness to the rice. Of course you know I love an egg on top, and the yolk added a nice sauce. I guess my only complaint here would be the pure richness without something to sort of balance it out a bit. We found mixing a little of the tofu into the beef dish made a nice little combo though.

We were thoroughly enjoying ourselves, which led to the decision to order dessert (this most often happens when we’re having a really good meal). There aren’t a lot of options, but we ordered a couple of the cookies offered—the peanut butter version with miso cream and the almond version with matcha cream. Man, that peanut butter one was so, so good. The cookie part was so flaky and buttery. And peanut buttery. The other one was good too, but seriously…that peanut butter version... I have thought about that cookie many many times since then.

All in all, Longbranch is a good addition to our food scene. I am not sure why Chinese food is so lacking downtown, particularly with drinks, but I am glad to see this place open. It’s an adult only place, so you may see that as a positive or negative, and it definitely has a bar vibe. I was impressed with the service and the knowledge of our server, and it was a nice relaxing and tasty meal. I would say give it a go, I am looking forward to tasting more of the dishes when we get a chance. There are a lot of good sounding things on there.

LongBranch
2205 N. Delaware Street
Indy  46205
317/602-6726






UPDATE: Ok, so I ended up going back before I even posted this first post, and I have to say, the second visit didn't wow me quite as much. We had a couple of the same things, the spring rolls, the shrimp rangoon and the tofu dish as well as some new things. The rangoon is great. I highly recommend. The spring rolls had less fish this time and weren't as memorable. I still liked the tofu. We also had the General Tso's sweetbreads ($15), and although they are marked as spicy, I thought they weren't very spicy, unless you ate one of the chilis on top. They were a little sticky too--the breading didn't seem crispy enough. The hanger steak (for 2)($26) felt like a bunch of disconnected parts. The meat was good, but there were just little piles of other things on the platter and it didn't come together as a cohesive dish. We loved the spare rib appetizers ($12) though--they had a lot of flavor--like Chinese 5 spice flavor and the meat was cooked just right. So if you average out my two visits, there are definitely things worth having, but there is a bit of a one-dimensionality of some of the dishes. I can't say it will be a regular for me, but it is certainly a good choice for a change of pace, and I am glad to see someone focusing on a cuisine that we don't have a lot of in downtown.


Monday, January 30, 2017

Punch Bowl Social

My in–laws were in town for a couple of days over the holidays and we were looking for something to do to get out of the house for a bit with the kids and maybe try something new. I was kind of randomly scanning through new places that had opened and saw Punch Bowl Social. Seemed like a good idea…. I have to say though I wasn’t sure if kids were even allowed or if this is just an adult place, but as it turns out, kids are welcome until 10:00 p.m. They also take reservations, which it didn’t look like we needed for lunch on this particular day, but I am imagining this is more of a late night place.

They serve food obviously, but also have a plethora of various games offered from old arcade games, to bowling, to cornhole, to foosball, to ping pong and darts. Lots of stuff going on here. So yeah, a fun choice with kids actually. We sat down and looked over the menu—I would describe it as pubby food with a southern flair. It’s a concept from celebrity chef Hugh Acheson.

They serve all kinds of cocktails (punch particularly) but it was lunch so we just went with some beer and wine. Weirdest thing though? They card everyone who orders alcohol. I mean EVERYONE. My father-in-law just turned 80. EIGHTY. They wouldn’t serve him a beer because he didn’t have his i.d. on him. That seems crazy to me. Anyhow, make sure you bring your i.d. if you want a drink, and I don’t care how old you are. Also, Punch Bowl Social, if you’re reading this, that’s kind of ridiculous.

Anyway, we got our drinks (the kids enjoyed milkshakes, my FIL had a diet coke) and ordered some poutine to start ($10). On the menu here, it’s called “The Canadian.” It’s fries, brown gravy and white cheddar cheese curds. It’s pretty simple and straightforward, but my family was really digging it. Both hubby and my son wanted to order more of it. I liked the way the cheese curds were just getting melty as it sat a bit. You have to realize that the fries are not going to be crisp with gravy on them, but the flavor was good (although I thought they needed a little salt). A nice thing to share between the six of us (even though I’m sort of itching to try the pimento cheese and the chips with charred onion crème fraiche).

Hubby and I were torn about what to get, and based on the recommendation of our server, we decided to try the tacos from the starter men ($10 for 4) and the Alabama chicken sandwich ($10) and split them. I have to say, both were really well done. The tacos were small but packed full with cocoa dusted pork carnitas, salsa adobo, radish, thin sliced yellow onion and cilantro. There was supposed to be cheese and crema on there too, although I didn’t get a ton of that in the ones I ate. But the flavor of the tacos was very good. The pork was very, very tender and I loved the onions and the squeeze of lime, Honestly, I think these were better than the tacos I have had around the corner.

The chicken sandwich was a hunk of chicken breast meat that was deep-fried with white BBQ sauce, bread and butter pickles, tomato, and shredded lettuce. This was
also very tasty. The breading on the sandwich was nice and crispy, and there was a nice depth of flavor coming from the white BBQ sauce and the pickles (can we all agree pickles and fried chicken just go together?). The bun was not overwhelming and didn’t take over the flavor with breadiness. They serve it in an iron skillet (for looks I guess because it wasn’t hot at all) and with a side of fries. Their fries are good—very crisp, but next time I would ask for a side of something more interesting than ketchup to dip them in.

My daughter wanted breakfast and was pleased to see that you can order it here until 3:00 and so she did. She was happy enough and thought the breakfast potatoes they serve were good-they were little rounds of crispy fried potatoes. The bacon was only so-so though, it didn’t have a lot of flavor. They seem to be trying to incorporate local ingredients, so someone should tell them about Goose the Market bacon. My son had a burger and said it was fine (he got it pretty plain, so I didn’t even try it—I love some sort of fancy burger sauce on my burgers, which their adult version includes.)

All in all, it seems like a fun place (as long as you have your id) with pretty solid pub food. I know hubby is anxious to go back….and I would like to go with a group to take advantage of some of the games and to try some of the other starters (you need a pretty big group to try much because the portions are pretty generous).

Tell me about your experiences here. What did you think?

Punch Bowl Social
120 South Meridian Street
Indy   46204
317/249-8613