Monday, February 19, 2018

Louie's Wine Dive - Revisit

A friend was in town recently and we had a quick dinner at Louie’s in Broad Ripple. I have only had dinner there once and was interested to try it again. I appreciate the fact that it’s an adult-ish kind of option in Broad Ripple and has an interesting wine list. I like the interior, even though it tends to be a little cold in the winter with all those windows. Our server was very nice as well. The place wasn’t very busy, but it was a Monday, so hopefully that’s why.

I ordered the burger (they call it the “gourmet Sinatra burger) ($13) because I was just feeling that burger call. So it’s a thick burger, but they cooked it just as I ordered—nice and pink inside. They top the burger with some interesting things. There’s cheddar and bacon, but also balsamic, green goddess dressing, and heirloom tomatoes. I didn’t think I would like the tomatoes on there, but honestly, it was all really good together. And the balsamic really added a ncie touch. And so did the green goddess. They used a brioche bun, which was soft and delicisous. I have to say, it’s one of the better thick burgers I’ve had since my last Room Four burger. It’s not just a good burger, but has just the right amount of extra stuff to make it somewhat exceptional. They bacon was delicious too. Just the way I really like it-really salty and flavorful but also really crisp so it would practically shatter when you ate it.

The burger came with fries, and they are the thin, crispy type. In theory, I like this type of fry a lot, but these were strangely cold as soon as they were served. Not sure what happened here, but the timing was just a bit off. Would love to get a batch fresh out of the fry-o-later though. I did get some of the green goddess to dip in, and I recommend it. 

All in all, I would happily eat this burger again when I am in the mood for a fat burger. What’s your favorite burger these days?

Louie’s Wine Dive
701 Broad Ripple Ave
Indy  46220

Monday, February 12, 2018


Recently when my in-laws were visiting, we decided to try Sangiovese again. We had not eaten there since they moved to Ironworks. I never loved it when it was at its old location, but I heard a few things from a few different people that inspired me to want to try it again so we did. 

We started with the torta di caprino ($14), which is described as a goat cheese pie served with a rosemary cream sauce, roasted red peppers and crostini. I will admit, it didn’t jump out at me on the menu, or when it was served (my daughter was the one who really pushed for it), but I was pleasantly surprised when I took a bite. First of all the crostini was done really well—nice and crisp with parmesan baked on, but still light—you didn’t feel like you were going to break your teeth on it. And I was pleasantly surprised by the texture and flavor of the cheese. It wasn’t just like cold goat cheese, which is what it looked like. It was creamy, and had much more depth than what I was expecting. I was trying to eat a little healthy on this night, but this pulled me back in for several bites.

Possibly my favorite item of the evening though was the insalata mista ($9) that I split with hubby. A salad, I know. It was mixed greens that were topped with marinated tomatoes and Gorgonzola. These little tomatoes showed up on multiple items and are delicious. This is such a better way of serving tomatoes in the winter. Add some kick to them by marinating them a bit. The salad was dressed—like every single leaf was dressed—with a creamy balsamic vinaigrette. It was a fabulous little salad, and I appreciated that it actually had enough dressing on it!

Like I said, I was trying to be a little healthy on this particular night, so instead of pasta, I ordered the half roasted chicken ($16), which is listed as a house specialty. It is marinated in rosemary, lemon and garlic olive oil. It was quite good actually, although with all the oil and the roasted potatoes on the side, not sure it was super healthy. I really enjoyed the rosemary flavor. I also liked that they also used zucchini in the vegetable mix, as it is a veggie that can be cooked in a variety of ways, and usually come out good. I find many side veggies are either over or under- cooked and almost serve the purpose of being a garnish more than a part of the meal. I thoroughly enjoyed my meal though and would likely order the chicken again. And you could easily split it with someone.

Hubby ordered the special seafood pasta, which had a lobster cream sauce and several types of seafood in it. There were scallops and shrimp and some fish I believe. He enjoyed it and I liked that the sauce did have a rich seafood flavor. No way I could have finished even a third of it though—the portion was generous and the sauce was so rich.

My son had the lasagna ($18) and seemed content. He likes lasagna and ate a fair amount, and said it was one of the better ones he had. My daughter ordered the tortellini alla effie ($21), which was tortellini with shrimp and spinach in a vodka tomato cream sauce. She said it was fine, but nothing special. Based on my one bite, I tend to agree. All in all, as far as pasta at the table went, I would say hubby’s special won. My mother in law had a fish special that was very, very good. Looking back, maybe the protein heavier dishes were the star, although I really loved that salad! And we also had a lovely bottle of Italian wine that I really enjoyed as well. The service was also on point, and all in all the meal was quite pleasant. You know how I feel about Italian food in Indy, but there's a good chance I will return to Sangiovese.

2727 East 86th Street
Indy 46240

Monday, February 5, 2018

MIlktooth-- Revisit

Hubby and I had a rare day off when the kids were still in school just before Christmas and decided to hit up Milktooth. Wowza, it was packed. I guess other people had the same idea. Anyway, we waited about 30 minutes but it was actually one of those sunny days and we sat outside in the sun.

We had already looked over the menu when we did get seated, so we ordered right away. While there were several things that sounded good, this was a menu that wasn’t as compelling as some I have seen. But it changes all the time, so this will happen sometimes. We were intrigued by the Indiana hot wings, but the warning that came on the menu that they were extremely hot and that no refunds would be offered scared us off so we decided to pass on those. If they have that kind of warning, we figured they must be really hot. And I’m not the type to love super fiery hot stuff that destroys my taste buds anyhow.

So we ordered the burger ($14), because, let’s face it, it is usually one of the best burgers around these days. They vary it up and this one was different and extremely tasty. It was a thin beef patty topped with asiago, shitake mushrooms, cream cheese chive aioli. Oh, and of course, we added an egg. Part of what makes it so good is that Amelia’s Pullman bun too. It’s just perfect. Light but exactly right to hold up to the stuff inside. Seriously, we split this (as well as everything else) and hubby really wanted to order a second one for dessert. We were both savoring every single bite.

We also ordered the Dutch baby pancake with Manchego, grapefruit, shaved Brussels sprouts, Sherry vinaigrette and chopped hazelnuts--oh and we added the meat option ($16). I want to say it was morcilla? I was glad we added it though—although it was a bit chewy, it added a nice smoky hearty flavor. I liked this better than the last Dutch baby I had at Milktooth because it was pretty much purely savory. The acid and intensity of the grapefruit was a nice contrast with the cheese. The Brussels sprouts were very tasty too and overall were sliced very thin. There were a couple that were just a little too thick for me, but overall, this was a dish that was super interesting and really good.

We tried to get the ham and cheese croissant, but sadly they were out of it, so we decided to get the latke ($5) instead. They usually have some sort of latke on the menu, but they mix it up as to what’s in it, and what’s on it. This one was potato and rutabaga and was topped with acorn squash butter and green harissa cream. I loved the harissa cream—it was tangy like it was made with sour cream. I didn’t really like the acorn squash butter as much, but it didn’t really matter because I just pushed it out of the way and ate all the rest. 

Ok, we had some wine, and in order to prevent hubby from ordering that second burger, we decided to try a pastry for dessert. We got the twice-baked pumpkin/chocolate croissant ($4). I was suspicious because pumpkin flavored things aren’t typically my first choice, but this was really good.  Decadent.

The only downside was the service was pretty slow. But like I said, they were really busy, so I think our server might have been a little overwhelmed. But we had nowhere to be and had wine, so we were generally pretty happy. I’ve said it many times before, but we are lucky to have this place and I am glad to see it still living up to the hype. There’s always something new to try, and always a twist on an old favorite as well.

540 Virginia Ave
Indy  46203

Monday, January 29, 2018

Crispy Bird

You knew I was going to have to try Crispy Bird soon. I mean it’s fried chicken, which I love, and it’s Patachou, which I also like. I had been kind of waiting for the crowds to die down and we lucked into a table the other day for lunch on my birthday with the family. I like what they have done with the interior of the space, even if they did displace one of my favorite lunch places, Barking Dog, in order to make the space.

Anyhow, the staff was very friendly, and in the beginning, the service was very prompt and efficient. It’s a challenge for the servers in there too—it’s still a very small space with a lot of tables, so they have to do a bit of a dance to get to their tables. The menu is very appealing, and there were several things we wanted to try, but we settled on a few to share amongst the four of us.

To start with, we had an order of the biscuits ($6). You get two large biscuits in an order and they are served with whipped maple brown butter. Hmmm. I liked the way these biscuits looked, but they were really dense and kind of bland. I appreciated the soft butter (which was more like butter with some maple syrup alongside), but a little salt would balance this sweetness better. My daughter, who typically inhales just about any type of bread, didn’t finish her half. We left a fair amount.

Between the four of us, we had the thigh/leg combo ($12),  two orders of the breast ($14), and the fried chicken sandwich ($10). For sides we had the mac and cheese ($8) and the black-eyed peas ($8). Of the chicken dishes, I would say the sandwich was probably the best thing. It’s a boneless chicken thigh piece (which is one of my favorite pieces of fried chicken) on a bun topped with aioli, slaw and pickles. The chicken was good, and I loved the pickles. They had a great combo of mustard flavor and a teeny heat and a little sweet. They were great with the chicken. None of us were fans of the slaw, which was strangely soft and lacking much flavor. The leg on the leg thigh combo was my next favorite piece because the meat was tender and it was easy to get the crispy skin with each bite. The thigh was not as meaty, and heavier on the crust. Also, my kids both ordered the breasts, which were dusted with salt, which you could see on the chicken and plate. The thigh/leg combo had no such salt, and needed salt. When I asked for some they brought me a precious little dish with a couple of pinches of salt in it. I think it’s a little presumptuous to think no one will want salt or pepper on fried chicken, to the point that you don’t even offer shakers at all. I can see not putting them on the table, but…. Anyhow, the breasts were the weakest pieces, which isn’t overly surprising to me. Sadly, this chicken suffered the fate of many a fried chicken breast. They were huge, and pretty dry. The thing about this chicken is the crust is really tasty and crunchy (hence the name I guess), but the rest of the chicken is just ok. And maybe I just like my fried chicken salty, but much of it needed salt as well. The sandwich excelled because it had sauce and flavor right on it. The chicken was definitely best when eaten at the same time as one of those pickles.

As far as the sides, the black-eyed peas with the egg yolk confit, “potlikker emulsion” and fried greens was the star. It has nice flavor, as well as a hit of acid. And I liked the crunch of the fried kale on top. And the egg yolk certainly didn’t hurt. This was probably the best thing on the table the whole meal. We also had the mac and cheese after reading a lot about it. I love Gruyere, which is the cheese they use. But it is extremely rich. Extremely. Out of the two chunks served, we didn’t even finish one between three of us.  I liked a few bites of it with the chicken, but whoa. It’s not your traditional creamy take, it’s baked in a block and somewhat dry, but that didn’t bother me. Hubby didn’t care for it, but I enjoyed the flavor quite a bit. Just in small doses.

So the place was jammed, and the service overall was good. I waited quite awhile for a second glass of wine, which was not my server’s fault, as he explained he was just waiting for it to be poured. The bartender was making a ton of mixed drinks and it took quite awhile. Maybe a second bartender would help until business calms down a bit. Just a thought.

Overall, it was not bad. My general theme is that everything is very pretty there, but it’s a little skin deep. And is it a place I will wait in a line to eat? Ehh…probably not. But I will give it another try one of these days. So, tell me about your experiences.

Crispy Bird
115 East 49th Street
Indy   46205

Monday, January 22, 2018

Uptown Café

You know, I had noticed that the old Binford Café near my house had a new sign and that it was now called Uptown Café. And then on instagram, my online friend @frangsty told me that she went, and really liked it. Hubby and I tried it the very next day. It is so close to our house and we are always on the scout out for new breakfast places!

So it’s a small little place—not a lot of atmosphere to it, but the servers are really nice and were right there to fill up your coffee. My only real knock is that it is just a rectangular storefront, and in this really cold weather, whenever someone opened the front door, a gust of cold air shot through the place. They might want to invest in a curtain or some sort of entry area that is blocked a bit. Most of the year it is probably fine, but was a bit chilly when we were there.

I just went with my classic breakfast to see how it compared to other favorites. I had two eggs over easy, bacon, hash browns and homemade white toast ($9.29). They make a lot of stuff from scratch, and the bread is one of them. They also do fresh-squeezed OJ. If you’re a jam person, they also give you a little side of homemade strawberry jam with your toast. My breakfast was pretty much spot on. The eggs were cooked just right, the hash browns were brown and crispy on the outside, and the toast was light and delicious. The bacon looked a little suspect, but it actually had a good flavor and was pleasantly crunchy. I love a glass of fresh-squeezed OJ, and this one while not as sweet as you hope for, was a very generous amount for the price. You can’t really control the sweetness of an orange after all.

Hubby tried the corned beef hash bowl ($8.49) and was quite happy. It was an interesting take of the shredded (hash brown) potatoes, the corned beef and lots of onions (no peppers, which made him happy). They also added Swiss cheese to the mix, giving the whole thing a sort of reuben flavor. He really enjoyed it for sure. He loves corned beef hash and this was one of his favorites.

We also got a piece of quiche ($7.49) to go to take home to my son—this was the only real let down we had food-wise. It just tasted like it had been microwaved, which made the crust a bit soft and the eggs a bit chewy. I just don’t think eggs and microwaves really mix. It really needed to be heated in the oven.

Overall though, for a good solid basic breakfast option within just a few miles of our house (hooray!), this place is getting added to the rotation for sure. I think once the word gets out, it will do very well.

Uptown Café
6404 Rucker Road
Indy  46220


Monday, January 15, 2018

Txuleta Basque Cider House

When we were in Toronto this summer, we took the kids to this Spanish tapas place and the kids loved it, so when they heard that Brugge (one of their favorite Indy places) had opened a Spanish place right above Brugge, they were excited to try it. Txuleta serves pinxtos, not tapas, as well as “snacks,” some sharable tapas (they just list them as “for the table),” and then some full-sized dishes. So what’s the difference between pinxtos and tapas you ask? I didn’t really know myself, so I looked it up. Turns out pinxtos are items that are skewered on bread. So there you go.

Naturally we wanted to try lots of things, and it’s fairly easy to do here. For snacks, we had olives ($6), the brandada ($11) and the Serrano ham ($9). The olives and ham were the clear winners here. The olives had a great unique acidic kick—much sharper than many, and they went well with everything else. We are a family of olive lovers, and these will always be ordered. The Serrano ham was also quite delicious. We have had some bad luck with this at other places, but this is a good one. It’s supple and has lots of flavor. They served some nice bread slices with it as well as some almonds, various fruits and a bit of quince paste. Very tasty—and a really nice combo. Would love to see the cheese plate as well. Next time we may need a combo cheese/meat.  The brandada was the only let down of the snacks. It’s meant to be salt cod mixed with potatoes—which it was, but it was pretty heavy on the potatoes it seemed—couldn’t really taste the cod that much. And I would have liked something to eat with it—bread or something to dip in there. It was an awkward thing to share with just a small bowl. Some of the toast that came with the Serrano would be ideal. Unfortunately the brandada came first before we had the bread that came with the ham. 

The pinxtos were the star of the night though. We had several and they were all really good. I liked these the best because they were the most composed dishes and had great flavor combos. My favorite was probably the ribeye ($9). It had a chunk of ribeye on top of the bread, as well as a little ball of fried goat cheese, some fried chips, and an almond picada sauce. The sauce is made with almond and parsley—it looked like a chimichurri. It was very tasty.

My next favorite item was probably the polenta pinxtos ($5). This had a hunk of crispy polenta and another little ball of fried cheese. I really liked the marinated mushroom and tomato at the top of the stick as well. It was really tasty. I would easily get both again.

We also had the shrimp a la plancha pinxtos ($6) with creamed fennel and lemon confit. This one was good too, although I liked the other ones better. Hubby was a big fan though. The shrimp was cooked just right though and was nice and buttery and not rubbery. The creamed fennel was good and I like the idea of the lemon, although I could have used a bit more of the lemon flavor.

We also had the patatas bravas ($8) because my kids always want fried potatoes. These were the least exciting things of the evening I would say and most went uneaten. They were drizzled with a red salsa and aioli. They needed a little extra sauce, which they happily brought us. My son did order the kid’s hanger steak as well, and it was very good (and a great deal at $8). It was served with matchstick fries, which were better than the bravas, and which also come as a dish to share for $5. I would go in this direction if you want some fried potatoes with your meal.

Finally, we were intrigued to try the Basque burnt cheesecake ($8). It is a slice of cheesecake that quite literally seems to have the top and side charred. It was unique and pretty tasty. I liked that it wasn’t overly sweet. Again, it’s a unique flavor, but a good one overall.

They are also making their own ciders, which I didn’t try because I am generally not a huge fan. But you can also get the usual Brugge beers and wines, so everyone can be happy. You can (obviously) also now take kids up there. This is something totally new for Indy, and I am happy to see it. On the whole, the food is very, very good. I am excited to go back and try some more things, particularly more of the pinxtos. Let me know if you have been and have favorites.

Txuleta Basque Cider House
1011 East Westfield Blvd
Indy 46220

Monday, January 8, 2018

Watami All You Can Eat Sushi

Ok, I am finally getting this written. It has been awhile since this visit, but I needed to get it out there, because it is unlikely we will return. Watami is one of those all you can eat sushi places. You pay about $22 and you can eat whatever sushi you want, as well as random other items on the menu. You can’t just crazy over-order though. They will charge for the pieces you don’t eat if you leave more than 7.  Not every menu item is on there, but there’s a pretty wide selection. We were torn about getting the all you can eat, because our normal order is about 3 rolls, and for 2 people, that would not really be a deal to spend $44. In the end, after ordering a few other things, it was close, but still not a better deal, because the salad I ordered was not a choice for all you can eat.

This place is also located in the old H2O sushi location, which may have me a bit jaded because that was my all time favorite sushi joint and will forever be missed. But I tried to keep an open mind. They have added a lot of booths to the interior, and changed the décor. When we were there, it was really hot outside (I told you it was awhile ago) and the air conditioner was not working. It was fairly stifling in there, which didn’t help our experience.

We tried our three rolls, the sexy girl ($12.95), the rock & roll ($12.99) and the watami roll ($12.95). We also had the tuna nigiri sushi ($4.25) and the avocado salad ($4.50). The sexy girl is spicy tuna and crunch inside with spicy crabmeat on top. So, they said it was crab on the menu, and I saw no little stars next to it and it wasn’t spelled with a “k.” I even directly asked, is this real crab? The server told me yes. Nope, it was that weird stringy stuff that is not good. It tasted fishy and detracted quite a bit. The rock and roll was a fried shrimp inside with avocado on top and crunchy tempura crab bits. It was fine, but not worth getting excited about. The watami roll was tempura crab (here comes that crab issue again), which was also “krab” and tasted fishy and not so good. I mean, I get that they aren’t going to be serving amazing fish at an all you can eat place (someone online said they will eat like 60 pieces when they go!), but if it isn’t real crab, I think you need to be up front about that, especially if you get asked directly. It was topped with seared tuna and avocado. The tuna at watami is somewhat weak as well. In fact that nigiri was pretty inedible because it was so fatty and stringy. And you know they are saving the best pieces for the nigiri. So you get the idea. The best part about the rolls for me was their size. They were very small pieces, which I like because they’re easy to eat. Assuming they probably do this for cost cutting. My avocado salad, which looked really pretty on the menu, was pretty boring. A few pieces of iceberg topped with sliced avocado. I mean, I love avocado, but some acidic gingery dressing would have been nice.

Hubby really hated this place. I don’t think he will ever step foot in there again. I could probably be persuaded to try it again just because I am always willing to give a place a couple of chances. But I certainly wouldn’t order anything with crab in the name. And the fish is certainly not up to the standards of many sushi places in town, but I guess you get what you pay for. And if you are eating 60 pieces of sushi for $22, well you can’t expect the highest quality. I know several people who really like this place, but if you ask me, there are much better places for sushi, and even better places for all you can eat (try Asaka during their happy hour). But for those of you who get really excited about the potential for large amounts of food for a little amount of money, I have included pictures of the all you can eat menus for your perusal.

Watami Sushi
1912 Broad Ripple Ave
Indy  46220

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Bluebeard- Revisit - Lunch

I met my friend Suzanne for a slightly late birthday lunch at Bluebeard. It’s been awhile since I have eaten at Bluebeard for lunch, so it was nice to go back. The hard part is not ordering everything on the menu—so I let her choose and we split both items.

The first item was the Canadian bacon sandwich ($10), which had Canadian bacon, spinach cream cheese, garlic mayo, roasted red peppers, arugula and red onions served on Amelia’s Pullman toast. There was a lot going on in this sandwich, but it was extremely tasty. I really enjoyed the softness of the bread, even though it was also nicely toasted. The cream cheese and aioli added a kick of acidity. My only knock on it was the bacon was very fatty, which maybe some people like, but it gives it a bit too rubbery of a taste sometimes for me. I just pulled off some (not all) of the fat and really enjoyed it.

Bluebeard is sourcing their meats from the new Turchetti’s down the street (I overheard the waiter telling this to another table). It’s exciting to see a new local business featured in a restaurant like Bluebeard.

We also were feeling indulgent and got the loaded fries ($14), which were extremely good and extremely bad for the diet. But whatever. There was Mornay sauce, cheese, bacon and of course lots of crispy fries. Oh and a sunny egg on top. The Mornay sauce though—damn, it was so good. It wasn’t just pure flat and rich, it had an edge to it that made it completely addicting.

Bluebeard is a solid choice you guys, even for lunch. It feels like a nice grown up place, and isn’t so crowded that you have to wait to get it for lunch. And you know you want to eat those fries.

653 Virginia Avenue
Indy, 46203

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

45 Degrees

Sushi quest. Day 342. Hubby and I had an event downtown and decided to try 45 Degrees beforehand to continue our ongoing search for our new favorite sushi. This place has been around forever and it was about time. 

The first thing about it is the interior—I really like the funky, modern feel of it. It has a nice atmosphere for sure. Our server was also very friendly and quick. We had drinks quickly to enjoy while we looked over the menu. We started with an order of the tuna nachos ($14). These were an interesting concept and were quite tasty. Possibly my favorite item of the evening. So there’s a layer of wonton chips and they are topped with chopped seared tuna, pico di gallo, Mexican cheese, wasabi mayo, and a mango habanero glaze. There was a lot of tuna on there, and I enjoyed the various flavors that were mixed in, especially the acidity from the pico. I was worried the cheese would be weird with the tuna, but it worked. Even though it was pretty big, we managed to eat the whole thing.

For sushi, we ordered just two rolls since we had the nachos. We had the spider roll ($15) and the piranha roll ($15). The spider roll was fried soft shell crab inside along with some fresh crab and avocado (we had them hold the cucumber). It’s wrapped in soy paper and then the whole thing is drizzled with spicy mayo and ell sauce. This was a tasty roll for sure, and I really appreciated the addition of actual crab. It was nice to even see real crab as an option. Not many sushi places do this. The rolls were also not so ridiculously big, which if you’re a regular reader; you know is a pet peeve for me. I don’t want to have to cut a piece of maki in half in order to be able to eat it.

The other roll was interesting. Inside it had shrimp tempura, avocado, and cilantro (again, cucumber held) and it was topped with yellowtail, Sriracha and serrano pepper. It was served with a side of ponzu sauce.  It was an interesting combo and I liked the touch of heat and the sweet and slightly acidic ponzu. Both rolls had the combo of crunchiness I like from the fried seafood inside as well as the fresh fish richness. And avocado. Whenever there’s avocado, I’m just a little happier. I like that they have a lot of variations on rolls and that they all don’t have the stuff that I don’t like. I feel like some places we go stick cream cheese in every roll, and I just don’t believe cream cheese belongs in sushi.

Overall, I think this place meets my need for good sushi rolls. And we really enjoyed the tuna nachos. I would like to try some of their other non-sushi items as well. If it wasn’t so far, it might qualify for a regular place. Again, I also like the modern feel of the place. What do you guys think? Have you been there?

45 Degrees
765 Massachusetts Ave
Indy 46204

Monday, December 18, 2017


A lot of people have been asking me about Provision so here it is!  Let me start off by saying we had dinner here the first time within like a week of it opening, which isn’t something I normally do, but friends asked us to go and I will rarely turn down such an invitation. That first visit we tried a lot of the appetizers and there were some that really shone and some that were kind of stinkers (the beef tartare for example was very bland). I am not going to write a full review of that visit, because it goes against my regular rules, but I wanted to let you know that the second meal was influenced by it because we ordered things based on that first visit that we knew were better than others. Thus, we crafted a very good dinner, but based on the first visit, there are still some food kinks to be worked out. And service. Woo. That first visit we had pretty bad service, but like I said, it was new and the place was packed.

So on the second visit, we took the kids and sat outside on one of those glorious fall evenings we had awhile back. I like the outside because it isn’t so crazy loud like the inside can be. To start, they brought us a nice amuse of salmon on top of a multi grain type of crouton and a creamy sauce. It was an extremely tasty bite. We then ordered the tuna appetizer ($22) and the seafood cocktail ($20). Again, both choices made based on our first meal. It’s funny, because the seafood cocktail isn’t something I would typically order because while I like shrimp cocktail, how boring can you get right? But this one is unique because the shrimp is dry rubbed with seasonings and then lightly charred. The shrimp are large, but nice and tender and have a wonderful smoky flavor. They also serve it with some hunks of king crab and avocado and a curry red sauce underneath. A nice combo of flavors and we enjoyed it both times. The tuna is also quite tasty. They give you several pieces of seared tuna drizzled with spicy mayo and a crunchy rice cake alongside. I really enjoy the variation of textures in the dish and the flavor from the mayo. You know I love seared tuna and this is a tasty one. We also got the bread plate ($5), because if there is one, and my kids are with me, this will be required. They do a nice job giving you Blue Dog bakery baguette, which is the best local-ish (from Louisville) baguette you can buy, a homemade soft pretzel and some house made pita. They give you butter and a yummy flavored dipping oil. The oil is particularly good with the pita.

I knew I would get to eat some of everyone else’s food, and I was intrigued by the crab toast appetizer ($36), so I got that as my main dish. So wow, this dish had so many different things going on. First of all the bread was so flakey and buttery—almost like it was a croissant underneath. It was topped with big hunks of the crab, jalapeno, Thai basil and a slightly spicy beurre blanc (butter sauce). I liked the combo of the rich, but light and flaky bread and the rich crab with the slight spiciness and acidity of the sauce. A tasty dish for sure. Probably better as a starter to share with someone else though.

Hubby had the special of the evening, which was snapper on top of risotto. It was very well prepared and he really enjoyed it. My daughter ordered scallops ($35) with cilantro gnocchi, spinach and basil-chile beurre blanc. The scallops had the perfect seared edge and were cooked very nicely. She seemed to enjoy them, although couldn’t finish it. My son’s Angus filet ($38) with Robuchon potatoes though was outstanding. And my daughter kept trying to steal bites of those buttery potatoes. All of our dishes were very good. If I had lucked into this as my first meal, I would have been so excited about this new place. As it is, I am still excited; I just know that there are also several items on the menu that aren’t quite as good. I am also looking forward to seeing how they mix up the flavors as the seasons change. I typically really enjoy the new restaurants that Cunningham opens with Layton Roberts in the kitchen. So far Provision is solid, although not as impressive as Vida was when it first opened. It just doesn’t yet seem to have the finesse that Vida had. Maybe that’s not what they’re going for though, who knows.

I have heard many mixed things about this place, so I would love to hear your thoughts.

2721 East 86th Street
Indy  46240
photos from that first dinner

Monday, December 11, 2017

Pioneer - Revisit

My family has really enjoyed Pioneer in the past—and when given the option, the kids chose to go back. They have changed up the menu bit and our last visit was probably the best one yet. I also recently had the pleasure of a private wine dinner there and had a really good meal as well. It’s a place you should definitely check out if you have not already.

We started out with the everything pretzels ($8) with dill cream cheese and tomato olive schmear. I liked the play on an everything bagel, with the seasonings on the pretzels and the cream cheese. They are soft pretzels, but have a nice crusty crunch to them with the spices on top. As long as they’re on the menu and I am with my kids, I am pretty sure they will be ordered.

My daughter is also obsessed with arancini, and we had an order of these ($9). They have had a version of them in the past, but I think I preferred the lightness of these the most. They are rice balls that are seasoned with saffron, lightly fried and served with parsley aioli. Hubby wanted the meatballs ($12), and no one objected so we had those too. These were very tasty, even for meatballs. They were served with a rich red sauce and crostini. If you’re a meatball person, you should get them.

Hubby and I also ordered the frisee salad with a “fried” egg, guanciale, and fingerling potatoes. The only bad part of the meal was that they forgot to bring this until after we had already gotten our entrées, but we decided to eat it anyway, and I was so glad, because this is so good. I will certainly order this each and every time if it’s offered. The frisee is nicely dressed and acidic to balance the richness of the egg, which is barely poached and then breaded and deep-fried. It remains yolky and delicious. This is the perfect thing for me and I would happily eat this as my main dish—as it was I basically ate it as a dessert, which was fine by me.

Pictures from the wine dinner
Oh man, though, the star of the meal was the beer brined half chicken ($21). My son and I split it. Normally I don’t order chicken out, but this may change this practice. If you have ever been to San Francisco and ate the “chicken for two” at Zuni Café, this is very reminiscent of it. Pioneer does a bread salad underneath with greens—there’s a good amount of acid in the salad and it is so good with the extremely tender chicken. The chicken was just so good—it sort of fell off the bone and even the breast meat was tender and delicious. I highly recommend this dish.

Hubby and my daughter both had linguine and clams ($21). They both enjoyed them but agreed that other things were the stars of the night (hubby thought the salad and chicken were his favorite things and my daughter would say the pretzels). They use nice smallish clams and give you a decent amount of them. The sauce is flavorful, but could use maybe a little bigger punch of red pepper. 

Overall, this was a great meal and it’s a great place to remember when you want a nice local meal in Fountain Square.

1110 Shelby Street
Indy 46203