I have decided after a year and a half of living in Indy, and becoming so frustrated with finding good restaurants and good REVIEWS of restaurants that I am going to take it upon myself to at least express myself out there in cyberspace even if no one else ever reads a word!
I am Erin and I recently moved to Indy after about 13 years in San Francisco and 2 in England. I grew up here, but developed a taste for good food while living on the West Coast and in Europe.
There are some great restaurants in this City, but my sadness comes from the low expectations of restaurants on the whole. Hardly anyone is writing honest restaurant reviews anywhere in this City and the tolerance for mediocrity has gotten me down.
Oh, and another thing, how many steakhouses does one City need?
Ok, just so no one thinks this is just a rant with no concrete information, I would like to name my favorite three restaurants. L'explorateur, R Bistro and Elements, and probably in that order. Oh, and for lunch, Taste Cafe & Marketplace. I so love that place. And their BALT sandwich.
Anyway, L'explorateur has a chef who isn't afraid to use some ingredients that aren't on every other menu in Indy (you will probably not usually find the obligatory Indy "lump" crab cake on the starter list) and mixes flavors together in a usually superb way (of course with the occasional mishap-- No one is perfect!). On a side note, I haven't lived here that long, but did Oceanaire start the lump crab cake thing in this city?? So far they are the only restaurant that really pulls it off, not that I order it very often.
Ok, I went to a new restaurant last night, Z's Oyster Bar & Steakhouse in Castleton. I had my doubts, as it is a chain, albeit a small one (I think just one other location in Louisville) and still 1/2 a steakhouse. I worried they would really focus on that end and the Oyster Bar/seafood angle would suffer. I was very pleasantly surprised. Now, the downside was it has only been open a few weeks and I think the kitchen is still on a learning curve (it took 45 minutes to get our appetizers) but the food was actually outstanding. And I had two seafood dishes. I had the roasted clams appetizer (apparently what threw the kitchen off) and the walu, or hawaiian butterfish. The fish was so good it didn't need the sauce. But the sauce was so good, I wanted to eat it. But the fish was so good, I just couldn't decide--so I did a little of both. A great dilemma to have I would say. And the wine list was great a varied. My hubby and I tend toward European wines usually over California wines and were pleasantly surprised with our options, even by the glass. We also had the bread pudding special dessert and it was delicious as well. I look forward to returning hopefully when the restaurant is running a little more smoothly.
(After reading this over, I want to put in a note saying, don't think all my reviews are going to be positive like all the reviews in this City seem to be--you just got lucky I went to a good new restaurant last night!)
Ok, I have gone on long enough I think for a first blog entry and will wait til my next installment to tell you what I like about R Bistro and how my recent trip to the new Meridian restaurant went. If anyone is out there listening, thanks! And please, please send me your recommendations!