Saturday, May 24, 2008

SI (aka Scholar's Inn)

We were really in the mood to try something "new," so we ventured to the recently refurbished and re-Chefed restaurant, SI. Jake Brenchley has taken over the kitchen as of February. Up until a few months ago, most of us knew this restaurant as Scholar's Inn. Apparently, the new branding is not complete because the sign hasn't changed out front and some of the receipts still say "Scholar's Inn" as well. I was interested in trying the new version since the other two times I was there I was somewhat underwhelmed. (So the "SI" apparently stands for "Scholar's Inn" and "Sexy and Intimate.") (I leave any editorial comments about that to the reader.)

The first time I went, which must have been about 5 years ago when I was visiting from California. The menu was HUGE. There were lots of interesting things on it and I remember ordering a scallop appetizer that had some black truffle with it. The scallops were overcooked and somehow, inexplicably, the truffles had absolutely no flavor. Honestly, I don't remember the rest of the meal.

Fast forward to about a year ago when we stopped in for dinner before a concert at the White River State Park stadium (why are the calling it "White Lies" this year anyway?). Well, we sat outside which was nice as it was a very warm evening. I was happy to see the menu had been significantly pared down, as I don't think any kitchen could pull off everything that was on that first menu and do a good job. It was more like the traditional Indianapolis menu--basically a steakhouse menu plus a few other things. The food was good, but nothing to write home about. I had a steak and some shrimp cocktail I think (I told you it was steakhouse-ish).

Now, on to the new "SI." Simply, I loved it. The new atmosphere is very chic and makes you feel like you are in a nice restaurant in a more food oriented City. There were 3 or 4 really interesting sounding appetizers and salads. I ended up getting the scallop appetizer with blood orange, red onion, endive and prosciutto which was thick-cut and curled around the scallop. It was delicious. I was so pleased. The scallop was properly cooked and the sweet and tart sauced complemented both the scallop and the meat.

I was feeling a little iron-deprived and the sides sounded somewhat yummy, so I ordered the steak (which is somewhat unusual for me). It came with a red wine demi glace and Becahmel mac and cheese. It was really good as well. Honestly, the steak itself was better and better prepared than the Capital Grille one the other night. It was huge as well, and I only ate half.

Hubby had a frisee salad with shitake mushrooms and it was really really good too. We argued over whose appetizer was better. He had the short rib for his main and really liked it as well. He said it was the best short rib he has had in this City.

The desserts, much like most of this City, we very unmemorable. We ordered a chocolate cake thing and it seemed like it came from a box or some distributor. Does this City not have any pastry chefs??

The only other downside was the service. While everyone was very friendly, it took a good 10 minutes before anyone came and got our drink order. From there, it took another 10 minutes before our wine came. They were actually out of what we ordered, but that worked out well because we got a better bottle for a cheaper price. One note here, I found the wine list overpriced. I can't stomach paying $48 for a bottle of wine that costs me about $16 in a wine shop (and I am sure they get the wine cheaper than I pay in the wine store). Particularly in Indy.

We were very excited with the prospect of a new Chef and basically, what is a new restaurant, that is really, really good. I can't wait to go back and get one of the fish dishes. There was also a good crowd there, which is nice to see on a week night.

Incidentally, we were told the menu changes seasonally and the new one will be out in a couple of weeks. Try it, you'll like it!

SI
725 Mass Ave
536-0707
http://www.scholarsinn.com/

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Thanks, Erin