****Note: Puck's is no longer in business.
Pucks, Pucks, Pucks. What can I say? The food is great, and so is the ambiance (beautiful dining room at the Indianapolis Art Museum overlooking the fountain), but the service blows. Hard. We went last week and have been many times since being back in Indy. The food has almost always been excellent, while the service has ranged from mediocre to really crappy (as it was this last time).
Because the service problems started from the get-go, that is where I will start. I will tell you about the food next. We walked in, about 2 minutes late for our reservation. There was no hostess there and a large party ahead of us. We all waited. The hostess came back, told us she would seat them and be right back for us. About 10-15 minutes later (!!) she came back and seated us. At a table with only half the necessary flatware and no bread plates. Granted they were pretty busy, but it bordered on ridiculous. The waitress was nice but very distracted and slow. Our meal took forever. Later, I saw why the hostess wasn't at the front. She was bussing tables and pouring water and bringing menus (which by the way, for dinner, we were given one dinner menu and one lunch menu). It makes one wonder if they are struggling with help or business and were not expecting a crowd. But you have to have bussers.
As for the food, I am amazed that with the service issues they have, they continue to put out such an excellent product. Although I have noticed that the menu used to change a lot more than it does now. Which is a bummer because parsnips are really more of a fall/winter kinda thing I think. Where's my spring veg? But if you are having a lot of service problems, and who knows what turnover in the kitchen, it is probably easiest to keep up the quality with routine.
On to the food specifically. I had the frisee salad with a poached egg, bacon and sherry vinaigrette. I have had it in the past, and as usual, it did not disappoint. Excellently prepared and executed. Hubby had the tuna tartare which I had the last time I was there (and I had some this time off his plate as well). The quality is really good, but to me, it was heavy on spiciness and could've used some lemon or something. Next, I had the halibut done Shanghai style with rice. It was good. The fish was cooked very well, but it was quite spicy. I can handle a fair amount of spiciness, but this started to take away from the other flavors the closer you got to the end of the meal. Normally, my experience with Shanghai style is a sort of mix between the spiciness of the red chilies and a sort of sourness from the ginger and rice wine. This was mostly just hot, with a hint of the other flavors, but still quite good.
Hubby then had a blue cheese encrusted filet, as the mains weren't really up his alley this night. (Listen up Broad Ripple Steakhouse, this is how you do a blue cheese encruseted steak--with blue cheese! Not breadcrumbs.). He was quite happy.
Anyway, it was a very frustrating meal because the food is up there in the Indy scene, but the service was so bad, it made it hard to want to go back. I hope they fix these problems, because not everyone has 3 hours to spend at a weeknight dinner. And I want to go back, I really do.
Puck's at the IMA
4000 Michigan Road