Thursday, July 24, 2008

Meridian

This week I decided to go back to Meridian after I had been shortly after its opening and being fairly unimpressed. In case you don't know, Meridian is located at Westfield and Meridian, where the old Dodd's Townhouse used to be. Anyway, I knew the menu had changed and thought this would be a good time to re-try it and review it. The decor, as has been mentioned before, is really nice and warm. Reminds you of being in a really nice ski lodge with lots of faux candles. They also have outside dining.

I want to start out by saying, it has greatly improved. I was honest with our waiter about my first visit (he asked) and he told me that they were feeling as though the kinks were getting worked out and many had commented on the improved dining experience. The starters were really good. I had the mussels in sweet chili oil and hubby ordered the chef's version of oysters Rockefeller. The mussels were fresh and well prepared. Seemed a bit too sweet at first, but as the heat caught up, they seemed a bit more balanced. The oysters were outstanding. They were actually deep fried laid across a bed of cheesy spinach with a piece of bacon on top and some Hollandaise on the side. They were really good. I don't usually order oysters and I think I would order these if I go back.

Because I decided to order a starter for my main (I tried to get them to serve me a half order of their lobster carbonara but they said no.), I decided to get a salad as well. It was a properly sized (read, not enormous) spinach salad with the usual suspects, egg, mushrooms and onions and a nice warm bacon dressing. The only fault on this was it was maybe just a little too much dressing.

For my main, I ordered the appetizer of potato gnocchi with mushrooms, greens and bacon (seemed to be bacon everywhere) with balsamic. It was good. Maybe even just ok. But not bad. Hubby ordered duck. He liked it, but didn't love it as much as those oysters. We didn't try dessert for 2 reasons. Trying to watch the figure after a somewhat decadent vacation and also because the courses seemed to go a bit downhill each time, so we figured why risk it?

I will say this, I have been having a lot of bad luck with wine service lately (I have been to two restaurants that have served us very warm white wine), and I was really happy to be served a nice cold bottle of exactly what I ordered.

The server was very friendly and helpful, if not a little over-eager. He was knowledgeable and quite proud to be working there, which was nice to see. He sort of assumed we didn't know anything about food, which was maybe a little annoying, but maybe most of his customers are in that category, I don't know.

I hope the food continues to improve as much as it did between my first two visits. If so, Meridian could turn into an outstanding overall restaurant.

Meridian
5694 North Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46208
317-466-1111
http://meridianonmeridian.com/menu.htm

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Return to Elements and the Tavern at Bugg's Temple

OK, I am trying to play catch up still and so I am going to do quicker than normal reviews of 2 of ,what are usually a couple of my faves.

We went with the in-laws to Elements a couple of weeks ago and frankly, had one of what was probably my least favorite meals there. And usually this is one of my favorite restaurants. Anyway, I had one of their signature salads (that I love so much) and while it was good, it wasn't the best I have had for sure. It was white endive with blue cheese, pistachios and a vinaigrette. It thought it a bit light on the blue cheese and the pistachios weren't as good as some in the past which have included pine nuts or other more flavorful nuts.

For my entree I ordered Tasmanian sea trout. It was done in a shanghai style which as I have said before, I quite like. I almost always order fish at Elements because they do it so well. I had never had, nor heard of, this particular type of fish but assumed it would be similar to trout I have had before (like rainbow trout etc). Well, it was basically like salmon, only a tiny bit lighter. OK, here's the thing. I don't like salmon. I know, most people do, but I like white fish (pretty much of any kind) and some raw tuna type dishes, but usually not the fishes in the pink color family. So I was really disappointed. I was lucky though, because hubby really liked it and traded with me. He had ordered lamb so all was well in the world. The lamb was perfectly cooked, but the sides were a little dull. I only wish the waiter had explained to me what Tasmanian sea trout was, as he had to a nearby table after I had already ordered it. Oh well, you live and you learn. But again, to be fair, hubby REALLY liked the Tasmanian sea trout (but he also really likes salmon). So if you like salmon, try it, if not, skip it!

We also recently went back to the Tavern at Bugg's Temple (also on the night of an ominous looking cloud and storm system--seems hard to avoid this summer) with friends from out of town and had an outstanding meal (well, 3 out of 4 of us did anyway). I had the mussels (of course) and am happy to say, they were back up to their highest quality. In fact, everyone at the table fought for them and I should have gotten a double order. I then had the one side seared beef, which I have always wanted to get but haven't and it was really really good. A nice demi glace with it and I loved it. Unfortunately, I ended up sharing quite a bit of it with my table mate who didn't care for his suckling pig shepherd's pie (said it was way too salty), but really there was plenty for sharing.

And, big announcement! They have added an entire cheese menu in with their bar menu!!! I have been waiting patiently for Indianapolis to catch up to the rest of the world and offer some decent cheese plates for dessert and now you can make your own! They are priced individually so you can mix and match whatever you want. We had a selection of 3 served with some nice accompaniments (honey, nuts, etc) and it was good. And of course, we had the banana tart. I think as long as we go there, and they have it, we will be ordering it.

I would also like to say, the service is getting better each visit which is reassuring. Our waitress even remembered us and knew what wine we would want which was very nice. Unfortunately, they do seem to have a problems keeping several bottles cold at a time, so when we ordered our second, we had to wait to have it chilled down and ate a lot of our entrees without wine. No one is perfect I guess. But this is still one of our favorite restaurants and I was happy to see the food back to the high quality of previous visits.

Remember, they have a great patio looking over the canal. Get there while the weather is nice!

Elements
415 North Alabama
Indy 46204
317-634-8888
http://www.elementsindy.com/

The Tavern at Bugg's Temple
337 West 11th
Indy 46202
317-735-7960
http://www.tavernatthetemple.com/

***Note: this restaurant is now called Euphoria, under new management but with the same chef.

Rick's Cafe Boatyard

I am so behind.. Summer is flying by and I have had some great meals, but no time to write about them. So I am trying to do some catch up. A few weeks ago we went to Rick's Boatyard over on Eagle Creek. The night we went was one of those nights when there were tornado warnings all through the night, and all though it was impressive watching the storms, it probably wasn't the safest choice.

We started with the calamari which was described as "tempura." I wouldn't exactly call it "tempura," more like a light breading to me, but I will say it was really good. It was more like strips of the body of the calamari (as opposed to the normal rings and tentacles you usually get with fried calamari), but it was super tender and I thought really good. As did everyone else at the table. It was served with a remoulade sauce that was quite tasty, but it was good with just a squeeze of lemon if you ask me.

I then had the combo of tempura shrimp and Parmesan crusted tilapia. It was good, but not as good as the calamari. The funny thing was the dinner portions were huge but the calamari portion quite dainty. Hubby has planked whitefish which was also good, but again, did not measure up to the quality of the calamari. We saw someone else get crab legs which looked really good. I think we have decided that next time we will get the calamari and the crab and see how that is. We also had a mud pie type dessert which I guess they are known for. It was decadent and quite good as well.

I really liked the atmosphere of the reservoir-side dining and always enjoy finding such places in our fair, land-locked City. I know it has been around a long time, but it was my first time there. If you haven't been or haven't been in awhile, give it a try. Especially when the weather is nice.

Rick's Cafe Boatyard
4050 Dandy Trail
Indy, 46254
317-290-9300
http://www.rickscafeboatyard.com/