***As of June 5, 2011, Euphoria is closed as a restaurant and is only open for private events. The chef has also left the restaurant.****
Well, after L’explorateur’s unfortunate closing, hubby and I agreed we needed to put our money where our mouth is (no pun intended) and get back out to one of our favorite local restaurants/chefs and visit Euphoria again. We also went with hubby’s parents. It was so uplifting to see just how busy this place was! The first few times I went to the Tavern (before changing names and management) the food was always great, but the place was lacking in customers. This time, they had nearly a full house by the time we left and the place had a great vibe.
The food was also great as well. I shared/tasted several items and had several remarkable things. We were served a fabulous amuse bouche of fried artichokes with some of the tasty Puttanesca that is mentioned below. A great way to start the meal (and as I have mentioned before, I am always more impressed by a warm amuse, it takes some effort). As for what we ordered, we went with a few favorites we have had before and a few new items. The things we had had before, the beef tartare (off the bar menu) and the sweet potato gnocchi were good. The tartare is a great dish served with all the traditional garnishes on the side to mix in with the beef and housemade potato chips. The gnocchi are served with shaved Brussels spouts, braised pork and parmesan. They were maybe not quite as good as the first time we had them (I’m not sure why, maybe not as much of the Brussel Sprout flavor) but still very tasty.
I also tried the shrimp curry for the first time which was quite tasty, even for me, and I am picky about what curries I like. They are served with Laughing Bird shrimp, which are small, sustainably raised shrimp and were really great. I hope to see these shrimp in other dishes in the future—they had much more flavor than many of those super sized shrimps I keep seeing on menus around here that are always too firm. Anyway, there was a light curry sauce with avocado, pineapple and green onions that tasted slightly sweet from coconut milk but also had a bit of heat to it. This was not the kind of bright yellow curry you might picture from certain Asian restaurants. This was a light, creamy and spicy sauce on the shrimp served over perfectly cooked steamed rice. It was really quite good.
I also had part of the Scallop entrée which were large sea scallops served over baby spinach with cod cheeks, granny smith apples and a bacon sherry vinaigrette (with nice sized chunks of bacon). There were 4 large scallops and this was easily an entrée that could be (and was) shared. I enjoyed the saltiness of the bacon mixed with the tanginess of the vinaigrette and apples—right up my alley.
My father in law also ordered the one side seared beef which was served with a great fettuccine Puttanesca. It was also outstanding. Chef Gates really does pasta well—much better in fact then most Italian restaurants in this city in my opinion. The meat is also perfectly cooked, and everyone at the table had some and loved it.
The evening we were there was the last night of Devour Downtown and Euphoria had a great prix fixe menu set with several choices. They have decided to keep a $30 prix fixe on the menu for the time being. I think this is a great idea in our current economy. The menu has changed this week to my understanding, and after having a peek at the new one, the new prix fixe gives some great options (a great sounding soup or salad to start, trout or shortribs for a main, and a trio of desserts that includes my all time favorite banana tart).
The rest of the new menu (with some of the same items from the old one including the Scallops) has some great sounding additions, I for one am anxious to try the deconstructed Dungeness Crab starter. Oh how I love Dungeness Crab. We were also told that once they get to more Spring-ish menus, we will see some changes the wine list as well, which will make for a nice variety.
I noticed the steakhouse menu that I mentioned in my last review of Euphoria is gone which I for one am happy to see. We have enough steakhouses (we counted what like 10 downtown alone?). We do not have enough eclectic menus like Euphoria’s. Enough said.
As for the service, which has long been the Achilles’ heel of this place, it is certainly more friendly and welcoming. However, I think maybe they are (or were this night anyway) a bit short staffed, as the more crowded it became, the more overwhelmed the service staff seemed. But they kept up a warm front and did their best, and it was good to see them all so busy!
Euphoria is certainly one of the top restaurants in Indianapolis and I hope to see it prosper. Even if you are on a tight budget, there are great choices both on the prix fixe and the bar menu (in which everything is around $10 or less--be sure and ask for it) and you will certainly get some great food.
337 West 11th Street
****2/9/09 update: Just thought I should share that on Monday nights the bar at Euphoria is open for an happy hour with all bar menu food items at 1/2 price as well as certain drinks. (The restaurant is closed, just the bar is open). They are also offering a seafood buffet with oysters, crab legs and shrimp cocktail, all you can eat, for $10. This is seriously one of the best deals going --you can get some amazing food for ridiculously low prices at one of the best restaurants in the City. Get yourself in there and see what they have to offer. I think you'll be hooked (and I can't believe these great deals are going to last forever.)