Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Oakley's Bistro-Lunch

Oakley’s has been on my list to get back to—I hadn’t been since I started my blog, and I finally managed to get over there—well, for lunch anyway. And the very first time I went, it was lunch, and I was quite impressed so I was looking forward to it.

The weird thing is, I think the menu is the same lunch menu they have had since I went there the first time, like 3 years ago. I was sort of hoping in a chef driven independent restaurant for a little more variety, but what can you do.

I decided to get the soup and tart option, opting for the soup of the day which was described to me as roasted corn and cauliflower soup with a garnish of tomatoes and avocado. This soup was outstanding—truly something special. However, I think it was more like roasted corn and cauliflower with some small nice chunks of mushroom and tomato with chive oil and chives for garnish. Didn’t really taste the avocado, but they bring it in little copper pots that are hot and pour it into a large bowl so it was hard to catch exactly what was on top for garnish. But whatever it was exactly, it was amazing. My dining companion had the butternut squash soup, which I think is usually on the menu, and thought mine was better. Seriously, if they offer this soup when you are there, get it. Yum.

I chose the shrimp tart as the second course and it was good, but not great. It was described as coming with shrimp, spinach, tomato fondue and mushrooms. The crust is a nice puff pastry but the “tomato fondue” seemed more like a chunky marinara that sort of turned the whole flavor into a pizza-ish one, which isn’t what I was really hoping for. The spinach and the mushrooms were sautéed and the perfectly cooked shrimp lay across the top. Other than the shrimp, I could have closed my eyes and been eating pizza. I would prefer it without the tomato sauce, or maybe with just a few fresh tomato dices on top (well, when they’re in season anyway). There were several tarts, particularly a chicken version that sounded interesting and may not suffer from this problem since they are described as just having “tomato” but if it is the same sauce, I would skip them and try something else.

I saw they still had the salmon pot pie on the menu as well, which hubby raved and raved about when he got it 3 years ago. Maybe try that. All in all, I want to like Oakley’s, I like the concept, I like the restaurant and the ingredients are top notch. A little variety might be just what they need. When a restaurant like this rarely changes the menu, it makes me question if maybe they are just a little burnt out. But I will try dinner again soon, and will hope for the best! And as always, I will let you know when I do!

Oakley’s Bistro
1464 W 86th St
Indy 46260
(317) 824-1231


  1. For good performance, my manager awarded me with Oakley's "Chef for a Day."

    I was very excited to work in his kitchen for a day because I had heard so much about him and his cooking.

    The experience ended up being very disappointing. It seemed as if I was intruding, there was no attention on showing me technique or skills, but rather he gave me tasks. Peel this, chop that, cut these....but no teaching.

    Genius move on his part, get people to pay to work in his kitchen. However, I will never recommend this to anyone. I've already told dozens of people about my experience. I also felt his kitchen was a bit dirty, especially when you think that he invites "strangers" back there.

    The experience also included dinner which we felt was underwhelming. Nothing jumped out as as a must have dish.

    We won't be returning as there are far too many more positive experiences to be had in Indianapolis.

  2. That's pretty funny. At least they didn't have you wash the dishes and clean out the grease traps.

    We've been there twice, last time was about a month ago. Pretty solid meal, I had the short ribs for the main course and they were excellent. We went on a Friday night, and they weren't very busy - maybe 3/4 full and just one seating. On my previous visit this summer we went on a Saturday and the place was a madhouse. This economy seems to really be taking it's toll on high end dining. I hope they can stick it through, this is one of the better restaurants in town.