***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.****
There was a moment when I thought I wasn’t going to write up every meal I have at Euphoria because I go there more than a lot of places. But then, I was like, forget that, this is some of the best food in Indy, and I am going to write about it! My readers need to know.
It had been awhile, and we hadn’t hit the latest menu yet so we got ourselves on over there. When we got there, we learned it was the last night for this particular menu, which always seems to happen to us, but we were happy to enjoy the last of the season’s morels. We started with the ½ order (thank you thank you for putting half orders of pasta on the menu, this makes me so happy) of the morel mushroom pasta, which was pasta “rags” (or large flattened pieces like really wide pappardelle, covered with a creamy sauce with Pecorino Romano and Taleggio cheeses, and morels and asparagus mixed in. Man, was this good. And I was so happy to see they have (at least for now) added a pasta section to the menu with two pasta choices in full or half orders. I have said many times that Chef Gates’ pasta could compete (and win) against just about any in the City. This pasta was so good and rich, but had a sharpness from the Taleggio that I really enjoyed. The morels and asparagus added a nice flavor and texture break, and the pasta was perfect. Hubby and I shared this, as well as the next item, and we both loved it.
The other appetizer we had was the tuna tartare. This is clearly the best I have had in the City (well, I had a really good one at Puck’s once, but I think it may have been influenced by the fact that Chef Gates had worked there because it was very similar). It was a layer of a sweet onion/tomato relish, a layer of avocado, and the chopped sashimi tuna with horseradish-Dijon vinaigrette. The flavors went perfectly together, and there was just enough acid between the vinaigrette and the tomato relish to make all the flavors shine. Plus the teeny little crunchy pieces of the onion were perfect with the smooth avocado. And the salty sesame crackers were the perfect thing to eat with it--adding the salty taste and the crunchy texture. I had a really hard time deciding which was better. I would happily order either or both, again. Outstanding.
We had already ordered our entrees (sharing the pan roasted black grouper and a half order of the lobster tortelli) when we were chatting with the Chef who told me there were soft shell crabs on the bar menu! I hadn’t even looked at it because everything on the regular menu sounded so good! Well, like I said we had already ordered our food, but no way was I going to pass up soft shell crab, so we just added an order of those to our meal as well!
The soft shell crabs were delicious—really meaty ones, not like some you get that have no meat in the body. They were coated in breadcrumbs made of graham crackers as well as some other savory spices and were fried. They were really good too—a very similar coating to his calamari I think which is also quite good. There were three dipping sauces and I really liked them, except maybe for the tartar, it just wasn't exciting. They were a great deal too, there were 4 on the plate (even though there are only 3 in my picture—hubby got to one before I had my camera ready) and I think it was like $16.
Back to the things we initially ordered, the grouper was served with toasted couscous, ramps, English peas, a charred tomato vinaigrette and basil pesto. Again, the flavors all went together beautifully and the fish had a wonderful crispy skin.
The lobster tortelli has been on the menu before, and I have had it a few times. It is little tortellis stuffed with lobster, served with leeks and a “shallot-tarragon beurre fondue.” It was probably my least favorite thing we had, although it was still good. The pasta was a little dense I guess, but I love those smoked tomatoes on top for garnish. The flavors are rich and go together really well, but everything else was just so good, it seemed to lack a little luster in comparison.
Obviously, after that much food, we couldn’t do dessert, and hubby made a nice lunch of leftover fish and pasta, but one of these days we are saving more room for another cheese plate.
337 West 11th Street
***June 21st update: went back the week after this review (what can I say, some friends wanted to get some of those yummy crabs, and who am I to argue?). Had lots of our standbys, the crab (natch), the beef tartare, and a cheese plate, all delicious as usual. Also tried the venison chops (we shared them). Outstanding. Not gamey at all and wonderfully prepared. Almost like a meatier, jucier lamb chop. Oh, and of course, the chef informs me the menu is changing yet again this week...a repeat visit may be necessary soon!