Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ambrosia


We recently had a fun dinner with some friends at Ambrosia restaurant in Broad Ripple. All in all, the food isn’t bad, and is probably some of the better Italian I have had in Indy, but nothing out of this world.

Because there were several of us, we decided to get several appetizers to share. We had the mussels, the fried calamari, a shrimp and shitake mushroom dish, and the torta di caprino (which is described as a goat cheese pie).

The mussels were decent. They were fresh (unlike every other Italian restaurant I have eaten in in Indy). I really liked the broth. It was a white wine, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice sauce. You could taste the zing of the lemon juice which I appreciate to give it some dimension. It was tasty just on the bread too. The portion was small enough that one person could easily order it and probably eat them all. In a large group, you may want two orders.

Speaking of the bread, it was good as well. It was just a nice Italian loaf sliced, but served warm, which I appreciate. Good for sopping up of various sauces.

The fried calamari wasn’t a highlight. Fried calamari is so ubiquitous in this city, and is done very well elsewhere—not something I would order again here. The sauce served with was just a basic cocktail sauce which I didn’t think added anything. There was certainly a lot of the calamari—both the rings and the tentacles, but like I said, nothing special.

The shitake mushroom appetizer was certainly the best appetizer on the table. The plate had several pieces of thinly sliced “rustic” bread and was covered in the broiled shrimp and shitakes is lots of olive oil and garlic. It might not have been something I would have ordered on my own, but the friends we were with liked it and wanted to get it, and I am really glad we did. It was delicious. And different. I appreciate someone doing something other than the standbys at Italian places.

The torta is described on the menu as a “baked goat cheese pie with a light gorgonzola cream sauce” and served with herbed crostini. Now I am thinking that sounds really good. But the execution wasn’t as impressive. More like a round piece of goat cheese with a gorgonzola sauce around the bottom. Basically, you took a piece of the crostini, smeared some goat cheese on it and tried to get some of the gorgonzola sauce to put on top. It wasn’t bad, but something you could whip up at home in a few minutes. The “pie” part I didn’t get---was it because it was round? I wanted some sort of crust I guess. Probably wouldn’t be on my order list again.

Now, honestly, I could have stopped right there, it was a lot of food, but everyone was ordering dinner so I did too. I ordered the ravioli della mamma which was a spinach and cheese ravioli in a pesto cream sauce. It wasn’t bad, but maybe a little one dimensional—just pure creamy pretty much. Probably didn’t help that I was pretty full by the time I ate it. I should say, what I didn’t eat got polished off by the rest of the table, and I do think maybe they all liked it more than I did.

We did order a couple of desserts as well. The “really big piece of chocolate cake” which was that, a big piece of chocolate layer cake, but it didn’t stand out for any particular reason. The other thing we had (which I ordered) was the tartufo—a ball of chocolate gelato with zabaglione (a rich frozen custard) inside and rolled in cocoa. It was really good—especially the zabaglione. Yummmm…

I really like the atmosphere here (well the patio anyway which is where we sat). It was a beautiful night, and the company was really good. I would go back—and the menu is quite large so there are lots of things to try, and several sound pretty good. But, while this isn’t a totally stellar review, I do think it is one of the better Italian places we have (that I have been to anyway). Which, sigh… makes me pine for some places in San Francisco. Oh well.

(Hey, I am sure I have asked this before, but where oh where, is the really good Italian food???)

Ambrosia Restaurant
915 East Westfield Blvd
Indy 46220
317-255-3096

10 comments:

  1. Have you tried Matteo's in Noblesville? The service always makes me giggle because it can be over the top but the food is always fantastic. The bread is also the best I've had of any Italian place.

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  2. Hey it looks like Ambrosia is getting ready to open a Restaurant downtown Indianapolis on Maryland street next to the closed Gumbo's. It looks like they have a wider selection than Buca, which I enjoy for lunch.

    Mike

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  3. Have you ever been to Amalfi's? It's off 86th and ditch. It is the same family that owns the Capri and Matteo's.

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  4. I highly recommend Amalfi's (86th and ditch). It is owned by same family that owns Matteo's and the Capri.

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  5. How come Louisville can support multiple good Italian restaurants and Indy can't.

    I miss crusty Italian bread and ravioli with burro e salvia so much!

    -Disgruntled Foodie

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  6. Ug...good Italian in Indy, not easy. In my admittedly-limited opinion it was at Enrico's, now seemingly closed. It was on Hillside near the intersection of 62nd and Keystone.

    Chef owner and wife head server. Best pesto in town by far, real pine nuts with whole ones garnishing the top. And no cream in it,t he way pesto is supposed to be made.

    Mysteriously closed but no notice. I remain, probably naively, hopeful of a return.

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  7. There might be hope for Enrico's Erin. In the most recent issue of the Broad Ripple Gazette, there was a blurb that the owner, Stuart Lester, said that the construction and building along Keystone reduced the visibility of the restaurant resulting in the closing. "I am currently looking for another location and for someone who loves Italian food to team up with me to reopen Enrico's" he said. If any blog readers are interested in doing that, it lists Lester's number: 507-0869.

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  8. thanks for all the comments you guys--I haven't yet been to Matteo's or Amalfi. To be honest, it takes a lot to get me to Italian, because I am usually disappointed. But I will get there. I did go to Enrico's once pre-blog days and had a pretty nice meal alone in the restaurant (I think I see what the problem was since only one other table came in the whole time). The chef/owner came and talked to us and was very nice. Love to hear if he re-opens somewhere.

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  9. Try Amalfi's and especially their eggplant parm. Very good. Also Capri, their chicken lasagna is great.

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  10. I miss Tavola di Tosa.

    I made some comments regarding Matteo's on Erin's later post about Amalfi's, I think.

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Thanks, Erin