Thursday, April 1, 2010

Harry & Izzy's

Just as I always thought I should try St. Elmo’s because it is such an Indy legend, I have also had Harry & Izzy’s on the list as well. Harry & Izzy’s, in case you don’t know is also owned by the St. Elmo’s folks (Harry & Izzy were two of the former owners of St. Elmo’s). They offer several steaks as well as the “famous” St. Elmo’s shrimp cocktail (of which I am not a fan). Anyway, we finally got there the other night when the in-laws were in town. I like the fact that the menu is much more varied than that of St. Elmo’s, although this menu is so large it might be a little too varied. But they have a decent selection of seafood as well as steaks. There are also sandwiches, pizza and pasta and several different appetizers and sides.

We started with the spicy Asian shrimp which is rock shrimp, which is hand breaded and tossed in a chili aioli. First of all, this was a huge portion. More than enough for the 4 of us to share. Thank goodness we only ordered the one appetizer. They were really tasty though. The shrimp were quite tender (I think one of the great things about rock shrimp is they don’t seem to get tough as easily. The breading was pretty good, not so much crunchy because it was coated with the sauce, but it all went really well together. The chili aioli wasn’t too mayonnaise-y, had a little heat and more of a chili oil component than a mayo one. I would get them again.

When our server described the seafood entrée special, I was sold on the description. It was halibut lightly seasoned with cornmeal and served over a risotto with crab and asparagus. My mother-in-law ordered it as well. It was good, but not amazing I thought. And the portion was ridiculously large. But that is no real surprise I guess. The fish was maybe a tad overcooked, although not dried out or anything. The cornmeal crust was light and added a nice texture. The risotto was extremely rich but tasty. The king crab pieces that were in it were fairly plentiful, but a bit strange. The only word I can think of to describe them is “deflated.” It was almost like somehow the inside of the crab meat had been sucked out from the red outer skin. Tasted ok, just strange. The creamy butter sauce was very rich and could have benefitted from a bit of lemon or something to cut it a bit. We really should have shared the dish, as we both left at least half of our portions (well, we brought them home to the dog who thoroughly enjoyed it).

Now hubby and my father-in-law both ordered steaks. Clearly, this is the way to go here. Hubby ordered the ribeye, his favorite, and my father-in-law the filet. Hubby’s steak was perfectly cooked and I would say, based on the several bites I had, and his comments, probably one of the best steaks we have had in Indy. I guess all that St. Elmo’s experience is a good thing. When you get a steak like this and compare it to some we have had lately, you realize why you sometimes leave a place feeling a little underwhelmed. He had a side of the house made onion rings which were really good—sort of like thicker onion strings. But you could really tell they were made in house and they were really nice with the steak. I didn’t try the filet, but was told it was quite good as well, and based on my observation, it was also perfectly medium rare.
We all shared a dessert as well (which was certainly large enough for 4 of us in my opinion). We had the brownie with vanilla ice cream, hot fudge and caramel sauce and candied pecans. I remember thinking the brownie itself was good, and how can you go wrong with ice cream and hot fudge and caramel really? But we were so stuffed, even between the four of us, we didn’t finish it.

Overall, I think I prefer Harry & Izzy’s over St. Elmo’s for a few reasons. I like the interior of the place better, not quite so old fashioned, and I like the service better. The staff is friendlier I think, and you certainly have more options as to what to order. Considering I don’t care for the St. Elmo’s shrimp cocktail, that is a plus for me. Either place, I would go with a steak, and the ones I have had at both places have been very good.

Harry & Izzy’s
153 South Illinois
Indy 46225


  1. I would agree with everything that you said. However, the presentation on the fish looks like throw-up. I like their duck pizza. Service has always been top notch and I would pick it over St. Elmo's.

  2. you know wibia, you are right. it is sorta unappetizing looking isn't it?

  3. It's St. Elmo, not St. Elmo's. You would think someone with a California pedigree wouldn't speak Hoosier. Guess you've been back long enough. Sorry we've tainted you.

  4. Russ- thanks for the correction. Not sure how my error is "Hoosier," but I was born and raised here after all- I am certainly a Hoosier. Interesting to note their web address is

  5. They seem to call it "St. Elmo Steakhouse" but casually refer to it as "St. Elmo's" as in "Visit us at St. Elmo's other restaurant, Harry and Izzy's". So, your usage is correct, at least according to their standards.

  6. Not that it really applies to this St. Elmo discussion, but I think Russ was referring to the tendency for Hoosiers to add s's to things were they don't belong. For example: "I'm going to Krogers for some milk." I've discussed this with Indy natives before and often, they don't even realize they're doing it or that it's weird.

  7. I don't think it's just a Hoosier thing. I've heard it all over - eevn in California. "Nordstroms" still Sets My Teeth On Edge.