I am bumping my other posts out a bit and squeezing this one in immediately for the sole reason that I want you to get in there and eat these soft shell crabs while you can. I was really hopeful when we decided to go to H20 on this night that there would be soft shell crabs…I just kept missing them everywhere else. But this time I was in luck.
They were offering them in a traditional spider roll, but they were also offering a tomato salad with an option of adding a soft shell crab on top. We added two (no way were we sharing one). Wow. That’s all I can say. I seriously just wanted to skip the rest of the stuff we ordered and just get another order. The tomato salad itself (which you can get without the crab, but you would be insane) was really really good as well. The tomatoes came from My Neighbor’s Garden and were also really good for early season tomatoes. They were cut into large chunks with lots of thinly sliced basil, an almost guacamole-ish avocado topping, some beautiful sliced cheese and wonderfully tasty vinaigrette (drag your crab through THAT—perfection). Seriously, so get in there soon, these little babies don’t stay around too long (they start getting their regular hard shells).
The crabs were lightly fried and were quite large, but in the perfect state of soft-shelled-ness. Sometimes you get pieces that are still just a little too crunchy. These were not, just the right crunch with what was quite a meaty crab. (In the picture, you can only see one crab because I couldn’t stop hubby from removing the other one before getting my camera out).
Ok, now that my frantic rant is done. I will tell you about the rest of the food. We also had one of the chicken buns which was a soft doughy bread (sort of like a pita in shape, but smaller) that was holding some exceedingly tender slices of chicken that were seasoned with a slightly sweet sauce giving it a slightly more mild flavor similar to that in a Chinese pork bun (which is usually heavily sweet barbeque sauced shredded pork of which I am not usually a huge fan). This was nice though, and was handled with a much more delicate hand. There were some barely pickled cucumbers on top that made for a nice variation in flavor (although I would have liked them more if they were pickled a teeny bit more).
We were also served a special dish of “temple and cheek” pork tacos that were outstanding. Just some tortillas with exceedingly tender pork from literally the head of the pig (hence the name temple and cheek) and topped with a bit of pico de gallo and a wedge of lime on the side. These were outstanding as well, especially with the squirt of lime which made the tender pork so bright and tangy. I hope these go on the menu.
We also had the marinated beef lettuce wraps. Hubby was reluctant because we generally aren’t a fan of lettuce wraps, but we thought we’d give them a go. They weren’t our favorite thing, but the beef was lovely and rare and sliced thin and the presentation was beautiful. The beef was placed on top of some kim chi in a super fresh cup of butter lettuce. There was some nice sticky rice on the side as well. However, I can't say we are any more a fan of lettuce wraps in general.
Finally we ordered the hamachi (or yellowtail) served with chick peas, arugula and a light brothy truffle scented jus. The hamachi was seared, and a nice piece of fish, but unfortunately was a little too dry to really enjoy because it was overcooked. The broth was amazing though and if the fish was cooked a little less, it would be amazing (hell, you could throw that fish in there raw and have an amazing combo).
Oh man, and we had the cookies. Those cookies will knock your socks off. Now this is not news to a lot of you , but since Eli and Nicole Anderson have re-purchased the restaurant and brought back Nicole’s cookies and sorbets, you can get an amazing cookie at H2O. For me, this was my first Nicole Anderson cookie and I was suitably impressed. It was a warm oatmeal raisin cookie served with some lightly flavored espresso cream (great for dipping). This was a perfect ending to our meal.
I am going to reiterate what I said before on my last H2O post though—I think we have a gifted chef in our midst and I hope people get in there and take advantage. And don’t worry if you don’t like sushi (I am not a big fan of rolls myself) because I think the best (and most creative) things are going on on the left side of the menu.
1912 Broad Ripple Avenue
www.h2osushibar.com (please please please update the website with the current menu items! I would love to be able to see what is on that left side)