We are always looking for kid friendly independent places. C.R. Heroes is one of those kinds of places. They call themselves a “family pub” which is a phrase you don’t tend to hear in the US (reminds me of my days in England). So we rounded up the kids, as well as some other family members, and gave it a go.
The menu online claims that most of their food is made in house and from old family recipes. When I see the very typical bar food kind of menu, with a few differences, I have to say I get suspicious about exactly how much of it is being made in the back, but was surprised that several things seemed to be. We had a sampler platter with fried pickles, onion rings, potato skins and soft pretzels. I would say the best thing (and the one most clearly being made fresh) was the fried pickles. They were pickle slices in a light crispy batter and served with ranch dressing for dipping. They were pretty tasty and the batter was nicely seasoned. We were also told that the onion rings were made in house, and they tasted ok, but the batter was so uniform, I have to say I was suspicious. The soft pretzel was a unique thing to find on a pub food type menu and they were tasty—particularly dipped in the brightly colored orange cheese sauce. I was most disappointed with the potato skins, which back in the day when I ate more of this kind of food, were one of my favorite indulgences. And these days, it seems almost impossible to find good, freshly made ones. These just hardly had any flavor, although they had the requisite cheese and bacon bits on top. (Seriously, does anyone make really tasty potato skins anymore?)
As for the entrées, reviews were mixed. I ordered the miniature version of the “Hoosier Daddy” pork tenderloin sandwich as well as a regular cheeseburger slider. The pork tenderloin is one of the house specialties and it wasn’t bad. They were making these in house, and they were nicely seasoned, but wasn’t super moist the way I like. And it was supposed to be served with a garlic mayo on the side which I didn’t get until I asked for it, and which tasted like it was mayo mixed with ketchup. Just plain mayo would have been better. The cheeseburger suffered the fate of so many “sliders,” and was dry and overcooked. One of my family members had a full sized burger and was more pleased with it than I was with mine. On the plus side, I ordered a salad as my side dish (a girl can only eat so much fried food in a night) and was happy to see it wasn’t one of those wilty bagged mixes (with the obligatory carrot matchsticks, you know the one). The lettuce was mainly iceberg, but it was fresh and cold. Nothing fancy, but for a place like this, not bad.
Hubby had the Chicago style Italian Beef sandwich and found it so so. The bread he thought was spot on (according to the menu being brought from Gonnella Bread in Chicago) but the meat, not so much. He thought it was an okay beef sandwich, but not authentic.
My kids had a kid’s pizza (picture taken by my future blogger daughter) and a sirloin (my son, who announced he wanted steak, was lucky they had a kid’s option for steak which was nice). The pizza looked like it came from a box or something (and those smiley face potatoes are everywhere) but the sirloin was pretty good. It is sort of my pet peeve that when there is a steak on a kids’ menu it is usually a crappy cut, but this one tasted pretty good. And they actually cooked it medium rare, the way he wanted it (another pet peeve, when restaurants overcook kids meat, thinking they know better or something).
Of course the favorite part for my kids was the little arcade that was in the back. But wow! Who knew a video game could cost $1 per play (see how out of touch I am?) And when your kids are as young as mine, the games don’t last long. Actually all in all, I thought the atmosphere was a little depressing. There were all kinds of décor depicting heroes of different types, from firefighters to Superman, which was fine, but the room was very dark (several at the table had a hard time reading the menu and everyone I was with commented to me about it later) and there was no one else there until right when we left. The air conditioner wasn’t working well and it was quite warm as well. I don’t know, for a “family pub,” I expected the ambiance to be a little more, well, enthusiastic or something. This included the wait staff unfortunately.
So some of the food was pretty good for pub food (the stuff that was made in house mainly), but I have to say the overall experience is not getting me rushing back. And seriously, what about good potato skins? Let me know…
10570 E. 96th Street
Fishers, IN 46038