Thursday, August 26, 2010

C.R. Heroes

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…

CR Heroes
10570 E. 96th Street
Fishers, IN 46038

C.R. Heroes on Urbanspoon


  1. I'm surprised that the garlic mayo wasn't right and that you didn't like the tenderloin. I really like them, and the garlic mayo is usually full of roasted garlic, as my hubby and son can ruefully attest. It's the kind of thing I dream about. I would definitely encourage you to go again sometime. Not the best place ever but a nice change of pace.

  2. I'm surprised about your garlic mayo comment, too. It is really good - if you looked at it you could see other stuff in there. I couldn't eat a CR Hero without it. And I know the beef is from Chicago; it gets shipped from there. (I've talked to the owner about it) I think it's really odd that you make a positive comment and feel the need to talk negatively about somewhere else. You did that a lot in your review and it takes away from the restaurant you are reviewing. We really like CR Heroes and find your review a bit off. And you ordered some of my favorites! We've been there enough to know that it is a good place, maybe you should give it another try with an open mind.

  3. Erin, thank you so much for dining with us. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy your experience and would like to clarify on a few things. You are right, the onion rings are not hand breaded here. The server gave you the wrong information. Ironically, I agree with you on the potato skins and with the new menu that rolls out on Monday, they have been changed. They're a much bigger potato and have a great flavor. I've also never really liked the kid's pizza and on the new menu roll out on Monday that is also gone. We will now be offering a kids pizza pretzel, which is our hot pretzel topped with mozzarella cheese and pepperoni. I've never heard anybody tell me that the atmosphere was "depressing" or that it was too dark in the dining room. I will ask around and get other opinions on whether we're keeping the dining room too dark, that's an easy fix. I'm assumming you visited us during a slower time, if you were the only ones here? We have over 2600 frequent diners and are ususally pretty busy. We do make over 70% of our food in house including sauces, dressings, gravy, etc. I hope you'll give us another try. You did order some of the more popular entrees and I'm particularly shocked about the garlic mayo. I'm glad your son liked his steak, and that is a pet peeve of mine as well when restaurants cook kids steaks well done. My children have always been medium rare steak eaters:)Anyway, I appreciate you dining with us and hope to see you again sometime. Stephanie Boehm, owner

  4. Thanks everyone for the feedback--I always appreciate it when people can heartily disagree with me in a contructive way. And in fact, reading all these comments (and hearing about the changes ahead from Ms. Boehm) makes me want to give this place another try.

    Maybe they were just out of garlic mayo on the day I was there or something, because what you all describe sounds really good and not at all like what I had.

    And yes the night we were there, there was only one or two tables that came in toward the end of the meal, but much of the night we were on our own. I am glad to hear that doesn't reflect CR Heroes typical business.

  5. We were there a week ago, on a Friday night. I found it rather dark in the restaurant as well. I had trouble reading the menu. My son liked the kid's pizza, it's like the individual Schwan pizzas that we like. My husband always orders the Hoosier Daddy with extra pickles, so he was disappointed when it came with just two pickles instead of the extra he was anticipating. I had the Turkey Manhattan which was good. We enjoy visiting the restaurant every few months.