Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Scotty's Lakehouse

Scotty’s Lakehouse is probably the most suggested place I have had for a review. It seems like everywhere I go, people are asking me if I have been there. I couldn’t quite figure it out, after what was a fairly average review before of Scotty’s Brewhouse, but I figured with that many people recommending it, I should give it a try.

The first thing I liked about the Lakehouse was the menu. Actually, several things about the menu. First, it is so much simpler and less sensory overload than the Brewhouse menu. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot on this menu, but it looks like someone has made a conscious effort to pick the best things and focus lots of energy on them. Also, it is printed on recycled paper in a simple color scheme. It lets you focus on the words without feeling like the pictures are knocking you out. The other thing I liked is that the Lakehouse is attempting to source the majority of their ingredients organically, and locally, if possible. For a “burger joint” as they call themselves, I am impressed with this.

The interior is not that much different from the Brewhouse interiors—it feels like a bar, not a Lakehouse. Hubby was particularly not impressed with being seated within direct eyeshot of the kitchen, particularly since there were several empty tables when we got there. We did get a booth, which are quite roomy and the flat screen tvs that are a Scotty’s signature item would be nice if you have kids with you (it looks as though you can only get sports or cartoons though).

Anyway, we decided to get several items and share them all. We wanted to see what some of the items were like that were unique to the Lakhouse so we tried to aim for those. We started with the tuna ceviche and the truffle fries. Unfortunately, when the fries first came out, they were totally cold. We could see the potential though and sent them back (our server was very attentive). The second batch was excellent. The fries themselves are made fresh in house (so we were told) and are cut in a very interesting way—they are almost like little canoe shapes. They are pretty good sized and the individual little fryer basket they are served in is cute. I love truffle flavor on fries, but I don’t think it added a lot here. You couldn’t really taste it that much, and it was completely lost if you used the dipping sauces they served alongside (according to the menu, the sauces are chipotle ketchup, garlic mayo and Sun King beer mustard—the mayo tasted more like ranch dressing to me.) But, anyway, when they were hot, they were really good. Nice and crunchy exterior, a bit of skin left on, and fluffy inside. We kept talking about how they were almost like the base of a potato skin without as much skin, and how good they would be topped with cheese and bacon (which luckily they have already thought of and such an item is on the menu).

The ceviche is ahi tuna chunks mixed with tomato, onion, lime juice, jalapeno, and avocado. Blue corn chips are served on the side. I keep ordering this type of dish at various places hoping someone will pull it off and you know what? The Lakehouse did a decent job. The seasonings were great—although it was almost like a very mushy guacamole with the chunks of fish mixed in. But you could really taste the lime and other seasonings and we enjoyed the flavor. My only complaint is that the fish may have been a little “overcooked” (ceviche is basically cooked in the lime juice and the longer it stays in the mix, the more cooked the fish gets). The portion was quite large—between the two of us, we probably only ate half.

For our main course we got the #3 burger which is a burger with a fried egg, applewood smoked bacon, chipotle ketchup and Indiana smoked gouda cheese. The burgers are cooked to order (we got medium) and the egg can be as well. They standardly cook it hard, but we both like it runny in the middle to create a nice saucy addition to the burger. They had no problem cooking it over medium. Ok, this burger was delicious. And this is saying a lot for a girl who tends to like her burgers really thin. And these burgers are a great value at $8.00. Totally worth every penny. There are no sides that come with, but I would recommend those fries we had earlier. One of our favorite parts of the burger was the bun—it was really delicious and perfectly proportioned to the sandwich. It was a soft high quality egg bun—totally different from the sesame seed buns I remember from the Brewhouse.
We also got a small cobb salad to share as well. The salad was very Patachou-esque, which makes sense since Patachou serves the breakfast and brunch at Lakehouse on the weekends. By the way, I think this is a great idea in a place like Geist that has limited restaurant choices—basically you get two restaurants in one. Anyway, the cobb salad was what you expect, other than there was a lot of fresh spinach mixed in with the greens. There was so much lettuce packed into the bowl actually, it was a little hard to eat. But the blue cheese, bacon, egg crumbles, tomato and red onion dices were all good quality and fresh. And I really appreciate they don’t skimp on the avocado which was laid across the top. The dressings are all housemade and I went with the ranch. It was very good. Like I said, it reminded me a lot of the salads at Patachou. Fresh, good quality ingredients. Nothing amazing, but a good Cobb.

Finally, and probably the biggest disappointment was the mac and cheese. They have three varieties of mac and cheese—we got “Mac 2,” which is rotini noodles with caramelized onions, bacon, goat cheese and Indiana smoked Gouda. This just was not good. The noodles were dry and not cheesy really and the Gouda was just laid across the top of the noodles and warmed up (but wasn’t very warm when we got it). It wasn’t gooey at all and just did not come together. I think mixing the ingredients up would make for a more cohesive product.

We also shared a whoopee pie for dessert. This was really tasty. It is two soft chocolate-y cakes with a layer of marshmallow cream in the middle and covered with powdered sugar and caramel sauce. We really enjoyed this. The cakes were nice and fresh and soft and the marshmallow flavor sort of made you feel like you were eating something you would have loved as a kid. Really sweet, but fun. And I love that you get a little box of Lemonheads with your check.

So yes, this place is a burger joint. And if you stay in that area of the menu (and be sure and get some of those fries), I think you will have a really good meal at the Lakehouse. And I applaud Scott Wise (aka “Scotty”) for using all these organic and local ingredients and for making so much of the food in house. Here’s my question, if it can be done at Lakehouse, why not at the Brewhouse too (at least use the Lakehouse buns at the Brewhouses—they are delicious)? That would be a wonderful evolution in pub food.

Scotty’s Lakehouse
10158 Brooks School Road
Fishers, IN 46037
317/577-2900
www.scottyslakehouse.com

Scotty's Lakehouse on Urbanspoon

18 comments:

  1. I had the #3 when I went there as well - love that burger. I agreed with the flavors in my blog too: http://bit.ly/9MTi0z

    Love reading your blog, our interests are awfully similar! Thanks for all that you do!

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  2. I'm not sure what eateries you've been frequenting but to call the Brewhouse or the Lakehouse "average" is a disservice to the places. First and foremost, you're in Indiana, the home of chain places and national spots with spotty service at best. Something tells me you're just wild about some TGI Friday's or the Bennigans onion ring stack.

    Scott and his team have created an Indiana staple, based on good food that many people (bloggers or not) absolutely love and come back for. I understand if you're trying to hack it as a food critic you need to be smarmy or overly critical, but this just seems like complaining to complain.

    WAAAAAAAA... I can see the kitchen. WAAAAAAAA... there's too much lettuce. I understand Scott doesn't load his places up with checkered tablecloths and flair all over the walls, but show me someone who thinks the Brewhouse/Lakehouse is "average" and I'll show you someone:

    a.) who has no clue.
    b.) whose judgment and opinion about restaurants carries as much weight as Tony Dungy's review of the newest Lil Wayne CD.

    See what I did there?

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  3. I don't really go out to dinner that often, but I have been to Scotty's Lakehouse twice. So when I suggested you visit, I wanted to see if we have similar opinions!

    It looks like we do agree, I have had that same mac and cheese and it was very "so what", we didn't even bring the leftovers home.

    For me the fries are just OK, tasty but not mindblowing. The burgers have been delicious. I am excited to try more of them.

    Thanks for the review. I'm not sure why haters would even bother to read this blog, but every party has a pooper, I guess.

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  4. Angie- thanks and I will have to check out your blog!

    ScottyFan- you obviously do not read my blog if you think Fridays or Bennigan's food/decor is my thing. And hey, if you like sitting at the table next to the kitchen, next time, you should ask for it when you are there.

    Sarah- sounds like we do agree, although I thought the fries were really good when they were really hot. thanks for reading!

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  5. No one is pooping on anything, Sarah. Unfortunately, when people consider themselves "critics" or post reviews of restaurants, they should expect feedback and commentary.

    Unfortunately, some of that probably isn't going to be exceptionally complimentary when people disagree with them or the author's views are misguided and/or incorrect. That's sort of the breaks of being someone in the "public eye", however small this site may be.

    And I never said I loved sitting by the kitchen, I guess what I should have said was, I don't particularly care where I sit as long as it isn't next to a urinal and the food is good and the service exceptional. Which both are the case at the Lakehouse.

    Ultimately, I guess this review doesn't really matter and if you would like to keep your little sandbox here full of like-minded drones, I'm happy to oblige, but you shouldn't encourage discussion and then act like someone is being a horse's rear end when they disagree. That isn't the way to get good readership on a blog. Trust me, I know.

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  6. Erin Day - I work at Scotty's and the reason why we have the kitchen open like that is because we want you to be able to see what is going on back there and that we are honest people in the kitchen.

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  7. ScottyFan seems a little too passionate about Scotty's & making assumptions about what Indiana food should be. Just because we're Hoosiers doesn't mean we should have low expectations of good food, service, ingredients and quality.

    The Brewhouse empire is good for what it is, bar food. Nothing more, nothing less. That isn't a knock on Scott Wise, who I think does a superb job running his restaurants, engaging his patrons and maintaining quality service. But to think that his restaurants are the pennicle of what "good food" is really saying something. I think what Erin stated in her review is fair AND she praises him for use of local, quality ingredients.

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  8. Actually, I welcome varying viewpoints and ScottyFan, not sure if you are upset that another comment disagreed with you, but that is exactly the point you are making I think--we can all have our own opinion and this is a forum to share them. I thoroughly enjoy hearing from everyone and as long as we can keep it civil, and refrain from making personal attacks, will continue to post all comments.

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  9. Just to let everyone know, I have received comments now that are direct personal attacks on others and won't be published. Please, I love the passionate debate from everyone here, but I have to draw the line sometimes, so let's keep it civil and leave out the personal stuff. Thanks!

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  10. OK, when someone uses the name "XYZrestaurantFan" I can pretty well tell they won't take kindly to criticism of their favorite restaurant. Please keep telling it like you see it, Erin. We need people who will tell us when the Emperor is buck-nekkid!

    I'm tired of chain-joints, but at the same time, I think Indy is finally getting enough local places, that now we can be a little more demanding of them and not fawn on them just because they're not TGI-McFunsters.

    Regarding Scotty's places, I've seen several comments in other blogs and tweets that customers are not having good experiences. Poor service, cold food, stuff that just doesn't taste good etc. So, I don't think Erin's experience is unique. I'm sure Scott Wise is aware of this, and I hope he will get these things nailed down. The restaurant biz is brutal and even really good restaurants fold. If a place is having enough quality problems, that makes it even worse.

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  11. Wow, open kitchen to witness them creating their burgers and fries. A thing like that!

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  12. I've been to Scotty's on 96th many times and have yet to find anything other than ordinary plus over priced. Beer specials are okay during the week,and it's a fun place to socialize, but there are better places to eat. If you want a great grilled cheese panini, go down the street to Moon Dogs! Scotty's grilled cheese is horrible! Barely any cheese on it. I've tried several things there, but so far, nothing worth bragging about. Hopefully, Scotty's Lakehouse is better.

    CJ

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  13. Everytime I go to Scotty's I really want to like it, but am usually a little let down. I don't feel like the quality matches the price point. I do however think their MoFo sauce is the best dang hot sauce ever. That keeps me coming back. However when they come out with the Mofo sauce in stores, i'll just indulge at home and save the $50 we usually end up blowing there. Scott has a great mind for branding/marketing, but there is a lot of room to improve on the food.

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  14. cj

    i encourage you to eat out at the lakehouse if a good grilled cheese is what you crave! its layered w 4 different cheeses, so theres absolutely no excuse if you find there isnt enough on there for ya!

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  15. Jessica in NoblesvilleAugust 20, 2010 at 5:29 PM

    Erin, thanks for the review. I don't get the hostility from some commenters, I actually thought your review was pretty positive, and had already decided to check out the Lakehouse based on your experience.

    I've said it before (or at least something along these lines) ... if you're pleasing 100% of the people 100% of the time, then you're NOT doing your job here. But this isn't your job, is it? And you've never claimed to be a professional reviewer or food critic, have you? You're just providing one more voice in a city where the "professional" food critics have fallen short.

    I remain grateful to you and your fellow amateur food bloggers for providing interesting and opinionated food reviews.

    Hopefully soon you can check out Matteo's in Noblesville and Bonge's in the middle of nowhere ... and if you don't love them as much as I do, I'll try to forgive you.

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  16. hey Jessica, you should check out my post on Monday.... :)

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  17. I think the Lakehouse is running on borrowed time. I've been there for both dinner and the Sunday brunch menu...both were overrated and flavorless meals. And literally EVERY person I have talked to about the mac-n-cheese has described it as bland, no matter which variety was ordered.

    I haven't set foot in a TGIF or Applebees in more than 10 years, but I can still say that the decor at the Lakehouse is just...drab. I need flavor- and if it can't be in the food, at least appease my eyes.

    BTW, if you ever follow Scott Wise on Facebook or Twitter, the writing style is 100% on par with "ScottyFan". It doesn't take a brainiac to realize that Scott is his own biggest fan.

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  18. Anon: For the record, I do follow Scott Wise and tend to disagree with your theory that he is the one posting the "ScottyFan" comments. He has always been very direct wtih me about reviews here. But who knows.

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Thanks, Erin