Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Euphoria - Revisit

***As of June 5, 2011, Euphoria is closed as a restaurant and is only open for private events. The chef has also left the restaurant.****

How much does service play into what a good meal is for you? Unfortunately, my boundary lines were put to the test the other night at Euphoria. I have been excited to go back since I went last winter to try the new menu (new Chef) at Euphoria. It was an unseasonably mild night and the perfect one for the patio. We were with friends who had also enjoyed a very good meal awhile back at Euphoria and were looking forward to a return visit.

The menu was quite interesting, and I enjoy that it is not the same menu you see everywhere—there is creativity going into the planning. I started with the scallops that were being served with duck confit, sour cherries, arugula and walnuts. First of all, I just liked the sound of all these things—you can tell there will be a good mix of textures and flavors. The 2 scallops (which in my mind is a proper appetizer portion) were well seared, but not overdone in the middle and served with the other items. My favorite thing with the rich, buttery scallops was the sour cherries. Unfortunately there were only 3 of the little cherries and I would have liked one with every bite. They added a real tartness that I really liked with the scallops and walnuts. There were only a few little pieces of the duck on the plate, and honestly, I didn’t think they added that much.

Hubby had a fairly simple salad of greens and grilled veggies—asparagus, squash and radishes with a balsamic vinaigrette. It was good, and the veggies had a nice grilled flavor, but it was nothing overly exciting. One of our friends had the smoked salmon appetizer which was quite tasty and interesting. There were little pieces of the salmon topped with matchsticks of jicama in a coriander crème and pickled pearl onion on the side. There were also a few pieces of fried rice (as in deep fried crunchy rice) and watercress scattered throughout. I liked this unique take on smoked salmon. It was one of the favorites at the table.

For my main dish, I had the halibut with golden beet and snap pea salad with watercress and pine nut vinaigrette. The fish was well cooked—very tender and moist, and my first bite was great—I had a bit of the salad and vinaigrette and could really taste the vinaigrette. Unfortunately, I must have gotten most of it in that first bite because I couldn’t taste the vinaigrette much after that and I really missed it. Again, much like the scallops, the flavors were well thought out and good, I just felt like there wasn’t quite enough of the seasoning aspect of the dishes.

Hubby had the Barramundi with parsley pesto and smashed potatoes, pancetta and green beans. Again, the fish was cooked really well and was exceptionally tender and moist. The pesto was nice as well. Hubby seemed to enjoy it but someone else at our table that had it was not as impressed. Also pictured is the pork dish offered this night—I took a picture because it was so pretty but I never actually tasted it. It was pork tenderloin with raisin glaze, feta and fingerlings.
We had a nice cheese plate for dessert which was tasty—we sampled all five of the cheese they were offering. I think they push cheese plates as an appetizer course though (our waiter did) because half of the crackers served were black pepper flavored. I know I have said this before, but I don’t really like heavily seasoned crackers with cheese because you really start to lose the flavor nuances in the cheese.

The food was all good—not quite as good as the last time we were there, but still very good. The real bummer of the night though was the service. When we got there, it was not yet crowded, although the bar was closed for a private event. At first our server was quite attentive to us and we were generally served our drinks fairly promptly. However, as we were talking and looking over the menu, we did not order immediately. The patio began to fill up quickly and when we left there was not an empty table. I am not sure, but my guess would be that maybe they were not expecting such a crowd and were not staffed for it. We had a hard time getting attention when we needed it—we waited for flatware for quite a bit after our entrées were served, were never given bread until we asked for it in the middle of the meal (although others were) and when we ordered a couple of glasses of wine with dessert, it took a very long time to get them (and only after quite a delay when our first selection was not available). There were long delays between courses and if we had not been enjoying our conversation with our friends so much, it would have likely ruined the meal.

Euphoria is notorious with its service issues. The food has always been good and I like the interior and patio. But I am almost to my breaking point with the service there. I would be interested to hear from any of you who have eaten there lately about what you have found while dining there. I am not sure exactly what is going on, but I would love to see the service match up to the quality of food that has always been served there.

Euphoria
337 West 11th Street
Indy, 46202
317-955-2389
http://www.indycanal.com/

12 comments:

  1. I haven't been to Euphoria. In general, I don't have a problem with slow service; it's rude service that I have a problem with and will keep me from returning. Or, if there is a mistake or problem - I'm okay with that; but, I would like the server to show they care enough to make it right. That's all I need.

    It does sound like there were quite a lot of instances of slow service for your visit, though, and I think the server should have apologized at least.

    I'd be curious to hear the cheese line up if you remember it. I'm always on the prowl for a good cheese plate!

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  2. We've been to Eurphoria twice (based on your reviews). The first time, under the old chef, both food and service were excellent. The second time, under the new chef, food was very good and service was poor. We will go again but hope both food and service will be excellent.

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  3. let them have shiraz!September 1, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    I think the adjective "notorious" is a bit extreme for Euphoria. You may have had to wait for a few items and that can be distracting, but notorious? Also, do you mean notoriously bad? Have you dined there three times or has it been more than that? Anyway, I had great service there in July and look forward to returing. I really enjoyed their staff members and the great food! Their wine list is also well done.

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  4. I don't know if this is totally unrelated, but I went to Creation Cafe several months ago w/my parents for lunch. I hadn't really had problems before with the service, but that time was horrible. We got our drinks and ordered...then waited for 40 minutes. At lunch. On a workday. And our waitress never said anything about us, but mostly ignored us. Well, she did refill my dad's drink and mine, but my mom was also out and she ignored her and never refilled her drink (water, I think). We got up and left and I haven't been back.

    So I don't know if the service is related between Creation Cafe and Euphoria, and it's possible it was a one-time experience, but it left a pretty bad taste in my mouth.

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  5. Shiraz, Maybe the use of "notorious" is extreme, but I have probably been to Euphoria at least 10 times and a great majority of the visits had service issues. There have been times when we were planning a night out and hubby flatly refused Euphoria simply because he knew the meal would take much longer than other places. Also, among many foodie friends, I have been involved in discussions about Euphoria, and have repeatedly heard the same thing about the service...so maybe just "notorious" amongst people I know.

    Jane- glad you have mainly enjoyed your experiences (especially if you are going on my recommendation!) :)

    Erin, I will have to think about the cheese question..it has been awhile. But I think they post the cheese menu online. And btw, I tend to agree with you and usually I can let little things slide pretty easily--it is only when it starts significantly delaying my meal do I start to get annoyed.

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  6. The Ball & Biscuit has an awesome cheese list! Just Saying!

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  7. Ball and Biscuit has good cheese because the list was created by Brad Gates, who was chef at Euphoria and started the cheese concept there.

    The service at Euphoria is bad -- and notoriously bad is the right phrase. It's been bad for a long time, and while everyone knows it, the owners don't seem to know what good service requires or how to train for it. Everything from slow courses, to poorly informed staff, to constantly poor wine service (dirty wine glasses? Come on! Learn how to polish a glass, *please*.)

    And the new wine list? Not impressive nor expanded from what they had before -- at least at the by-the-glass level. Disappointing.

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  9. Really, limiting "anonymous"????

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  10. Dear Anonymous: I have posted your comment so that I can take this opportunity to let everyone know, that yes, I am limiting anonymous comments (particularly when they get close to violating my comment rules). Please give me some sort of name when you post your comment. It makes the whole discussion more legitimate and gets rid of some of the unnecessarily negative comments from people who just want to make "drive by" attacks and take no responsibility for them. It isn't fair to me or my readers to let these comments dominate the conversations. If you want to say something that you can't put a name behind, maybe you should just keep it to yourself.

    Cheers, Erin

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  11. To go along with what tractorbladderr said, I've had terrible slow service from Creation Cafe the two times I've been there as well! The server acted as if we were bothering them by being there, it was quite an unpleasant experience

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  12. Jessica in NoblesvilleJanuary 23, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    Hubby and I dined at Euphoria last night, thanks to a mother-in-laws Christmas gift of a groupon. First off, this place was hard to find since we're not used to maneuvering downtown, but the friendly hostess was able to guide is on by phone. Once we were seated, we found the dining room to be very warm, comfortable and romantic. Sadly, it was also very empty for Saturday night at 7pm. I imagine they're far busier in better weather.

    I started with a soup of smoked turnip with little pieces of green apples and a sprinkle of cocoa. It was ok, a little bland and needed salt. A little butter from the bread dish helped. I was disappointed that they no longer offered the braised pork with brussel sprouts appetizer, even though it's still on their web site's menu. I asked about it but the waiter said that was from their summer menu. Really, brussel sprouts are a summer item? Hubby had scallops which were seared nicely, served with marinated red pepper strips. The pepper was pretty but didn't have much flavor on it's own.

    For main courses, I had a seared duck breast with thin slices of sweet potato and a creamy green lentil side topped with sugared pumpkin seeds (sans shells). The duck was cooked perfectly, and the lentils were deliciously spicy and nicely balanced with the sweet potatoes and pumpkin seeds. Hubby wasn't as impressed with his choice of monkfish in mushroom demi-glace. The fish and mushrooms with almonds were good. However, the sauce included several large chunks of raw celery that were just too sharp a flavor and really threw the taste off. He was not a fan.

    The cocktails were worth mentioning, I had their Buggs Zombie which had all kinds of things including pernod, rum, some juices and other stuff I can't recall ... it was fruity with just a little of the licorice flavor of the pernod. Hubby really liked his 5:01 with black seal rum and ginger beer.

    Our waiter was very friendly and attentive, but the place was only 25% occupied at best.

    We might go back, but it'll have to be in better weather when the view makes the event more worthwhile.

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Thanks, Erin