Thursday, December 9, 2010

Lincoln Square Pancake House

We keep trying to find really good breakfast spots in Indy, and I am always on the lookout for somewhere new to go.  Unfortunately, this is the one meal we rarely get to eat out because of having such young kids who usually want to be fed immediately upon rising.  But every once in awhile, the planets align, and we get out somewhere.  We have a few regular spots that we liked, but which have fallen off a bit, so we thought we would try Lincoln Square Pancake House and see how it was.  They have 4 other locations throughout the Indy area, but we were hitting the one nearest us, at 56th and Emerson. (And I apologize for the phone photos, I left my camera at home.)
Ok, so hubby and I both like bacon and eggs as our favorite classic meal, and that is what we both had.  The menu is quite large, but there is nothing really unusual or fancy—lots of omelets, pancakes, and other egg dishes.   They do have several “skillet options” as well as a few variations of biscuits and gravy.
I think I have said I am torn about ordering my eggs over easy or over medium because some places get them exactly as I want them—runny yolks and cooked whites, but sometimes you need to get them over easy to make sure they aren’t overdone.  Well, I ordered them over medium here (the server described them as exactly how I wanted them) but the kitchen may not have the same definition because they were just a little far beyond with just a little too much of the yolks being cooked.  But bacon was pretty good—but like good bacon you might cook at home.  I had sourdough toast which was fine and the meal came with what they described as “American fries.”  I wasn’t exactly sure what this meant, but since there were also “French fries” on the menu, I was confident they weren’t just fries.  They were sliced potatoes that were fried.  They were very soft and parts of them reminded me of mashed potatoes that had then been fried in a skillet.  The crispy parts were not bad, but there weren’t a lot of them.
I also ordered a biscuit on the side, because I always love a good biscuit, but don’t like to substitute my bread for one unless I know it is worth it.  This one was not worth trading in my toast for.  It was very soft and I tend to like my biscuits more crunchy on the outside—a little flakier I guess.  I did hear someone later order some biscuits “well-done” which is something I wouldn’t have thought of (and having never had them before wouldn’t have known to do it) but not a bad idea with these.
I really did like the diner type atmosphere of the place and our server was exceptionally friendly and efficient.  Although the place was quite crowded, we were seated right away and our food brought very promptly.  It is also pretty reasonably priced, I think our breakfasts were just under $6, with an extra $1 for the biscuit) It is a decent basic breakfast place— we got our breakfast needs fulfilled, but didn’t walk away thinking anything really wowed us other than the friendliness of the service.
We are still on a quest for great basic breakfast places. If you have one, please share!
Lincoln Square Pancake House
5024 56th Street (at Emerson)
Indy 46224
317/536-0668



Lincoln Square Pancake House on Urbanspoon

24 comments:

  1. If you're looking for pancakes, City Cafe downtown has killer pancakes. I also love the Original Pancake House at 86th and Ditch. It's a chain, but it is very good.

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  2. I live only a few blocks away and like this place for breakfast. Yes- nothing about it is gourmet or fancy, but it is solid diner-style breakfast food with good, quick service at extremely reasonable prices. My husband and I can get in and out of there easily in 45 minutes spending only about $15. I think it is a great place to have in the neighborhood.

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  3. Patrick's Kitchen in Zionsville has *wonderful* breakfast items (I believe only on weekends). It is a bit of a haul for us, but I'm consistently pleased whenever we make the trek. -Tom

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  4. There is a place over by where I live called Best Bet Breakfast and Lunch. I'm not sure if you've been there. It's quite quirky with a Vegas theme, but I've enjoyed the food and service there when I've ate there. They also serve an all you can eat toast basket and cinnamon donut holes upon request.

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  5. I've heard some great things about this place, as well, and after years of wondering, I finally took the plunge at this same location.

    I arrived late to my breakfast party, just at the breakfast/lunch segue and had a tough time deciding between some of those skillets (with sausage gravy on top!) and some of the lunch options.

    I ultimately decided on a lunch special of pork roast and dressing, with a "cup" of broccoli cheese soup. To me, items like this kind of soup, gravy and dressing really tell me a lot about a food joint... if it's fake or generic, the taste of a mouthful of salt will give it away.

    The size of their soup cup is quite large... it was, by my account, a full bowl of soup. I was pleasantly surprised by both the texture and flavor of the soup. It was very well seasons and not too salty.

    The roast and dressing looked amazing upon delivery and garnered comments from the four others with my party. It looked homemade and, believe it or not, tasted that way, too. I was very well surprised and quite pleased with the meal. The pork was very nice and the dressing had a nice texture and was not over-seasoned.

    The place was packed during my visit, too. Service was prompt and friendly.

    I am also picky about my breakfast spots, so I can understand your thoughts on this place. Although, after my first experience, I fully intend on re-visiting for lunch again soon.

    Cheers,
    Taber

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  6. Jessica in NoblesvilleDecember 9, 2010 at 3:56 PM

    I also have to put a plug in for Best Bet in Fishers, on SR 37 just south of 146th. The owners and staff are super-friendly and go out of their way to take care of you Hot buttered toast is brought to your table as you're seated, and they now have a red/green card to signal if you want more bread (similar to the cards at Fogo de Chao). Their pancakes are crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside. I almost always get the half order of biscuits and gravy ... 3 large biscuit halves covered in gravy.

    Another great option is Bub's Cafe in Carmel, on the Monon, just south of the arts and design district. This place is more boutique-y (if that's a word) and has a smaller menu, but very high-quality ingredients presented in a more creative style. Bub's is particularly great to sit outside on a nice day.

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  7. The pancakes there are amazing, you have to go back and try those! I love that you can get them as your side bread item instead of toast or biscuit. I love eating there, service is always good and so is the food plus the price is right!

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  8. This is not a comment on pancakes, but I know how much you're always looking for authentic Italian in Indy. A new Italian restaurant just opened on the East side. It is being run by a big Italian family. Give it a try!

    DePalma's
    7410 E Washington St
    Indianapolis, IN 46219-6707
    (317) 359-1000

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  9. Sigh.

    May I suggest that Breakfast is merely the meal that breaks the "fast" of however many hours of sleep one had? There are SO MANY other things that one could eat other than bacon n eggs or cereal or porridge or Danish pastries or similar stuff that far too many Murcans fixatedly hold on to in their narrow view of what "breakfast"is?

    There is SO MUCH stuff out there in the world that others eat as breakfast, or as some sort of morning meal.

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  10. My boyfriend and I love the brunch at Monon Food Company in Broad Ripple. It's a small menu, not quite as traditional. I get the buckwheat pancakes and sausage. He gets an omlet.

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  11. So, huiray. What makes the "non-Murcan" traditional breakfast so much better/more sophisticated than the one we eat here--particularly from a cultural-culinary perspective? What criteria are you using to suggest that any given culinary tradition is better or worse than any other (and I'm not considering the relative healthful-ness w/this question)? If one grants that the "diner eggs/bacon/fried potatoes" style breakfast is indeed an American convention, so what? In large part, as people age they will continue to eat the foods that they were brought up eating--and the breakfast meal is probably the most "traditional" in that regard. But if you consider what food options have been available to the North American table in the last 200 years--particularly to the formerly large agricultural community--eggs, bacon, and bread are what you had. Your options were whatever you could grow/raise on your farm, regardless of its size/your wealth. Even the smallest farms had chickens, a milk cow, and a pig or two.

    If you don't like it, don't eat it. But to suggest that ANY culinary tradition is any better or worse than another (and I don't consider fast food a tradition) is a pretty narrow way of thinking, no?

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  12. Second the comment about Original Pancake House at 86th & Ditch. I'm not a huge pancake fan (would much rather eat bacon & eggs), but the specialty pancakes (German Dutch Baby & the Apple one) are amazing. The baked omelets are equally amazing (and huge--be prepared for leftovers). I really like their potato pancakes & get those instead of regular pancakes (which are good, but I'd just rather eat other stuff).

    beffuh

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  13. Dear Anonymous at December 13, 2010 7:32 AM: Let me respond by answering your comments as follows.

    PART 1:

    "So, huiray. What makes the "non-Murcan" traditional breakfast so much better/more sophisticated than the one we eat here--particularly from a cultural-culinary perspective?"

    --> I said nothing about “non-Murcan” traditional breakfasts being better or more sophisticated. That is a specious leap on YOUR part. What I said was that there are so many other foodstuffs out there including, yes, from “non-Murcan” cuisines, available for breakfast and eaten by many other folks.
    -----

    "What criteria are you using to suggest that any given culinary tradition is better or worse than any other (and I'm not considering the relative healthful-ness w/this question)?"

    --> I did not suggest that a given culinary tradition was better or worse in my post above, which relates to breakfast. Again, YOUR interpretation. I do, however, consider ‘variety’, ‘taste’, ‘visual appeal’, ‘complexity’, ‘simplicity’, ‘elegance’, ‘cleanness-of-taste’,‘change-of pace’, ‘exploration’, ‘comfort’, ‘convenience’, ‘curiosity’ to all be NON-LIMITING examples of criteria that I might use, not all at the same time on any one occasion, to think about what I wanted to eat – for breakfast, or any other meal.
    -----

    "If one grants that the "diner eggs/bacon/fried potatoes" style breakfast is indeed an American convention, so what?"

    --> Well, what about it? Indeed what you give as an example would be an American convention – and is also so in other limited parts of the world – but it would be an example of a specific and narrow definition of what constitutes “breakfast” in my opinion.
    -----

    "In large part, as people age they will continue to eat the foods that they were brought up eating--and the breakfast meal is probably the most "traditional" in that regard."

    --> No doubt, and I do not dispute this.
    -----

    "But if you consider what food options have been available to the North American table in the last 200 years--particularly to the formerly large agricultural community--eggs, bacon, and bread are what you had."

    --> I doubt this is really true. From what I read, Americans of previous ages – from the Founding Fathers into the first part of the last century or so – had a large variety of good food and good ingredients available to them and knew how to cook them. Large agricultural communities had a pretty good range of crops and food plants that they grew or harvested from the woods…saying that eggs, bacon and bread were the (primary) things they had – for breakfast, if not other meals – seems incorrect to me. Mid- to latter 20th century American food went downhill badly in a general sense but seems to be getting better in the last 20 years or so…

    Nowadays, we have so much “other kinds of food” and have (or should have) been exposed to vast regions of the world and other cuisines beyond our borders, let alone European traditions that may have once been somewhat suppressed in attempts to homogenize the food (and not in a good way) in the last century but which is regaining more visibility nowadays. Much of what might be called ‘ethnic’ food is also now widely available. I’m sure you can think of many different dishes enjoyed for breakfast by Germans, Swedes, Poles, Ukrainians, Italians, French, Greeks, Spanish, Mexicans, Indians [and folks from the various subcontinent regions], Chinese [and folks from the different regions], Japanese, Lebanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Singaporean, Indonesian, even British folks, and so on and so on. Even within the “American tradition” there are more things to eat for breakfast besides bacon & eggs, bread, pancakes, cereal (this is modern), hash browns, waffles and such. You may feel differently but I for one would go for broadening one’s horizons. That is what I was sighing about.

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  14. Dear Anonymous at December 13, 2010 7:32 AM: Let me respond by answering your comments as follows.

    PART 2:

    "Your options were whatever you could grow/raise on your farm, regardless of its size/your wealth. Even the smallest farms had chickens, a milk cow, and a pig or two."

    --> See my comments in Part 1.

    "If you don't like it, don't eat it."

    --> That is true; but if you don’t want to even try something different you may be closing yourself off to experiences beyond your comfort zone. How would you know if you like something if you don’t try it first, hopefully with an open mind?

    "But to suggest that ANY culinary tradition is any better or worse than another (and I don't consider fast food a tradition) is a pretty narrow way of thinking, no?"

    --> Again, I did NOT suggest this. You should not put words into my mouth. It also seems curious that you would have this definition of ‘narrow mindedness’. It seems to me that suggesting a comparison between cuisines and talking about the different dishes and tastes in different cuisines – and even perhaps concluding that one prefers one over another - is demonstrably NOT narrow mindedness. On the other hand, hewing rigidly to the notion that one particular cuisine (e.g. ‘American’, whatever that means) is always better, or notions that ONLY certain foodstuffs are acceptable dishes for breakfast seems limiting to me – and, yes, ‘narrow-minded’.

    --> There have been heated discussions on the food blogs/forums (e.g. Chowhound, TwoP, even on BravoTV’s own BBs) on the last episode of Top Chef : All Stars where some posters objected vociferously and with horror to the winning team serving gazpacho and gnocchi (with leeks, spinach & mushrooms) as two of their breakfast items [corn grits w/ salsa verde and stewed peppers; and a banana parfait (the winner) were the other two dishes], while others countered that they thought such dishes eminently breakfast-y and suggested others as well, including such other simple things as cold pizza. Heh.

    --> Convivially yours,

    --> Huiray.

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  15. to all, I am appreciating the dialogue here.

    to huiray, you have to admit using the term "Murcan" insinuates a kind of feeling that you feel such cuisine is inferior. 'Tis a bit derogatory.

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  16. Dear Erin,

    I'm sorry, but I do not accept the ascription of a direct causal link between "Murcan" and derogation about food. I do regret that some folks may be a tad antagonistic toward calls for trying other things besides "bacon and eggs" and such for breakfast.

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  17. Huiray - what exactly are you trying to convey with the term "Murcan"? Is this some attempt at spelling a phonetic variation of American (you know like the terms Canuck or Jap)? Did you think it was colloquial or cute? And, are you attempting to now say that with that term and the lead off "Sigh" you were not being in any way derogatory?

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  18. anonymous the firstDecember 14, 2010 at 6:51 PM

    Huiray, can I ask question? In your initial comment, you seemed to suggest that you were tired or annoyed with the “Murcan” predilection with “eggs/bacon” style food, and why don’t "we" look for other types of breakfast food—because there is so much more out there?

    Why do you presume that those interested in this post only eat THAT type of breakfast? I can assure you, I rarely eat that kind of breakfast. But you know what? When I have a hankering for it, I surely don’t want to go to Denny’s or some such, and would like to know where to find a good one.

    That is the entire purpose of Erin’s blog: where to find the best of any given type of food in our town—regardless of what style it is.

    You know what I like about Lincoln Square (beyond the excellent service and fast, homemade food)? Their BREAKFAST potatoes are as close as I’ve found to my Grandfather’s cast-iron skillet fried potatoes in this town. And just that memory from my youth is enough to inspire in me a desire to go there and have an old-school, home-style breakfast every once in awhile (particularly as I don’t happen to own his perfectly seasoned skillet).

    You seem to make the assumption in your later comments that those who would comment/participate in a discussion about this type of food ONLY EAT THAT TYPE OF FOOD, and then you find it necessary to go on about what it is that you think is right or wrong about that.

    And for the record, your initial comment here implied a sense of superiority on your part—whether you intended it or not. Your comment implied that the search for a good “diner style” breakfast was a limited way of looking at breakfast, which inherently suggests that those looking for such an option are LIMITED THINKERS. If you don’t prefer that type of food (which is what the blog post was about), why bother commenting on the blog post, as it clearly doesn’t interest your particular culinary bent?

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  19. Jessica in NoblesvilleDecember 15, 2010 at 4:40 AM

    Interesting thread ... wow, don't tread on traditional American breakfast!

    Why are argumentative posts so often anonymous? There's nothing with spirited debate, which is what I read here in these replies, nothing truly hostile ... but why are people unwilling to attach their names?

    Huiray, where would you suggest, or what menu items would you order, to enjoy a non-American breakfast?

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  20. Hello! Not trying to stir the pot more on the idea of the tradional or not American breakfast, but I did want to second Anonymous #1s thought that eating "this way" (eggs, bacon, bread) for breakfast has been a staple for years. That is especially true in the midwest with our agricultural heritage. Heres why- eggs are a great source of protein, the bread factor provides a carbohydrate boost, bacon is a fatty meat that leaves you satisfied, and starchy potatoes are filling and (at least according to my grandpa) provide a kind of inner warmnth on cold days. Both my sets of grandparents still run their farms with the help of cousins/uncles/aunts (one dairy farm and one horse farm) and they all eat like this on a daily basis. Basically, it provides an energy boost to a long labor filled day. Huiray was right with one guess- during certain crop times of the year you might see fresh baked apples, fried cabbage, stewed leaks or fresh sliced tomatoes on the breakfast table- alongside the bacon, bread, and eggs. To say that our ancestors (at least here in the midwest) ate more inventive breakfasts and as a culture we have attempted to bore it down and homogenize breakfast is just untrue, at least in my family. Who taught my grandparents to eat like this, do you think?

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  21. Interesting discussion here. I agree the tone was a bit antagonistic, but Huiray does have a point. In fact, NPR had a very interesting piece a few yrs ago on the origins of the "American" breakfast. The idea of bacon and eggs was foist upon the country by some PR gurus. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4612464

    As for me, I'll take an Italian breakfast of capuccino and cookies any day, but the burrito and CB&G at Taste rock. Also, Uptown Cafe in Noblesville is quite good, and the make great sugar cream pies. Bring outside maple syrup if you want pancakes. They serve the artificial crap.

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  22. If you are looking for a good breakfast place, I highly recommend Flap Jacks on the South side (Madison @Thompson). Great pancakes, omelets eggs, etc. Family restaurant, and the crowds show that they know what they are doing!

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  23. We tried Lincoln Square for the first time last Sunday after church. Can't believe it was our first time there since it is just down the street from church. The food was pretty good, but major props to the folks at Lincoln Square for accomodating 10 kids and 6 adults with minimal wait and good spirits. Fortunately, the kids were ALL on their best behavior which almost never happens. But, the management and the waitstaff were super accomodating and friendly. I will go back just for the kindness of the staff. And because there was a whole lot of stuff on the menu. Also, I had a "cup" of creamy chicken and rice soup that was quite delicious with an unexpected hint of lemon.

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  24. I think you should give any of the Lincoln Squares another try, especially this one at 56th and Emerson or the one in Geist. My husband and I frequent both of them, and we love the environment, the food, the service and the people. I have yet to find this perfect combination anywhere else in the Fishers area. Best Bet has some good food, but is too noisy (with I Love Lucy blaring on the TV in the background) and is closer to the "greasy spoon" variety. If that's your cup of tea, well then. . .

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Thanks, Erin