Monday, June 28, 2010

Monon Food Company

I have been on a quest for good outside dining lately because the weather has been so nice, and remembered reading about Monon Food Company somewhere in my web surfing. I remember thinking I liked the sound of their food, that it is fresh and that there is no deep fryer in the place (hopefully this doesn’t scare you). I figured with my recent mini-obsession with fried chicken, I could probably use a little break from fried food.

So as I looked over the menu, I zeroed in on the items that were marked with the “MFC special” emblem which according to the menu means the items are house specials that are “signature dish[es] created by Monon Food Company that [are] sure to delight.” Well that sounded good to me, so I ordered “Tim’s Chipotle Fish Tacos.” I also ordered a side of mac and cheese which was not designated as such, but I just wanted to get something on the side to try as well.

The fish tacos were two soft tacos filled with tilapia, cabbage, “Monon” salsa, guacamole and chipotle mayo. They were well stuffed (I was glad I had extra napkins, and still stole one from my friend) and nicely flavored. The fish was lightly seasoned and sitting on top of the chipotle mayo. There was quite a bit of cabbage and some pico di gallo (I wasn’t sure if this was the Monon salsa, or if the guac was mixed with the Monon salsa because the sauce on top, which I assume was the guac from the consistency and flavor, had a tint that was not exactly green). Regardless though, the flavors were quite nice. I could have maybe used a teeny bit more sauce of one kind or another to make it a bit juicier, but I liked the tacos. I also liked that there was only one tortilla per taco, whereas many places use two on each, which I think makes them too starchy sometimes.

Now, the lady who was sitting at the table next to us when we sat down promptly asked me if I had ordered the fish tacos and I told her I had. She told me they are the best, and asked if I got one of each. I did not see another option on the menu, but she said there is a fish taco that is also served with a mango salsa. If this is true, I would love to try this next time as I think it would add a touch more of the juiciness I was looking for.

The mac and cheese was pretty good. It was noodles that seemed really just mixed with several cheeses and no real sauce aspect to it. Not a lot of creaminess, but very cheesy. Certainly came across as homemade for sure. And I enjoyed it.

My friend had the special of the day that was grilled Mediterranean salmon. It was a medium size piece of salmon sitting on rice with lots of Mediterranean toppings like olives, feta, and artichoke hearts. It was nice and she really enjoyed it. I had a bite and enjoyed the salty kick from the veggies and cheese although there was maybe just a touch too much feta for me which kind of distracted from the flavor of the fish.

We discussed the fact that there were a lot more women there than men on the day we ate, and wondered if the lack of fried food had something to do with that. Also, one thing that might bug me at dinner time is that you order at the register and then get your own drinks, sit down, and wait to be served your food. This seems fine at lunch, but would seem too casual for me at dinner. They do have a very nice beer selection, as well as several wines, but I would much prefer full table service at dinner time. There is quite a bit of outside seating, both on the street and in back of the restaurant. The place is doing a nice business, which is good to see from a place serving what I think are probably healthier options than most, particularly in Broad Ripple.

Monon Food Company
6420 Cornell Ave
Indy 46220

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mama's House Korean

In the mood for something different, I stopped into Mama’s Korean restaurant on the east side. Several readers have recommended it as very good Korean food. I have to say, I haven’t quite found my vibe with Korean food yet, but I can see the potential.

I ordered off of the lunch menu because they have very good
prices and you get soup along with the main dish. The prices range from $6-10 or so. The soup was a very basic egg drop soup which I have often had in Chinese restaurants. It is a chicken broth based soup with beaten eggs dropped into it which cooks the eggs lightly. It is sort of like scrambled eggs in broth. There were some scallions mixed in as well, but nothing else. The flavor was quite elemental—the broth and egg was basically the extent of it, but I liked the simplicity of it.

For my main dish I went with a traditional Korean dish—bulgogi. Bulgogi is thinly sliced and marinated beef which is then usually grilled. The marinade can vary, but is soy based. I have to say, when mine came out (served with rice and sautéed veggies) I thought I wasn’t going to like it at all. It looked like the meat would be tough and chewy. I was pleasantly surprised by the tenderness of it. You could certainly taste the soy base in the marinade. As I ate it, the meat continued to remind me of something I had before in its texture—by the time I finished, I realized it was the consistency of the meat in Italian beef sandwiches. It had that almost lacy quality of well marbled beef that Italian beef has. Again, it was simple, and not amazing or anything, but better than I expected. The veggies on the side included mushrooms, broccoli and onions which were nice to add a little more flavor into the beef. The rice was nice and sticky, which is how I like it.

You are also served, simultaneously with the meal, several banchan, or Korean side dishes as well. I was served four. One was the most traditional and well-known dishes—kimchi which is cabbage that has been pickled and fermented. This one had a lot of spicy red pepper on it, but while it was spicy, was not out of control. A bit if it along with the meat was nice as well. Two of the other side dishes included quite a bit of the same red chili laced oil. One was cubes of turnip and the other zucchini slices. They were fine, but after awhile started to taste very similar to me because of that chili sauce. The fourth dish was a nice counterpoint—thin threads of more turnip, but marinated in a slightly sweet, slightly sour sauce. This was a refreshing change to the red chili.

I enjoyed my lunch, but nothing really stood out to me. The service was super efficient and friendly, and the place was doing a decent lunch business, but I wouldn’t be clamoring to go back. They also have the Korean barbeque tables where you cook food yourself which might be kind of fun to try as well. But honestly, I can’t quite figure out if I just don’t really like Korean food that much, or if I just haven’t had really good Korean yet. I am not sure. But so far neither of the Indy Korean places I have been to have tempted me back for a second visit. I would love to hear what you all think.

Mama’s House Korean Restaurant
8867 Pendleton Pike
Indy 46226

Mama's House on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 21, 2010

Five Guys

Someone recently told me that Five Guys was like In ‘n Out Burger in California and I quickly went from not being that interested in trying it, to becoming quite intrigued. I loved In ‘n Out, and even though there wasn’t one is San Francisco proper for quite awhile, hubby and I would regularly do a trip to the ‘burbs just to get one.

The first thing I noticed about Five Guys when I walked in was how clean it was inside. Everything was spotless. I should warn any readers with nut allergies though, that they have help yourself boxes of peanuts on the counter to eat at your table. I say “warn” because as a Mom with a child with nut allergies, this made this place a no go with the kids for me. Which is sort of a shame because the kids would probably like it. They have several signs up saying you cannot take the nuts out of the store for allergy concerns.

The menu is very simple and straightforward—they have “regular” burgers which are actually double patties of beef, and “little” burgers which are singles. They also have several hot dog variations and a couple of sandwiches. The only side item is the freshly made fries. I liked the fact that they had a sign next to the counter that told you where your potatoes were from on this particular day.

Well, I think I liked the fries better than the burgers, so I will start there. The fries, as I said, are freshly cut and fried—not the frozen things you get a lot of places. You can certainly taste this in them. Now, they aren’t super crispy fries, but they have a very pleasant, fresh potato (with a bit of skin left on), slightly starchy taste. They did actually remind me a bit of the In ‘n Out Burger fries which are also hand cut and made fresh. And they give you a TON of them. Hubby and I split an order (based on recommendations I had read elsewhere) and still barely put a dent in them. They fill up a little cup, put it in your bag, and then dump two more big scoopfuls in there too. But with the fresh taste, I could see how they could possibly become addicting. And they still held up, even though we got it to go.

The burgers were, as hubby put it, “a quality product” (he had the regular double patty). They aren’t amazing, but they are obviously very fresh and are cooked to order. You can choose from several toppings, including things like jalapenos, grilled mushrooms, and grilled onions. I went with the “little” burger with my usual, cheese, ketchup and extra pickle as toppings, just so I could compare it to my other standbys. They are sort of mid way between the really thin burgers and the really fat ones. But even with only one patty, I would say this is not a “little” burger in my book. It was a ton of food I thought, particularly when you factored in the fries.

So, in some ways the burgers are similar to In ‘n Out, because they are fresh and the buns are quite soft and they are approximately the same size (these are a bit bigger I’d say), but I can’t quite say they can live up to that In ‘n Out craving I used to get in California. A good burger, but not really craveable to me.

Five Guys Burger
5317 East 82nd Street (with several other locations)
Indy, 46250

Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 17, 2010


The noise. The din. This is the first thing that comes to mind when I think about Napolese. I even did a two visit review this time before writing this one just to make sure the first time wasn’t an aberration. Man, is this place loud. It’s a cute little place and I like the modern décor, black walls, open kitchen—but it is buzzing for sure. And the second time we went, shortly after the restaurant opened for the day, it wasn’t full on noisy yet, but by the time we left, as one of my dining companions put it, “it was prohibitively loud.” Now, the other person in our party later told me she really liked the atmosphere, and described it as "lively." She also commented she liked being able to talk without being overheard by the people at the next table. So I guess it depends on how you look at noise. It is a fine line for me, you don't want the restaurant to be a tomb, but I go on sensory overload when it is too noisy.

But on to the food. Both times I had the bruschetta appetizer to start. The first time I liked it better than the second. It was fresher and riper tasting, and I liked all the olives mixed into it. The second time, the tomatoes seemed a bit underripe and it didn’t have the tangy vinegar taste that I got the first time, and there weren’t nearly as many olives mixed in. We also had the warm goat cheese in marinara sauce. These dishes are served family style and are big enough to share. The bread is served on the side with them and you dish them out yourself. Which inherently, I do not have a problem with, but the pieces of bread (obviously slivers of the pizza dough) were far too skinny to be proper for topping or even dipping. They were probably an inch wide, and not crispy at all, so it was somewhat challenging to get the stuff on top of the bread--epecially the bruschetta. And actually, thinking about it, the word “bruschetta” means toasted or grilled bread (read crunchy) topped with various things. Yes, usually the most common topping is a tomato mixture when you see this on a menu around here. But the bread should be crunchy. That is all I am saying. Or at least wide enough that you can put some stuff on it. We also had the warm goat cheese in marinara sauce as an app. The goat cheese was really tasty. The marinara at Napolese has a great flavor. And at least it was easier to scoop up with the little pieces of soft crust. On my first visit I also tried the arugula salad. It is certainly large, and big enough to share, but it was underdressed and really all you could taste was the very peppery arugula. There was a lemon wedge on the side, which helped a bit, but more dressing is really what the salad needed.

As for pizzas, I have tried a few. I will say, one thing about Napolese, this place is dialed in to really interesting sounding toppings (at least to me). Two pizzas feature sunny side up eggs, which is a favorite of mine since the first time I had one in Rome. The first time I went, I had the “broken yolk” pizza with the chicken egg (as opposed to the quail eggs) which was nice. It was a margherita pizza, just tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella and basil with the egg in the middle. It was a little challenging in that you had to cut it yourself (I assume so as not to break the yolk before its time) but a big knife and a pizza are sort of awkward. Honestly, I am not sure how to remedy this situation, and I can’t honestly remember if the pizzas I have had with egg before were cut or not, but I certainly don’t remember cutting them myself. This may have been my favorite of the bunch that I have tried so far though as far as flavor.

We also had the Meridian Kessler which was the basic red pie (tomato sauce and cheese) with spicy sausage and mushrooms and aged provolone. This was tasty (my dining companions were quite happy with it for sure). The sausage certainly had a bit of spice to it, and while maybe not all would agree, I enjoyed the whole button mushrooms here. This was a traditional combo for sure, but still came across as a bit unique.

Finally, we had a special pizza of the day. This pizza was explained as morels, fiddlehead ferns and ricotta. It was a white pizza (i.e. no sauce) and was described by our server as “amazing.” Now, she pretty much had me at morels, even though they were Oregon morels… I was very excited to try it. Unfortunately, this one didn’t come together for me. I thought the morels were a bit sandy to really enjoy (even though they were cut into pieces) and the fiddlehead ferns a bit too crunchy. It was also a bit too dry for me too, and I often love a pizza without the traditional marinara. Both of my friends agreed with this assessment and declared they liked the sausage/mushroom pizza much better.

The thing that makes this kind of pizza for me is the crust though, and this was good. I enjoyed mopping up the leftover goat cheese and marinara with my crusts. And again, the marinara on the pizza was quite good as well. But the goat cheese app was so much better with the crusts, because they were so much bigger than the bread that was served with the apps. They really need to come up with a better plan on the bread they serve with these kind of starters.

We also had a dessert pizza, which was the crust drizzled with Nutella (a chocolate hazelnut spread) with a scoop of gelato (from Zingerman’s). Man, this was sweet. Super sweet. Maybe just a little over the top even for me, and I love Nutella. I would love to see something using the crust and maybe the chocolate sugars from Petite Chou and then a little Gelato on top. (What? A girl can dream)-- Something just a little less gooey I guess.

Ok, Napolese has some things that bug me, but the good news is, some of them are at least potentially fixable (the bread the bread the bread!) (and my guess is there is something they could do about the noise if they want to). And there are some positive things too--I love the sound of a lot of the pizza combos--the “BLT,” or bacon, caramelized leeks and Taleggio sounds delish as does the “PFG” which is pancetta, roasted fingerlings, and gorgonzola. That’s what I mean-- nearly every pie has some intriguing and interesting topping combos that really make you think you need to try them all. And hey, next time I want to go somewhere with my kids and not worry about the noise, I may just take them here.

114 East 49th Street
Indy 46205

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pawn Shop

Purely based on reader recommendations, hubby has been nagging me to try the Pawn Shop’s tenderloin so we finally managed to get over there and give it a try. Ok, this place is a bar. A bar in an old Long John Silver’s—so it’s a small interior. And smokey. So for me, I would not be eating there unless the weather is nice and you can eat on the deck, which is precisely what we did (and I am guessing there are no kids allowed in this place either).

So naturally hubby already knew what he wanted, but I was not as sure and it took me awhile. It isn’t as huge a menu as most, but still there are several things on there that sounded interesting. It was beastly hot so I was intrigued by the water buffalo sandwich because it was listed under the subheading of sweet honey wheat sandwiches and the menu claimed they were often imitated, but never duplicated. I took that to mean they saw these sandwiches as their specialty, so I ordered one.

The water buffalo is the honey wheat bread with cream cheese, avocado, tomato, lettuce, boiled egg, sprouts, and mushrooms (I went with no sprouts). I liked the sound of it because it was something different. And it was nice and cold which it the spot. I liked it. I mean, it wasn’t like something you couldn’t make at home for sure, but it tasted light and the bread was soft and sweet. I also ordered a half order of hand dipped onion rings. Thank goodness I got the half order that’s for sure. Wow, those things are big. The batter was the same that was on the tenderloin, which I will get to shortly, but they were tasty and crunchy, although a little big for my taste. The crust would fall off in big pieces, making them a little challenging to eat. I would have enjoyed slightly smaller onions to start with, that were then battered in the same crust. They served them with cocktail sauce, but I just went with plain old ketchup.

Hubby’s tenderloin? It was great. He declared it the best one he has had to date. It was really big, but not so thin that it was dry. In fact, it was the most tender example of a fried tenderloin he or I ever ate. As I mentioned, the crust was the same as the onion rings. It was really nicely seasoned and had a great crunch. He cut off the giant edge that stuck off the bun, and I promptly ate most of it just by itself. It was delicious. Anyway, he had it with mayo and onions, and it was good. Really good. It came served just with chips.

On a nice day, I highly recommend heading over there for their tenderloin. It is the first one I have ever eaten that I thought on a return visit, I might actually get myself.

Pawn Shop
2222 East 54th Street
Indy 46262

Pawn Shop Pub on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Flatwater Restaurant

As far as I can tell, Broad Ripple has an apparent inability to support more than a couple of decent restaurants (now bars on the other hand, apparently are another story). So when something new comes along that seems like it might have potential, of course we want to try it... And hey, there’s a deck, and it’s on water (ok, it’s the canal, but it’s still water).

We started with an appetizer of tuna tartare. Unfortunately (for Flatwater), it had not been that long since we enjoyed a delivered meal from Brad Gates Catering in which his tuna tartare was involved, and comparisons were going to be made. Although, there really was no comparison, they really were in a completely different league, or stratosphere, or universe. You get my drift. To start, this tuna was inherently not the best quality. I don’t know, my guess is they don’t sell a lot, but it looked and tasted a little mushy. But even if the tuna had been beautiful, there was no flavor on it. I could make out a couple pieces of cilantro mixed in and possibly a hint of sesame oil and that was about all. There was a lime on the side which was promptly squeezed across the fish by me, but was not nearly enough. I got the server’s attention, asked for a bunch more lime, doused it with some salt and pepper and finally, it became nearly edible. Scratch this off the list for sure. Again, if you don’t have the turnover for a high quality raw dish, take it off the menu. Please.

For my main dish, I had the shrimp tacos, which actually were probably the best thing we had. The shrimp mixed with the pico de gallo and a small amount of cheese actually had a nice fresh flavor—the shrimp were actually perfectly cooked and seasoned, and after squeezing the teeny piece of lime served with each one (as well as the lemon garnish), they were bright and tasty. There was maybe a little more tortilla to fillings ratio than I would have liked, but if pressured into going again, I might actually order these again.

Hubby had the salmon sandwich with fries. The sandwich consisted of smoked salmon, greens, avocado, bacon and a dill sauce. Let’s just say, he was not pleased with his sandwich. The fish was so overcooked, it was completely dry. He asked for the dill sauce on the side and was glad he did because he didn’t really care for it that much. Honestly, the fish was so unappealing (and salmon isn’t my fave anyway) that I didn’t even try a bite. I did eat some of his fries though—they were the other best thing we had there. Could have used some sort of interesting sauce to dip them in. I mean, in Broad Ripple, you have some kick ass fries and sauces around (e.g. Brugge and Taste) so come up with something. That’s all I am saying. The fries aren’t getting me back there on their own though, that’s for sure.

So basically, this little spot, which is location-wise, a little gem in Broad Ripple, needs to amp up the food if it wants to be known as a good restaurant. Right now, it’s a friendly looking bar with a great location and food that is okay. But maybe that’s enough for them. Sigh…

Flatwater Restaurant
832 East Westfield
Indy 46220

Flatwater Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 7, 2010

Saigon Restaurant

Ahhh…there you go. My faith is restored. It IS possible to get good Vietnamese in Indy. Even though hubby was grumbling about it after our last foray into Vietnamese cuisine, he let me convince him to give at least one more place a try. So this time, we headed out to the west side.

Saigon is in a pretty dingy looking strip mall on Lafayette road. But when you walk in, you notice how tidy everything is, and you feel welcomed. The walls are painted a slightly disturbing shade of pinkish red, but other than that, it has a nice feel. One word of advice, if you are sensitive to air conditioning as I am, notice which hanging lights are swaying in the breeze, and choose to sit at one of the other tables.

We weren’t really sure what we were going to order, and even though several readers recommended I try their pho, after my last experience, I was a little jaded and wanted to get something else. One of these days I will go down that road again, but for now, I am just going to ignore it and get something else because well, maybe that just isn’t my dish.

We decided not to get the lunch specials either (which are a good deal at around $5 and you get a spring roll and soup with your entrée) because they sounded kind of boring --“chicken and broccoli” and stuff like that. I really wanted the chicken and eggplant (#95), so that is what I ordered, and hubby, after reading someone’s comment online, got the crispy egg noodles stir fried with veggies and meat (#60).

First though, I started with small cup of the crabmeat asparagus soup which comes with the lunch specials. I like both those things a lot, so it sounded good to me. It was a thick soup, reminding me of egg drop soup (there was egg in there too) with very very cooked down soft pieces of asparagus and slivers of crab. My first bite was a little fishy tasting (wondering if some of it is the fake “krab”), but after a couple more, it wasn’t bad. I don’t know that I would pay extra to get it with a dinner, but if I got the lunch special, and got the free bowl, I would certainly eat it. I also liked that the bowl was set atop a saucer from Salvatore’s Italian Gardens. Nothing like some serious recycling to make me smile.

When the entrées came out, hubby and I had the same reaction to his dish. We didn’t think it would be good. It was like one of those “bird’s nest” dishes you see at Chinese places. The noodles were fried crispy into a bowl like structure and the meat (shrimp, chicken, beef and squid) and veggies (broccoli, bok choy, onions and carrots) were on top. The whole thing was covered in a clear thick sauce. The noodles, for the moment, were quite crispy, but softened as they sat in the sauce a bit. And the sauce, while not visibly looking very flavorful, combined with the noodles and other things had a nice flavor to it. Not spicy or anything, but interesting. The more I ate it, the more it sort of grew on me. The shrimp were cooked really well (not over or under cooked) and the chicken was tender. The beef was a little weird (seemed almost boiled) and the squid was pretty inedible in its rubbery-ness, but I have yet to find squid in a dish like this that is any good. The broccoli was nice—actually more tender than most stir fries, but with a bite to it also. Hubby declared he probably wouldn’t order it a second time, but we actually quite enjoyed it as we ate it.

My dish was even better (which always makes me happy when I out-order him). The chicken was good-- but the eggplant was amazing. They cut it into small crescents and cooked them till they were melt in your mouth soft which is exactly how I like eggplant. It was in a fairly spicy sate sauce, which really saturated the eggplant (eggplant is so good at that) and made it even better. The only thing I wished, honestly, was that there was more of the sauce because I would have liked to have my rice all covered in it as well and there wasn’t quite enough of it for that. There were also lots of sliced sautéed onions in there giving a nice crunchy bite to the dish.
So they also have a Vietnamese market next door that was quite interesting. I am always most interested in what is going on in seafood area, because that is where you can see if they have any quality fresh stuff. There were several types of fish and check out the gigantic vat of live crayfish. I didn’t see any on the menu (which by the way, is enormous), but was wondering if they will cook some for you if you ask. There were also some live crabs as well. MMMmmmm…

Anyway, this place definitely has merited a repeat visit and hubby has even dubbed it dinner worthy due to the nice selection of Asian beers (he liked the Vietnamese “Saigon” beer the best on this visit). We brought the carry out menu home to study though—there is so much on there, it is going to take awhile to figure out what else to order (hubby wants the chicken and eggplant again he liked it so much).

Saigon Restaurant
3103 Lafayette Road
Indy 46222

Friday, June 4, 2010

Midtown Grill-revisit

I really wish there were more really good restaurants in Broad Ripple Village. I am always amazed by the fact that there are so many bars and bar food-type places and that people don’t get tired of them. But maybe I am just old. There are a few places that I frequent, and when we first moved back, I always thought Midtown was a good basic place where you could count on getting a decent meal. Over the last couple of years, they have re-vamped their menu a few times, with the most recent change being one toward being more of a tapas place.

Honestly, I think what they are going for is to re-make themselves into a bar with better food, as they have also remodeled the inside as well. While they have made it look a bit more modern, and they have certainly maximized the bar space (bars dominate both sides of the restaurant), but the food, well, based on my experience, has not been improved.

I was intrigued by the menu, there were several items that were at least an attempt at being unique, and a couple that sounded interesting. However, when I asked our server what she recommended, she chose all the things that you pretty much see on every other menu in Indy (wedge salad, shrimp cocktail, etc). So ok, I pretty much didn’t get anything she recommended. But there were several nice sounding things.
We started by splitting a grilled romaine salad. I will just start by saying this was the best thing that was put down on the table all night. The leaves were nicely grilled and slightly crisp on the edges and it was covered by some smoked tomatoes, and a nice tangy Ceasar-ish dressing. There was certainly more than enough dressing, and it was underneath the lettuce, so you could sort of put it on as you wished. Like I said, this was the best thing we had all night.

Unfortunately, as they started bringing out the tapas, things went downhill. We had the bruschetta with traditional tomato and basil mix. Ok, you could tell there were some decent flavors going on in this, it had the right tomato-y, basil flavor with a bit of vinegar and olive oil, but the execution was off. The bread wasn’t properly toasted and was actually pretty much completely soft. Which just leads to mushy bread when you add wet toppings. The tomatoes weren’t totally ripe, which could certainly be improved on. I know you can get your hands on better tomatoes than this these days. And there was a bunch of cheese all over it, which personally I thought was unnecessary.

Execution was a huge problem with the fritto misto plate we also ordered. The menu said it included calamari, scallops and shrimp. I love all of these things, and thought this was an interesting take on the classic fried calamari appetizer you see everywhere around town.

Unfortunately, while they did cut the scallops up and cut the shrimp in half, it appeared to me that they still threw it all in to fry at the same time, which cooked the shrimp well, the scallops a little too much, and completely fried the calamari to little, burnt, nearly unrecognizable nuggets. Because they were so much thinner, they needed to be put in later than the rest of the items, or else they needed to cut up the other shellfish into smaller pieces (which may not really be feasible). This is also a bummer because the original incarnation of Midtown that we went to, they had a nice fritto misto with calamari, and as I recall, lemons and fennel.

We also had the potatoes au gratin, of which I have yet to find a good version of in Indy (which kills me because you could buy frozen pre-made ones in England that were delicious). Sadly, these weren’t it either. The slices of potato were slightly undercooked (this seems to be a problem with me and potatoes lately) and therefore a bit too firm, and just covered in ooey gooey cheese. Even if the potatoes had been properly cooked, this lacked any depth of flavor to make it special and had way too much heavy cheese (I think there was probably as much cheese as there was potatoes).

Finally, we had the blue cheese stuffed lamb meatballs. Hubby was really intrigued by them and I agreed simply because, well, they had blue cheese in them. Normally I have never really met a meatball I have liked because they are always too dried out. Well, these were no exception. After a bite or two, I gave up on them as well. The idea was nice, and in theory, I think ground lamb could impart a unique flavor to a meatball, especially paired with the blue cheese. But they were doused in a thick, sweet red wine sauce that sort of covered up any underlying flavors that might have been there. Again, a unique idea that was poorly executed.

Overall, that was my theme for Midtown. There were some interesting menu items that were pretty much all (with the exception of the salad) poorly executed. There seems to be a lack of interest in the kitchen about how to wow people when the food hits the table. It seems like someone dreamed up the menu, and then didn’t bother to train the kitchen about how to prepare the food.

Midtown Grill
815 East Westfield Blvd.
Indy 46220

Midtown Grill on Urbanspoon