So I wrote the first part of this post last spring after going to the Aristocrat and for some reason never got around to posting it. I think I decided that I would wait until I went again and tried one of their signature items before posting the review. Well, the other night, hubby and I ended up here after being caught in a traffic jam in Broad Ripple that caused us to make a series of left turns to get out of it. So I am finally getting both visits posted.
So the first visit was a lunch visit from last spring when the BFF and I were at a loss trying to figure out a place to take the kids. And it was gorgeous and they have a nice patio, so it seemed ideal. I used to eat at this place very frequently in my college days when I came home from Bloomington because the BFF actually used to work here. Heck, I had drinks here on my 21st birthday. But I haven’t really been back since we moved back to Indy, and now seemed like as good a time as any.
I had the BLT, California style (natch), which added avocado spread and pesto mayo ($9.49). This was an enormous sandwich, mainly because there were three pieces of bread in there. Which I thought was sort of weird because is it not a club sandwich which notoriously has three slices of bread, and not a BLT? And there was a club on the menu too. Now normally I would just pull out the extra slice, but all the gooey goodness of the avocado and pesto mayo were on the sides of the bread. So I went with it and ended up just eating half the sandwich because it was so big. It wasn’t bad. The bacon was crispy and had some nice flavor. The tomatoes were naturally not that good (sigh) and the lettuce was the proper amount. The gooey spread made the sandwich interesting, but it was possibly just a little too gooey for me. And it didn’t have that pizzazz of something slightly tangy or sharp to really get it over the top. BFF commented that the gooeyness of her wrap was way over the top, and she did not really enjoy it too much.
Having several choices of sides, I paid a little extra and got the pub salad which was baby spinach, sliced mushrooms, croutons and provolone cheese. It was described as spinach and romaine, but it was just spinach. Which was fine with me. I got the blue cheese dressing with it. It was a pretty good little salad, but it was pretty much just as described. BFF said this was one of the most popular items when she worked there, that people really liked this salad. It was good, but not so good that I would be craving it.
The kids liked the place because they have a fairly extensive kids menu and they got to sit outside. I had a couple of the kids’ fries and they were pretty good. The sort of seasoned ones you get at several places. Nowhere near as good or Taste or Brugge, but considering it takes a lot for me to really be interested in fries, I did eat several.
On our return for dinner, we started with the spinach artichoke dip ($7.99). We needed something fast because hubby’s blood sugar was dropping. We figured chips and dip would be fast and we were right. It was pretty good for a spinach artichoke dip. The spinach appeared to be of the frozen variety, but there were lots of chunky bits of artichoke which I like (I love artichokes). It was really chunky and veg heavy, and less cheesy than some, which I enjoyed, but it probably depends on your taste. They also served some salsa on the side.
For dinner, I went with the fish and chips ($10.99). Several people said they were good here, and they were designated as one of the house specialties. Hubby ordered the prime rib special. They asked how he wanted it cooked and he said medium rare (which in general is how you see prime rib). So here’s where things went wrong. They brought out a piece of meat that was completely grey in color (wish I had thought to get a picture before we sent it back). He cut into it and immediately told the server that there was no way this was medium rare. Prime rib is generally not cooked like a steak. When you cook prime rib, it is a roast—the outside has been caramelized by a heat source, but the surfaces of the meat that have been cut from the roast should be pink. But apparently they must cook one roast rare and then warm it up to what people order. Here’s the thing though, after she took it back, she came out and informed us the kitchen staff told her to go back out and tell hubby that he really wanted it rare, because they said it was cooked perfectly medium rare. I don’t know, but that really rubbed us the wrong way. A kitchen staff sending a server out to tell hubby he was wrong about how he wanted his meat cooked? I thought it was pretty unprofessional (not to mention they were wrong). And even if hubby was wrong, I don’t think that was the way to handle to situation—if a customer tells you the steak is overcooked, cook it less. Don’t come out and accuse them of not knowing what they want. Anyway, hubby just said nevermind and shared my fish and chips (there was more than enough).
The fish was tender (cod) and had a fairly fresh taste, but the crust was more like a breading and not as much of a batter, which I how I prefer my fish and chips—of course this is again a matter of personal taste. (I am thinking it is the same breading they use on their pork tenderloin sandwiches which hubby has had several times and really enjoyed). To me, it fits pork tenderloin better than fish and chips. When I think of fish and chips, I think of beer batter. The chips were not the same fries as the ones I had had at lunch several months back and they were bland and not worth eating. Maybe they were trying to go with more of the traditional large chips you might see in an English pub. But I don't think these were the same ones we had at lunch a few months previously. I remember liking them better.
Regardless of the food though, after that service experience, I don’t think the Aristocrat will rank high on our list of places to which to make a return visit. Whatever happened to treating a customer with respect?
5212 N. College Ave