Monday, July 18, 2011

Fire By the Monon

Just when I said I wouldn’t order another flatbread (seriously, most places should just call them “inferior pizzas”) we took the kids to Fire by the Monon where pretty much the only appetizers they have are flatbreads and salads, so we broke the rule and went with the “blue blaze” flatbread ($8.95).  It was a thin crust flatbread with thinly sliced grilled steak, rosemary, caramelized onions, blue cheese (gorgonzola to be precise) and tomatoes.  And you know, it wasn’t bad.  The ingredients were good and made a nice flavor combination. The steak was tender (seems like it was probably marinated to keep it as tender as it was), even though it was closer to medium than I would prefer.  There was ample blue cheese so that you could really taste it, and the onions (not a lot of color on them for caramelized though) and tomatoes were good-- adding the deeper cooked onion flavor and the fresh acidic flavor from the tomato.  The crust was probably the weakest link, although not horrible.  It tasted pretty good (sort of reminded me of a larger, flatter pita) and was grilled.  It wasn’t particularly crispy, although, it was hard to tell if that was what they were going for or not in this case.
Hubby and I shared two things for our dinner—the Hearth Spinach salad ($8.95) and the pulled pork sandwich ($9.95)(they call it the “Tug of War”).  They were both also pretty good.  The sandwich was probably the best thing we had.  The salad was spinach leaves with black beans, roasted corn, tomatoes and red onions with a slightly sweet chipotle dressing.  There was a sliced boiled egg across the top as well. The dressing is slightly warm, as are the veggies, causing the leaves to wilt slightly.  I actually like this slightly wilted thing with a salad (when it is intentional), and with spinach in particular, because it makes the leaves more tender.  The flavor of the dressing was good—slightly spicy, a little sweet, and could stand up to the hearty spinach.  The egg was a nice touch to add something slightly soft—acting as sort of a substitute cheese component in the salad (and who doesn’t love a little cheese in their salad) as well as some additional protein.
The sandwich was pulled pork in a smoky barbeque sauce with red cabbage slaw, a hefty slice of smoked Gouda and more of the caramelized onions.  We chose the beer battered onion rings as our side and they were served with a side of remoulade sauce.  There was also a little dish of shredded pickles, which I appreciated, because I love pickles.  The sandwiches are served on either a multi-grain bun or Brioche and we chose the multi-grain.  The bun was really delicious with the other toppings, because it really stood up to them without being too soft, but was too hard and grainy the way some multi-grain buns can be.  The pork was tender and had a good flavor—I really liked it with the little pickles on top, and the Gouda added more smokiness which is tasty in barbeque.  I found the addition of cheese interesting on this kind of sandwich, adding a touch of creaminess too, although if it was a little more melted, it might have been better.  The onion rings were good, and were certainly the preferred side item at our table.  Our son had a grilled cheese with fries, and the fries were certainly nothing special.
We also shared desserts—the kids chose the molten chocolate cake (what a surprise) which was a little bundt type cake covered in a warm fudgey sauce.  It tasted pretty much like you expected. It was chocolatey and rich, and really messy (that’s the Mom in me).  The kids enjoyed it for sure, but they will like anything that is made of chocolate.
Hubby and I split the blackberry cobbler which was okay.  I would have liked a touch more crust on top—it was mostly filling and ice cream, and not a lot of the crust which is typically my favorite part of these kinds of desserts.
Service was reasonable.  Not super speedy or friendly, but certainly not unfriendly either.  We sat outside and the kids enjoyed the fact that they gave them sidewalk chalk to color on the ground while they waited.  I just briefly walked through the inside, although I had been inside many times as its incarnation as L’exploreteur.  I was surprised to see they added another bar at the front end of the restaurant, making both ends bars.  There is only one small dining area that is appropriate for families (and this particular room was hubby’s least favorite when we ate at L’ex).  I was surprised I guess because I had read that the owners opened this restaurant to be a good alternative in Broad Ripple for families.  In the warm weather you’re fine because there is plenty of outside seating, but just looking at the inside makes it look like they are attempting to attract more of a bar crowd.  They were very busy, even on a weeknight, and people were waiting for outside tables by the time we left.  They have obviously figured something out to get people to this slightly out of the way location.  It's good to see an independent so busy. 
Fire by the Monon
6523 Ferguson Street
Indy  46220

Fire by the Monon on Urbanspoon


  1. Bripple neighborJuly 20, 2011 at 7:20 PM

    I agree with this post. By no means ground breaking, but from my multiple visits, I have been happy with solid consistency and a good value. I'm happy to have this option in the neighborhood.

  2. Try the new flatbreads, they are using a whole wheat style now, much hardier and tastier!