For some reason I always forget about Taste as an option for dinner—I guess because it is only open a couple of nights a week (Wednesdays and Thursdays I believe) because I never forget about it as a lunch option. It is one of my favorites for lunch for sure. (Check out my other reviews of both lunch and dinner here.) Hubby and I had a babysitter on a Thursday the other day and actually remembered it. It was also a beautiful night so we thought it would be nice to sit outside.
I think the food hits a spot that Indy is lacking in though---good but not overly fancy, small plates. (They do have entrées, but we always get small plates when we go). The menu is quite extensive though, so it always takes us awhile to decide. And then when the server told us the specials, it was almost overwhelming. There were probably 10, each with about 10 different ingredients. It took quite awhile for him to read them all off to us. I am thinking it may be a lot easier (and less time consuming) to either print up some daily specials sheets or else just update the regular menu more often.
We shared several items—the panzanella salad ($8) was the first thing delivered and it was very good. Hubby had just been complaining about one we had elsewhere, and declared this one to be superb. It was a spinach base, with giant white beans, nice hunks of bread, tomatoes, capers and red onion served with Champagne vinaigrette. There was feta sprinkled on top. I liked the variation on a traditional panzanella which often is focused more around just the bread, tomatoes and basil, and I have most often had it served with mozzarella. This one was nice with the spinach and the texture variation from the beans, and the salty flavor of the feta. The salad was dressed perfectly, and we both really enjoyed it. My only complaint is that I would have loved it on a slightly bigger plate—it was mounded so high, it was actually hard to eat it without making a mess. But we managed.
We also got the special antipasto platter of the day which is somewhat similar in accoutrements to the regular one on the menu, but included just speck as the meat. If you aren’t familiar, speck is very similar to prosciutto in appearance, but is smoked as well as seasoned and has a much more distinctive flavor. They served it with marinated artichokes, some roasted seasoned tomatoes with a slice of fresh mozzarella, and a couple of boiled eggs. There were a couple of slices of wheat baguette alongside as well. We both enjoyed eating this dish out there in the open air. Just a pure flavor of summer.
Finally, we shared the rare roast beef tartine with blue cheese, horseradish and balsamic onion marmalade ($12). A tartine is basically an open-faced sandwich and taste does them very well. The beef is actually rare, and tender, and the blue cheese combined with the onion marmalade really complement each other as well—the salty distinct blue cheese with the sweet, slightly tangy marmalade. One of my favorite combos. The horseradish was just lightly grated across the top, giving it just the right amount of horseradish-type heat. Of course, we also had a side of the frites ($6), which are some of my favorite in town, mainly because of the basil aioli on the side. I always get these for lunch and dinner. The fries are light and crunchy and topped with salt and some parsley. But it is the slightly tangy aioli that is the reason I keep ordering them. They were also offering a chipotle aioli this night, so we tried a side of it is well. It was good too, but I am still partial to the basil.
Taste is a good casual place to go for a dinner sized exactly the way you want—you can make a nice light meal out of just a couple of the smaller plates, or you can go the traditional route and order an entrée. I still prefer it for lunch, but it is a good change of pace for dinner as well.
Aftertaste (Taste Café and Marketplace)
5164 N College Ave