You know, I am pretty psyched to have a local steak place on our side of town. The closest one is Peterson’s, which I actually quite like, but it is still a little trek from my house, and well, let’s face it, it is one of the more expensive ones. The new Harry & Izzy’s is super close to my house and some friends invited us to join them for dinner shortly after they opened. So, I don’t usually review a place so quick, but I figured, you can all take that into account when you are reading this right?
So the interior space is nice, especially considering it is in a strip mall—not quite as dark and clubby as I sort of expected, but a nice, fairly sophisticated space overall. The place was jammed also so I guess I am not the only one who is happy to have a locally owned place in this area (and I am sure the proximity to the Nordstrom Rack and Container store don’t hurt either. I have never seen a bigger transformation in a strip mall then this one). Anyway, we were greeted promptly and the host was quite friendly which is important to me. I hate being treated like an inconvenience, which seems to happen more often than it should in restaurants.
Hubby and I were planning to split a steak because it was just after Thanksgiving and we were still a little stuffed. It also gave me the opportunity to order the carpaccio appetizer ($12) since I couldn’t exactly order a steak and have carpaccio for a starter right? I actually thought it was really quite well done. A fair amount of beef, sliced very thin, and topped with a good amount of salty parmesan, capers and a drizzle of oil as well as some dressed greens in the center. The crackers served alongside were buttery and sort of melted in your mouth with the beef. All in all, it was one of the better seasoned versions I have had in Indy (and I seem to try it everywhere).
Hubby started with a Caesar salad that honestly wasn’t very good. Well, it just was kind of blah. I don’t think he would order that again. He then had the ribeye ($34), which I had a fair amount of as well. I appreciate that Harry & Izzy’s includes a side in its price and hubby went with onion rings, which he had before at the downtown locations and really enjoyed. The steak was good. It was cooked properly and had a nice flavor. The right amount of fatty content without being overly chewy, which is a fine line for me. I would put it up in the top 25 or 30% of ribeyes I have had around town. Not the best, but very good. The onion rings are hand battered and tasty—the coating kind of falls off as you eat them, but they still taste good.
I just ordered the seared tuna appetizer ($13) for my main because we knew we would have plenty of food. The tuna was very rare and sesame seed crusted and then just very briefly seared on the edges. There’s some sticky sushi rice on the side and a soy based dipping sauce. It is described as a soy cilantro ginger sauce. I tasted mainly soy. I would have liked a bit more of the other flavors to develop the taste a bit more—it was a lot like just eating plain sashimi with soy sauce (there was also wasabi on the plate). The tuna was good quality, but just needed a little more excitement for me.
I also had a couple of bite of one of my friend’s potato pancakes and I enjoyed them. They are shredded potatoes that are in thin patties and pan fried. Served with sour cream and some sort of apple sauce I believe (I just ate some of the sour cream). I liked that they were really crispy and crunchy. Another friend also had some of the Asian shrimp as an appetizer, which I have talked about in a review before and they were just as good—they are rock shrimp that are breaded and fried and tossed in a chili aioli. I liked that the shrimp remain fairly crunchy (although the shrimp are not tough) and that they don’t use so much of the sauce that they get soggy.
Ok, so that’s the food. The biggest annoyances of the night actually came from service and atmospheric issues. I am truly hoping these were just new restaurant kinks and will get sorted out. The first thing was the wine service. It took about 15 or 20 minutes to get the bottle of wine we ordered. They do have a rather impressive wall of wines in there, but if you can’t make it work service-wise, it just becomes a giant wall of annoyance that there is so much wine that you can see but can’t get to your table. And sadly, when we ordered a second bottle of the exact same wine, it took just as long again. I am assuming they have some sort of wine captain with all that wine, but I don’t know if it was because it was so busy or so new, but the wine service blew. My other pet peeve of the night was about midway through our meal when they started using what is apparently, their “ice crusher” in the kitchen. I mean, it is so loud (we were seated a few booths away from the kitchen apparently) it sounded like the place was being bombed. And it went on for quite awhile—it wasn’t like just a minute or two and then it was done. They might want to think about crushing ice before service or during lulls in business—you couldn’t really carry on a conversation while this thing was running. Of course, if I had had more wine at this point, maybe I wouldn’t have cared as much, but, well, I couldn’t get the wine.
So, overall, I would say Harry & Izzy’s is certainly a welcome addition to the Northside. We needed a non-chain steakhouse in the area, and hopefully, once the service kinks, etc. are worked out, it will be a complete package. The food was pretty good anyway.
Harry & Izzy’s
4050 East 82nd Street