Monday, November 5, 2012

Sabbatical


Hubby and I intended to go to Sabbatical the other night when we ended up at the Sushi Bar, and have been determined to go ever since.  We ended up meeting some friends the other night for dinner—I always like having a few extra people to try tapas (which is generally what makes up the menu at Sabbatical) so I can try lots of things.  I am looking back though and thinking maybe this is not as good idea as it sounds because it means I have a lot of items to remember when I go to write it up.

My first reaction to the place is that the interior is really more of a bar feel than a restaurant feel.  Honestly, I haven’t been in the building in many, many years and I am not sure what the different incarnations have been like, but the interior is a little cold.  I think when the patio is open; this restaurant will visually have more appeal.

Hubby and I got there first and ordered a glass of wine and a couple of small things that we thought most people would like—the bread and butter plate ($5) and the roasted garlic ($4).  The butter is very soft and mixed with herbs and truffle—could taste the herbs for sure, not as much the truffle.  It was served with a small sliced loaf of pretty soft French bread and Naan.  Honestly, I am not sure how I feel about $5 for bread and butter, but it seems to be more common these days.  I enjoyed the roasted garlic—it was a whole head of garlic that was roasted giving you several cloves of soft, sweet, nutty garlic.  I love roasted garlic in general so I liked it—it isn’t really something overly easy to share in a group though unless you don’t mind everyone’s fingers on your food—you really had to pick up the whole head to squeeze the cloves out. It was served with thin-sliced toasted French bread which I liked—it had some oil on it and was nice and crisp.

We had lots of other things and I am just going to discuss them in no particular order other than they what springs to mind as I write.  The Stella blue cheese dip ($7) was a warm dip that was very creamy and had a nice blue cheese flavor, but that wasn’t so overwhelming that it offended anyone.  I thought it was interesting that they served it mainly with sliced fruit and veggies (apples, squash and peppers) and then a bit of Naan type bread (the menu said French bread crostini, but it wasn’t).  I liked the apples dipped in the blue cheese—I’ve always been a fan of blue cheese and fruit, but the raw veggies didn’t do much more me, and I would have preferred something a little firmer bread-wise than the Naan. But the dip itself was worth ordering.

We also had the seared scallop wonton tulips ($9) which were little fried wontons that were filled with a seared scallop and topped with mango, red onion and wasabi cilantro cream.  I liked the crunchy wonton for a good texture variation from the scallop, but flavor-wise, this dish was lacking.  I think the mango was there for a little sweetness and acidity, but it wasn’t enough and I didn’t get wasabi or cilantro out of the teeny bit of cream that was on top.  I honestly sort of expected it to me more of a chopped filling that was mixed with other things—this tasted mostly like a seared scallop in a fried wonton and that’s it (to be fair, the scallop was cooked decently, which can be a challenge at many restaurants).

The table also ordered the brie stuffed turkey meatballs ($8) with cranberry chutney.  Ok, I didn’t choose these, and am probably not the fairest person to review the dish because generally, meatballs rarely impress me, and these were certainly not ones that were changing my mind.  The meat was fairly tender (it sort of completely fell apart as soon as you touched one) but didn’t seem overly seasoned.  The chutney was sweet and the brie not overly melty.  I don’t know, these just didn’t really come together in any special way for me.

I did enjoy the flavor of the adobo battered mushroom skewers ($6) even if they weren’t quite as crunchy as I would have liked.  The whole mushrooms were battered with adobo-flavored batter and fried.  The adobo flavor is one hubby and I quite like, and it was quite dominant.  The whole thing was drizzled with more of the wasabi cilantro cream, which had a nice balancing effect (this time there was enough of it to really taste it a bit).  If the batter had been really crisp, these would have been outstanding. As it was, they were one of our favorites.

The group ordered a couple orders of the seafood skewers which each had a scallop, a large shrimp and a piece of salmon that were seasoned and grilled.  Another thing I didn’t personally order, and which I normally wouldn’t, because I find “meat on a stick” often to be dried out.  I was actually pleasantly surprised by this—at least the salmon, which was the only part I tried.  It was pretty heavily seasoned but at least it wasn’t just completely bland and dried out, which is what I normally would fear in a dish like this.

We tried the pulled pork sliders as well (I think they were $4 each) from the specials menu—I thought they were one of the better things we had—the pork was nice and tender—but wow, were they spicy, as in way too much heat.  I appreciate them having a bit of heat, but this was just a little too far.

We also got several desserts (after I tried to order one recommended by our server and was told they were out of it after I ordered it), but the only one I tried was the peach and cranberry shortcake dumplings ($5).  They tasted very dense and somewhat dry (like shortcake) and almost like they were made with some cornmeal. They were covered in what was described as a caramel sauce on the menu, but it was almost like a caramel flavored cream sauce.  They also brought some ice cream on the side.  I only had a couple of bites of these—they just weren’t really doing it for me and honestly, that was about all I could handle they were so dense. 


I had hope for this place, and there are certain items that are pretty good.  Unfortunately, there is just some lack of finesse in almost every dish that just doesn’t get me excited to go back.  There is an effort being made in the kitchen to make something interesting, but it just isn’t totally coming together somehow.  The service was very friendly, and like I said, the outdoor space will be nice when it is warm, but I will be interested to see how this place does in the meantime. Who’s been?

Sabbatical
921 E. Broad Ripple Avenue
Indy  46220
317/253-5252


1 comment:

  1. My friends and I visited Sabbatical the first week or two that it was open. Because it was so new and we were unfamiliar with the menu, we asked the server for suggestions from the chef. We really enjoyed the battered mushroom skewers, scallops and warm blue cz dip. (It's hard to go wrong with blue cz! My favorite..) I agree that the apples were a good choice to serve with the dip but the vegetables were a miss. My friend ordered the turkey meatballs and was disappointed with the lack of flavor. The scallops were a hit with everyone.
    Because we visited the restaurant in it's early weeks when the weather was nice, we were able to sit outside on the patio and enjoy some live music while we dined. It was a great night out and the service was excellent.  
    I hope Sabbatical does well. We know the owner-he has been a part of the BroadRipple music/restaurant scene for many years. He has owned two other bars in the area that did very well with regulars. I think with time and some adaptions to the menu Sabbatical will be a success. 

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Thanks, Erin