Monday, November 4, 2013

Taverna

I have been anxious to try Taverna, because it is really pretty darn close to my house. I would love to have some more independent, but slightly nicer, places to go for dinner. We went with our friends who are neighbors and checked it out. The interior is nicely done and we were greeted warmly at the door. The front entry is a little strange, but the dining room is warm and decorated in dark shades. Several different servers approached us throughout the night, and several different people took different parts of our order, making it difficult to know who was really waiting on us. Everyone was nice, but there was certainly a bit of greenness with most of them—not knowing the menu items or bar lists, etc.

Our friend ordered a Bourbon and was impressed with the very generous pour that he received (although it wasn’t cheap at $13). His wife had a raspberry mojito and really enjoyed it as well. One of our servers told us about a few of her favorite menu items, one of which was the Taverna grilled wedge ($9) which sounded interesting, so hubby got one to start, and our friends split one as well. It is an interesting combo of things—grilled romaine hearts with heirloom tomatoes, bacon and avocado and served with a housemade roasted garlic/feta dressing. I thought it was a decent salad. I am torn about grilled salads. A little too much and it just becomes too wilty. This one had a fair amount of dressing, and the dressing sounded good but was a little bland. There was no real kick to it, it just needed to be zipped up.

I also got the tuna tartare ($18) starter because I always have a hard time passing it up. This one was interesting because it had things in it I have never had in a tuna tartare. Like strawberries. In theory, the strawberries and cucumbers in it could have been interesting if the strawberries were very ripe, but because they weren’t, it had a sort of flat taste to it. It definitely needed a squeeze of acid. The menu described it as having a spicy nuoc mam flavor, which would be a spicy fish sauce, but I didn’t get any spiciness or really much flavor other than the mild cilantro oil underneath and the crisp flavor of the cukes. It was served with some crispy wontons. The whole dish just needed more pizazz.

My favorite part about the first course were the pretzel croissants that came along with everything. They were delicious. Soft, warm, flaky, and buttery like a croissant but with a tad of a firmer pretzel flavor exterior. We liked these so much we asked for extras. That was a unique and tasty touch.

I opted for an appetizer as my main dish because I was intrigued by the lobster rolls. You don’t see them on menus that often around here and I do like a good one. The app came with three mini ones (good for sharing). The bread was spot on—toasted and buttered and split in the middle. The lobster was butter poached and I liked that it was not tough from being overcooked. There were fine bits of celery and chives in there as well. Not much else going on in there besides the mayo. Purists would probably say this was pretty traditional, although I tend to like a little more seasoning in mine. This was a good, solid lobster roll though. I could see getting this again, especially to split between 3 people as an app.

Hubby had the Italian gnocchi ($18) with Italian sausage, spinach and garlic in a red sauce. The sauce had a nice fresh tomato flavor which I enjoyed. The dish overall was pretty hearty and had some nice flavor combos going on. I think he enjoyed it, although wasn’t raving about it. I also had a bite of my friend’s Taverna pesto pasta ($16). I liked the thick ribbons of pasta. It had a strong pesto flavor (even stronger than the classic pesto because it also had arugula in it). I would have had a hard time eating an entire portion of it because it is so strong, and she didn’t finish it.

So overall, while I think it is too pricey (they have entrées that are over $30), especially for Broad Ripple, I would go back to try the food again. It wasn’t amazing, but it was interesting enough to make me want to try it again. The biggest problem here is with the service. It started out friendly but weird (giving us all giant drinks menu but no regular menus, having a lot of random people showing up at random times) and fell off the rails as the night wore on (my last glass of wine came about 4 minutes before the check did although I had ordered it much earlier). Hubby thinks they are experimenting with hiring people who have never served before or something. I think they just may need to train a little more and work out the kinks. I would love to know what you guys think if you have been there.

Taverna
1850 Broad Ripple Ave
Indy 46220
317/257-5972


Taverna Food & Spirits on Urbanspoon

6 comments:

  1. We had a similar experience to yours. I found the menu to be unfocused - a strange mixture of Asian, Mediterranean and Cajun/southern-ish dishes. I had the spice crusted snapper, which was good, but heavy on the chick pea side dish.

    The owner apparently used to be the maitre d' at the Glass Chimney, and I agree with your assessment about experimentation. This extends to the kitchen, where the chef is trying to mix too many types of cuisine. It would be better to focus on a seasonal menu that features a theme - like Mediterranean, and then change it a few months later to feature something else, rather than dumping it all together. Just my $2.00E-2.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The only maître d' at the Glass Chimney was Gabriel!!!! Get your facts right, please.

      Delete
    2. The "owner" was a waiter at the G Chimney.

      Delete
  2. Our experience with the service was similar. It was fine, but... there was something a bit odd about it. Our impression was that they brought in people who had worked at much more casual places before. Very pleasant, and we didn't have a fall-off, but I agree it seemed like they're not experienced at this kind of place.

    ReplyDelete
  3. We tried Taverna about a week ago. The service wasn't bad but our server just seemed "young". The food was mostly good. Not amazing but not bad. The thing that would keep me from going back was how cold it was. I'm always a little chilly but looking around, I noticed that every woman in the place had her coat on or around her shoulders. I finally pointed this out to our server and she had the manager adjust the temperature although it never warmed up. You'd think they would have realized this without needing it pointed out!

    ReplyDelete
  4. We went there for a big night out with good friends and to watch the Colts game. We had an excellent location at a nice table in the bar. The atmosphere was terrific and we had exceptional service. I actually liked the varied menu with interesting and unique choices. And, they were very accommodating to the vegetarians in the group as well. I give this place a big thumbs up as a great dining as well as entertaining experience. We will be back soon!

    ReplyDelete

**PLEASE NOTE***

I am limiting publication of "anonymous" comments. Please give me some sort of name when you post your comment.

If don't want to log in to one of the options, simply click on the "name/url" option and type in a name. You don't need to enter a url.

Thanks, Erin