I just have to start out by saying that Taste is probably my favorite lunch spot in Indy (and hubby’s too). I eat there a lot and we were excited to try the new bar concept run by the same people next door at Eat + Drink. We actually went the first time with a group of friends just shortly after they opened, but I didn’t plan to write about it so soon after they opened, so hubby and I went back on our own recently.
So one of the things they advertise at Eat + Drink is “craft” cocktails. And hubby had the Cadillac margarita the first time and it was really, really good, even though it took a good 20 minutes to get it. But the second time we were hoping the service would have improved and we both looked forward to getting another one. Well, sadly, it took just as long to get our drinks and this time they were inconsistent (hubby had 2 and one was way better than the other). But regardless, the length of time it took to get them made them not worth ordering for me, no matter how good. I switched to wine at this point.
Food-wise, you will see some same or similar items from Taste—they take the deviled eggs from Taste and add salmon roe to the top ($4). I love the deviled eggs at Taste but honestly can’t say the roe added anything—it was very cold and other than the little pop, didn’t add a ton of flavor. They also serve the various versions of their frites ($6), which we had on both visits, and they are always good. The sauces are what make them (my favorite being the straight frites with the basil aioli). Strangely, they are more expensive ($6 vs. $4.50) at Eat+Drink, even though they are exactly the same.
On this trip, we also tried the truffle mushroom mousse ($6). It was a cold mousse that was topped with lots of light fluffy shredded parmesan. Actually, if someone had just placed in it front of me, I wouldn’t have called it a mouse, more like a light dip—it was a little chunkier and looser than what I would think of as mousse. It had a nice flavor and the first couple of bites had that distinctive truffle flavor. I loved the crisp, light toasts that were served with it. They had a bit of a garlic taste on their own and were nice with the mousse. Between just two of us though, the mousse was a little much to finish with its strong flavor. I think it would be better shared in a larger group. Our first visit we had the chicken liver pate ($10) and enjoyed it more. It was more like a mousse consistency and had a great deep, earthy flavor. The warm bacon and blue cheese dip is also very good (we had some the first time as well).
We had the prosciutto plate ($13) this time also. It was good, but not as good as the speck plate we had on our first visit (sorry I didn’t take pictures that visit). Speck just has more depth to it and I liked the stronger kale and caper taste with it over the more mild arugula and parmesan. The speck had a creamy tangy dressing drizzled across that I preferred over the balsamic on the prosciutto. Also better shared with more than 2 people as it was fairly large as well.
We also shared the fried green tomato sandwich ($11) because it was one of the few that seemed to have a warm component to it. One thing about this menu, there are very few warm items. That will probably work fine in the summer, but when it’s really cold out, I don’t know about you, but I like something warm. The sandwich was fried green tomatoes, nicely dressed greens (a signature on Taste sandwiches that I appreciate) and a lot of pimento cheese spread. For me, a person who likes pimento cheese spread, but isn’t obsessed the way some people are, it was the dominating flavor over everything on the sandwich. Just a little too much for me. I scraped some of it off and enjoyed it more.
Basically, we hit a lot more home runs the first visit with food, but were trying on our second visit to get different things. Also, the menu is small with just snacks and sandwiches. I get that as an approach for a bar, but in this town, I think in a place with a food pedigree like Taste, people might expect to be able to go eat a meal there (I did). And honestly, the menu’s a little too limited for that--at least for me. Also, as far as décor, it is a bit confusing. There are giant tvs in the modern interior showing movies like Animal House and Star Wars (at least on the night we were there). In such a small space, it was very distracting. I had a giant tv right behind my head. I do like the red and green light outside to tell you if they’re open though.
I don’t know, I am just not sure I get this place. Is it a bar? If so, they need more bartenders to make drinks in quicker than 15-20 minutes. Is it a restaurant? If so, a few more items (particularly warm ones) might be good. From what I see, it is a place best visited with a fairly large group to share several items (they are mostly fairly generous sizes) and hopefully get some drinks. Overall, for now, I think I will stick with Taste during the day and Aftertaste if I want an evening Taste fix.
Eat + Drink
5168 North College