Monday, April 29, 2013

R Bistro- Revisit

It has been a little while since we’ve been to R Bistro. We keep an eye on the menu in general and when some friends invited us to join them, we went.  Overall, I really like R Bistro—it is one of the standard good restaurants in Indy.  The menu changes weekly, and there are some ups and downs with that kind of constant change, but largely it is fairly consistent in its quality.

I liked the sound of the pork belly taco ($9) with red cabbage slaw and ordered that for my starter as did someone else at my table.  Unfortunately, after ordering it, our server came out and informed us they had only one left and were switching it to rabbit.  I took the bullet and got the rabbit. In general I like rabbit fine, but honestly, in a taco, I can’t say it is preferable.  The taco was exactly the same set up—the meat in the soft shell with some lightly pickled carrots and cucumbers (a sort of giardiniera) with a nice crunchy fresh red cabbage and ripe mango slaw on the side.  But the meat itself, while fairly tender, didn’t have a lot of flavor. I probably just should have switched to something else.  I had a bite of my friend’s pork belly and it was much tastier. I am sure it came together more as a dish with that pork in it than the rabbit.

For my main dish though, wow, I had the most amazing thing.  It was actually a starter as well, but I ordered it for my entrée.  It was ricotta gnocchi with roasted oyster mushrooms and wild ramp pesto ($9.95). It was so, so good. It was one of those dishes that was so good that I HAD to share it with my friends just so they could taste it, even though I really, really didn’t want to if you know what I mean. (Luckily I didn’t have to share with hubby because he had ordered it as an appetizer).  The gnocchi was so tender, and lightly seared and then the mushrooms—well, it said they were roasted, but it must have been in some sort of animal fat because man, they were so freaking good. Slightly crispy and delicious.  And the pesto had some serious flavor—enough garlic the dish almost had a slight heat to it, if you know what I mean. I loved it. I seriously considered ordering another plateful for dessert.

Hubby had the roasted chicken leg (which was the whole leg—thigh and drumstick) with sausage and creamy polenta in a red wine sauce ($22).  I think we were both surprised by how sweet the dish was—there was a fruit sauce on top (currants I think).  The chicken was nice and tender but was dominated by the very sweet sauce from the fruit that wasn’t mentioned in the menu description.  There wasn’t anything wrong with the dish, other than it wasn’t our taste and he probably would have ordered something else had he known.

There was rhubarb cobbler on the menu ($6.75) which meant it had to be ordered. Three of us ordered it actually. I liked it. It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but the rhubarb part of it was very nice—it was still pretty tart, which is how it should be. And when you mixed it with the sweet cobbler part (ok, I would say it was more like a shortcake or something) and some ice cream, you got the sweetness you needed and it was tasty.

One of the biggest disappointments on this night for me was the service (again) (I know, I’m like a broken record).  But it really kind of bummed me out, because R Bistro, for me, has always been a restaurant with impeccable service. But again, we were a party of 6, with an auto 19% gratuity, and well, I won’t bore you with my feelings on the topic again, but let’s just say I am seriously considering not going out with more than 5 people ever again.  We didn’t have drinks for at least 15-20 minutes and some friends of ours who came in after us (a party of 2) were in and out in significantly less time.  Ok, enough said.

I like R Bistro and Indy is lucky to have a consistently good restaurant like this.  I love the ever-changing menu, and that so much is seasonal and local. I am going to go with the fact that this service experience was a fluke (although this is the first time I have been with more than 4 people).  I love that the place was still full even after being open for so many years.  It’s a place I would certainly never write off. Damn, especially after that gnocchi.

R Bistro
888 Massachusetts Ave
Indy 46202

Thursday, April 25, 2013

King Wok

Over on the west side with the intention of trying an Indian place, @indyfoodswap and I ended up across the street at King Wok when the Indian restaurant didn’t open as early as we thought. A friend of mine had recently been telling me how much she and her husband liked King Wok, so it seemed like a perfect opportunity.

I liked the menu a lot—there is Vietnamese and Chinese food, but we pretty much stuck with the Vietnamese side. I love eating with Suzanne because we get to order lots of things and share them all. Which is why I did not order pho, even though a lot of people told me it is their favorite in town. We like to share and noodle soup is somewhat of a challenge to share. Next time, I promise

Anyway, we started off with an order of agedashi tofu ($3.99) which was four squares of tofu that are lightly fried and served in a salty broth that tasted like it had soy and a fish element as well as probably some wine or vinegar.  I quite liked the dish. The tofu was smoking hot and had just the exact right crispy exterior.  I liked the pieces that weren’t soaking in the broth the best, because they stayed crunchy longer—that way I could just dip in the sauce as I ate it. The broth was really flavorful—one of the most flavorful items of the meal. 

We also shared Banh Xeo, or the pan fried Vietnamese rice flour crepe ($6.50) which was a super crispy pan fried crepe that was filled with pork, shrimp, onions, and bean sprouts and served with lettuce and basil on the side. Typically this is one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes, and I enjoyed this one, although it was so crispy that it sort of shattered on the outside when you ate it. They also have several steamed crepe options that seemed intriguing. I love the sauce they serve alongside this dish (a traditional seasoned fish sauce) and I ended up putting it on everything—just bumps up the flavor with a little salty, slightly fish taste and a little heat. Also, this thing is HUGE (as you can tell from the comparison to Suzanne's thumb).

We got the Hu Tieu Xao Thap Cam, or sautéed rice noodles with shrimp, chicken, beef and veggies as well ($6.99). The dish was enjoyable, particularly when you added a bit of the fish sauce from the crepe---and really I liked mixing crispy bits of the crepe in there too to give it a little extra texture. The noodles were cooked just right and were not gloppy at all. There were some bits of the meat that were a little tough, but some of them were very good. I enjoyed the bites of shrimp as well. Overall though, flavor-wise, without the doctoring up, the dish may have been a little bland. But all of the dishes together made for a very tasty lunch.  And very cost effective as well--you get a ton of food for a very reasonable price. 

I would certainly go back. As we were leaving, I laughed because I actually ran into my friend who had recommended King Wok to me and she scolded me for not getting the pho. So, definitely, next time!

P.S. I am really trying to get over to the west side more right now (the construction is done! Yay!). So please let me know your favorite other spots in that area. Need to update my list.

King Wok
4150 Lafayette Road
Indy 46254

King Wok on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 22, 2013

Uptown Café

***September 2013: currently closed. Supposed to open under new management***

Always looking for new places to go with the family, we headed to Noblesville to try Uptown Café. I have wanted to try it for a while, and many have recommended it.  It was a Sunday and we went with the expectation of a wait, and prepared the kids for it. Luckily it was a nice day, and we only had to wait about 15 minutes.

There’s a good chance you might have to wait because the place is pretty small—and a lot of the seating is bar seating and tables for 2.  We finally got into a little booth in the back and looked over the menu (under the glass on the tables). It is a cute little old-fashioned diner type place. They do several good sounding breakfast items as well as several lunch choices.  It was after noon though, so hubby and I went with lunch.

I had the “Kirstie’s grilled cheese” (which with add-ons was $9.87).  The basic sandwich is grilled Parmesan crusted bread with spinach, tomato, and American and pepper jack cheese.  The menu lists the bacon and avocado as add-ons.  Of course, those are two excellent additions to any sandwich, so they were added.  It was a very good sandwich with very good bacon and a nice generous portion of ripe avocado. Honestly, I have decided maybe I don’t like the whole sort of burnt cheese phenomenon as good as it sounds.  The bread was coated with Parmesan which was perfectly grilled, but it was a pretty strong burnt cheese flavor. I ordered a side of has browns off the breakfast menu and they were some of the best hash browns I have had in this town (and I am kind of picky).  They tasted freshly made and had a nice crispy edge to them. I had to protect them from hubby’s fork a few too many times.

I was liking my sandwich pretty well and then I tasted hubby’s. It was better. (Damn, I hate it when that happens.)  Luckily, he took pity on me and we shared half and half (he says it’s how he proves his love).  And it wasn’t that mine was bad at all, it’s just, well, his was better. He had the roasted chicken flatbread sandwich with chips (8.79).  It was a piece of flatbread, sort of like a pita type thing that was wrapped around chicken breast, spinach, bacon, mushrooms, pepper jack and had honey Dijon mayo.  I had considered ordering this myself, but am always wary of chicken on sandwiches, particularly breast because often they’re just big hunks of rubbery meat that taste like nothing and are hard to eat.  This was not like that. The chicken was in small pieces (almost like shredded pieces) and was mixed with the other things.  The honey Dijon mayo made it really good.  There’s gotta be something like that to pull a sandwich together (I think something like this would help on my sandwich). Again, the bacon was very good as well.  I really liked the flatbread and am now very intrigued by the breakfast sandwich that comes on the same bread.  My only complaint is all the fillings were sort of lumped into one place inside the bread and they needed to be re-proportioned a bit.  But I didn’t mind doing this myself.

I do like the interesting bread they are using and the extremely fresh high quality ingredients.  Once we were seated our server was super nice, and very efficient.  My kids both had a stack of French toast sticks that they really liked as well.

I have to say, Noblesville has got some nice options for breakfast and lunch (I really enjoyed Rosie’s as well) and I am a little jealous. I wish there were more places like this around my house.  I am confident we will return to Uptown—I am anxious to try the breakfast things. And hubby is anxious to get more hash browns. Plus the kids really liked it.  That kind of agreement in our family rarely happens when it comes to restaurants.

Uptown Café
809 Conner Street
Noblesville, IN 46060

Uptown Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Cerulean - Revisit

I have been anxious to go back to Cerulean since our first visit, which we really enjoyed. I have heard a lot of differing feedback from different people about it since, so when friends invited us to go out with several people there again, I jumped at it (not to mention, 8 people = even more opportunity to try more things).

Cerulean has recently shifted into their spring menu and that always makes me happy too.  I think I have mentioned before that Cerulean’s menu is broken down into 3 parts—small plates, which are just a couple bites, medium plates, which are more like traditional appetizers, and entrées.  Hubby and I really liked the very small plates last time, and they tend to be the most appealing to me ingredient-wise here. So we ordered 5 of them, prompting one friend to declare that we “ordered food like drunken sailors.”  But she was sharing with us, and they really are only a couple of bites, so it really wasn’t that much.

The first thing I tasted was the pickled Indiana shrimp with lemon and garlic sauce below and a hard boiled egg ($4). I really liked it, although tough to share one shrimp so I only got a little bite.  The shrimp had a nice acidity to it without being rubbery, and the lemon and onions on top added to it. I liked the richness of the (exactly perfectly cooked) boiled egg as well. I want to get this again to eat wholly on my own.

Next we tried the cauliflower frites ($4), which sounded very interesting and were easier to share (there were 3 or 4 of them). They were panko breaded and nice and crunchy on the outside and served on top of a slightly sweet golden raisin sauce and more of the garlic sauce.  Nice tasty little morsels.

The corvina ($4) was also really well done and I had to grab it away from hubby or he would have eaten it all.  The other friend we were sharing with only got a taste I’m afraid (and so did I).  The fish was super tender (lightly poached I am guessing?) and served with a celery aioli, and chili oil with a distinct lime flavor.  It was delicate but the seasonings were great and well balanced.  It’s nice to see something different than what you typically see a lot of places.

The chickpea fritters also were good—easy to share and pretty approachable. You have basically a hush puppy made out of ground chickpeas.  I liked that the sauce served underneath was totally different from everything else we had—a yogurt based sauce with cilantro, jalapeno and mint.  Yet, you still got a bit of tanginess from the yogurt. I thought the mint was probably the strongest flavor of the others.  The fritters were really hot and crunchy.

Finally, at hubby’s insistence we ordered the corn macaroon ($4) again (one of the few hold overs from the last menu).  I understand why, because it is very good, but I was totally good trying new things.  But you can’t really go wrong with a perfectly cooked corn macaroon stuffed with pork belly and served in cheddar sauce. Although honestly, I think it is best served as a fall dish. Would love to see some kind of a spring version. Lamb maybe? Asparagus macaroon? I don’t know, just thinking out loud (so to speak).

We were sold on a second course by our server who really hyped the beef heart stew. ($14) His description made it sounds great, but honestly this was the biggest disappointment of the evening for me.  There were little potato pancakes (he said they were sort of like the “tator tots” from the last menu, bit of the heart and some herb relish served in a broth.  The potatoes were sitting in the broth (which tasted mainly of beef stock) so they got soft quickly and the herb relish could not deliver enough freshness to be tasted through the heavy rich broth. The heart itself was a little tough for me as well.

For my entrée, I had the striped bass with linguinette (super thin linguine) with nettle pesto, a big king trumpet mushroom and fava beans ($26).  I really enjoyed this. The fish had nice crispy skin, it was well seasoned and went very nicely with the herby tasting pasta.  Hubby was disappointed he hadn’t ordered it.  He actually ordered the same thing he had last time (he forgot) which was the sous vide duck breast with lemon fettuccine, carbonara sauce with duck crackling ($28).  Unfortunately, he ended up with the same complaint—the duck was tasty but a little overcooked.  He also didn’t think the pasta had as much of the lemon flavor that he liked from last time. I do appreciate that they make pasta in house.

I am a sucker for rhubarb, and there was a rhubarb dessert ($9), so I had to order it—it was rhubarb fennel compote, rhubarb sorbet, chamomile mascarpone cream, some sliced strawberries and fennel tarragon coulis.  It was hard to know exactly what to expect here, and Cerulean is doing beautiful dessert plates.  The flavors were good and were a nice fresh, slightly sweet, slightly tart way to end the meal.

So overall food-wise, we were pretty happy. There were certainly highs and lows, but it confirmed my feelings about the food that I had at the first visit—that I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, my feelings about the patchy service were only confirmed even more.  Our server was very attentive in the beginning of the meal and enthusiastic about explaining the menu. After the small plates came though, things slowed WAY down and it was difficult to get drinks ordered when we wanted to.  Part of the problem may have been that as a large party, we were seated in what was sort of a back room, and were probably easier to forget about (not to mention my theory of the whole automatic gratuity being added making the service not as attentive). But probably the more annoying thing was our run-in with the wine steward.  We had ordered a second bottle of wine (different type than the first), which was opened and tasted by a friend who knows a thing or two about wine, as well as several others of our group and it tasted off.  These things happen, which is why they give you those little tastings to begin with.  So she asked the waiter to have a new bottle brought out but the wine steward came out and told us no, we were wrong and they would not be opening another bottle, but would bring us something else.  I was sort of surprised by this—it seemed a little uh, un-customer friendly.  Sadly, I have heard of several people having issues with the wine service here (lack of stemmed wine glasses is a big one I hear—at least if you are ordering an expensive bottle of wine.)

Anyhow, I think if Cerulean can get their service issues ironed out a bit, and then polished up, Indy will have a really nice modern fine dining restaurant to add to our ever-growing repertoire of great independent restaurants.  They’ve pretty much got the food thing working for them already.

339 South Delaware Street
Indy  46225

Monday, April 15, 2013

Road Trip - 610 Magnolia, Louisville, KY

Man.  You know those meals you can’t stop thinking about? This was so one of them.  I have been looking forward to writing about this since I ate the meal.  610 Magnolia is set in a inconspicuous old house—honestly, other than the little lighted numbers, you wouldn’t even know there was a restaurant in there. You walk in to a very warm, inviting environment though (I really didn’t know what to expect based on the exterior). Lots of wood and dark slate gray.  I liked the feel of it right away. You knew you were in a nice place, but I don’t think anyone would feel out of place regardless of how they are dressed.

Chef Edward Lee has quite the accolades. He has won Iron Chef, was a favorite on Top Chef, and is on the list of James Beard semi-finalists for best Chef in the Southeast region.  And the food, well, the food speaks for itself.  It is a three or four course set price menu (3 courses are $55, 4 courses are $65). They also do a wine pairing ($45 and $55 depending on how many courses you get). You have a choice from at least 3 options for each course, and this was a menu that was hard to choose because so many things sounded good. Luckily hubby and I are very good at sharing and we ordered different courses the entire way through and split them.

The first course was actually an amuse bouche, so in the end you got a little extra.  This included 3 little things—a crisp Brussels sprout leave with chestnut puree, a slice of daikon with hummus (great rich flavor in the hummus) and a little sandwich with pork belly. This little bite was rich, and meaty and really delicious.

Our first ordered courses were lobster bisque and the raw Ahi tuna.  The tuna was so interesting—two sliced of beautiful fresh tuna topped with pieces of lardo (essentially thin cut pork fat). It was served in a chestnut and bay leaf sauce with a bourbon soy glaze and bacon powder.  I was sort of wondering how these flavors would blend with the tuna, but everything was amazing. The tuna was fresh and light, but the other things complimented it well turning it into a rich, decadent dish.  The bisque was also really good, and had a little lobster salad with pieces of lobster and greens.  It had nice little spicy kick to it to, making it stand out from other lobster bisques I have had.

Before I forget, they had a lovely bread service as well—both visually and taste wise.  The sliced bread from the local Blue Dog bakery (which we have enjoyed immensely in other restaurants in Louisville as well) was served in a little wooden basket and accompanied by soft tarragon butter that was amazing.

The next course was Carpaccio and a salad.  Both were really great, but honestly, as much as I love Carpaccio, I may have even liked the salad more.  It was local Bibb lettuce with little patties of warm blue cheese alongside.  There were julienne pieces of apples, hazelnut brittle, bacon, and a fennel vinaigrette.  I loved the way the blue cheese was warm, because it really brought out its flavor.  And the sweetness of the apples and brittle were great with it.  The Carpaccio was also really good.  The beef was thinly sliced on the bottom, with shaved foie gras all over the top. There was a little salad as well, and bits of crisp shallots and the most amazing little fried capers that were totally light and crunchy.  The salad was dressed with a light vinaigrette and had mustard oil as well.  For me, mustard is the perfect flavor to go along with Carpaccio, and they did it a very refined, but delicious, way.  Loved the additional richness from the foie gras, as if the perfect raw beef wasn’t enough.

The main dishes for us were the salmon and the wild boar.  I will have to say, this was the only course I had a hard time sharing because the salmon was so, so good.  (I am showing you a picture of it as served as well as after I deconstructed it a bit, just so you can see all the amazing looking ingredients that are kind of hidden in the initial presentation.) Wow, a perfectly cooked piece of fish on top of roasted fingerling potatoes—perfectly tender and perfectly crisp on the outside. The whole thing was topped with a pistachio brown butter puree and served on top of a nice little pile of melted leeks and Meyer lemon.  All of my favorite things. Melty soft, mild leeks, a nice lemony sauce, but with the little bit of sweetness that Meyer lemons have.  And beautiful potatoes.  There was also a nice side of broccolini.  I appreciated the well-balanced meal. And this main dish was quite a fair portion.

The boar was also very good—I don’t know if I have ever had boar in the form of chops. They were maybe cooked just a little further than I generally like meat, but had a nice, just barely game-ish flavor.  There was also an amazingly tender piece of boar shoulder that was really the star of this dish, even though the chops made it look impressive. There was also a black-eyed pea ragout which hubby loved—super flavorful beans, as well as some greens.  The dish was also flavored with rosemary and Guinness.  Really hearty, rustic type of meal.  Unusual in its main ingredient, but very comforting and familiar flavor profile.  Still, if I went back to the same menu, there is no way I would not order that salmon.

We just got one dessert to share (one of us got 3 courses, one got 4) and it was also very good (I am telling you this is one of the best top to bottom meals I have had in quite awhile.)  While we toyed with the idea of the cheese plate option, we ended up with the lemon panna cotta, probably because of the passion fruit element, which hubby and I are both suckers for.  It had a passion fruit cream, macadamia caramel, yuzu candy, yogurt and kaffir ice cream.  Loved all the tangy, fruity flavors going on in this dish, including in the ice cream. They also topped us off with some Bourbon chocolate bon bons just to give us the final chocolate pop. Perfect.

The wine pairings were great as well, and because they have a retail license as well, you can buy any bottles you particularly like—for us, that was nearly all of them, so we came home with several bottles of wine. I like being able to try them later in isolation to see if we like them as much as we remember.  So far, we do.  The service was also great—our server was super personable, not being snooty at all, but was happy to discuss anything on the menu, and to wonder with us about a table next to us that abruptly got up and left before ordering anything.

It was a great evening of great food and a wonderful experience. We are already planning a trip back with a group of friends because I want to share this one with some other people.

610 Magnolia
610 Magnolia  Ave
Louisville, KY  40208

610 Magnolia on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Brozinni - Revisit

Hubby and I were headed down to Louisville, and it was with all good intentions that I was going to try a new place. I swear. But then were thinking about how long it had been since we had been to Brozinni and the more we talked about it, the more we needed to go.

It was a Saturday though, and apparently they do table service on Saturdays—so we sat down and waited to be waited on. There was no need to peruse the menu; we knew exactly what we wanted.

We started with a small order of garlic knuckles ($2.50) (you get 4 knuckles) and then our slices (I think mine was $3.75 and hubby’s was $4.00).  The knuckles are little twists of pizza dough that are sitting in a huge amount of garlic butter.  Honestly, it’s the butter that makes these things so freakin’ good, and you really have to get it to have the butter to dip your pizza crust in.  The pizza is New York style—thin crust, but not too thin, and huge foldable slices.

For my slice, I got my classic, mushrooms and red onion, which they have to make up for me, but they just take a cheese slice and add the veggies and a little more cheese. I love that the onions are chopped fine and you get some in every bite.  I love that the sauce is savory, and there is just the right amount of it, and I love the chewy, but slightly puffy crust. I love this pizza.

Hubby had sausage, pepperoni, and mushroom, which was one of the ones that were pre-made. He thoroughly enjoyed it, but decided he actually liked mine even more just because it is so hard to get a pizza in this town with just the right amount of red onions on it like this one.  I think he’ll be getting what I had next time. 

The slices are pretty darn big (think two regular triangular pieces of pizza put together) and for me (and hubby too), one of them plus a couple knuckles is more than enough for lunch. And like I said, one of my favorite parts is dipping the edges of the crust into the garlic butter.

When people ask me what my favorite pizza is in Indy, I always say Brozinni. It had been awhile since I had been there though, so I always worry that things might have gone downhill. I think this was pretty much a perfect Brozinni experience. The pizza was great and the service was quick. It’s a casual place, and pretty inexpensive for what you’re getting.  I’m a fan.

Brozinni Pizzeria
8810 S. Emerson Ave
Indy 46237

Monday, April 8, 2013


I am always excited when we get some new restaurants in town—and I think so is everyone else around Indy based on the hype that nearly every new place seems to get these days online. Or maybe the PR people are just earning their money.  Anyway, I waited as long as I could (I try to wait at least a couple of weeks) and hubby and I went to check out Delicia.

The first thing you notice about Delicia (other than the slightly problematic parking shortage in that area) is that the restaurant has a really modern, and quite buzzy feel to it. So far, they don’t take reservations (hopefully that will change eventually), and even at 6:00, the place was pretty well near capacity.  This makes me happy because I think it shows how enthused Indy people are for new places—and even places with menus slightly out of the ordinary such as the “new Latin” menu served here.  Prepare yourself for a loud night, not a quiet date place, but it is certainly a very social spot.

Before we had our drinks, they brought us an amuse bouche of a soup that had a nice, spicy (not chili pepper hot, but spicy) flavor. My only warning on this one--the cups they brought us were so darned hot, it burnt my tongue which was a little bit of a bummer at the start of a meal.  So be careful. Or blow on it or something.  Anyhow, we moved on to a margarita ($8) and the ceviche appetizer ($11).  The margarita was very limey, maybe a little tart for me, but actually seemed to get better as you drank it.  The ceviche was also very limey, but in this case, seemed appropriate and I really enjoyed it (it cooled off my mouth a bit too which was nice).  There was limed-marinated white fish, octopus, scallops and a large shrimp (that we cut up and mixed in) as well as hunks of avocado, tomatoes, onion and peppers.  It was good—if it needed anything, maybe just a touch more heat.  Make sure you dig down to the bottom of the bowl to get all the flavors in the marinade that sinks to the bottom. I think this dish is a good one to have alongside some of the other dishes to give that fresh citrus flavor profile with all the heartier richer, meat-based dishes.

The next thing we had was the sopes de pato ($8).  These were really very good as well.  Totally different from the ceviche, they were little slight crisp corn cups topped with shredded duck that was slow cooked in a tomato and habanero sauce.  They were topped with a bit of a spicy crema, some sprinkles of cheese, and slices of radish and jalapeno.  The duck had rich flavor—if you didn’t know, you might even think it was pork. They had a fair amount of spice to them. These were hubby’s favorite item of the evening.

We were kind of going on a small plates theme because we were having a hard time deciding what to get, so the next thing we tried were the tostones ($13).  These were little cakes made of plantains that were served with a bowl of sausage meatballs topped with red onions and a dish of chimichurri sauce.  Basically, this was one that  you were supposed to top yourself. This was the weakest of the dishes for us, although certain parts of it were very good.  The tostones (the little cakes) were cold and tasted a little stale on their own.  The chimichurri was a little too oily and didn’t have a lot of herby flavor.  Hubby really enjoyed the meatballs on their own, and they had a spicy kick to them. I loved the pickled red onions served on top of them and used them all up on our last savory dish (and the only full entrée we ordered), the empanadas.
The empanadas ($16) were fairly straightforward, but turned out to be another of our favorites. They are large pockets of puff pastry filled with shredded beef , Chihuahua cheese, and drizzled with habanero cream.  The pastry was cooked just right so it maintained its flaky texture but without being really dry, which I find to be the case with empanadas.  And man, when you threw some of those pickled red onions on top, it was delicious. (I will be from here on out asking for some of those on the side, particularly if I order that dish.)  I would happily order this dish again, although there are two of the empanadas and they are quite large, so it is a good dish to share.  The herb rice on the side didn’t do much for me—I didn’t find it had a lot of flavor.

We also tried the churros (which are sort of like tubular shaped crunchy doughnuts) with chocolate ($6), which I thought were just ok.  I mean, dipping something crunchy and sweet (with sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg) into dark, slightly spicy chocolate can’t be all bad, but the churros themselves were inconsistent.  One would be super crisp and one would be sort of soft. Honestly, it was hard to tell which was the one they were going for.

All in all, Delicia is a great addition to Indy’s food scene. It’s something different, and judging by the crowds, I think Indy wants that (hear that all you burger/pizza/wings places??).  It is a really nice modern interior (although the lamps in the bar area, which are cute, are hung a little low considering how many people I saw bumping into them/wearing them on their heads). The feel of it and the energy of the crowd reminds me of a restaurant you might see in Chicago. One other comment on the interior though-- I am hoping they are planning on some light dimming shades for the front windows because the sun coming through at sunset is brutal.  The service could use some polishing as well, as it was spotty throughout the night, particularly in regards to drinks.

I do look forward to going back and trying some of the other options on the menu. Several of you have mentioned this place to me already, and there are several reviews out there already.  Tell me what you’ve had and what you liked so I can plan accordingly next time.

5215 N. College Ave
Indy  46220

Delicia on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Brockway Pub

Met up for lunch with my friend @wibia the other day and we decided to try Brockway.  The one thing about going to lunch with him is that he has to go to places that aren’t too girly (he says fruit is not an appropriate side dish) which I guess is good because it makes me try places like Brockway.  Brockway is a pub first and foremost, and has a very traditional Irish pub menu. There are some interesting items on the menu I would like to try, but I figured if I got anything too out of the ordinary, someone would probably yell at me for trying something weird and not trying the fish and chips ($9.65) which is listed as one of the house specialties.

So I ordered it and was quite pleased with the fish.  Honestly it is probably some of the better fish and chips I have had in Indy.  Just the way I like it-- they use a beer batter that was really nice and crisp.  You could really taste the beer and you could taste that they were well seasoned—it was a little salty, and that is just how I prefer my fried fish (I usually salt them or use vinegar and these didn’t need it).  The fish itself was very tender and moist and was thick cut pieces.  Using skinny fish in fish and chips almost always seems to create a dried out piece of fish.

The chips were the thick, flat steak fries that I have never really been a fan of, even if they are the traditional accompaniment to fish and chips.  For what they were, they were cooked right, fairly crisp on the outside and nice and hot.  I only ate a couple though and might get something else as a side next time.  I was intrigued by the blue cheese slaw.  They also do house made chips (or “crisps” if you are sticking with the English vernacular).  The tartar sauce served alongside was pretty thick and chunky. Not a bad tartar sauce, but I don’t usually eat a ton of it either.  A bite of wibia’s Reuben was good, but not great. The corned beef was cut pretty thick and kind of dominated everything else.

It’s a pub, and it feels like a pub. Wooden tables, kegs of beer sitting around, and efficient (if maybe slightly gruff) service.  I would go back for the fish though and I would like to try some of the other items as well.  The rarebit sounded good.  Anyone been there? What else is good?

Brockway Pub
12525 Old Meridian
Carmel, IN 46032
317/669-8080 (is it just me or is the menu not on the website?)

The Brockway Public House on Urbanspoon