Awhile back, a friend sent me an email telling me about this chef, Gustavo Perrotta, who had won a recent cooking competition. I was intrigued to learn that he was also doing monthly dinners out of Indy’s Kitchen and knew I wanted to try one. They sell out pretty fast though (they only seat 12 people per dinner) and have proven to be pretty popular. The meals are $50 per person.
I really enjoyed the concept overall—it is an intimate setting where the Chef chats throughout the meal, telling you all about the food he is preparing before you. People were continually wandering up to the stove while Chef Gustavo cooked, learning about the ingredients, or the cooking techniques.
The amuse bouche was a fried risotto ball served atop a spicy Sriracha aioli. He is preparing the food and plating it right then, and those things were hot! They were really tasty too. The risotto had the right creaminess and the sauce added the right heat.
The first of the regular course was a Peruvian ceviche. I loved the way we learned about exactly how he was preparing it all. He used cod in this dish and explained that he marinated not in just straight lime juice, but in slightly watered down lime juice so it isn’t too acidic (as if that’s possible). But it did have a nice limey flavor and added crunch from thinly sliced peppers and onions and a hint of cilantro. The presentation of the dishes, particularly this one, were lovely as well—loved the service in the scallop shell. The only thing we wished was that the fish was chopped a little smaller—the pieces were pretty big (would love to see some shellfish in there too).
Next we were served a spinach salad with goat cheese, walnuts and dates a topped with balsamic vinaigrette. This is exactly the type of salad you will most often find me making at home—the greens balanced with some crunch and earthiness of the nuts, and the slight sharpness (and creaminess) of the cheese as well as sweet softness from the sliced dates, all topped with a homemade dressing.
The main dish was a risotto with squid ink and calamari rings topped with half of what were the largest shrimp I have ever seen. I loved hearing the stories about the shrimp that were from Nigeria, and the squid ink from Spain, imported through the Dominican Republic (where the Chef is from and his family still lives). He put the rings of the calamari into the risotto and then fried up the tentacle portions in the deep fryer. This was a wonderfully inventive dish—the type of thing you don’t often see around Indy. And I have never seen shrimp like this before. The shrimp had a texture a bit like a small lobster—and they were cooked just perfectly (in the oven with lots of butter) and again, the risotto was cooked just right. The blackness of the squid ink gives it just a touch of sort of smoky, seafood flavor. We laughed at the black lips it also gave us (like goth lipstick). The little fried bits of the calamari were outstanding—I liked them better than the rings in the risotto that were just a touch chewy.
Our dessert was a caramel flan, which was a nice flan—you can’t really go wrong with the caramel sauce, even though flan is traditionally not one of my favorite desserts. It was a good for what it was though—the right consistency and sweetness (not too sweet).
Overall, it was a really fun experience that I would like to repeat. It’s tough to get into one of the dinners, but if you can, I recommend it. It’s fun to chat with other people at your table who are interested in this kind of experience (and it was fun to see people try things they might not normally try.) It’s a great way for a Chef to enjoy a passion and share it with others even if he doesn’t have a restaurant of his own.
2442 Central Ave