I was really psyched about Plow and Anchor opening—I am glad to see John Adams back in Indy. I have enjoyed his cooking for years both at Bluebeard and H2O Sushi (he does know me, so my visits here are not anonymous). I was so excited I couldn’t wait the requisite few weeks I try to always wait before trying a new restaurant and went the first week. I’m basing this review off the second visit a couple weeks later (I don’t think it’s really fair to review a place based on the first week), but will reference a couple of the dishes from the first visit too.
First, I love the fact that the menu changes fairly frequently. For me, this makes it a place you want to go more often. Luckily both times we went with friends willing to order lots of stuff and share, so I got to try a lot of things (so I apologize in advance for the length of this post). Probably my favorite appetizer from both times (and it was from my first visit) was the lamb tartare. The meat was served on crisp toast with an egg yolk underneath. It had the exact perfect amount of acidity and saltiness to balance the rich flavor of the raw meat and egg. They did a salmon version the following week that I really wanted to try but they didn’t have it when I was in. If they have tartare and I’m there, I’m ordering it.
I also really enjoyed the prawn Louie starter ($11). A Louie salad is one of my favorite salads, and I make them frequently at home—this was more of a deconstructed, lettuce-less version, but was super tasty. There was wonderful perfectly cooked shrimp, hearts of palm, avocado, boiled eggs, tomatoes, a few olives and a chili mayo (their take on a Louie dressing, which is basically chili sauce with mayo and other ingredients.). Honestly, how could I not love it? It was a bunch of my favorite things and it was done well. There was enough of the dressing to get in every bite. Simple, but every ingredient flawless.
We all shared the pig tail croquettes ($7)—some of the better ones I have had. They had a nice porky flavor and were very tender inside but hot and crisp on the outside. Sometimes I feel like croquettes are too bready, but these were spot on. Loved the pickled mustard seed sauce on top and the ham hock rouille (a thick olive oil-based sauce) underneath. A tomato salad was also quite good-chunks of tomato mixed with vinaigrette and parmesan. Reminds me of the version from H2O.
The chicken liver toast ($7) was also tasty. This one is certainly on the rich side, as liver-based dishes usually are. It had a Sherry-based sauce to it, onion confit and summer savory. The livers were nice and tender and I appreciated a bit of fresh crunch from a few fresh red onions on top. Definitely a sharing dish for me though because it was so rich.
|Scapes and scallops|
We all shared a side of the garlic scapes with lemon zest and parmesan ($6). So scapes are the flower stalks that come out of some garlic plants in the garden—I love that people think to eat all this stuff. They are sort of like a denser crisp green bean with a more garlicky flavor. A nice side dish to share to get a full on vegetable-type dish.
The most disappointing appetizer for me was the scallop crudo ($9). I was expecting this sort of super-composed dish with very thinly sliced scallops across the plate with the shaved asparagus, pickled strawberries, watercress, jalapeno and avocado sliced and lightly placed around and on top (and actually my mental vision of the dish seems to appear on the home page of Plow and Anchor’s website, so maybe it was just an off night?). The dish was more like a soup with a ton of small but whole raw scallops in the ponzu sauce and the other ingredients on top. Even though there was a fair amount of the broth, I felt like it didn’t have enough flavor. I was kind of excited about the pickled strawberries too, but they were also very very lightly pickled for me.
I ordered the octopus tartine ($13) for my main dish, although it is an appetizer. I ordered it because the octopus panzanella we shared the first time was so good. This was similar and also very good. The chef has a knack for getting octopus very tender. The dish had a somewhat salty flavor with olives and the seasoning on the octopus itself, but it was balanced nicely with the chorizo yogurt. I liked it and would order it again, but would prefer to share it with others as an appetizer just because of the salty flavors.
Hubby ordered the roasted halibut ($26) and it was very well prepared as well. The fish, which can so easily become tough if overcooked, retained its delicate texture and was really nice with the spring pea nage, butter-poached radishes and the ramp greens.
A couple of bites of the orecchiette ($16) with mussels and clams in an heirloom tomato broth with kale and snap peas were very good as well. I thought at first glance the broth might be bland, but it had a great flavor both from the kale and the tomatoes. I maybe preferred the version of this from the first visit, which was served with a spicy tomato sauce and spaghetti, but both were worth ordering. Another friend had the plancha burger ($14), which he really enjoyed—it was a big messy burger made with a combination of meats in the patty and topped with drunken goat cheese, onion jam and spicy ketchup. The only downside is with all the toppings, the bun could not hold up. It was pretty soggy by the end.
Speaking of which, we tried both the sweet desserts—the lavender biscuit ($7) with strawberries, rhubarb and pea anglaise and pea shoots (yep, peas in a dessert). It was really quite good as were the beignets with caramelized bananas, nutella and crushed peanuts ($6). Ok, I was probably partial to the beignets--I mean caramelized bananas and nutella with fried dough?? Both are worth ordering though for sure.
The interior is nice—a fairly sleek look where you can dress pretty much however you want. The service is friendly, although still working out some kinks with pacing I think. Also, the cushioned church pews that are used for some of the seating are comfortable, but a little low for the tables.
Overall, Plow and Anchor is definitely a great addition to Indy’s restaurant scene, in an area of the city that needs more choices. I am excited to watch it grow over time. I would love to hear if you guys have been and what you thought about it. What were your favorite dishes?
Plow and Anchor
43 E. 9th Street