Of course I have been anxious to try Milktooth and as soon as I asked my friend Suzanne if she’d meet me, she said yes yes yes! She had been to both the preview brunches at Recess and really enjoyed them. I had been trying to wait my obligatory couple of weeks, but could barely stand it.
First of all, this place is pretty darn adorable. Very shabby chic—lots of reclaimed and vintage pieces throughout, mismatched china, etc. I thought the chairs at our table looked familiar and then was told they were from the library at IU Bloomington. I probably sat in those same chairs! Even the tables were made by the chef himself from reclaimed wood. I also liked that although cute, the chairs were comfy. Also, hallelujah for a parking lot. It may not hold all the cars when the place is full, but it holds a lot of them I’m guessing. Food-wise, they’re sourcing much of the ingredients from local purveyors.
It’s a brunch place so naturally, there are eggs everywhere and I was completely overwhelmed with deciding what to order. It all sounded good. We ended up settling on the sweet tea fried chicken and biscuit ($14) from the “Classic” side of the menu and the Chilaquiles roja ($14) from the “Divergent” side of the menu. Of course we needed to try something from the “Adjacent” section as well and chose the latkes ($5).
Ok, this place lives up to the hype (and there has been a fair amount). Everything was good. Really good. If I had to choose a favorite, it was probably the fried chicken. So, here’s the set up: really good, chunky, chorizo gravy on the bottom of the bowl topped with a freshly made biscuit, several pieces of the fried chicken (my piece was a boneless thigh) and a perfectly beautiful sunny side up egg. The egg was seasoned well and the flavor of the chicken was so, so good. Rarely do I eat an egg and not want to season it a little. This needed nothing. The spices in the chicken were my favorite part and I wanted to dole out a little bit with every single bite. The biscuit was buttery and somewhat dense and the gravy gave it just the right moisture. It was all perfect together.
We also had the chilaquiles, which were made up of hunks of lamb carnitas and collard greens. Normally when I have had chilaquiles in the past, crispy tortillas were part of the dish, and this was more of a saucy meat base, but quite good. I liked the slight bitterness from the collards mixed in and when you got just the right bite with the meat, some egg (another perfect sunny side up egg), a little of the guac and sour cream on the side and a few of those julienned (very lightly pickled perhaps?) radishes, it was a wonderful bite. I only wished for a bit more of the sour cream to go around with every bite. It was the kind of dish that could be very spicy, but this wasn’t. It had good spice flavors, but not in the hot kind of way.
The giant potato latke was fantastic. It was super crisp on the edges, but not in the least bit burned. It had a wonderful buttery taste to the potatoes and the drizzles of harissa ketchup and aioli were perfect. A little spicy kick to a familiar ketchup flavor and a little bit of tanginess from the aioli.
I am amazed at the amount of staff working here—they have got baristas making their special coffees (my macchiato was delicious although I did sorta want two sugar cubes vs. the one they brought me when I asked for sugar) and there was one person who looked like he spent most of the time pressing fresh OJ. We sat near the bar where you could watch every dish come out of the busy open kitchen and wish you had ordered that too. The place is lovely to look at and so is the food. And the flavors measure up to the presentation. I can see some people potentially complaining about the portion sizes being small though, although I found them just fine. I found the “modifications are politely declined” wording on the menu fine as well, but am a person who is happy to eat a dish the way the chef wants to prepare it. Others might be less so, but go in knowing this is not your average “2 eggs any style/choice of meat/choice of bread” kind of diner. Put yourself in their hands though, and I think you’ll be happy. I certainly was.
Milktooth is a great addition to Indy’s food scene. And how badly did we need a great brunch spot (and there’s booze too)? I hope maybe they add a night or two of service because I’d be happy having dinner here as well.
I am anxious to hear what people think about this place and how your experiences have been (and what you ate!), so leave me a comment and let me know.
540 Virginia Ave