It has been awhile since I’ve been to Recess. I am always telling people it’s one of our best restaurants and then I’ll look back and think, holy moley, it’s been a year since I’ve been there. So in the name of research, it was time to return.
I’m sure you know the drill with Recess—it’s a set menu. This one was $60 for the four courses. You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit. Well, you do get to choose a course some times. This time it was the starter course. The choices were a salad of chicories, green beans, fennel, Parmesan, horseradish and rye croutons with a creamy anchovy dressing or golden beet-carrot soup with shaved Brussels sprouts, pickled cabbage, pulled pork, crème fraiche and caraway. I went with salad. Not a fan of beets that much and carrot soup isn’t my thing either. I did have a bite of the soup and it tasted much like it was described, but like I said, not my thing. Glad I went with the salad, even if it was my least favorite of the courses. The lettuce was just a lot of fairly bitter greens—there was also horseradish grated on top, which also added a strong flavor. I just felt like it needed something to balance it a bit—and there wasn’t much dressing to it, so you mainly just tasted a lot of fennel and bitter greens and the horseradish. Others at the table liked it better than I did I think.
I liked the next course a lot more—it was halibut with multi grain risotto, squash sofrito and truffle arugula coulis. The fish was perfectly cooked and perfectly tender. It was seasoned simply with salt and pepper—perfect to go with all the flavors underneath. I enjoyed the texture and light crunch from the “risotto” which was more like a wild rice mix. There were bits of the squash mixed in, which broke up the purely crunchy risotto. I really liked the flavor of the arugula truffle coulis, which gave it a bright kick from the fresh arugula.
The Fisher Farms beef ribeye was probably the favorite savory course at our table. It was served atop a potato-root vegetable mash with roasted broccoli rabe and grilled scallion chimichurri. You can just look at the picture to see how beautiful that steak was. And again, the freshness of the chimichurri, but with a slightly smoky taste from the grilled scallion in it, made for the perfect winter sauce with beef.
I was really impressed with the desserts. Again, we had a choice—either apple butter cake with spiced cider sorbet, salted caramel, sage and pecan or blood orange panna cotta with sesame biscuits and blood orange-cherry compote. Hubby and I ordered one of each to try, and honestly, would be hard pressed to pick a favorite. Well, we each leaned slightly toward a different one. I really liked them both, but was really impressed with the blood orange panna cotta. It had the exact right combo of tartness from the orange combined with the creamy custard. And when you added the really strong sweet/tart compote with each bite, it was heavenly. Loved the almost savory flavor from the biscuits as well—they were perfect with the custard and compote. The apple butter cake was wonderfully tender and how can you really go wrong with a warm salted caramel sauce? I really like the way they play with a traditional base—like the custard or the sorbet and infuse them with more unusual and unexpected flavors. Again, both were outstanding.
Recess maintains its hold on the title of one of Indy’s best restaurants as far as I’m concerned. This may have not been my favorite top to bottom meal at Recess, but it was still very enjoyable.You may not always love every single item you are served, but you are certainly likely to try some things you might otherwise not have tried. I can’t say either of those desserts would have jumped out at me on an a la carte menu, but I was very happy I got to try both.
4907 N. College Ave