I’ve been back to Milktooth several times since my last review. There have been some ups and downs for sure on those visits, and I wanted to do an update about my last couple of visits since they have been open for awhile and are more settled. They have settled into a new menu format—it changes a fair amount I think and I like that there seems to be new stuff on the menu every time I go. One complaint I have, now that I have sat in several seats around the restaurant—many of the chairs, while comfortable to sit in, are extremely low compared to the tables. It makes you feel like your chest is just about even with the table. But something to know--the long community tables are a good height with the chairs and that is where I always try to sit now when I go if at all possible.
On both of my recent visits, we had good service—both times were pretty busy, although I never had to wait to be seated—our drinks were a little on the slow side on my second visit, but once our order was placed, the food came out quickly.
The first of these visits, we shared the fried bologna okonomiyaki ($14) with broken udon noodles, cabbage, housemade Sriracha and hoisin. There were also some nice strips of crispy bacon on top. This one was really interesting and the favorite of the meal on this trip. The noodles were formed into a kind of patty with all the other ingredients. Big hunks of the fried bologna were mixed in. I liked the crisp, salty bacon bites the best though. The dish had a nice spicy flavor as well. I mean, there’s a lot of stuff going on here, but it’s good stuff. Interesting stuff.
We also had the potato latke ($5) with vanilla bean applesauce and sour cream. There’s a reason I repeatedly order this dish and it’s because they fry these potatoes up so well. They are nicely tender at the core, but the outside and the edges are super crispy. I preferred the more purely savory harissa ketchup and aioli of this dish the first time I had it, because I tend to not be as big a fan of sweet tastes, but I was pleasantly surprised with the sauces here—they weren’t so sweet as to diminish the hearty, very savory, buttery taste of the potatoes themselves. It was still a good balance. (Side note, I tried the sorghum glazed bacon on an earlier visit and wasn’t a fan of the super-sweet flavor there either).
The other dish we had on this visit was the Dutch baby cornmeal pancake—they have two versions—based on the menu descriptions, one seemed like a sweet version and one savory. I was intrigued by what I thought would be a taste similar to a crepe with City ham and gruyere ($14) but the pineapple mostarda and grapes on top were the dominant (sweet) flavors and even the pancake itself is pretty sweet, so it wasn’t our favorite. We left probably half of it. For some reason, even with that nutty cheese and ham, it couldn’t hold up to the fruity tastes. Honestly, I couldn’t really get much ham taste.
The next time I went with hubby, who had never been, and we ordered some new things I had never had before. The star of this visit, and maybe the star of several of the visits, was the lamb patty melt ($14). The patty of lamb is on Amelia’s semolina bread with white American cheese, and nice runny egg, and harissa special sauce. I loved pretty much everything about this sandwich. The lamb was juicy and tender, and has just that little extra flavor that beef doesn’t have. The sauce was spicy, but because it was made with harissa, it had more than just heat—you get flavors like garlic and cumin. That bread was toasted and buttery and delicious. I tried to not eat all of it because it was very thick, but it was hard. They also serve it with French fries, which I am pretty sure are more standard foodservice fries, but they were cooked just right and were nice and salty. They had a side of harissa ketchup to dip them into, which I liked with the fries—just a ketchup with a little deeper taste, but I didn’t like that it made my bread a little soggy and I didn’t really want it on the sandwich because it was so perfect as it was. There were also some nice lightly pickled onions and cucumbers alongside that I really liked with the sandwich—especially the onions. The cukes I just sort of ate on their own because the sandwich didn’t need them. Hubby has declared that this is a dish that must be re-ordered on any subsequent visit.
We also got one of the other things that have been on the menu since the restaurant opened I believe. It’s the uova al forno ($12). It’s more of the Amelia’s semolina on the bottom, with an egg baked in the spicy tomato sauce. There’s an option to add grilled Merguez sausage on the side (+$5) and we did. This is a nice dish—they make a nicely seasoned, chunky marinara sauce. Honestly, I would love to have it on pasta, but I digress. My only complaint about this dish is that the bread just turns to mush at the bottom. I would rather have it on the side and toasted like that patty melt. That sausage was really good—hubby absolutely loved it. It had more of those North African seasonings. We both liked the firm, but not overly firm, casing. It was really nice to have a bite of the sausage with the egg, bread and tomato sauce. It added even more heat—and that touch of fat that made the dish more complete for us.
We also shared one of the newer side dishes (at least for me)—the “ya mama’s handpie” (or something like that) ($3). I wanted order the latke because I like them so much, but hubby talked me down and got me to try something new. This was a pastry filled with veggies, sausage and rice. It was interesting—we both were saying, “this is pretty good.” and then by the time we finished it, we really liked it. It really grows on you—the crust was nice and flaky but had a good dense crunch to it as well. It was hearty and a nice thing to have on the side. One of the other dishes they have had a version of since the beginning is the fried chicken with biscuits and gravy—I am not as attracted to the chicken wings they are using now though—I really preferred the boneless thighs from the original menu. Wings are just too much work.
Overall, I think Milktooth just continues to grow. Not everything blows me away, but the creativity and uniqueness of the place is a great thing for us to have in our city. I wish there was some way to fix the seating issues, but maybe I’m too picky. Also, good to see that Chef Jonathan Brooks has been asked to cook at the James Beard house with several other Indiana chefs. It’s an honor for them all and exciting to see new restaurant’s chefs being recognized this way.
Also, I can’t wait to eat that lamb patty melt again.
540 Virginia Ave