Some good friends of ours are getting ready to move away (sad face) and had never been to Bluebeard, so hubby and I decided we needed to remedy that situation. We were also going to a concert downtown, so we needed to eat early, which is sort of ideal when you are going to Bluebeard since they don’t take reservations and usually get pretty crowded any time after 6:00.
Since they had never been before, we started with the bread plate—the small size ($4). It’s always a good choice. Slices of whatever Amelia’s bread they’re featuring that night plus various spreads. This night was almond butter, garlic oil and anchovy butter. I like them all, although I find the anchovy butter just a little too strong. I like anchovies, but this stuff is intense.
We also started with a large Caesar salad ($15) because it’s one of hubby’s favorites. It isn’t your classic Caesar, other than it is tossed with Caesar vinaigrette. They use romaine and frisee and add onion, tomato, basil, parmesan and duck confit. It’s a really good salad, and the duck is super tender and adds heft to the salad.
We just decided to continue with sharing, so we all ordered a bunch of stuff and split it. Everything was good, but I am thinking my favorite item of the evening was the Banh Mi. There was pork belly, Sriracha aioli, pickles carrots and cucumbers, cilantro, and jalapeno on a brioche bun. It was such a great combo of flavors—and had more going on than a lot of traditional banh mi. I liked the addition of the Sriracha to the mayo to give it a bit more heat, and I liked that they put a decent amount of it on the sandwich so it was really moist. The bun was nice and soft, but held up to everything. They also added some little fried bits of shallot, which gave a nice addition of crunch that was different from the crunch of the pickled vegetables. A really great sandwich. I wonder if they offer it for lunch.
We also had the pasta with Bolognese ($26). Usually this is done at Bluebeard with papardelle, but this time they used a different shape of pasta that was sort of a spiral, like a snail shell. I think their Bolognese has nice flavor with fennel and basil and I have always thought it was done well. I still don’t get that excited about it, but it is a crowd pleaser and an easy and plentiful dish to share, and it’s almost always on the menu.
We shared the truffle egg toast ($16) as well, which is a perennial favorite with hubby and me. They change it up regularly, but I have had a similar version before. They give you a big hunk of Pullman bread that has an egg cooked in the middle of it—then there’s cheese on top and whipped St. Andre cheese underneath and then there were peas, mushrooms and bits of crumbled pistachio. And of course, there’s truffle oil in there too. I love this dish because, well, eggs.. I like that they often have some variation of it on the menu, and I nearly always order it. It’s rich for sure, but in all the best ways.
We also shared the halibut ($18) and enjoyed it as well. I really like the way they added morcilla sausage to the dish. I’m a fan of seafood and sausage combinations—adding depth and salt to the seafood. There was also a bunch of veg on the plate, rounding it out as well. I particularly liked the lemon and capers added, because you know me, I like some acid and some salt with just about everything. It was a solid dish, even if the fish were just a tad on the overdone side for me.
We split a piece of chess pie for dessert, and it tasted really good—it’s almost like a sugar cream pie but a bit richer. The crust tasted really good, although it was really hard to cut through—like maybe it had been sitting a day or two. But everyone really enjoyed it.
I have recently heard some complaints about the service at Bluebeard, but I have pretty much always found it to be efficient and knowledgeable. It may be a bit brusque at times, but I just assume that’s because they’re so busy. I still think it is easily one of the top five restaurants in Indy.
653 Virginia Avenue