Monday, June 4, 2018

Hedge Row

I have been patiently waiting to try Hedge Row (I like to wait a couple of weeks if I can), so recently after my graduation from grad school (no big deal), I told my family this is what I wanted. This is where local chef Brad Gates has landed as well if you’ve been wondering and the restaurant is owned by Kimbal Musk, brother of Elon. We had a reservation and were running a few minutes late due to traffic (again, graduations everywhere), but they were perfectly nice about it. The patio was open, but we sat in the main dining room. There’s a fair amount of seating with the patio and bar, but I was a little surprised at how small the main dining room actually is. However, regardless of size, it was not lacking in noise, so prepare yourself if you’re sensitive to loud restaurants.

It is a very cool looking place that feels like it is straight out of a larger city—very modern and boisterous. It was very crowded, and the drinks took a little longer than I would have wanted, but I am pretty sure that was a problem at the bar and not our server. Right away we ordered some snacks, and then perused the rest of the menu. We ordered the shrimp hushpuppies ($6) and the hand cut garlic fries ($5). Both were good. The fries were a big hit at our table—they were very hot and extremely crispy. We all liked the ones that had some extra crispy bits. And while I usually am bored with ketchup, this one was house made and very good. Lots of acidic flavor, and not so sweet as most are. Once I realized the hot honey to dip the hushpuppies in was kind of pooled on the bottom of the serving bowl, I really liked these as well. They are really large hush puppies made from cornmeal and studded with small bits of gulf shrimp. Dredging them in the slightly hot honey was very tasty. Hubby loved them. I liked them a lot, although they were a tad dry, but maybe that’s just cornmeal for you. I would have probably added a sauce on top—and after looking at other pictures online, most show the hushpuppies with some sort of topping that ours didn’t have. Maybe just overlooked in the kitchen.

The way they do food here is ideally family style, and my family was just fine with that. So, this means they just bring things out as they are made. The next things that were delivered were the crispy fish “tacos” (which are wrapped in lettuce) ($14). These were one of my favorites for sure. They take nice pieces of rockfish (one of my favorite fish for fish and chips in San Francisco), and tempura fry it. They put some smoked chili tartar sauce underneath and top it with pickled onions and radish slices. I really liked this take on a taco—hubby started to balk at the lettuce aspect, but honestly, by using it, it really lets the fish shine. It was a great dish. The four of us fought over them. Our server said we could add one if we want and we would definitely do that next time so we all had our own.
Next came the caramelized brussels sprouts and turnips with Smoking Goose ham hock vinaigrette ($8). Love the use of the pork and some acid (although I think it could have used a bit more) and I thought the sprouts were very good. What blew my mind actually was how good the turnips were. They were roasted perfectly and had an amazing pillowy consistency. Normally turnips don’t really get me going that much, but I was grateful to have my mind changed here. We also had the tuna ceviche ($15) because we all love tuna, but for whatever reason, this was probably the least favorite of the table. The tuna was impeccably fresh and it was an interesting mix with apples and red onion, but the flavors just didn’t really come together for me.  It had a coconut lime vinaigrette that I felt was more coconut than lime. And it needed some salt. I am hoping that they mix up the seasonings on it sometimes though, as that tuna practically melted in your mouth.

The next thing that came out was the salmon ($26) from the “large” section of the menu. This was an extreme crowd favorite at our table. It was one of the other stars of the night for sure. It was a piece of salmon that had skin on that had been seared crispy—so crispy we were fighting over it. There was this amazing smoky bacon broth that it sat in that tasted like it had some soy going on there too. The veggies with it were bok choy and shitake mushrooms. The bok choy was just right. Not so “fresh” that it tasted raw, but cooked enough that it was a little soft, but with a pleasant fresh crunch. There was a parsley-hazelnut pistou (sort of like a pesto) on it as well. So much flavor packed into this dish. It was great. 

We also got the pasta Bolognese ($19) at the request of my son. This was also extremely good and tasty. It was basically penne pasta topped with a sauce that had a mix of ground beef, pork, and lamb. Lots of fresh parmesan on top. An extremely well done, and hearty pasta dish.

We were celebrating after all, so we splurged on several desserts as well. My kids both had the salted chocolate chunk cookies ($4 each) and they were delicious. Warm and gooey and just the right kick from the salt. Hubby and I tried a couple of different things—the sticky toffee pudding ($8) and the butterscotch pot de crème ($7). The pot de crème was very tasty—a nice change from the more traditional chocolate version. It was served with a little piece of cashew brittle. The sticky toffee pudding didn’t really do it for us, and we are generally big fans, after coming to love this dish while living in England. This one was topped with a lot of pecans, and the cake had a much more date type taste than others I have had, which were more like rich, moist gingerbread almost. I feel like you kind of have to cover it in sauce too, and because of the way this one was served in its own baking dish, this was impossible. 

Overall, I think this is a very nice addition to the Indy restaurant scene. We enjoyed pretty much everything we had, and the restaurant has a nice hip and friendly vibe. Service was a little spotty at times, but I am hoping that will get worked out with time and experience. I look forward to going back—as does everyone else in my family. Who else has been? Please share your favorite items!

Hedge Row
350 Massachusetts Ave
Indy  46204

Noise rating: 5 bells (out of five)

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