For Mother’s Day we ended up having dinner at the Vanguard. We had recently been for their Longbranch pop-up and it was so good (I really hope they bring that back every so often). I honestly thought it was better than the original Longbranch, if that is possible. Anyhow, they have moved on to a new spring menu, and since it was a new bunch of items, I thought I would do a little update.
We started with two “smalls,” the popcorn ($5) and the chicken liver toast ($9). The popcorn was cooked with pork fat and had Sriracha spices on it. It had some kick to it, but it was very good, and very addictive. And pork fat should really be a part of more popcorn. The chicken liver toast was really kind of disappointing. It was visually beautiful, but I think they must be made in advance and refrigerated because the toast was not crunchy and was bordering on soggy. On the toast was chicken liver mousse, chevre (goat cheese), and nettle mustard. There was a lot of the mustard on the bread, which dominated the whole thing and probably added to the bread sogginess issue. I would have preferred a lighter hand on this, crispier bruschetta, and more of the chevre and liver.
We were all kind of sharing everything, and the next thing that came out was the “ham and cheese” ($11). This was more of a charcuterie plate, and I enjoyed it. There was some perfectly toasted bread here (hmmmm….) along with speck (smoked prosciutto), Bellamy blue cheese, oil and vinegar on the side, and microgreens. The ingredients were very good, although we needed more bread than they offered (which we asked for, told we would be charged for, and never got). But the flavors of everything was good. For this course, we also had the warm cobb salad ($12). This was warm wilted mustard greens, boiled egg, tomato, bacon and an avocado vinaigrette. It was very good. For some reason, I feel like this place pulls off salads really well, so I am always tempted to order them. Hubby kind of balked, but he loved it too. It had a slightly spicy kick from the greens and the vinaigrette and tomatoes gave good acid. It was extremely flavorful. I will continue on my habit of ordering salads at the Vanguard.
For our mains, hubby and I split the “buttered noodles” ($18) and the special, which was pork tenderloin tacos. The buttered noodles were made with crème fraiche, greens, parmesan and pepper. This was a really good dish for such. Love the use of crème fraiche here giving the pasta more than just a rich cheesy flavor. It was a good thing to split though, because it still was rich enough. The tacos were just ok. Not much going on there—and the meat itself was a little dry. There wasn’t much to them—some cheese and garnish and a couple of limes.
My son had the special steak for the evening—it was a ribeye and it was very tasty, although because of all that fat, it probably would have been better if it were cooked slightly more medium, but he ordered it medium rare. There was some asparagus and greens here as well. It had a great flavor. My daughter got the fried butter quail with butter and cilantro ($15). She enjoyed it although they had forgot it at first, and she ate it after we were pretty much finished.
The Vanguard is a good option for a more high-end dinner in Broad Ripple. It feels like a grown-up restaurant and I like that. The food changes around a fair amount, and I like that too. There are always some really tasty things, even if not everything is always amazing. And if they bring back the Longbranch menu, I highly recommend checking it out. The service can certainly be up and down, and this was one of the down experiences, but hopefully it will be better next time.
6319 Guilford Ave