Sunday, December 28, 2008

Kincaid's Fish, Chop & Steakhouse

I have been familiar with Kincaid’s for quite awhile, as I often ate lunch at the one in Oakland, California. Although I lived in San Francisco, I worked in Oakland and ate at a lot of restaurants there as well. I was always fairly impressed by this chain’s food—definitely a cut above most chain seafood/steakhouses. I knew there was one up in Carmel (Clay Terrace), but had yet to get up there.

So hubby and I ventured up for some holiday shopping and lunch. They have tried to keep the waterside ambiance that I think most of their restaurants have, although the little pond in Carmel is a far cry from the San Francisco Bay. But, you can’t have it all! The interior is very similar and fairly upscale for a chain. Lots of wood and nice comfy booths.

Their lunch menu looked great and I love the combination they offer where you can get a reduced portion of 2 choices from a list consisting of soups, salads, sandwiches and pastas. It seemed a great way to try lots of things. I was craving a salad with some seafood on it though, so I got the shrimp and Maytag blue cheese salad with diced egg, slivered almonds, big crumbles of blue cheese, bay shrimp and blue cheese dressing. It was exactly what I was in the mood for—the shrimp were nice and fresh tasting and the almonds added a nice crunch. They also have a salmon, crab and shrimp Louie salad which I ate often in California and which I am also very fond of.

Hubby ordered the ahi tuna burger/BLT which was also really good. I had some and he raved about it. It came with a bacon pepper aioli, arugula, and avocado tomato relish all on a toasted bun. The tuna was chopped and formed into a patty and cooked like a burger—it was very tender and very tasty, especially with all the other accoutrements.

They also serve yummy buttery herby focaccia bread with your meal which is warm and quite nice.

It’s a chain, and it’s in Carmel, but it is a good spot for lunch (and hey, even dinner too). I hear they have a kids' menu, so we will probably schlep the kids up one of these days for lunch too---always nice to find a place we can all eat together that is a bit above the standard fare, but still welcomes kids.

14159 Clay Terrace Blvd
Carmel, 46032

***1/3/08 Update : Went back for lunch with the kids today and had a great meal. What a great kids menu too--all the usual suspects plus kid's size portions of grilled salmon, fettucine alfredo, and fried cod. My 6 year old loved the salmon. Plus they served little bread with grapes plates as appetizers (how sophisticated) and vanilla pudding or a mini hot fudge sundae with all kid's meals. Quite a nice lunch. The kids loved it and want to go back. I had the Seafood Louie salad and was very happy (well, once I had them add the avocado).

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Aftertaste (Taste Cafe & Marketplace)

You know how when someone you really love lets you down, it hurts even worse than when it is someone you don’t know? That’s how I felt after my recent visit to Taste Café’s new dinner service, Aftertaste. If you haven’t read my review of Taste for lunch, I will tell you that it is probably my favorite place in the entire city to eat lunch. They do everything well, the kitchen is quick and so is the service. They specialize in salads and sandwiches and everything is terrific.

Recently, they added dinner service one night a week (Wednesdays) and I was so looking forward to it! We went with friends who also love lunch at Taste, and who were equally excited. They start serving at 6:00 and don’t take reservations, so we got there shortly after service began. The hostess was friendly, but tried to seat us at 2 different tables for 3 before we sort of chose our own table.

Once we got seated, we perused the menu. It is a pretty big menu, with starters, salads, tartines (open faced sandwiches), mains and sides. Many of the salads and tartines are versions of what are on the lunch menu, but most of the starters and mains are different. Our server sort of mentioned sharing, but didn’t really make a big deal of it, and we sort of thought we would share starters and then get our own mains.

The best part of the meal (and it was really great) was the starter portion. We got the hot blue cheese bacon dip served with flatbread, the avocado puree with plantain chips, and the warm olives. The blue cheese bacon dip was so delicious. Hot and super creamy, but with the tanginess and kick that the blue cheese brings along with the salt of the bacon. Seriously, I almost slapped the hand of the busser who tried to take it away before I had thoroughly cleaned out the bowl. I would love to get this for a holiday gathering. I wonder if you can order it. Anyway, the “avocado puree” was guacamole. Not sure why they call it puree as it is nice and chunky, just the way guacamole should be. It was also really good and the fried plantain chips really added to the dish. The warm olives were, well, a little too warm I guess. I am not sure why they need to be warm to be honest, room temperature would be great, and these were clearly over warmed in a broiler and lost a lot in the process (not to mention burning your tongue as you ate them).

For the next course, one of my friends ordered one of the tartines, the rare roast beef with caramelized onions and nice big slices of blue cheese on top. I, along with our other friend, ordered the chimichurri shrimp, which our server told us, had gotten great feedback from customers. Hubby ordered the short ribs, which were also recommended by our server.

The only thing that was good was the tartine, and it was outstanding. I know, because I ate quite a bit of it waiting for my main. They served the tartine at the same time as hubby’s short rib, and it was a good 10-15 minutes before the shrimp came out. Well, one order of it anyway. They served that order of the shrimp to our other dining companion. He gave me one of his in the interim, which I ate and realized I really didn’t even want my order of it. After flagging our server, I asked her if I indeed did have an entrée coming, or maybe only one order was mistakenly put in, but regardless, I didn’t want it, so please cancel it. She came back and assured me that yes, 2 orders had been put in, but for whatever reason, only one came out.

As for the shrimp, they were not good. They were very large, and a tasted a bit past their prime ( I want to say “fishy”, but I guess “shrimpy” is more accurate?). The “chimichurri” was a sprinkling of herbs on the outside of the shell and the shrimp were clearly stuck in a broiler or something along those lines. They were exceedingly hot, dry and overcooked. They needed some moisture (and flavoring) from something---maybe an actual chimichurri sauce drizzled over top? Maybe cook them in a chimichurri sauce? My friend who had been served them did not finish his, even after giving me one.

Hubby said the short rib was very bland and seemed to have been cooked without much seasoning. He also didn’t finish it, and that is a sure sign of him not liking something.

Again, the tartine was really good and thankfully, my gracious friend shared a lot with me because I never got a main.
We did get the frites (they the regular pomme frites that they serve for lunch and hubby and I the truffle frites). The truffle aioli was tasty, but not overly “truffley.” I am sort of a truffle hound though and can usually smell if a truffle is being served in a restaurant the minute I walk in, and couldn’t really even smell them when the frites were in front of me. The truffle frites at Capital Grill are much more “truffley” although the quality of the frites themselves at Taste is probably the best in the entire city. Luckily, you can also pretty much make a meal of the frites, and between that, and the starters, I was pleasantly full. We also had the warm asparagus side which was not bad.

Hubby and I also shared the cheese plate for dessert and it was pretty good too—although with all those gooey French cheeses in the case, I was hoping for more of those, but it was still good and served with a variety of accompaniments (nuts, fruits and quince paste) which I enjoy when eating cheese.

The biggest problem in this place is service though. From the start, the staff doesn’t seem clued in to full dinner service yet. Now, I know we need to cut them some slack as this was only the third week of dinner service, and this is a lunch place that doesn’t do table service during the day, so it is a very new thing for most of the staff, I am sure. But there were very long stretches where we didn’t even see our server, not to mention the fact that our mains came out at such different intervals (if they came out at all).

I do think there are several things that could be done to improve this. First, they could change the menu to tapas, call the mains “larger plates” and tell the table to order to share and that the items will come out when they are finished. Our waitress sort of mentioned sharing, but never specifically said that it was recommended. This way, you don’t expect mains that are presented to the entire table at the same time. The weird thing was, no one really seemed surprised that we didn’t get our mains at the same time, or even really made any attempt to remedy the situation.

The other thing they could maybe do is cut the menu way back. There is A LOT of stuff on the menu, and as I mentioned, much of it is a lot like the lunch menu. Now, I hesitate to say take that stuff off, because it was the best of what we had, but maybe they should focus on fewer things and try to do them better.

Another suggestion I have is to take reservations. The fact is, nearly the entire restaurant was seated at the same time, and surely that would be enough to overwhelm even the most experienced kitchens. They could space their diners out a bit more perhaps with reservations.

The other thing is when you only serve dinner once a week, I am sure it is hard for a staff not used to table service to get up to speed quickly---they just don’t get enough practice. And obviously, you aren’t going to be able to hire a different staff for just one night a week. Hopefully, with more experience (and it is really trial by fire as this place was completely packed when we were there), the service issues will get ironed out. The prices are good, a little over half the food we had was quite good, and I know the potential is there. (And hey, they obviously have the business).

I was a bit depressed about this experience for a couple of days, but I am starting to come out of it. I was so hyped up, but I guess….we always have lunch!

Taste Cafe & Marketplace
5164 N College Ave
Indy 46205

Saturday, December 13, 2008

El Torito Grill

*****El Torito is closed************** (8/23/10)

Before I get into the meat of the review, so to speak, I want to apologize for some random technical problems I have been having this week. First, I apologize to any of you who may have had problems accessing my blog (particularly past reviews) and also to my email and feed subscribers, because for some inexplicable reason, feedburner decided to send out a review from months ago as if it were new (the L’explorateur review). I won’t bore you with the details (that I barely understand anyway), but as hubby says, when you are dealing with a lot of free products, you can’t expect perfection. Hopefully it will be back to normal and there will be no future problems, but if there are, I apologize in advance!

Ok, enough of that. This week, based on a recent recommendation from a friend who says that El Torito Grill is his favorite place to go for margaritas and guacamole, we thought we would give it a try with the kids. Let me say though, that hubby and I had been once before and been pretty underwhelmed. The first time, I had the lobster quesadilla and it was borderline horrible. I expected a quesadilla with some nice hunks of lobster, but what I got was tortillas with some weird mash that was faintly lobster colored and smelled more than a little suspect. (Hubby had the carnitas and quite liked them.) But I figured, maybe they had improved (and I would certainly not order that again, so maybe something else would be better).

We started with some Cadillac margaritas which were pretty good. They brought a shot of Grand Marnier on the side. Apparently you can either do the shot separately or have it poured into the drink (what we both did). I don’t think a margarita would taste right without it, and who really wants to do a shot of something like that? (Or maybe they want to prove to you that there is actually alcohol in the drink.) But, once the shot was in, it tasted good. So I thought, maybe we are off to a better start anyway (the first time I went, I had the house margarita and it was nothing to write home about). We ordered the tableside guacamole because my friend had recommended it, because we really like guacamole, and because we thought it would be entertaining for the kids. It was pretty disappointing on all fronts. First of all, there was no real show to it, and the whole process took like 2 minutes—I did notice at the other table in the room, occupied only by women, that their guacamole maker took a bit longer. But not ours. And the guac itself was very unexciting. I can, and do, make much better at home. It didn’t have much flavor or zip or any real freshness. Also, what is the deal with the chips? They tasted straight out of a grocery store bag (and not the good ones). They weren’t warm and they weren’t overly fresh. Oh, and an FYI, they only bring chips when you order the guacamole—when you are seated you are served warm flour tortillas with butter and a couple of salsas. The tortillas are much better, but something just screams for chips when you are eating guacamole.

Now, I tend to be an optimist when I am eating at a restaurant—I genuinely want to like places. And I was still keeping an open mind at this point. I ordered the shrimp and chicken taquitos for my main course and the shrimp ones weren’t bad, but the chicken ones were not great. They are served with tomatillo-avocado and red pepper dipping sauces. I don’t know what it was, but like I said, I was really trying to like it, but by the time we had finished, I was pretty sure we were never going back. Hubby had the shrimp fajitas and there was certainly nothing special about these either—again, the best thing about them were those same warm tortillas, which incidentally were my kids’ favorite part of the meal too—they ate more of those than anything.

This place bills itself as “upscale Mexican” which I guess it is based on the interior—it is definitely fancier inside than most Mexican restaurants. But based on the food, and the fact that this huge restaurant was nearly empty, I have a feeling this place’s days may be numbered. In fact, I am surprised in this economy it is still open now—the first time we went, which must have been over a year ago, the crowd was the same. And it doesn’t help that our bill was about 4 times what our regular Mexican restaurant costs.

The sad part of the whole thing is that this chain is owned by the same group that owns a West Coast chain of not-so-upscale Mexican restaurants called Chevy’s. Now, Chevy’s is nothing fancy, but the food is so much better—the chips and salsa are great and the guacamole that just came on the side of things was much better too. They pride themselves on fresh ingredients, and nothing from a can. They even had a special a couple times a year in which they served lobster fajitas and the lobster was damn good. And I think it would fly in this market a lot better than El Torito Grill. And believe it or not, this is the first El Torito Grill outside of California. Makes you wonder how they chose Indianapolis.

El Torito Grill
8650 Keystone Crossing
Indy 46240

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Nordstrom Café Bistro

Ok, I realize that this is obviously a chain, but it is so yummy, I thought it was worth writing up. It all started back in San Francisco when I got hooked on the Cobb Salad at the Nordstrom there. It was the best place to eat in the mall if you had shopping to do (and had a great kids menu). When we moved here, we ate at the café downtown several times (the café, not the grill) and the menu there was pretty much identical to our old Nordstrom in SF. So when the new Nordstrom opened at the Fashion Mall, I went one day with a friend while we were shopping sort of assuming it would be the same as well. Well this café bistro, is much more bistro-ish and less café-ish. The room is full of comfy booths and while you still order at the register, you are seated by a server. They also serve beer and wine and more entrees and have a kitchen with more capabilities (the other ones don’t appear to have a fryer, etc). And the menu is pretty much completely different I think, although the same basic format—lots of great sounding salads, soups and sandwiches as well as several more entrees. The other thing I really like about Nordstrom cafés in general are the ingredients seem to be very high quality and someone is attempting to put together things beyond what you might find at an average sandwich shop. Now, I am not sure, it is possible that they have changed the menu at all the Nordstroms—and maybe our downtown café has the same new menu items—I haven’t been there in awhile.

Anyway, the first time I went I had the Bistro Club sandwich with chicken, bacon, green beans, avocado, lettuce and garlic aioli—now the sandwich was quite good, but the stand out were the fries that come along side every sandwich (which they never had at the other Nordstrom restaurants I have been to before due to the lack of a full kitchen). They are the thin “pommes frites” style fries heavily seasoned with salt, black pepper and fresh parsley. They were delicious and the olive tapenade/aioli dipping sauce---amazing. I actually think it was the dip that really sold me on the fries--I could pour that stuff on just about anything and really like it.

So a week or two later, we decided to go with the family. Like I said, they have a nice kids’ menu with all the classics and my kids thoroughly enjoyed their hotdogs and fries (less seasoned, but the same fries). The hot dogs were high quality plump dogs that were grilled and not just boiled.

Hubby and I shared the steak sandwich with cheese, arugula, Roma tomatoes, caramelized onions and aioli on Parmesan ciabbata bread. This sandwich was even better than the first one. It was served hot and the meat was very tender and all the ingredients just went so well together. And of course those fries. And that olive dip. Really good.

So the restaurant as I mentioned has a nicer interior than previous Nordstrom cafés I have been to, with warm colors and nice booths, and they are open for dinner as well (and have a breakfast menu in the morning as well). As for dinner, maybe as a convenient place to eat with your kids if you are at the mall, but generally I will keep it on rotation as a lunch place, particularly when I am at the mall anyway—this is a wonderful alternative to the food courts (I really really cannot stand mall food courts, but that’s a whole other story) and hey, you can even have a glass of wine if you want!

Nordstrom Café Bistro
Fashion Mall
8702 Keystone Crossing
Indy 46240

Saturday, November 29, 2008


******Zing is closed**************************

If you have followed my blog, you know I love tapas, or little plates. Indy has a fairly new restaurant specializing in these little plates. Tapas technically come from Spain, but many restaurants have taken this concept into other types of food—which is what Zing is doing. I was a little hesitant about this place as I have heard mixed reviews, but nothing I love more than a new restaurant, so off we went.

First off, it was midweek, and it wasn’t very crowded (although it picked up a bit later). I enjoyed the colorful modern interior and great views from certain tables of the lit buildings of the City. It wasn’t cold like many modern interiors are, it had a lot of creative lighting and the bright colors to make it more eclectic. The service was prompt (although I think the hostess a bit bored, as she was reading a book) and our server was quite friendly. The only gripe I had was that we weren’t told about the drink specials, but that may be because we ordered wine so quickly. The wine list isn’t huge, but has a good variety from around the world, and I found the glass pours reasonably priced and generous.

We wanted to try a bit of lots of stuff, so we started with one of the salad courses—the mushrooms. They were marinated mushroom caps, served cold, and they were the first thing to come out. They were okay, but not overly exciting. I think they would be better if you maybe ordered some of the meats and cheeses offered and had them alongside other things in an antipasto platter. They weren’t much on their own. We skipped the meats and cheeses on this trip though in order to make room for more of the warm dishes (baby, it’s cold outside!).

The next thing to come out was the BLT “pizza-ette.” Their “pizza-ettes” are little 7 inch pizzas with several choices of toppings. This one had bacon, tomato, and cheddar cheese and was topped with lettuce drizzled with ranch dressing. It wasn’t bad, sort of tasted like a flat potato skin. I probably wouldn’t order it again, but if someone else really wanted, I would eat it again. My suggestion would be to go a little higher end on the flavors on at least some of the “pizza-ettes” a la Oh Yumm Bistro. The crust was pretty tasty, but the whole thing just wasn’t overly exciting. Maybe the one with sundried tomato pesto, fennel and bleu cheese would be better.

The next dish to come out was the scallops with keylime butter sauce on top of spaghetti squash with currants and pinenuts. This dish just simply didn’t come together. There were three very small scallops (that were properly cooked I will say), and way too much of the accompaniments. I think the delicate scallop flavor was completely lost in the heavy Middle Eastern flavor of the squash. And if there was key lime butter, I didn’t taste it (and some nice citrusy flavor would’ve helped). I love scallops, but this was the worst plate we had. Unfortunately, they came highly recommended by our server, but I would go on your own instincts with what you choose, as the best things we had were not recommended items.

Thankfully, things seemed to turn around at this point in the meal. We were next served the fried fingerling potatoes with Italian sausage and feta vinaigrette. These had a nice flavor—they really seemed to grow on you. The sausage was just little tiny bits mixed in (so it wasn’t too rich) and the feta vinaigrette jazzed it up. The only thing I would change about this course would be that it was served along with something else at the same time—it is a little much to just eat this somewhat large portion of the rich and starchy potatoes with nothing to go along with. I know they just sort of bring things out as they are ready, but they should make a point to bring these out along with something else—we had quite a long period where we only had the potatoes on the table. And it is a larger portion than some of the other things, so a good one to share, even with more than 2 people.

The next course was the mahi mahi tacos with avocado cream, jicama slaw and cilantro pesto. These were outstanding and reminded me of some mini tacos we used to get at a tapas place in San Francisco. The shells were light and very crispy and the flavors blended together beautifully. They are definitely on the must order list in my book.

Finally, we added an order of the fried calamari with remoulade sauce at the last minute and this was probably the best calamari in Indianapolis I have had to date. A very light fry and tender calamari served with a delicious remoulade sauce that seemed to have a bit of lemon in it as well as fresh herbs. It made the sauce very bright (rather than just mayo with hot sauce like so many remoulades taste like) and made the dish one of the best on the table.

We were quite happy about the way the meal was wrapping up and were trying to figure out whether to order dessert or not (afraid to ruin what had turned out pretty good) but decided to go for it. We ordered the little shot glasses of mousses. We got the sampler of 4 different flavors—2 chocolates, 1 peanut butter and 1 butterscotch. They were actually very good! And it has been awhile since I had something so butterscotchy. I liked mixing the chocolate into the peanut butter and the butterscotch and blending the flavors. Tasty. Would get these again as well. And they aren’t so big that you feel like you just don’t have room—there is always enough room for these.

I guess we were lucky the dishes seemed to come out in order of worst to best, as we left with a good taste in our mouths. I am hoping they tweak the menu a bit with the seasons, and maybe take some of the weaker ones off the menu, because I would like to see some new things the next time I go, along with some of the really great items I had on this trip.

543 Indiana Avenue
Indy 46202

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Elements Reprise


We headed back to one of our favorite places this week-Elements. I am trying to get some new places in, but it was hubby’s birthday, and his choice, so Elements it was. And I figured since I don’t think we have been there since Chef and former owner Greg Hardesty left, it would be a good thing to check up and see how things are going.

Not too busy, but it was a Tuesday after all. We got our favorite table and were served by a very friendly and knowledgeable server. I think the wine list has changed a bit, but they had a nice Soave reasonably priced, so that is what we went with.

For a starter I had the herb gnocchi with mushrooms and roasted tomatoes with a white wine nage and sliced garlic. It was a great sized portion (i.e. not ridiculously big) and it was excellent. I really really liked it and ate every bite. At this point in the meal, I am thinking this place is still spot on. The gnocchi were super tender and light and obviously very freshly made. The mushrooms were small and tender with a taste similar to a shitake but not quite as strong. Hubby had the Tasmanian salmon starter with fresh pasta, roasted tomatoes and artichokes, and although salmon isn’t my favorite fish, the pasta and accompaniments were delicious! The pasta was homemade and they should really consider a pasta appetizer or main dish—they did it very well.

For my main, I had the skirt steak with steak frites, collard greens, pickled red onions and truffle jus. It was so cold outside and this sounded nice and hearty. The server sort of seemed to be recommending the Barramundi which also sounded good—and normally at Elements I like to get the fish, but like I said the beef just sounded so good. Well, let’s just say that I should have gone for the fish. Even though I ordered the meat medium rare, it was medium at best and therefore, a bit tough. I should have sent it back, but couldn’t really delay the meal that much due to time constraints. The thing about it is, in my experience, this has always been a problem at Elements. Any time I have gotten beef there, it has always been overcooked. Not sure why. The onions and greens were pretty good, but I couldn’t really smell or taste any truffle in there (and usually my nose can smell it a mile away). But, I have learned my lesson. Stick with the fish. Hubby had swordfish and couldn’t stop talking about how good it was. It was perfectly cooked and served with basil mashed potatoes and Nicoise veggies.

We did order a dessert this time—the apple and ginger tart with “slightly fennel” ice cream and caramel sauce. It was well done. I didn’t really taste the fennel (hence the “slightly” I guess) but thought the flavors went well together—the ginger really complimented the apples.

All in all, the new chef, Neil Andrews, is keeping the “elements” of Elements the same, and up to the old high standards. They were offering two salads that were very unique and are one of my favorite things about Elements—that they put together complex salads with unusual ingredients (in this town anyway) that are different from what pretty much every other restaurant around is doing (i.e., no blue cheese wedge). They’re continuing to use lots of fresh and local ingredients in all their dishes and to serve great fresh seafood. Keep up the good work (and maybe work on the steak temps).

P.S., I hope the menu continues to be updated online—the week we went, there was nothing at all listed on the online menu for several days, but when I checked today, it was up again.

415 North Alabama Street
Indy 46204

Saturday, November 8, 2008


***As of June 5, 2011, Euphoria is closed as a restaurant and is only open for private events. The chef has also left the restaurant.****

Let me start by saying how happy I am that this restaurant exists again! Maybe even euphoric? (ha ha) Anyway, this is the new restaurant upstairs at the Bugg’s Temple building, previously “The Tavern at the Temple.” Several weeks ago the restaurant closed, and just when it looked like one of my favorite restaurants (for the chef and food anyway) was gone forever, it was reborn, as it were, as Euphoria. New owners, new service staff, same chef, many of the same menu items.

My first experience was a few nights before their grand opening when hubby and I were invited in to try some of the bar menu (and one of the regular menu appetizers as well). I was psyched. And thrilled to know the mussels I loved so much were still on the menu. They were the best in town. There are several repeat items as well as several new ones. And the cheese menu is still there too (thank goodness!). And you should know, if you go to eat here, you can always order off of the bar menu as well, so ask to see it. You get a lot more variety as far as appetizer choices that way (it is a completely different menu from the regular restaurant menu), and you can make a kick butt cheese plate for yourself for dessert.

So on this first night we tried two completely new things to us to start with, the sweet potato gnocchi with pork, thinly sliced brussel sprouts and Parmesan (this one is actually a starter on the dinner menu). Let me tell you, this was so good. Sometimes I find sweet potato things to be, well, too sweet. This was amazing. The gnocchi were sautéed and a bit crispy on the sides and all the flavors melded together perfectly. I would recommend this to anyone dining there.

We also tried the beef tartare. The freshly ground tenderloin and strip steak was topped with a fried quail egg and paired with very finely chopped onions and tomatoes, capers, those little tiny gherkins (cornichons I believe they are called) and mustard. And housemade garlic chips to scoop it with. Well, actually, they were really too thin to scoop it with, but great as a topper to a bite put together on your fork. The beef was excellent and the mustard really added that zip that you need with such a rich dish. I would get it again though for sure.

I had to get the mussels as they were one of my favorite things in the previous incarnation. When they first brought them out, we both thought they were off. The flavor wasn’t quite right. I then realized the smoked tomatoes that usually are a part of this dish were missing and it really suffered for it. Fortunately, I recognized the problem, and the dish was taken back to the kitchen and came out with the tomatoes. Then, it was back to par. I think because the restaurant wasn’t technically open yet and the kitchen was still getting it together (many new staffers were are told), they are just working out a few kinks. Just be sure and look for those tomatoes if you don’t see them on your mussels—they really make a huge difference!

We also tried the shrimp cocktail because it had been recommended. They are attempting to make a classic standby somewhat unique by serving it with different sauces besides the classic cocktail sauce. They serve it with three sauces—cocktail but with a sweet chili and Sriracha kick (really tasty actually), a cajun remoulade (this one didn’t really do it for me, tasted more like mustard or something), and a crème fraiche horseradish sauce (I liked the tang mixed with the heat of the horseradish). All in all, this dish was my least favorite though. The shrimp were good and large, but something about them was just a bit off. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I don’t think I would order this one again.

For dessert, we were offered a cheese board (oh, hallelujah!) and we jumped at it. They have a lot of cheeses on the bar menu (and we are told even more to come) but they put it together for us. It was quite good, even without choosing it myself. They only thing I would change (besides making my own cheese choices) is that some of the crackers served alongside were savory flavored—which would be good if you are having a cheese plate as an appetizer, but when you want it for dessert, either plain crackers are best, or else something really good like raisin walnut bread thinly sliced and toasted. And some fresh fruit and nuts would really add to the experience as well. There was some chunky jam with it which was good, but just some grapes or fresh sliced apples makes for a perfect cheeseboard in my opinion. We were told that they are actually trying to go all the way with the cheese thing and actually invest in a cheese cart like you see in Europe (and San Francisco and even Chicago for that matter). In case you are unfamiliar, it is very common in Europe for there to be a large wheeled cart with many cheeses on it (usually broken up by animal type—i.e. goat’s milk, cow’s milk and sheep’s milk and then again by strength (or as I prefer to think of it, by stinkiness)). In Europe, people often have a cheese course either before dessert, or in place if it. And when you choose it, they wheel their cart around and you get to pick some yourself that they then slice up and serve with all the yummy accoutrements. The goal is to have a full cheese service on the weekends, with a dedicated cheese server! I won’t believe it til I see it, but I would be so, so happy! Bring on the stinky cheese! (I like the strong ones).

The service was so much more friendly and knowledgeable and I hope to see that continue and expand. The only service-type problem we had was the bottle of wine we ordered wasn’t very cold (which had been a problem in the past). I am going to think positive and believe it was just because they were still getting ready for the Grand Opening.

The next time we went was actually on the grand opening night. We went with friends, which was great--opportunity to have tastes of many things. It was a very cheery atmosphere and it was nice to see the place busy. They clearly had enough service staff and were on top of making sure the water glasses were full and wine glasses were topped off. We were also told there are many new servers who have come from other restaurants around the city known for their service. This is key, as service was one of the biggest problems with this place under the old regime.

The first food type thing I want to comment on is the bread. They have changed the bread service! I was mentioning this to hubby when we were at the bar, and was really hoping they got rid of the little rolls that were served room temp and were often so hard they could be substituted for batting practice. They now have nice slices of soft fresh bread (still not warm, but you can't have everything). Much better. Oh and such a cute little glass server for the butter--butter which is also room temperature and thus, spreadable!

We were served an amuse bouche of the salmon pastrami with a bit of creme fraiche and caviar. I'll be honest, smoked fish isn't really my thing but hubby loved it and everyone at our table seemed to enjoy it. Loved the plates they are using--very colorful and eclectic. The cool plate thing went on throughout the meal.

For my starter, I had the scallops grenobloise. These were outstanding. Normally I prefer the large sea scallops and these were the little bay scallops. But this was a great preparation. They were lightly pan fried with capers (love that tangy/salty thing) and teeny tiny croutons and a creamy fingerling potato sauce underneath. Add a touch more lemon, and, perfection. Hubby had the polenta with wild mushrooms and truffle oil. They were outstanding as well. One of our dining companions had the sweet potato gnocchi based on my recommendation and really really liked them, just as I did.

For my main, I had the lamb chops. First of all, can you say, enormous? The portions at this place have gotten Oceanaire size I think. The flavor was good, I really liked the dijon sauce and of course, the twice baked fingerlings (they fancy person's potato skins with cheese and bacon) and the broccoli rabe, however, the lamb itself was a little too tough. They were the big loin chops, and not the little lamb lollipops (um, the technical term being rib chop I believe) that I prefer (and which seem more tender). They were still medium rare in the middle, but they were a bit too charred on the outside. Hubby and another of our party had the suckling pig and both seemed to quite like it. My other friend had the one side seared beef, which I have had before and I know is good. It did have a more Fallish side dish-- wild mushroom risotto, and was quite well received. Seriously though, the portions are really really big. Next time, I will either split an entree or get two starters for sure.

Along these lines, another thing I noticed about the new menu was that 1) the prices went up and 2) there is a whole section of the menu which is like a steakhouse (and so many restaurants in this town). Now, I am guessing that both of these things have been done in order to ensure the survival of Euphoria, in which case, I wholeheartedly support it, as I really want this restaurant to succeed and prosper. It is a unique, non-chain restaurant with a local born chef (who has worked around the world) and who I think is doing great things. However, it does sort of bum me out that slightly under half the menu has been dedicated to steak like SO many other places around here. I mean, do people around here only want steak when they are eating out? I can throw some meat on the grill and have it come out pretty damn good. I want some complex flavors, some ingredients not necessarily so readily available to the home cook, some side dishes that layer the flavors in a way that I wouldn't naturally come up with on my own. But the dishes that aren't on the steakhouse portion of the menu all look great and all seem to showcase the talents of the chef. So expand your horizons and order those. Enough said.

For dessert, we ordered a cheese plate (natch) from the bar menu based on our own personal selections. We ordered quite a few selections and I am happy to report they were already serving them with plainer crackers and some fresh grapes (wow, are they reading my mind or what?). And as part of the dinner service, they were serving walnut bread, so I just asked for some of that with my cheese as well. Of course, if it were sliced super thin and toasted, oh the joy. But we can't have everything. I was very pleased with it. Hubby was too except that he complained about eating too much. My friend who was with us ordered a chocolate/pomegranate cake which was a tad dry I am afraid. Needed at least some creme anglaise or ice cream alongside to moisten it up a bit. And where oh where has the banana tart gone? Hopefully not away with the old owners. It was so good. They were offering a pear and apple tart tatin--next time.

The wine service was much improved (other than we didn't get a wine list upon being seated), but I knew what I wanted, so not a problem for me. And it was cold. They also serve my fave--Moscato d'Asti by the glass for dessert which made me a happy camper.

All, in all, Chef Gates is back, service is better and the food is still great. This time people, let's keep this place around!

337 West 11th Street
Indy, 46202

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Loon Lake Lodge

*****Loon Lake Lodge is Closed for Business***** (8/23/10)

I know what you're thinking. That place with the airplane on top and the animatronic animals?? Seriously? Yup. For 2 years (as long as I have lived in this City with children), my kids have asked me to go to this place every time we drive by it. They certainly know how to lure people (children) in with the decor. And that is just on the outside. One weeknight, we decided, what the hey, we wanted something new and somewhere we could take the kids where it would not be unusual to see a three year old jumping up and down in his seat. So we gave in. And hey, it's not a chain right? (Which is where we seem to end up more often than I like with my kids). I will say, I am suspicious of any restaurant with a gift shop though.

So the funny thing about this place is, when I went to their website to learn a bit more about it before our visit (I really wanted to know if it was a chain), the website described it as having been "family owned and operated since 1888." Ok, this I found hard to believe. This place pretty much in the heart of Castleton had been around for over 100 years? Hmmmm... So we went, and as it turns out, Loon Lake Lodge is the successor to Laughner's cafeteria. Those of you who are long-time residents might remember Laughner's, it was a local family owned and operated cafeteria chain, sort of like MCL but a little nicer. Apparently, they used one of their buildings and started this concept after the cafeterias closed. Stretching it a bit I think.

So, to start with, it is a good place to take kids, other then the menu is huge and there is no way to read through it all properly when you have a hungry toddler. So we had to order in a hurry and decided to get several items so we could get a taste. But they really do have animatronic animals scattered about that periodically "come alive" and growl and eat honey and such things. And on the night we happened to go, it was family night (pure luck) and kids ate free and they even had a face painter. (A sweet kid who obviously does not see this as an actual job--I think it must have been the dishwasher or bus boy or something with some paints based on the final product. But my daughter could've cared less. She loves people to paint her face). So those things were good.

The food was ok. I know, big surprise. They do have some interesting game-type entrees like elk steaks and bison meatloaf. I really like bison, but didn't want to order red meat that night, so I went with the tempura shrimp, which were under the "Chef's Specialty items." They were quite expensive for a family type restaurant ($29.95 I think) and they weren't very good. The shrimp themselves were good quality, and huge, but the batter was actually really bready and seriously, they were each like the size of your fist. They reminded me more of shrimp hush puppies--that was more of the consistency of them. You get two sides, so I tried the cheddar mashed potatoes (really, was there cheese in there? I think not) and the corn fritters which were really tasty little morsels of fried corn.

Hubby had the blackened Grouper, which was simple and pretty good. He had it with a side of steak. I know, that is crazy. This is the first restaurant I have been to where you can get a steak as a side item, or shrimp, or you can order steak and get a fish fillet on the side. Seemed excessive, but we did it, just to try lots of things. The fish and steak were the best things, although not the best around for sure. For his sides, he had creamed corn and creamed spinach (I think they were pulling recipes from the cafeteria days with these). The creamed corn was corn with cream in it--not very good. The creamed spinach was much better.

The kids had grilled cheese and macaroni and cheese, classic kids items, with french fries. They seemed fine with it, although they were more interested in the animals coming alive.

All in all, if you want somewhere that is kid friendly, and even kid entertaining, not a chain, and has lots of different items to choose from, you may want to try this place. If you are just looking for a good steak or piece of fish, and you only have adults in your party, there are far better options.

Loon Lake Lodge
6880 East 82nd Street
Indy 46250

Taste Cafe and Marketplace

I realized I have never written up my all time favorite lunch place in this City--Taste Cafe and Marketplace. Luckily, this was one of the first places where I ate lunch before we had even moved to Indianapolis from San Francisco. Our real estate agent took us here for lunch the day we looked at, and picked out our house in Indy. It gave me real hope about the food in this City.

I have had a few different things here, but once I tried the BALT (bacon, avocado, lettuce and tomato) sandwich, I was completely hooked. Nothing else can compare. Once hubby and I really wanted to try something new, so we split a BALT (you can't just not get it) as well as the rare roast beef sandwich. Now, the roast beef was really good--anywhere else I would've been thrilled (balsamic onions, horseradish mayo), but the BALT, how can I explain? It is mixed greens, warm bacon, tomatoes, and mushed up avocado on a french roll (or whole wheat if you prefer--I don't) along with a dressing that is creamy and a bit zingy. As in tangy, not hot. It is this dressing I think that makes the sandwich. I know this because I have tried to duplicate it with really good ingredients, including fresh heirloom tomatoes from my own garden and I just can't do it. Normally, I am not a sandwich person, but this is the best sandwich ever.

The funny thing I have discovered about this restaurant is that people have a thing there and find it nearly impossible to deviate from what they get. My best friend and hubby are like me and always get the BALT. Sometimes with soup, or chips, or even those tasty pommes frites. Side note--I need to tell you about the pommes frites. They are the thin, really crisp french fries served in a paper cone with a delicious herby aioli. Once when I was there, they were also doing truffle frites. I couldn't get them that day, but were told they would be on the dinner menu soon. More on that below. But, back to my original point. Once, when I ran into my hairdresser there she started talking to someone who worked there and who was telling her she really should try something new, that she always gets the 3 salad sampler plate and never tries anything else. She said she would but when she got up to order, she said to me, "I just can't do it!" and ordered her usual. And another friend swears by the Pear and Roquefort salad. And the frites.

Besides for the green salads, they do 10-12 fresh made other salads daily there that also look quite good (not that I have had them, you see). But if the dressings are anything like what is on my BALT, I am sure they are. These are things like curry chicken salad, caprese salad, albacore tuna salad, chilled asparagus, orzo and pasta salads, etc. They also have an great cheese selection, and I have ordered a cheese plate for a party from them (all imports in my particular case) and it was one of the best cheese plates I have ever had. They have all those wonderful French cheeses that no one seems to want to carry around here because they need to sell them quickly before they go bad. They must pull it off, because that cheese is a huge temptation for me whenever I go in.

Taste has also recently remodeled and expanded and looks more like a restaurant than a lunch cafe--which is appropriate since they are planning to start serving dinner sometime before Thanksgiving. I will certainly order something new for dinner. I promise. And maybe, they will have that ever elusive item of the dessert cheese plate. Elusive in this City anyway, not in most cities in the world.

I can't wait to try dinner! I love this place.

Taste Cafe & Marketplace
5164 N College Ave
Indy 46205

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Bistro de Paris

****This restaurant out of business as of March 2009.******

So, we had read one of the "reviews" of this place in a local magazine and hubby really wanted to go. He really likes French bistro food, and so far, this was the only one we had heard of in the metropolitan area. I use that term "metropolitan area" because this place is up in Carmel. Old downtown Carmel to be precise. So it means a drive which is why we have been avoiding it up til now. But I really wanted something new because I have been having some bad luck lately with food, so off we ventured (and on a Friday night no less). I say that because traffic is one of the reasons we avoid the area--going north at dinner time means traveling with all those Hamilton county commuters. However, as it turned out, we went a bit later than normal and missed most of the traffic.

We we went in, and I was a little worried as there was only one other table seated. In San Francisco, that would not be a good sign. However, I realize the place is fairly new (only opened in February) and that sometimes it takes a lot to pull Hoosiers away from their favorite chain. The interior of the restaurant is quite nice--and like a very nice bistro might be in Europe--but with tablecloths and more comfortable chairs. And by the time we left, the place was pleasantly crowded, I would say a little over half full.

The server was exceptionally friendly and well-versed on the menu. He brought us a taste of the French onion soup which is apparently a house specialty and he just wanted us to try it. It was good, but generally that soup is a bit much for me, so we ordered other things. He also brought us a taste of the wine we wanted to order which I also found quite a nice touch. He knew the menu well, and obviously this is the type of restaurant in which the chef gives samples to the waitstaff so they acutally know what they are talking about. I have been to too many restaurants around here where the waitstaff has never even tried the item I was asking about.

I started with the Salade au Roquefort which was Boston lettuce and a bit of endive desribed as coming with croutons, bacon, crumbled roquefort and roquefort dressing (I do love my blue cheese). It was good--the lettuce was fresh and the flavors generally good, but based on the description, I found it wasn't blue cheesy enough. I think I counted like three "crumbles" and it needed a bit more of the dressing. Maybe a little extra dressing on the side would improve it.

Hubby had the crab cake which I had quite a bit of, and I liked that it was presented in a unique way. It was a good crab cake (nice big chunks of crab) and was served with a red onion vinagrette, yucca mash and plaintains. They all complimented each other quite well. I especially loved the red onion vinagrette, it was nice and tangy they way I like it.

The star of the evening, however, was clearly the steak fritte. This was something we often had at a little French Bistro near our house in England, and another little French Bistro near our house in San Francisco. Usually it is a very thin ribeye with housemade frittes, or really thin french fries. There is usually some bernasie-y type sauce or an herbed butter, but for whatever reason, they always seem to share a distinct flavor. This one was actually thin filet medallions with very thin frittes and a blue cheese (yes, there is a pattern here I know) bernaise under it all. It was SO GOOD. I am ready to go back RIGHT NOW and order it again. Hubby was very jealous (of course I shared though). And considering how thin it was, I was amazed it was cooked properly (I always worry about this with this entree, but good places pull it off). Now, if you read my last entry for Creation Cafe, you probably think I seem to be ordering a lot of steak and blue cheese. And you would be right. Who knows, maybe I am a little anemic or something--usually steak is not what I order, but in both cases I was glad I did. Hmmm...maybe I am turning back into a real Hoosier with all this beef.

On a side note, we also noticed as we finished up our entrees, that at every table in the restaurant, and I mean, every table, at least one person had the steak fritte. So obviously, we aren't the only ones coming in for it!

Hubby had the "Bistro" which is their version of surf and turf with veal and lobster tail. Hubby said the veal was very good, and properly cooked medium rare the way he likes it, but the lobster was overcooked (sadly such a recurring problem with lobster). I didn't even try it (I am not a veal eater for various reasons, and I refuse to eat overcooked lobster. It is a travesty). It was so bad (the lobster that is) that he hid some of it under the mashed potatoes just to spare the server's feelings (he really was nice, this guy).

We both know the next time we go we are so getting TWO of the steak frittes. And I will probably try a new appetizer. Hmmm.. Brie springrolls sounded intriguing...or maybe the scallops. And we will go back, thanks to the call of that steak fritte.

Bistro de Paris
11 West Main Street
Carmel, IN 46032

Creation Cafe


I finally made it to the other restaurant in the Bugg's Temple building. I have been wanting to try this place for awhile--the menu always looked quite intriguing (if not a little overwhelming with so many choices). So we went for lunch--last weekend when it was so nice out (not as chilly as it currently is). We sat outside with the kids which was nice because they could sort of run around and look at the canal. It was doing pretty well for a Saturday I thought, since not as many people are downtown, although since it is on the Clarian monorail route, and hospitals are always open, I guess it makes sense. It is cute the way all the servers, including some rather muscle-y men wear little aprons like Grandma used to. And the restaurant itself has that very eclectic, cutesy decor with flowery chandeliers and things like that.

To start they bring you a unique twist on the bread bowl-- some finger length croutons made from various types of bread. They were tasty, but really could have used something to dip them in. Hubby ordered the housemade chips which came with a blue cheese sauce that was quite good with the croutons--which were better than the chips I think.

It was lunch, so I only ordered one thing--the black and bleu salad. I have to say, it was outstanding. My sister had mentioned she had had it (she is one of those Clarian employees) and liked it, and it sounded so good, I followed her advice. And she was right. It was a long rectangular plate with chopped romaine and a few other mixed greens, steak which is cooked to order, blue cheese melted on the steak, walnuts and more crumbles of blue cheese with a raspberry vinaigrette. Really really good.

There were a lot of things to appreciate about this salad--first, the way it was laid out on the plate made it easy to eat and get a little bit of everything with each bite. I don't know about you, but when I get a massive deep bowl of salad, I find it hard to eat it without making a mess, and it is almost impossible to get everything the salad has to offer on your fork. Plus, I find these salads are usually either under dressed, or they serve the dressing on the side which makes it hard to get it properly dressed. This salad came well-dressed and there was not too much lettuce and too little goodies. It is just right. The second great thing is that the meat came cooked to order. One of the downfalls of steak salads I find is that the meat is almost always overcooked, particularly if you are one who likes it medium rare. The next good thing was the dressing was properly tangy which paired so well with the richness of the other ingredients.

Hubby had the mini pulled pork sandwiches and wasn't as impressed. He said they were good, but not overly exciting. He definitely preferred my salad. The kids had cheese quesadillas and seemed perfectly content. They do have a very nice children's menu, with more than the usual options, which I always appreciate.

I poked my head in again later in the week and let me tell you, this place was jammed. They are obviously doing well with the downtown lunchtime crowd--they servers seemed a bit harried and they have a "help wanted" sign posted for all front of the house positions, so my guess is, it may be a bit slow sometimes. All in all, definitely worth a trip for a great lunch. They also serve dinner, but the menu is very similar and a little "lunchy" for me to drive downtown for in the evening. Plus, no liquor license means no wine...

On a side note, it looks like the upstairs restaurant (Euphoria will be the new name) will be re-opening October 21st. With the mussels and the cheese selection (oh, and of course the Chef!). I can't wait.

Creation Cafe
337 West 11th Street
Indy 46202

Saturday, October 11, 2008


.....heavy sigh..... I am just not having good luck right now with food. We went back to Miyagi's after our first really great meal. We were sort of anxious to go back because we enjoyed it so much last time. Sadly, the quality had dropped a bit. The soft shell crab...what happened? Last time it was so good and this time it was so mediocre...has the crab changed? We didn't even finish it. And I also noticed, after thinking it was the deal of the century last time ($4 for 2 entire crabs), they have apparently raised the price and lowered the quality. It is now $6 and not nearly as good. What happened?? I guess I should have been prepared. My parents went after reading my first rather glowing entry about this place and did not seem nearly as impressed.

Again, we did a bunch of appetizers and one large roll. We did a couple of the same apps and a couple different just to see. The two things that we got the same as last time (because we liked them so much last time) weren't as good. As mentioned, the crab really fell off. We also had the lobster spring rolls again. They were still quite good. Just not as good--where was that really fresh mango salsa from the last time? Where was the orange vinaigrette? Not too much flavor except the rolls, which could have stood to be a little more crunchy. But all in all, still good and still worth ordering.

The bright spot was the hot rock steak--they brought several very thin slices of beef (you can also get it with tuna--maybe next time) that are raw but marinated in a tasty sort of soy teriyaki sauce with a lot of chives on top. You then sear it to your desired temperature (for us about 3 second per side--that is how thin they are) on a hot iron skillet thing at the table. I actually really enjoyed this--it was much better and more tender than the beef dish we had last time which was actually made with filet (gyu no tataky). Also better than the hamachi that we had that was cooked at the table last time (by the waiter though). It was overcooked. Cooking it yourself ensures that doesn't happen. I would certainly get this again.

We had the same roll that we had last time--the diablo roll with the tempura king crab and shrimp rolled in rice with salmon, roe as well as a spicy sauce on top. There was also some sort of strange cole slaw type stuff on top that wasn't that great. The roll, much like other things, fell off on this visit. Will definitely inspire us to try something different next time.

We also did the chef's special ceviche which was shrimp with an orange marinade. Needed some tartness--which is what makes ceviches so good, if you ask me. It was not bad, but didn't stand out. We were talked out of the ahi ceviche which sounded quite good because the waiter said it was small. I saw it come out and it looked decent to me (of course, I do not require massive portions like some around here). I would like to try it next time.

Speaking of our waiter, we had the same waiter on both visits. He needs to mellow out a little--his style is a little too brash--he strangely carded us when we ordered our drinks (which he didn't do last time) and believe me, we are both quite a distance from age 21. I am not exactly sure why he did this, but it was a bit annoying. When I go out to eat, I want a more relaxing experience than that. Again, the interior is quite nice and modern and on a Friday night, the place was quite busy (and challenging to get a parking space at sometimes due to the comedy club next door which is also quite popular).

All in all, we will be back, but we need to wait a bit this time I think. And I am really hoping for better luck next time when it come to a great meal. I have heard the Tavern at Bugg's Temple (now to be called Euphoria) will be re-opening October 21st (thank you for the info Feed Me/Drink Me) with Chef Gates back at the helm. I can't wait.

3625 E. 96th Street
Indy, 46240

Saturday, October 4, 2008

SI (aka Scholar's Inn)-Reprise

One word on this one: bummed. The first time we went back to Si (aka Scholar’s Inn) after its transformation to Si, and its new chef, and new interior makeover, we were quite excited. The food was really good. We were looking forward to going back. It took awhile, because I was waiting for the menu to change. Finally, it looked as if it had changed (while actually, I think they just added additional items to the menu). It was not good. Not good at all I am sorry to say. I am worried they are falling back into the trap that they were in back when they were Scholar’s Inn, and I went there for the first time. The menu was huge, and nothing was done well.

I am all about changing menus, but you have to actually replace things on the menu with new items, not simply keep adding to it. People will adjust, even if their favorite thing gets taken off--it inspires them to try new things. This time, we got the shrimp cocktail with gazpacho, lemongrass creme fraiche and crispy pancetta (so it said). It was shrimp cocktail. Period. It was decent shrimp, but very uninspired. The gazpacho wasn't even as flavorful as cocktail sauce. There was some creme fraiche in there, but if there was crispy pancetta involved--I am not sure where it was. Hubby ordered the cured calamari which we were told last time was their house specialty. The waitress made sure we knew it was not fried (must be a problem), and we assured her we liked calamari prepared in various ways. Some of my favorite I have ever had in fact, was sauteed, not fried. Anyway, it was done in a ginger sesame reduction and served with a tomato-type paste. It was a definite Japanese flavor, but so strong, it could've been shoe leather and you wouldn't have known the difference. I really didn't like it. Normally, I like Japanese flavorings, but this was overkill.

For my main, I got one of the new items, a pasta dish with mushrooms, artisan cheese, wilted arugula and truffle oil. Some of my favorite pastas involve just such ingredients, but this one did not stand out. It had a nice truffle aroma when it came out, but not much flavor. It was a huge portion and it was all in all just too bland. I could do better cooking at home I think.

Hubby had the beef shortrib because it is one of his favorite things and he really liked it when he got it here the last time. First of all, the cooking string was left on which seemed a little unprofessional (and somewhat unappetizing) and next, short rib should really just fall off the bone--it was pretty tough. He was really disappointed.

I am hoping this was just a fluke and that Si can make it back to the former glory of our first visit. I am not sure though, if I will be able to convice hubby to go back.

725 Mass Ave

Sinclair's at West Baden Springs

This week we ventured out of Indianapolis and took a trip to French Lick (well, West Baden really) to spend a night away for our anniversary. Overall, we had a great trip. West Baden Springs hotel is beautiful and the rooms are large and well done. The lobby alone is worth the trip. We also won money at the casino, and hey, you can’t get much better than that!

Last time we went to French Lick, we stayed at the French Lick hotel and while the rooms are quite nice, the grounds are nowhere near as nice as West Baden. We also ate at the restaurant there last time, the 1875 Steakhouse, and while it was fine, it was nothing to write home about. The space the restaurant is in, is also sort of weird, as the entire restaurant sort of felt like a hallway with some little rooms tacked on. Basically, because of all of this, we decided to eat at the fine dining restaurant at West Baden this time, Sinclair’s.

When we were last in French Lick, we looked at Sinclair’s. At that time (about a year ago), it was a true Italian restaurant with a great looking menu. Not the typical Americanized Italian (spaghetti with meatballs), but true gourmet foods you might actually see in a restaurant in Venice or Florence. However, sadly that didn’t play well in Southern Indiana. So after giving up on that, the restaurant changed to food that might be seen in the restaurant at the time the hotel was originally built (i.e. late 1800s) with a local focus. I am not exactly sure what that meant, but apparently that didn’t last either. So now, the restaurant has basically given in to pressure to basically appeal to the masses with a menu that focuses on the Hoosier stand-bys with an attempt to give it a slightly modern flair. In other words, there were several steaks, lamb chops, fried chicken served tableside (!?!) and a couple of fish dishes (fried walleye being one).

The appetizers were things like shrimp cocktail, fried shrimp, a mushroom pastry, an heirloom tomato plate, and some salads. Not a huge appetizer list to be sure, and nothing really jumped out at me, but I ended up agreeing with hubby to try the fried shrimp with a hot apricot sauce, and he got the mushroom pastry and we would share.

The shrimp were good, very fresh and properly cooked. The sauce was not bad, but a little sweet for me (I knew it would be). I wished the shrimp weren’t lying in the sauce; I would’ve preferred a little less sauce than what there was. Hubby’s mushroom pastry was basically sautéed mushrooms with a bit of goat cheese on top and then a puff pastry crust laid across the top. It was okay, but really could’ve used a bit more of the goat cheese to break up the richness of the whole thing.

Even though I was somewhat intrigued to see what fried chicken carved tableside would be like, based on our server’s recommendations, I got the filet Oscar—filet mignon with lump crab and béarnaise sauce with mashed potatoes and asparagus. That was how it was described, and that was what I expected. What I got was a filet sitting in a pool of demi glace with a bit of lump crab and a tiny bit of béarnaise over the asparagus. I am not a big fan of demi glace in general because it really dominates the flavors of whatever it is with. The béarnaise was really good, but you could barely taste it. I asked for some extra béarnaise on the side and tried to scoot the demi glace aside, but again, because the food was right in it, it was difficult to avoid. If I had known, I would’ve asked for it without, but it was not listed on the menu or mentioned by the server. It was a bummer because the quality of the other ingredients was pretty high and you didn’t need to try and hide it with the rich demi glace. The crab pieces were nice and big and the béarnaise was quite flavorful and the steak was pretty good too, and cooked properly medium rare.

Hubby ordered rack of lamb—again the quality of the meat was very, very good and the sides were not bad (roasted fingerlings and a vegetable mix) but it was also sitting in a large puddle of the same demi glace. Completely unnecessary and overwhelmed the tastiness of the lamb. Incidentally, there was a lot of the lamb, probably 6 chops—interestingly, though only one had the bone on it—I had never seen that before. Nothing wrong with it, except you can’t pick up the bone and chew on it which is something hubby has a tendency to do (how manly).

We had a coupon for a free dessert (it is related to a casino after all) so we tried the Apple Tart Tatin. Not very good. At all. The apples were kind of rubbery and there was absolutely none of the crispiness on top from the caramelization (hmmm, is that a word?) that makes this dessert good. We also got another free dessert for our anniversary, which was sorbet with fresh fruit. It was better than the Tart, but I don’t even think it is something you could order from the menu.

As for the service, our server was quite friendly and was happy to make recommendations from the menu. She knew the food pretty well and her recommendations were pretty good. One of my favorite things about the restaurant was the wine list, which is a lot of leftover Italian wines from the previous incarnation of the restaurant. They are trying to get rid of it all (they even have a wine tasting cart they push around to sample various wines), but it was right up my alley. Personally, I was thrilled when I took a look at the wine list.

The room is also beautiful—like an old fancy restaurant from a nice resort built in the late 1800s—exactly what it is. It is a large room with columns and nice views onto the grounds. It had a much nicer ambiance than the French Lick restaurant.

Overall, for a restaurant that has gone through so many changes in such a short time, they are doing an okay job. The service was very good, the room is beautiful and with a few tweaks, (and a new pastry chef maybe), the food could be very very good.

West Baden Springs Resort
8670 West State Road 56
French Lick, IN 47432

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Acapulco Joe's

I apologize upfront, I know this place is an institution in Indianapolis, but it surely isn't for the food. Frankly, it was borderline terrible. We went there the other day for lunch with our kids. I was excited to go, because I remember my parents going when I was a kid and it was the only Mexican restaurant in town. And I think at one point it had another location on the Northeast side and maybe I ate there once or twice.

Anyway, you start with the weird salsa in a squeeze bottle. Is that their way of conserving salsa (because I assume you have to dump a lot of salsa out when served in bowls on the table). The chips were decent, but the salsa was weird. It was sweet--almost like it was made with ketchup. I wasn't a big fan of it just with chips, but thought maybe it would be better on the food, assuming it was spicy. Well, not only was the food not spicy, it was borderline flavorless. I had the Mexican Pizza which is basically like a crisp flour tortilla with olives, beans, meat, mushrooms and cheese. It was probably the best thing on our table, but not memorable at all. Hubby had some flautas which looked like they were stuffed with, well, Alpo. They were so un-appetizing, I didn't even try them. The kids had quesadillas which were not good either (and they like bland food). But the cheese wasn't even melted inside the quesadilla. The worst thing was the guacamole. It looked good, with some nice chunks of avocado. Somehow, they managed to make that even flavorless. It was like eating mayo that was dyed green with chunks of boiled potato.

The people working there were probably the bright part of the restaurant--they were quite friendly and accomodating to giving us a table where our young kids wouldn't disturb others, which always makes a meal more bearable for the parents.

The margaritas were drinkable, but not outstanding. I am telling you, if you want a good margarita, check out the Texas margaritas at La Hacienda. They are alone, a good reason to go there, in my opinion. The food at Hacienda isn't bad either, so if you want some good basic Mexican with a really good Margarita, I say skip Acapulco Joes's at hit La Hacienda (there are several locations throughout Indianapolis).

Acapulco Joe's
365 N. Illinois
Indy, 46204

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Oh Yumm! Bistro

One of my favorite neighborhood restaurants (not in my neighborhood unfortunately) is Oh Yumm! Bistro on 56th and Illinois. I have been there many times and am usually quite pleased with the food. They have a traditional menu with salads and entrees and then they have an entire page devoted to what can either be appetizers or tapas. I love tapas because I love to get to eat lots of things with different flavors and because you are pretty much guaranteed the portions will not be too big. They only time I have ever ordered an entree was when we had a larger group and just added one of the entrees to our tapas order to share.

Hubby and I went on a Friday night--one of the few times I have been there on one of their busier nights because usually we eat out midweek. As per usual, we ordered several tapas to share. We had the guacamole with chips (and a tomato relish), fried green tomatoes with a tomato/corn relish and arugula pesto, crispy fried calamari with spicy marinara, the mini pizza (based on a tortilla) with shrimp, pesto, cheese, bacon and caramelized onions, and the petite slider with gorgonzola (you can choose between gorgonzola, goat cheese or chedder) with pickled red onions.

Everything we had was really good. The guacamole is fresh and chunky, the way I like it, and the chips are clearly house made. Tasty, and a good thing to share. The fried green tomatoes were really tasty too. The fried items at Oh Yumm are always prepared with a light touch, so you don't feel like they are too greasy or over the top. The corn and tomato relish and arugula pesto was what really made it though--all the flavors combined really well. Those things really are the taste of summer in the midwest.

Speaking of fried items, we also had the calamari--I think this may be the best calamari I have had in this City (sorry if I have said that before!). The calamari was in no way chewy as it can get sometimes (ok, a lot of times) at other places when it is overcooked. And again, the batter is quite light and goes really well with the spicy marinara sauce. It is very simply prepared, with just a sprinkling of sea salt, but it doesn't need anything else.

We almost always get the pizza. The toppings vary from season to season and some are definitely better than others. And what they do to their tortilla crust is one of the things that makes the whole item so delish. I think they lightly pan fry it in butter--ok, that is maybe not the health option, but oh so tasty nonetheless. As for the toppings on this one, it was quite a list. Shrimp, pesto, cheese, caramelized onions and bacon crumbles. Now, don't get me wrong, I love ALL those things, but it was maybe just a few too many things on such a dainty pizza. Tasted good, if not a little rich for me. I think some of the simpler ones in the past may have been better. Not sure though. I guess it depends on what the toppings are.

Lastly, we had the petite slider with gorgonzola (if there is blue cheese involved, you know we like it). The thing I like best about this little burger (not being a big burger eater myself) is the pickled red onions. They are so good. They remind me of this little Peruvian place I used to eat at when I worked in Oakland, CA. The slider is almost always on the menu I think, and like I said there is some sort of tortilla pizza, but many of the other items change seasonally. Sometimes I will be sad to see certain items go, but they always come up with something new that is just as good.

I really like the bistro-ishness of this place too. It is in a store front right on Illinois (basically across the street from the Safeway) and it really has that neighborhood restaurant feel. It is small, although in the warm months they have decent outside seating in front of the restaurant (although I have something about being THAT close to the traffic, but obviously that is just me since the outside area was much fuller than the inside). The servers are generally friendly, and we have had the same guy the last several times we have been there who I really like.

I have to comment on the one negative from this particular evening however. As I said, it was a Friday, and they were busy (but not packed) and they seemed to be having some service issues. I am not sure exactly what the problem was, but the host seemed a bit overwhelmed and when I asked if we could have a 4 person table (even though we were only 2) because we always get the tapas and often need the extra space, he said no, they had reservations for them. This is fine, I completely understand. But from 7:30 when we got there, until nearly 9:00 when we left, three 4-top tables went unseated inside. Now, maybe they decided to sit outside after arriving, but it was a little annoying. And they were short of menus. How this happens, I do not know, but it took us a good 15 minutes after being seated to get our menus. And although our waiter knows what he is doing, everything on this night seemed off. The bread came after some of the food and it took a bit to get our wine. I don't want you to think though that this is usual, because it is the first time we have had this problem in the probably 8-10 times we have been there. But again, we don't usually go during peak times, so maybe it is more common than I know. But I am guessing not.

Regardless, this is a great, locally owned neighborhood restaurant that is definitely worth a trip. Also, although we haven't tried it yet, they also serve lunch during the week and brunch on the weekends and have a kids menu. When mine are a bit older, I hope to make this a regular family place to go as well.

Oh Yumm! Bistro
5615 North Illinois

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Mitchell's Fish Market

Ok, I have been somewhat distracted this week with all the buzz around Bugg's Temple so I have neglected my duties. And it was crazy because we ate at the Tavern at Bugg's last Saturday night shortly before I found out all this stuff. What I have learned from the Feed Me/Drink Me blog is that certain people involved in the restaurant are leaving, that the Creation Cafe people (which is located on the middle level of the building) are taking over the Tavern and hope to have dinner service restored here at some point (with Chef Gates as chef). I hope so, because it is honestly one of the best restaurants in this City food-wise in my opinion (with significant service issues to be worked out), and I will truly miss Brad Gates' food if they don't reopen.

Now, onward to the actual review here. My parents had eaten at Mitchell's for lunch several weeks ago and really enjoyed it (I think they had soup and appetizers). They know my penchant for good food and new places to write about in my blog, so they wanted to take us there. In all, there were 6 of us, and we got 6 different things and overall I think the review was somewhat mixed (except for my Mom's entree which was devoured by the entire table--more on that later.)

I had actually been to Mitchell's about a year ago and had a pretty good, but not overly memorable meal. Basically, I feel the same way about it now. I started with roasted mussels with a white wine, garlic and tomato broth. The broth was outstanding--and I really like the way they put big croutons right on top that sort of filtered down into the broth as you ate and tasted delicious with the mussels. The mussels themselves were not the best (I guess, maybe not the freshest) I have ever tasted, but they were decent. I also tasted my Mom's crab cocktail which was served with a nice tangy crab Louie sauce (I still keep hoping for a really good crab/shrimp Louie salad in this town--is anybody listening??). Anyway, my Mom's crab was quite yummy. I would be tempted if I went back to get her crab to start and maybe my mussels as a main dish.

What I had for my main dish was walleye, which is something I order as often as possible. It is one of the few Great Lakes' fish that you see on menus somewhat infrequently and the taste of it is really good--delicate but with a unique flavor. And generally, I like to try and eat as locally as possible and living in a pretty well land-locked part of the country, that can be challenging with seafood! I ordered the fish broiled thinking that it would be a fairly simple preparation that would allow the natural flavor of the fish to come through (and was actually described on the menu as "simply broiled." Unfortunately, while the temperature of the fish was cooked very well, it lost a lot of its own flavor with quite a bit of seasoning put on top. Some fish requires extra seasoning, or works best as a conduit for sauces and spices, (like halibut or tilapia) but I personally do not feel that way about walleye. I guess I should have gotten it grilled, but I thought the broiling would affect the flavor even less. On that note, I would like to say the last time I was there, I had fish prepared in their Shang Hai style, which is steamed with lots of ginger and green onions and with a rice wine vinegar sauce over rice and spinach and I remember being pretty pleased with it--again, a better preparation for tilapia or halibut in my opinion though.

Apparently my Mom had the ordering mojo this night though, because to follow her yummy crab cocktail, she got the blue crab and shrimp penne pasta with an Alfredo-type sauce. My husband had several bites and kept talking about how great it was. I generally am not a big fan of Alfredo sauces, so at first I declined, but then decided to try it and was glad I did. Everyone at the table ate some and everyone liked it.

I do want to say that others at the table who got other dishes, were not as happy with their choices as we were with ours. But I didn't try them so I don't feel I should comment on them.

We did all share (yes 6 people and 1 dessert) the Sharkfin Pie which is an insanely decadent "pie" made with butter fudge ice cream, peanuts, peanut butter, chocolate fudge and an Oreo crust. And there was enough for us to all have a decent portion. It is really good if you like peanuts and peanut butter as that is the dominant flavor.

All in all, Mitchell's menu reminds me a lot of Oceanaire except it isn't quite as extensive with the fresh shellfish and the portions at Mitchell's are more normal sized (although still very generous). I do think Oceanaire has the edge on Mitchell's however as far as freshness and interesting preparations. And Oceanaire has more of a metropolitan feel. Alas, they are both chains, albeit small, but you do what you need to to get fresh seafood in this town.

Mitchell's Fish Market
Clay Terrace
14311 Clay Terrace Blvd., Suite 100
Carmel, IN 46032

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tavern at the Temple Update 2

Sadly, I have just learned that the Tavern at Bugg's Temple will no longer be serving dinner as of Thursday. That is a real loss to this restaurant community indeed.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Woo-hoo! I get so excited when I find a new restaurant that is good. Really good. And not a chain! Oh happy day. So hubby and I came by Miyagi's seperately and yet both suggested it the same week for date night. We had both seen an ad for it, and I will admit, been drawn to the coupons for the place mixed with the description as French infused Japanese. And face it, we were looking for something new.

So, we were doubtful, and even had back up plans if it looked too questionable. (I mean, it is not often that we choose a restaurant based on coupons in a free mailer) But we pulled up to the location on 96th street (near Keystone) and were pleasantly surprised by the modern decor and prompt greeting. We were seated and ordered drinks (there is a full bar for those who are interested). As we perused the menu, we were happy to see an actual French influence on many of the options. There were so many things I wanted to order. You need the first drink to have whilst you look over everything on the menu, as it is quite extensive. There is a hot kitchen and a cold kitchen and separate appetizers and entrees (well, sushi rolls for the cold kitchen and regular main courses on the warm side). I was thrilled when I saw all the choices on the hot appetizer side. All of my favorite things, crab and shrimp, scallops, rare-cooked high quality meats, all combined with citrus and ponzu sauces. Yummy.

I decided to go with 3 appetizers and have a tapas-style meal. I had the soft shell crab (natch), gyu no tataky, or thin slices of filet mignon atop cucumbers, tomatoes and avocado, and the lobster spring rolls. Hubby ordered off the cold menu and got the Hamachi appetizer (which is actually cooked quickly at the table) and a fancy roll called a diablo roll.

The lobster spring rolls came first and they were outstanding! They were crispy and served over a bed of mango chutney with a orange vinaigrette. They were perfectly cooked and we both loved them. Next came the soft shell crab which had a soy based sauce with it. Now you know how much I love soft shell crab and these certainly did not disappoint. My final choice was the beef dish which was very medium rare (which is exactly how I like to eat beef) and it was served with very thin (wafer thin) slices of tomato, cucumber and avocado. It was quite tasty as well, but probably not quite as good as the other things.

Hubby's hamachi, which as mentioned was cooked at the table, was probably the biggest disappointment. It was good, but cooking it even that long was too much. Maybe sear it on one side only for a couple seconds. The seasonings were good though. If it wasn't so tough, it would've been better. His roll, on the other hand, was outstanding. It was tempura king crab and shrimp wrapped in the classic rice with salmon on top and roe as well as a delicious spicy sauce. It isn't on all the menus (apparently, even though they have only been open for 3 months, they already have an "old" and "new" menu. But if you like fancy rolls, order it!

We also tried the honey bread dessert on our waiter's recommendation. It was sort of a sweet bread drizzled with a honey cinnamon sauce and served with ice cream. I wasn't overly excited about it, but the waiter had not steered us wrong so far, so we went for it (and after all, we did have that coupon!). It was really good. The bread was crispy and mixed with the ice cream and sauce, it made a really good combination.

The service was very attentive and informative. Our server really knew the food and made great recommendations on the whole. By the end of the meal, he was a bit almost pushy and a tad know it all-ish which got annoying. But he did really know and appreciate the food.

The wine choices were somewhat limited (which seems to be the case with most Asian restaurants it seems, well, except Shaghai Lil which has great choices) and a little on the flowery/sweet side for me, but I know that is what you are supposed to drink with spicy, or Asian food, and I struggled through, but would love to see a few more crisp choices by the glass. Hubby had a mixed drink to start which he said was very good.

We will certainly be back--and I will order some of the same things and some different things off the appetizer menu. There were so many appealing choices!
One last thing, I think they should drop the "'s" after Miyagi and just be "Miyagi" instead of "Miyagi's." It sounds like it is owned by the guy from the Karate Kid movie. Just my 2 cents.
3625 East 96th Street
Indy, 46240

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

BARcelona Tapas

I know, it is a chain, and I tend to stay away from them as much as possible, but it is something really different in this City, and something different is always good (and it isn't a very big chain after all--just 2 locations as far as I know). Plus it is open on Mondays, and all the other places I was thinking about going were not.

This is my second visit to BARcelona (they write the name that way, it is not a typo), and my first was probably a good year ago. I wasn't blown away the first time, which was why it took me awhile to get motivated to go back. But I do appreciate the idea here, real Spanish-style tapas in this Midwestern City. Every other City in the world seems to have it, and now we do too. Tapas originated in Spain after all, so there should be lots of things to make and try.

I have to say, I am impressed by the size of the menu and the choices offered at BARcelona. They have a lot of the classic tapas like potato and cheese tortilla Espanol (more like a piece of quiche made mostly with potato), Serrano ham with manchego and these yummy, crunchy breadsticks and lots of other seafood and meats. The only repeat we had from the first time (read, the only thing worth ordering again) was the Serrano with manchego cheese. I love Serrano ham--sort of like Prosciutto, but for plain eating, much better in my opinion because it is really more flavorful. I liked taking a piece of the bread stick, layering a sliver of the cheese against it, and then wrapping the whole thing with the ham. Delish.

We also ordered the tortilla--and it is really good. It comes with a lemon which is great squeezed on top. It is room temperature and comes out fast. It is a nice, classic Spanish starch to have with the other things, particularly if you order several meat items.

We also tried the bacalao, or potato and cod cakes (more like fried balls). These were the biggest disappointment. I only had a taste and left the rest. There were so many better things, they weren't worth eating.

We had the goat cheese with bread which was basically a tomato sauce with a large hunk of goat cheese that was all heated and served with garlic bread. It was quite good, tasted like it could belong in an Italian restaurant though. Hubby LOVED it.

The little plate of mixed marinated olives were good too--a nice salty cut for some of the richness of the food. I wasn't too sure about the whole pickled garlic cloves mixed in--are you supposed to eat those? They were quite hard and I thought must be very intense---are they just for flavor? I will probably never know as I will probably never try one unless someone tells me they aren't that strong!

We had one of the day's specials too--a Spanish bouillabaisse of sorts with clams, mussels, shrimp, calamari and scallops in a garlicky, smoky, yummy sauce. For some reason the consistency of the cooking was a bit off. The mussels and clams were really good and well cooked (meaning properly cooked, not well done). The shrimp was pretty good. The calamari was questionable--a few pieces were ok, but a lot of it was very rubbery, the worst thing that can happen to calamari. The scallops were inedible they were so rubbery. It all must have been cooked the same amount of time, which you just can't really do with that many types of seafood. That broth though, WOW! If they just did a mussel and clam dish in that broth, it would be perfect! And sadly, I scanned the menu and I didn't see anything cooked in that sauce. It's a shame.

Our server was really nice and the food comes out fast, as it is finished in the kitchen (as tapas should be). So you generally get the cold and room temperature stuff first, and so on. The nice thing about tapas, you can share several and then if you want more, just order some more. Or if one is not so good (i.e. cod cakes) you don't feel like your whole meal is ruined. It was also quite crowded for a Monday which is nice--and the atmosphere is really like a tapas place you might find in Europe. We had wine, but the margaritas looked quite good as well.

We also had dessert--bread pudding with a caramel sauce. It was as good as it sounded. Rich and large enough to share with at least one other person, if not more.

All in all, we'll be back. And this time sooner I think than the last time.

BARcelona Tapas Restaurant
201 N. Delaware
Indy 46204

Thursday, August 7, 2008

R Bistro and my love of soft shell crab

I have mentioned before how much I love soft shell crab. I only wish I saw it on more menus. In case you don't know, soft shell crabs are blue crabs right after they have molted their hard shells and haven't quite grown their new ones. They are caught at that point and you can eat them whole, shell (such as it is) and all. I love them. In fact, I declared to my hubby last night that they are probably one of the most perfect foods. They have the yummy tender crab inside with the little bit of crunch that normal shellfish lacks. They are almost always fried somehow, either sauteed or deep fried, just to add that much more crunch.

So when the menu came out Wednesday for R Bistro and one of the featured items was soft shell crab served with two of my other favorite summer time things, tomato and corn relish, I booked a reservation. The crab was served on top of grilled bread with some yummy spread, tomato slices, mizuna greens and bacon. The corn relish was on the side. It was one of my all time favorite things I have eaten at R Bistro.

Many of the menu items were actually selections from other well known female chefs/cookbook authors. Alice Waters, Patricia Wells and the 2 Fat Ladies to name a few. When I saw the summer tomato pudding as an appetizer, courtesy of the 2 Fat Ladies, I knew I had to try it. I watched their show quite a bit while I lived in England and was sure it would be good knowing their propensity toward cream, butter and all things rich and delicious. I didn't even ask what exactly it was but went for it. It turned out to be a chopped and seasoned tomato mixture covered in a sort of soft tomato-ey bread crust with a bunch of stuff around it like cream fraiche, green olives, boiled egg and some more tomatoes. It was even better than expected. Light and so flavorful. I highly recommend it.

We tried dessert, thinking someone else's recipe might help in this area (as I think desserts are R Bistro's biggest weakness), but it still wasn't overly memorable. It was Alice Waters' chocolate pave, which was like a flourless chocolate cake. It was just ok, not a lot of flavor. I really need to learn from experience and just skip dessert, as everything else is usually so good.

My suggestion is to get there by Saturday and get the soft shell crab, or if you can't do that, go to R Bistro and see what's on the menu anyway. And hey, they are even on, so it is even that much easier to make your reservation!

R Bistro
888 Massachusetts Ave
Indy 46202