Monday, August 31, 2009

Adobo Grill - Revisit

Ok, ever since I wrote my last review of Adobo, I have wanted to go back simply because there was so much dispute over that post. I have to say, I haven’t been rushing back based on my last food experience though. But people told me I ordered the wrong things (which I still don’t think should be possible—if it is on the menu, it should be good) or that the classic stuff wasn’t any good (which I didn’t order the first time by the way) or whatever. But on the whole, it seemed like people really are defensive about it, so I figured at some point, I needed to go back.

Well, I chose devour downtown as that time for a couple of reasons. I figured they would put some of their specialties on the menu, and I figured I could try several things this way as well. I also liked that according to the online menu, you get 4 courses, because they include the guacamole as well as your choice of appetizer, and you get a margarita (well, you are supposed to—they charged me for mine until I reminded them it was supposed to be part of the deal).

The first thing I noticed how enthusiastic our server was. Maybe a little too enthusiastic for my taste, but maybe I’m just jaded. But when someone says “I’ll be back to see how great everything is!,” I find it annoying. Hubby and I joked all night, is it “crappy great,” “medium great” or “actually great?” While I also think the interior of the restaurant is pretty nice and feels modern, both times I have gone, I have been seated a little table right by the bar—and if you have a bunch of 4 tops available (or even better 2-tops), don’t seat people at those teeny tiny 2-tops right next to the bus station. The overall experience was not my idea of a nice night out.

I also started off slightly annoyed food-wise when I found out they technically aren’t including the guac as part of devour downtown unless 2 people order the menu. Hubby was going to order off the regular menu, so our server acted as though they wouldn’t include it. I went ahead and ordered it anyway, fearing that based on my last experience, that it might be the only good thing on the table. I wasn’t willing to take that chance. It turned out, what they ended up doing was charging us half price for it (I found out when I got the bill) which was fine, but if you are going to put it on the devour menu, you should be prepared to deliver it. Or make a half order. As usual, the guac was great—they do a really good job with that.

Based on comments from my last post, I also ordered my margarita on the rocks instead of “up” because I like mine to last a bit longer. However, it seemed like they just added more lime juice, making for a really tart drink. Which wouldn’t have been as bad, had it not been for the fact that for my next course I ordered the ceviche of the day. The ceviche was pretty good, a classic preparation with tilapia marinated in lime, avocado, tomato and onion (slightly different from how it was listed on the menu I think). Well, when I say “avocado” I think there was one piece of avocado in the whole dish. But luckily I still had my chunky guac and I just ate some of that with it. However, my very tart margarita was not really adding much to my lime-marinated fish. It was serious lime overload. At that point, I switched to wine.

As for my main, I could have ordered any of them. They all sounded good. I let the server guide me since apparently, I ordered all wrong last time, and he directed me to the pollo al Tamarindo. It was described as a grilled half chicken in a tamarind-chipotle glaze with salsa, tomatillo guacamole and charro beans. Now, this was one of the items that had been added specially for the devour menu, and was not one of their regular dishes. Probably a good thing, because it wasn’t very good. The chicken was really dry (see, this is why I don't usually order chicken out) and the sauce just too sticky sweet. I love tamarind, because it isn’t usually just pure sweet, but this dish just did not come together even with all the other sides. And I have to say, looking around at some other tables, and the amount of this dish that remained on plates in my vicinity, I wasn’t the only one who thought so.

Hubby, based on reader recommendations, ordered the fish tacos and they were infinitely better than my chicken. I liked the tenderness and crunch of the fish combined with all the flavors of the pickled cabbage and chipotle cream sauce. These were a far better choice and hubby really liked them as well.

For dessert I ordered the chocolate tamal, which is a gooey kind of chocolate cake that seemed to made with corn meal (hence the tamal aspect)—which made for an interesting, slightly gritty, texture. I couldn’t decide if I loved it, or it sort of freaked me out. The flavor of the chocolate was really good anyway, and it was served with vanilla ice cream.

So all in all, my experience was slightly better than the last, but I don’t know if there will be a third review here. And I still think the guacamole is the best thing going at this place. But c’mon, Adobo lovers, I know you have something to say, so let’s hear it!

Adobo Grill
110 East Washington Street
Indy, 46204

Adobo Grill on Urbanspoon

Sunday, August 30, 2009

State Fair

I know, it's over, but I ran across these pictures I took at the fair (we didn't make it there til the last day). This is the one thing I have found that I love to eat at the fair. Overall, I find most of the food to be not very good (even in a trashy Fair kinda way). But these freshly fried veggies from Dr. Vegetable are really yummy. Broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, mushrooms and onion rings with ranch dressing. You can get fried green tomatoes as a separate order, but I appreciate the mix. I wish they included a few of the tomatoes in the mix, but I guess you can't have everything.

What is the one thing you ALWAYS have at the Fair? I need some ideas for next year.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Aesop's Tables


Really struggling for something new and different for lunch, we ran down the list and decided to try Aesop’s Tables. We always see it when we are on Mass Ave, and today seemed like the day.

The first thing I noticed was the very friendly greeting we got upon entering—I appreciate a warm welcome in a restaurant. The second thing I noticed was how cold it was in there. It was a warm day, but man, it was freezing. I am sure I have mentioned this before, but one of my restaurant pet peeves, that seems to happen in this city more than any other I have been in, is the way so many places are always freezing cold—especially in the Summer. It can be 90 degrees out, but you’ll often find me carting a sweater around just in case. Unfortunately, I forgot this day so I just had to be cold. We did ask them to turn the ceiling fan directly over us off, which helped a little.

Anyway, I liked the fact that while this menu has a lot of Greek dishes on it, it also has several other regional dishes as well. It was only lunch, so I couldn’t go too crazy, but I wanted to try a few things, so I got the “Aesop’s dipping plate” as well as a cup of the lobster bisque which is noted as a house specialty as well. Hubby had a gyro.

Probably the best thing was the lobster bisque—it was very brightly colored though and very thick, thicker than any lobster bisque I have had, but it had a good flavor. And you could really taste the lobster. Hubby thought it was the best thing we had, and declared he would go back for it.

The dip plate was Tuscan bean dip, hommous, and a feta/sundried tomato spread. They were all just ok, all a bit dry for my taste. I don’t like my bean dips too runny, but I don’t like them so dry that you can’t really dip in them, you have to spread. You could see all the herbs in the Tuscan bean dip, but it still tasted sort of bland. The hommous tasted like humous, but was also sort of bland--maybe a bit more garlic? A bit more lemon? The feta/sundried tomato was interesting, but was so much stronger in flavor, it overpowered the others a bit. The plate was served with nicely warmed, tasty pita as well as French bread. I also ordered a few extra olives on the side. I really like eating olives with my hommous. Hell, I like eating olives just about any time really. I just really like olives.

Hubby thought the gyro was fine, nothing special, and not horrible. I did like that when you ordered your drink; they brought you a little carafe of extra at the same time so you certainly never ran out of your drink. The service was efficient but laid back.

All in all, it wasn’t a bad place, but not sure I’d be rushing back in. Tell me though; do you have any suggestions for good lunch places that I have maybe never heard of? I need some new places to add to the list.

Aesop’s Tables
600 East Mass Ave
Indy 46204
317-631-0055 (nice website by the way!)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Euphoria- Summer Devour Dowtown

***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.****

Well, we took some friends who had never been to Euphoria for devour downtown (what? It’s a new season, and yes, I love this place). Anyway, I was interested to see what they would do for the devour downtown menu. I am really trying to eat off the $30 menus to see if restaurants are really showcasing their best. And because I want to see what I would think if I walked in for the first time specifically to try the cheaper menus.

I was glad to see that the Euphoria menu featured something besides steak (which I have seen on most of the menus) and highlighted one of the chef’s specialties, the scallops grenobloise. Another nice touch was that they were offering a wine pairing with each course for an additional $20.

Anyhow, I started with the Gruyere Salad which was red oak leaf and bibb lettuce with gruyere, croutons and a Dijon vinaigrette. I have had this salad before, and it is tasty. Properly dressed (actually tossed in the dressing) and had the cheese and croutons tossed in as well so they were nicely distributed. I kind of have a pet peeve with a lot of the restaurants in this city about salads. I hate when they give you these nice salads with great greens and then either drizzle a tiny bit of dressing on top or pile all the toppings on top in a bowl that is far too small to mix them up in. The best salads I have had are ones where you can stick your fork in, get a bite, and taste all the flavors at once. Even the dressing. This is a salad like that. Still fairly simple, but the flavors are all there in each bite.

Hubby had another classic standby, the steak tartare off the bar menu. It was, as usual, yummy and huge. Seriously, that is a lot of meat. Enough for 4 people I think. It looks so pretty all layered the way it is served, but hubby always promptly mixes it all together into a yummy mash. But I am glad to see this staying on the menu, as I haven’t had it anywhere else around here where it is any good (I can only think of one other place where I have even seen it on the menu).

I had the scallops for my main. They are always perfectly seared (yes, I have had them a few times) and they are served over fingerlings from the farmers market with green beans and garlic croutons and lemon caper butter. I love the totally zip of the lemon butter. You can actually tell there is lemon (and capers too) in there. It is tangy. And that’s how I like it. The croutons are nice with it too, although mine had absorbed a bit too much of the sauce and were a little soft. I have had it before when they are really crunchy and I like the juxtaposition of the softness of the scallops with the crunch of the croutons.

The other choice on the devour menu was a roasted chicken with maitake mushrooms, polenta and a black truffle-fines herbs jus. This was a tough decision for me because I have had this before as well and it is also really tasty. One of the few places I would actually consider ordering chicken out (I hardly ever do). I think the only other place I did it often was the Slow Club in San Francisco (man, they could cook some mean chicken). But back on topic, one of my dining companions did order the chicken and she and her husband both really enjoyed it.

Hubby had the sardine appetizer for his main dish. They were grilled whole sardines with sweet cherry tomatoes, arugula and lemon-thyme vinaigrette. This was probably the only let down of the evening. Hubby ate a whole lot of whole grilled sardines in Europe and generally really likes them. Unfortunately, these were a bit too small and the bone to meat ratio a little high. The flavors were good, but it was hard to get the meat off the bones easily.

I had the chocolate cake “cappuccino” for my dessert which was a warm molten chocolate cake served in a coffee mug with a mocha-brown sugar crème fraiche. It was pretty tasty and a unique way to serve it. But I have to say, the standout dessert was the rather large cheese board we ordered. We asked the chef to put together a nice plate (we generally like the stinkier ones) when we ordered our appetizers so that they cheese could come to room temperature. I applaud Euphoria for being the only place in town with such an extensive cheese menu. And now, it is expanding even further with the addition of new cheeses from a new purveyor. I can’t even begin to tell you all the ones we had, but suffice it to say, they were good. And gooey. My only gripe was that the crackers were too flavored and detracted a bit from the cheese flavor. I like mine plain. Or maybe a little sweet. So I asked for some bread, which they nicely toasted for me, and I was set. Oh! I totally forgot about the bread thing too. One of the things that Euphoria in its current and former incarnation has struggled with (in my opinion) is the bread service. But they have started baking their own bread, and it is really good. Nice and soft with a good crust and a slightly sweet edge. Kudos to that. Come to think of it, if they could slice it super thin and then toasted it, it would be amazing with the cheese.

Ok, one last little gripe…what happened to the pasta? I love the pasta at Euphoria (and the half orders) and I miss it. What I really wanted was an order of the papardelle with local corn, pancetta and Parmesan cream that came as a side with the one side seared beef. That sounds awesome.
I do appreciate the fact that almost every dish utilizes fresh items from local Indiana farmers--if you read through the menu you will see many local farms mentioned. I know Chef Gates hits the farmers market regularly to assure fresh produce on the menu. It really makes a difference.

Hey, I just noticed on the website they are extending the devour menu through Labor Day. Now’s the time. I tell you, for $30, this menu is a steal (I mean the scallops a la carte alone are $27!). And this is a devour downtown menu that is, in fact, showcasing what this kitchen is all about.

337 West 11th Street
Indy, 46202
317-955-2389 (glad to see they're working on their website...although it still doesn't fit on my screen right).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

George's Neighborhood Grill

It was midweek, I didn’t want to cook, and we didn’t have a babysitter. Sick of all our usual haunts with the kids, so we decided to give George’s another go. We had been once before for lunch and weren’t overwhelmed, but a few of you guys have recommended it to me since, and I always believe every restaurant (well, except maybe one in this city that will go unnamed) deserves at least 2 chances. Sometimes it is just a bad night and you never know what you might be missing. (And hey, it is really close to my house!)

Anyway, the first thing I like about this place is the little room in the restaurant with old style stand up video games. Instantly, my kids were over there checking them out—and my kids are so young it was like 10 minutes before they even asked for a quarter to play them. They just liked watching the screens and the example games just as much as playing. So basically hubby and I enjoyed some quiet time during what is usually the grumpiest part of a meal out with our kids (they’re hungry and impatient). So I really like a place with something for the kids to do.

As for the food, well, I ordered some onion strings to snack on to start. They were good. They were onion strings. Served with a horseradish sauce which was pretty tasty, but I still am old fashioned about this, and like my ketchup. They were similar to most onion strings I have had in Indy, so I am starting to thing that they must all come from the same place.

For my main, I had the steak salad which was a small filet served over lettuce with blue cheese crumbles, provolone and your choice of dressing (I chose blue cheese of course). Others have recommended the salads at George’s, but based on this one, I would not. The meat was fine, and cooked to my requested temperature, but it wasn’t the highest quality of meat for sure (but what do you expect for $9.95 I guess). However, that being said, the meat and blue cheese crumbles were the best part, the worst part was the lettuce mix itself. It was just like those bagged mixes with iceberg and little hard strips of carrot. Yuck-o. The dressing was also nothing special—seemed like it came straight from a bottle. I have certainly had better blue cheese dressings at similar midrange restaurants (Arni’s and Scotty’s come to mind). So I guess all in all, the salad was a miss.

Hubby, on the other hand, ordered a pork tenderloin sandwich and it was much better (and marked as a specialty). The pork was juicy (the problem that causes me to rarely eat such sandwiches is that they are usually too dry) and the batter was nice. I think one of the things that kept it pretty juicy was that it wasn’t pounded so thin to beat all the tenderness out and then overcooked. A lot of times, restaurants seem to want to go for the biggest looking tenderloin at the expense of tenderness. The egg bun was the proper proportion to the sandwich—not so big you couldn’t fit the sandwich in your mouth and was fresh and tasty. This was a good sandwich and based on it, I might just give George’s another go (well, that and the video games).

Here’s the reason I might not rush back too soon though. My son (he is 3) picked up a mint on the way in (you know those round starlight mints lots of restaurants have sitting out in bowls?) and after he finished eating, he popped it in his mouth (without my knowledge). Well, you can probably guess what happened, he started choking on it and Mommy had to Heimlich him right there in the restaurant. It popped out, along with half his dinner and the whole meal ended a lot more stressful than it began. Needless to say, I don’t know if my son will be wanting to rush back, video games or not, and I can tell you right now, I think he is off mints for good. But note to parents (and anyone really), you may want to brush up on your Heimlich skills, as you never know when you will need them. Instinct sort of took over for me, but I did take a class several years ago after my first child was born and I am sure glad I did.

Nothing like a little drama to end a meal.

George’s Neighborhood Grill
6935 Lake Crossing, Suite B-12-15
Indy 46220

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Sadly, I think hubby summed up this experience on the drive home. “Mediocre food with crappy service.” Several years ago we dined at Dunaway’s and had a nice meal. However, we were the only two people in the restaurant on that night, so the service sort of had to be good, but we also really enjoyed our food. We have been wanting to go back, and when I checked out their menu for Devour Downtown which is going on this week and next, and it looked good (and hey, they are even offering 4 courses for $30) so it seemed like the time was right.

I did make a reservation because, even though at many restaurants in this town you probably don’t need one, I think it is nice for the restaurants to be able to plan who is coming in and sometimes, you need them. Anyhow, the restaurant was actually doing a decent business when we got there, which I took to be a good thing. However, as it turns out, most of the people there did not make a reservation and the staff was somewhat overwhelmed. There was only one server working on the main floor and bar. While she was personally nice, she was clearly in the weeds from the moment we got there. I spoke to her about it at one point, and she said it had been tough because for the last few months, during this recession, they had lost a lot of staff and now, with Devour Downtown, it looked like business was picking back up (the point of Devour Downtown right?) and they were sorely understaffed. The bussers were certainly helping as much as possible (it looked like there were 2) and delivered a lot of the food and kept the water glasses full. But it wasn’t just the front of the house, it seemed like the kitchen must be understaffed too, as the food came out ridiculously slow. I ordered the devour downtown menu, which was four courses, but didn’t get my first course for at least 35 minutes. Wine glasses ran dry and stomachs were grumbling. And it wasn’t just us, it was pretty clear it was the story across the board.

Now, if you read my blog, you know I don’t generally start out with a long rant about service, but in this case, I had to. It is the main thing that stood out unfortunately. But let’s get to the food. So, as I said, I checked out the Devour Downtown menu online, it sounded good. When I got to the restaurant, it was totally different (which has since been changed online). But no biggie, I can certainly change my order, but it sort of irritated me that I had chosen it based on the online menu, and it wasn’t accurate.

Anyhow, I do appreciate they are trying to make it different by offering the fourth course. I started with the grilled shrimp with citrus relish (pictured). Hmm. What to say? Except it wasn’t good. It was super hard and rubbery and I only ate a couple bites of the two shrimp on the plate. For my second course, there were two salad choices, although they hadn’t gotten their radicchio for the radicchio salad offered, so I got the other choice, the house salad (pictured) which was mixed field greens with roasted red peppers, pine nuts, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, and gorgonzola with a balsamic vinaigrette. The salad was much better (I had mine minus the red peppers—not my fave) and the greens were nice and spicy and complemented well by the dressing. It wasn’t spectacular or anything, but a nice house salad.

Hubby chose not to order off the devour downtown menu, and just ordered off the regular menu. He chose the Piadina (pictured), which is described as Italian flatbread with taleggio, proscuitto and apple to start. First of all, it wasn’t “flat” bread at all. It was quite poofy. The server warned us that we might not like it if we don’t like strong cheese (which we do) but didn’t mention (nor did the menu) the big swipe of Dijon mustard on the bottom. The flavors that were mentioned on the menu were nice together, although the bread was not helping, it was way too bready and burnt on the edges, but the mustard was overpowering everything else. My suggestion: leave it off.

For my third course, I had the grilled dry rubbed chuck tender (pictured). (There was also a chicken dish and a salmon dish). It was pretty good. The beef was rubbed with a nice seasoning blend, grilled and served over sweet corn and a pico di gallo with peppers and red onions and a tomatillo salsa. The flavors were nice together and overall, this was probably my favorite thing. Obviously, they aren’t giving you a super high end piece of meat for this price, but they did a good job with it.

Hubby had the deconstructed nicoise salad which was seared pieces of tuna with all the stuff of a classic nicoise—green beans, potatoes, olives and tomatoes. It was sort of plain. The tuna was good quality (sushi grade yellowfin) but hubby (and I) thought it was pretty ordinary.

The dessert that came with the devour downtown menu was a nice sampler of three things (pictured): Bourbon crème brulee crème caramel and warm chocolate soufflé. It was all pretty nice. I liked the chocolate the best and the crème brulee second, and when you mixed the two together, even better. The crème caramel (like flan) was my least favorite, but not awful or anything. And the plate could have used some garnish to give it a little color. I’m just sayin’.
The interior of this place is quite nice, reminds me of some of the old inns we used to eat at in England. Wood paneling, old creaky chairs and a nice darkened interior (even when it is still so bright out). They also have an outdoor seating area on the roof which I have read many positive things about. However, we went up there to check it out on our way out (it was so hot we had no desire to sit outside) but I have to say, I wasn’t overly impressed. There are some nice views of some of downtown, if you don’t mind staring directly into the sun. Also, there are huge exhaust fans blowing what I assume is all the kitchen exhaust up and out which are pretty loud and make the atmosphere less than ideal in my opinion.

Anyway, I think the purpose behind the Devour Downtown idea is to get people into restaurants who might not normally eat there due to cost during what is a typically low period for restaurants. If they have a great experience, they’ll probably come back. However, with the current service issues at Dunaway’s, at least on the night I was there, that purpose will likely not be met. Hopefully, if they learned something from the night I was there (it was the first night of Devour Downtown after all), they have staffed up a bit, and Dunaway’s can make a stronger showing.

Dunaway’s Palazzo Ossigeno
351 S. East Street
Indy 46204

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Thai Taste

This evening, we were trying for Vietnamese (will get there yet) but it was raining so hard, we just opted for Thai that was closer to home. We went with some friends who had recommended it, and who have eaten there many times. I have to say, I can’t believe something that was pretty darn tasty was so close by and I hadn’t been there.

Again, since we had more people than just hubby and I, we took advantage and ordered too much food. But it was nice to try lots of things. For appetizers, we tried the Thai dumplings and the calamari with black pepper. They were both not bad, but not the highlight of the meal for me. We also had the Yum Nuea, or beef salad that was pretty tasty and right up my alley.

The Thai dumplings were steamed dumplings filled with ground chicken, potato, carrot, onion, corn and green peas and served with a Thai “special sauce.” The dumpling skins were a bit tough I thought, and the filling a bit dry, but our friends told us usually they are lighter and softer than this, so maybe it was a bad night. The sauce was a soy based sauce with what I would guess was a rice wine vinegar—but that is just my guess. It was nice with the dumplings.

The calamari wasn’t bad, not chewy or anything, but nothing spectacular. It was served with Sriracha (spicy red Asian hot sauce) and a more sweet and sour (but thin, not that bright orange stuff you see at Chinese restaurants) sauce that I really liked with it. The breading was very light, and strangely, the calamari was served with some crinkle cut French fries as well. I didn’t eat any, but they looked like they were from a bag.

The beef salad was by far the best appetizer we had, if you ask me, and it is one thing I would definitely order again. It was sautéed beef served over lettuce and topped with onions and peppers and doused appropriately with lime juice. I really like those tangy flavors and the onions, lime juice and beef went together very nicely. The beef was probably done a little more than I would like, but with all that lime juice, it was still pretty tender.

For entrees, I ordered the Pud Makua (#2), or sautéed chicken with eggplant with sweet basil and Thai sauce (you can get any type of meat—pork, beef, or chicken or shrimp or vegetarian). I tell you, I would be hard pressed to not get this again (in fact, I am thinking it would be good carry out right now). I really like the slightly tangy sauce with the chicken, and the eggplant was served in large dices with skin removed. The basil also added a nice subtle flavor. It reminded me of this Vietnamese dish I used to get at a lunch place in Oakland, which is funny because I started out wanting Vietnamese anyway.

Oh wait, before I forget, I have to tell you, they served each of us a little dish of steamed rice in the shape of a heart. This seemed to demonstrate the mood of the service. The staff was very friendly and attentive and helpful when we asked a few questions. They also seemed to take great pride in what they are making and in the way dishes were presented. I appreciate this is a little place like this that probably doesn’t have a big kitchen staff.

The table also ordered the Pla Sarm Ross (#42) which was a deep fried whole tilapia topped with fresh pepper, garlic, onion and cilantro. It also had a nice tangy broth under the fish which added a nice flavor. The fish wasn’t bad—a bit of work with all those bones, and a touch dry (overcooked I think), but a nice presentation and combination of flavors.

Finally (I told you we ordered too much), we also had the Guay Teow Gai Sub (#54) which was pan fried rice noodles topped with ground chicken, onion and curry powder. These were really nice as well, and would likely be on my re-order list. I really like the lightness of rice noodles, and the way they seem to really absorb the flavors of the sauce they are cooked in, and the various toppings added a nice variation in texture.

All in all, I really enjoyed this meal and will definitely add it to my list of places for a quick, close bite (and certainly to the carry out rotation). It is one of those places located in a strip mall (the same one as Trader Joe’s and Penzey’s, how convenient) but I really appreciate the way they have added semi-sheer curtains over the windows so that you aren’t just staring out at a parking lot, but light still filters in. They have done a nice job making the interior feel pretty homey, and I have to say, for a Tuesday night, they were doing a better business than a lot of places these days.

There are certainly lots of things to try (the entrée portion of the menu numbers to 58 items, and that doesn’t include the appetizers, of which I think I counted about 30) so there is something for lots of different tastes. The prices are reasonable and the people who run it seem to really care. I can’t believe it was right there, and I missed it for so long.

Thai Taste
5353 East 82nd Street
Indy 46250
(no website I could find)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Scotty's Brewhouse

Well, Scotty’s has been on the list awhile, and we had the kids and my parents and it was a great day to sit outside, so we thought, why not? I have to start by saying they do a nice job of making the place pretty kid friendly for a “brewhouse.” Inside there are TVs at each table (can you change the station? I am not sure. If not, sports may not keep the kids entertained after all). We sat outside though, and they had one of those nifty bean bag toss games right outside the fence on the sidewalk that kept the kids entertained until their food got there. And since it was Sunday, the kids’ meals were free (with the purchase of an adult meal) which was a nice surprise as well.

Before I get into the meat of it, so to speak, can I just complain about something? This menu is an assault on the senses. What is it about these types of restaurants that makes them think they a) need to offer every type of food under the sun; and b) print them all in screaming bold graphics that just make me dizzy. Seriously, there are so many things on the menu, it was a bit overwhelming. My Mom even commented, with so many things on the menu, you wonder if they can do it all well.

Anyway, since there were 6 of us, I ordered some starters for the table. According to everyone and everything I have ever read about Scotty’s, the fried pickles are the thing to order, and since I love pickles, and even fried pickles (anyone ever had the fried pickles at the Irish Lion in Bloomington?). The pickles come with a horseradish sauce or ranch dressing. I asked for both (and eventually got both). But the horseradish was definitely the best I think. Not too spicy and nice and creamy. A really nice complement. And by the end of the meal, I think hubby and I agreed that they probably were the best thing on the table. They are sliced pickles (as opposed to the spear-type ones I have had before) and were clearly hand battered (since a couple that were stuck together still had quite a bit of wet batter in them). They were tasty overall for little fried items, and I enjoyed them. And I think pretty much everyone did, even my 3 year old.

We also ordered the 7 tidals buffalo chicken dip because it sounded interesting and was designated as a house specialty. It is described as chicken, bleu cheese, cream cheese, cheddar cheese and mild sauce all blended with blue corn chips and celery. Well, it wasn’t very good. Tried a couple bites and couldn’t eat any more. And judging by the amount left at the end, no one else liked it either. Chicken? Really? There was chicken in there? Sorta reminiscent of that Velveeta con queso dip people used to make in the microwave with salsa. But funkier. And it was very, very orange.

Because I was attempting to try lots of things, after that, I opted for what are called “scooty snacks” on the menu, which are basically Scotty’s version of sliders. There are several flavors you can try, so I chose the turkey Caesar and the buffalo chicken. These are intended to be a smaller portion (which I do appreciate that they are offering), so not served with a side or anything (and if you get a side, watch out for all the choices on that front too. Whew!) Well, the turkey and Caesar sandwich was pretty dang boring. It was like two slices of turkey with some very lightly dressed Romaine. Oh wait, it says there was Swiss on it too…really? I don’t recall that at all. (hey, now that I look at my photos, you can see cheese on one half, I think that was the half I didn’t end up eating.) Anyhow, bland was the word for these. After about 2 bites, I was done. The buffalo chicken was much better, the chicken was nice pieces of white meat, fried and covered in buffalo sauce and supposed to be served with a side of blue cheese dressing. Well, I had to ask for mine, but when I got it and put it on the little sandwich, it was tasty. The chicken was tender, the sauce not crazy hot and the blue cheese dressing a very high quality with large chunks of cheese in it.

I also had a couple of bites of my Mom’s bayside turkey wrap which was a honey wheat tortilla with sliced turkey, lettuce, tomatoes, pepper jack and guacamole. It was certainly better than my turkey Caesar “snack,” but nothing amazing. Better dipped in some ranch. Could have used some sort of dressing or something on it.

Hubby had the “bugle blazing blues” burger which was described as a burger with Cajun spices, crispy bacon and blue cheese crumbles. He thought the beef itself was very good, and the proportion of meat to bun appropriate, although still a huge burger if you ask me (and since he basically wouldn’t eat dinner that night, I’d say I was right). I had a bite and it wasn’t bad—I appreciated that the meat wasn’t cooked to death. It wasn’t spicy though. And I think hubby nailed it on the head when he described it as really nice ingredients that were too dry together. The blue cheese and bacon were good, but the sandwich was dry. Maybe if they used some of their blue cheese dressing which was quite tasty and full of those nice sized chunks of blue cheese instead (which is basically what hubby ended up doing with my left over blue cheese dressing), it would step it up. The waffle fries on the side were good.

Mom wanted a margarita and they were offering a pitcher for $7 so I had a margarita as well. Again, not bad (and freakin’ cheap for sure) but nothing to write home about. And on the topic of drinks, why is it a “Brewhouse” that doesn’t brew beer? Is that a question that everyone else knows the answer to except me?

The thing about Scotty’s is, it is bar food, generally done with pretty good ingredients and seemingly some of it is done in house. So I guess what I am saying is, nothing was making me crave going back there, but if you want a large (very large) selection of classic bar food (you can certainly see how Scotty’s started in college towns) that is made fresh (at least what we had), and is a local alternative to all the chains doing similar, but not as good stuff, give Scotty’s a go.

Scotty’s Brewhouse
3905 E. 96th Street (and there is one downtown)
Indy 46240
317-574-0101 (wow, the website reminds me a lot of the menu!)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sucked in

Ok, I got sucked into the even shorter attention span than a blog phenomenon, Twitter. If you like, you can follow me on Twitter @indyrestscene.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

R Bistro- Lunch

As much as I love R Bistro when I have been there for dinner, I had never made it over for lunch. I stopped in the other day with a friend for a quick bite. I have to say, based on that sandwich alone (not having had anything else on the menu), so far, I think I prefer dinner.

I had the Applewood smoked bacon, watercress, avocado and tomato chutney panini which was served with a small side salad. The bacon itself is really yummy, but I found the overall taste of the sandwich to be too sweet for my taste—I know chutney is sweet, but this was a little over the top for me. And there was quite a bit of it (as opposed to the avocado which was much more sparingly used (I personally would’ve liked a bit more, but I am an avocado freak). I would have appreciated something to balance out all that sweetness, maybe some zippy blue cheese or a tart dressing on the watercress. Like I said, the bacon was good, and I ended up just picking out all the bacon on half the sandwich and eating it after I ate the first half.

The side salad was just mixed greens with what tasted like a bit of lemon and oil over it, but not enough dressing to really taste. It’s too bad too because if it had been dressed with more of the tangy dressing, it probably would have balanced the sandwich a bit.

My friend had the Indiana tomato, white cheddar and fennel marmalade sandwich and later when I asked her how it was, she said, she had wished she had ordered what I had because hers was so sweet.

There was a special on this day—scallop ceviche. I really debated whether to get it or the sandwich, as I really love scallop ceviche (I so miss the scallop ceviche at L’explorateur), but I had read the menu so many times and really wanted to try the sandwich so I got it. I wish I had gotten the ceviche. Oh well. Live and learn. And if you don’t like so much sweetness with your lunch, skip these sandwiches and try something else on the menu (there are several really nice sounding things).

R Bistro
888 Massachusetts Ave
Indy, 46204