Thursday, December 29, 2011

Chatham Tap

I was intrigued about some comments about Chatham Tap’s tenderloins (and sides) after my Muldoon’s review and after asking around and finding out that at least the location in Fishers is family friendly, we loaded up the kids one night to give it a try (anyone know about the downtown location? Is it kid friendly?)  It had only been a couple of weeks since we tried Muldoon’s, so it was still pretty fresh and a good time to make a comparison.

Based on a reader comment (thanks, Tom H.), we went with an order of the breadsticks ($5.99 with an up charge to add a second sauce) to start (also because it is something that all four of us would eat).  I have to say, they were a highlight.  The dough (assuming the same as their pizza dough, as they have a fairly extensive pizza menu) was cut into rectangles slices of bread (rather than your traditional “stick” form) and were topped with herbs and seasonings—thinking garlic, salt and pepper and maybe some fresh parsley.  They tasted really good—really hot, soft inside and just the right amount of chewiness to the crust.  They had three dipping sauces, the traditional marinara and nacho cheese, but they also offered a garlic ranch which was nice to see.  We got the cheese for the kids and the garlic ranch for us and we were quite happy. And my son even preferred the ranch.  I mean, honestly, it was just good, garlicky ranch salad dressing, but it was a nice change of pace.  I would certainly order these again.

Hubby and I decided to sort of repeat our meals from Muldoon’s to compare and so we split a pork tenderloin sandwich ($7.49) and the ½ order of fish and chips ($7.49).  The tenderloin was a good sandwich.  Did it live up to the Muldoon’s version? I have to say no.  It was a little dryer and less even in size.  It did have a nice flavor and I liked the Brioche bun.  We did have to ask for mayo to put on it, but once it was all put together, it was tasty, just not amazing.
The fish and chips were pretty good as well—these were the true beer battered type of fish fillets—they are really more like fish fingers in form, but you can tell they are hand battering them in house.  The fish was pretty tender.  And my son really enjoyed them as well.  The ½ order was more than enough for me as well—there were 4 “fingers” on the plate and a fair amount of fries. I think the full order has twice as many pieces of fish on the plate. I saw plates coming out and it was seriously piled up. 
My kids were not as excited about their food.  My son particularly, may in fact be a steak snob.  He ordered the ribeye from the kid’s menu (which he was SO excited to see on the kid’s menu) ($6.49).  Unfortunately, it was really thin, and there was pretty much no way they could have made it medium rare no matter how hard they tried.  I should have known better than to expect a ribeye on a kids menu to be anything but this really thin thing, but you can’t know until you try.  He was happy eating some of my fish and chips and declared them his new favorite thing.  My daughter ordered a grilled cheese ($4.99), which I am pretty sure was made with slices of smoked gouda, which was a little more of a distinctive flavor than she wanted.  She also said she didn’t like that the cheese wasn’t really melted (it’s true, it wasn’t).  I did appreciate the fresh slices of apples and pears served with the kid’s dishes.
I was also told by several people that the sides at Chatham Tap are much better than the ones we had at Muldoon’s, which was certainly true.  The fries are the lightly battered type, with a nice flavor and crunch.  But the star side were the housemade potato chips.  They were not too thick, but still nice and hearty with great crunchiness.   Honestly, I would skip the fries (which I doubt are housemade) and get the chips instead. 
Our server was very friendly and our drinks were brought fast.  The food service was a little slow—I was a little surprised by it actually, although the place was pretty busy (and was on a wait by the time we left).  I liked the interior—it really felt like an English Pub, although without all the smoke (which I totally appreciate).
Overall, we enjoyed our visit, and it was fun comparing the tenderloins.  This one was a good one, although, I have still had a couple I like better.  But we are still always open to future suggestions!
Chatham Tap
8211 East 116th Street
Fishers, IN  46038

Chatham Tap Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 26, 2011

Colts Grille

This is a restaurant that I probably would not have eaten in if it had not been for the blog.  Not because I am not a Colts fan (I don’t want to rile anyone up), but because well, a) sports bars are not my typical places, b) it’s a chain, and c) it is centered around tons of tvs playing sports all the time.  But I actually had several people recommend this place to me, which was enough for me to at least give it a go. Also, we had my son with us, who has been playing “football” on the playground for the last couple of years (we’re talking preschool) so we knew he would dig it regardless.  It is amazing how this sports thing is born and bred here in Indiana.
Anyhow, we sort of worked our way in to the place (if you come from the garage, it is a little bit of a maze to get there) and were seated right away. It wasn’t a football night, so the place was pretty much empty. It was sort of depressingly empty actually, and aside from the tvs, the décor is pretty much 90s airport.  A little grim I have to say (although very clean. Sterile, actually).
The menu is sort of one of those ridiculously big types, and it is really hard to decide where their area of expertise might be, if it exists.  They do have an area called “specialties," so we figured we should go with one of those. And then we also had a burger.  But first, we asked the server what were good appetizers and we went with the deep fried pretzel sticks ($7.99) which are soft, breadstick-esque things but that taste like a pretzel.  Ok, basically like a soft pretzel that is deep fried.  Not like it has a batter, but just a little crunchier exterior than your normal soft pretzel. Our server also recommended that we get a side of the house made queso dip instead of the honey mustard that came along with it, so we got both.  She was totally right about the dip. The queso wasn’t fancy, but it tasted pretty good. It wasn’t just your out of a can nacho cheese stuff.  It had red and green peppers mixed into what I am assuming was your regular block of processed cheese.  But it went well on the pretzels which I also quite enjoyed.  They were a little crispier on the outside, like I said, than your average breadstick and nice and salty.  They were by far the best item of the evening.
We split the breakfast burger ($11.99) which was described as being served open-faced, with a fried egg, bacon marmalade, and mozzarella.  So first of all, am I crazy or does open-faced not mean served on only one piece of bread?  This had a regular bun (both sides) although they were served next to each other, but whatever.  So the burger was pretty bad actually.  They asked me how I wanted it (the beef and the egg) and I told them I wanted the beef medium rare and the egg over easy.  The beef was really practically raw and the egg was barely soft in the middle.  The cheese was sort of sliding off and the bacon marmalade was more like just regular marmalade to me, I couldn’t really taste the bacon.  I see they are trying to be unique, but throw a couple of slices of bacon on that thing. It couldn’t hurt. (Not that I would ever order it again).  Hubby was even less kind in his description. The fries were of the battered food service type and were ok.
The other thing we shared was the southern balsamic chicken ($15.99) which was described as tempura battered bone-in chicken.  So, I thought it was interesting they mention it was bone-in, when it was actually a de-boned breast with just a little attached wing bone.  Anyhow, it was super thick crunchy tempura batter.  The chicken was pretty tender and juicy and HOT.  It wasn’t bad.  It sort of reminded me of Long John Silver batter, if you are into that kind of thing.  The battered type sweet potato fries were a little soggy.  The sautéed veg medly was blah.  But the chicken was not bad.  There was a drizzle of a balsamic glaze across it.  I appreciate that they didn’t overdo it with this, it was almost more of a plate decoration, because too much would have been too sweet and too soggy-inducing.
My son, of course, loved it (always happens when we don't really like a place and vice versa).  He had a kids dish of pasta with marinara and was happy as a clam (I didn’t try it).  So there you go.  And of course there were all those tvs.
So I am guessing with the Superbowl and all that, this place will do fine at least for awhile (although the night we were there, not so much).  Honestly though, it will be interesting to see how this place does after that.
Colts Grille
110 West Washington Street
Indy  46204

Indianapolis Colts Grille on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thai Café

I like Thai food.  I am not exceptionally versed in it, but I certainly have my favorites and my not so favorites in town.  I wanted to try something new, and this one is in Broad Ripple, so it would be very convenient if I liked it.  I took the BFF with me to get us out of our usual Taste rut (where we almost always seem to end up, but we just love it so). 
So the décor of this place is a little strange.  The tables are pretty close together (although there were not a lot of other people there) and there was a strange blue hue over the back half of the restaurant which is where they first seated us, until I asked to be moved into natural light near the windows (high maintenance right?).  But seriously, it’s all part of the experience and the blueness is sort of strange.  Not sure if it was from the big TV or what, but it was kind of off-putting (you can still sort of see it in the pictures).
The first thing they brought us was the soup that came with our lunches.  I actually quite liked it.  It was really just a broth—there was no actual pieces of anything in it (ok, maybe some cilantro)—but it had a slight sour taste (lime maybe?) and quite a bit of spiciness to it. You could see little bits of chili oil on top. Especially with the little fried noodles they served on the side thrown in. It was a tasty little combo and cleared the sinuses quite well.  I don’t think BFF was as impressed though, she thought it was sort of boring.
We wanted to get an appetizer just to try something more than our lunch plates so we went with the Tao Hoo Tod, or deep fried tofu served with homemade peanut sauce ($6.95).  This dish was a disappointment for me.  I actually tend to like tofu, but it was so dry, and while it was described as deep fried, there was no discernable flavor in the barely crisp edges at all.  The peanut sauce wasn’t bad—it was sorely needed with that tofu, although later I saw that they also offer an option of a sweet chili sauce, which I wish I had known about, even though I don’t think it would have really saved it.  This dish would be a skip for me next time.  I will say, it was quite plentiful and would be very easy to share with several people.
For my lunch, I had the lunch special of drunken noodles ($7.95).  These were long flat rice noodles stir fried with lots of veggies (broccoli, mushrooms, onions, bean sprouts, carrots,  and pea shoots), meat (I had chicken), eggs, sweet soy sauce and basil.  This is the kind of flavor combo I like about Thai food—the slightly sweet soy with a fairly decent basil flavoring and just a bit of lime.  Unfortunately, the chicken bits suffered the fate of so many Asian stir fries and were a bit tough.  There was actually at least as much, if not more, of the veggies then there were of the noodles which was interesting as well.   I would put it in the middle of the pack as far as Thai noodle dishes I have had.   You certainly are getting a good portion of veggies with this dish though, if that is what you are looking for.
The service was fine.  But I wouldn’t call it overly friendly. And there never was more than one other table in there while we were there, although there were a few carry outs being picked up. I did like the way they asked you to tell them how hot you wanted your food on a scale of 1-10, and they seemed to do a decent job of meeting my expectation of my requested spice level—seems like “medium” at a lot of Thai restaurants can be shockingly spicy.   But since it has been awhile since I have done a Thai review, I am throwing the question out there, which restaurant has the best Thai food in town?
Thai Café
1041 Broad Ripple Avenue
Indy  46220

Thai Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 19, 2011

Harry & Izzy's- North

You know, I am pretty psyched to have a local steak place on our side of town.  The closest one is Peterson’s, which I actually quite like, but it is still a little trek from my house, and well, let’s face it, it is one of the more expensive ones.  The new Harry & Izzy’s is super close to my house and some friends invited us to join them for dinner shortly after they opened.  So, I don’t usually review a place so quick, but I figured, you can all take that into account when you are reading this right? 
So the interior space is nice, especially considering it is in a strip mall—not quite as dark and clubby as I sort of expected, but a nice, fairly sophisticated space overall.  The place was jammed also so I guess I am not the only one who is happy to have a locally owned place in this area (and I am sure the proximity to the Nordstrom Rack and Container store don’t hurt either.  I have never seen a bigger transformation in a strip mall then this one).  Anyway, we were greeted promptly and the host was quite friendly which is important to me. I hate being treated like an inconvenience, which seems to happen more often than it should in restaurants.
Hubby and I were planning to split a steak because it was just after Thanksgiving and we were still a little stuffed.  It also gave me the opportunity to order the carpaccio appetizer ($12) since I couldn’t exactly order a steak and have carpaccio for a starter right?  I actually thought it was really quite well done.  A fair amount of beef, sliced very thin, and topped with a good amount of salty parmesan, capers and a drizzle of oil as well as some dressed greens in the center.  The crackers served alongside were buttery and sort of melted in your mouth with the beef.  All in all, it was one of the better seasoned versions I have had in Indy (and I seem to try it everywhere).
Hubby started with a Caesar salad that honestly wasn’t very good.  Well, it just was kind of blah.  I don’t think he would order that again.  He then had the ribeye ($34), which I had a fair amount of as well.  I appreciate that Harry & Izzy’s includes a side in its price and hubby went with onion rings, which he had before at the downtown locations and really enjoyed.  The steak was good. It was cooked properly and had a nice flavor.  The right amount of fatty content without being overly chewy, which is a fine line for me.  I would put it up in the top 25 or 30% of ribeyes I have had around town.  Not the best, but very good.  The onion rings are hand battered and tasty—the coating kind of falls off as you eat them, but they still taste good.
I just ordered the seared tuna appetizer ($13) for my main because we knew we would have plenty of food.  The tuna was very rare and sesame seed crusted and then just very briefly seared on the edges.  There’s some sticky sushi rice on the side and a soy based dipping sauce.  It is described as a soy cilantro ginger sauce.  I tasted mainly soy.  I would have liked a bit more of the other flavors to develop the taste a bit more—it was a lot like just eating plain sashimi with soy sauce (there was also wasabi on the plate).  The tuna was good quality, but just needed a little more excitement for me.
I also had a couple of bite of one of my friend’s potato pancakes and I enjoyed them.  They are shredded potatoes that are in thin patties and pan fried.  Served with sour cream and some sort of apple sauce I believe (I just ate some of the sour cream).  I liked that they were really crispy and crunchy.  Another friend also had some of the Asian shrimp as an appetizer, which I have talked about in a review before and they were just as good—they are rock shrimp that are breaded and fried and tossed in a chili aioli.  I liked that the shrimp remain fairly crunchy (although the shrimp are not tough) and that they don’t use so much of the sauce that they get soggy.
Ok, so that’s the food.  The biggest annoyances of the night actually came from service and atmospheric issues.  I am truly hoping these were just new restaurant kinks and will get sorted out.  The first thing was the wine service.  It took about 15 or 20 minutes to get the bottle of wine we ordered.  They do have a rather impressive wall of wines in there, but if you can’t make it work service-wise, it just becomes a giant wall of annoyance that there is so much wine that you can see but can’t get to your table.  And sadly, when we ordered a second bottle of the exact same wine, it took just as long again.  I am assuming they have some sort of wine captain with all that wine, but I don’t know if it was because it was so busy or so new, but the wine service blew.  My other pet peeve of the night was about midway through our meal when they started using what is apparently, their “ice crusher” in the kitchen.  I mean, it is so loud (we were seated a few booths away from the kitchen apparently) it sounded like the place was being bombed. And it went on for quite awhile—it wasn’t like just a minute or two and then it was done.  They might want to think about crushing ice before service or during lulls in business—you couldn’t really carry on a conversation while this thing was running.  Of course, if I had had more wine at this point, maybe I wouldn’t have cared as much, but, well, I couldn’t get the wine.
So, overall, I would say Harry & Izzy’s is certainly a welcome addition to the Northside.  We needed a non-chain steakhouse in the area, and hopefully, once the service kinks, etc. are worked out, it will be a complete package.  The food was pretty good anyway.
Harry & Izzy’s
4050 East 82nd Street
Indy  46250

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Black Market- Revisit

So this was a tough one for me….My first visit to Black Market was really good—I really enjoyed just about everything I ate.  This review is actually my third return visit—I didn’t write up the second one because it was not so good and I thought maybe it was just an off night because it was so different from my first visit.  This most recent visit was better than the last, but didn't meet the high of the first... I don't know if is just a matter of taste preference or if the finesse from the first visit has just worn off….anyway, these are my thoughts on my most recent visit….
We started with the house cured salmon and chips with capers and egg and lemon crème fraiche ($11).  This may have been my favorite item of the evening.  It was fairly simple, but the salmon was very well done. It was light and fresh tasting and while I liked the lemony crème fraiche and some of the egg (more like an egg salad actually) or pickled beets with the fish, hubby thought the accompaniments detracted from the salmon because it was so good on its own.  The chips were also housemade –they were thick cut potato chips and honestly they were just a little too hard and crunchy for me.  Almost hard to break with your teeth.  I would love to see some thinner chips with this dish.  But overall, like I said, it may have been my favorite dish because it had bright flavors and several components that I mostly enjoyed together.
Next we had the fried mozzarella and fennel sausage plate ($11).  This one was not bad, the sausage coming locally from the Smoking Goose.  It had a distinctive fennel taste, but was warm and hearty and I enjoyed it even if sausage doesn’t tend to be my favorite thing. Hubby particularly enjoyed it. The fried cheese (cheese made in house) wasn’t bad either, but I guess maybe there is only so far you can go with fried cheese.  There was a red onion/tomato jam served alongside which again was good, but maybe just a tad sweet for me.  Actually, that was probably my main problem with this dish and our next one, they were a little too on the sweet side for me.  I realize that these kind of sweet rich flavors are often used in fall and winter dishes, but there was just something missing to balance it here for me.
The same was true of the last dish we shared---the buttermilk fried quail with cheddar polenta, roasted apples and bacon ($23).  The quail was good. I really enjoyed the buttermilk fried part of it—I would love to maybe see this on some chicken or something a little bigger as gnawing on small bony birds isn’t as much fun (for me anyway—this one had most all of its bones in it still).  Like I said, the quail itself was tasty, and I do appreciate the slightly more gamey taste to other larger birds. The polenta was not bad, but there wasn’t a lot of cheddar flavor to me and I don’t know, the sweetness of the apples just wasn’t doing it for me either.  The whole dish was also drizzled with a maple syrup type glaze.  I think maybe my problem was there just wasn’t enough other flavors to balance out this amount of sweetness.   Also the slice of bacon on the plate was completely undercooked, totally soft and white.  I looked at it for a long time before I even realized what it was.
The main thing we sort of discussed as we ate the dishes is that they just didn’t seem to come together the same way as they did the first time we were there (and the second time I went, without hubby, I found both my dishes very under-seasoned).  I think maybe I will wait til spring and go back when they offer some brighter flavors. I just wasn’t really digging most of what we had.
Ok, for dessert though, when you are wanting and expecting sweets, we really enjoyed the flavors in the caramel pie. It was a special and was made with a chocolate crust with basically just lots of ooey, gooey, and salty caramel pouring out of it.  There was whipped cream on top (way too much actually) and some more smoky salt.  We both quite enjoyed this.  But here, even with a pure sweet, it was better balanced with the salt.
So, the thing is, nothing was BAD, and nothing was great.  I am not writing off Black Market though, because I totally know what they are capable of. I am just really glad neither of these last two meals were my first, or I might not have as willingly returned.
Black Market
922 Massachusetts Avenue
Indy 46202

Monday, December 12, 2011

La Parada

I love that you can live in this town for years and find new places that turn out to be little gems.  This place is one of them to me.  And it wasn’t perfect, but there is just something about it that makes you just like it as soon as you walk in.  Hubby might say it is the Mexican t.v. shows playing some show depicting scantily clad women that warmed his heart, so to speak, but I like the pure charm of the place.  It is a little tiny, almost diner-like place (anyone know what it originally was?) but it is super clean, and just a sort of a darn cute dive, if you know what I mean. 
I asked around (wow, people are pretty into this place) about what to order and got a lot of different answers, but probably 80% of them included some form of tacos so we knew we had to get several flavors of those ($1.99 each).  Because it sounded good (even if hubby thought I was potentially crazy), I also ordered a shrimp ceviche tostada ($3.75).
But first, they bring you chips and salsa—there is a mild very tomato saucey kind of salsa for dipping and then two hotter salsas for seasoning with.  One red, one green.  I really liked the green one right away, but it was pretty hot just by itself on a chip.  The chips themselves are nothing special, a little thicker than is my preference.
So the first thing they brought us was the tostada.  It was simple, with basically just chopped shrimp, cilantro, tomato and onion with a nice amount of lime juice and a couple of slices of avocado on top.  And it was a pretty generous portion for less than $4.  I really quite liked it.  Again, it wasn’t complicated, or particularly spicy, but the shrimp was tender (seriously, they can get it right but like 75% of Indy restaurants can’t?), and it was super fresh and light.  Turned out it was nice that they brought it first, because the tacos were spicier and would have really drowned out the flavors here if you ate them together I think.
So I tried to get a tongue taco because so many people recommended them, but as it turned out, it wasn’t to be because there was some miscommunication between me and our server.  But I can always make the best of what is offered (and I look forward to getting one the next time).  So we ended up with pork, spicy pork, and chicken (I am using their designations and not the traditional names just to avoid confusion because that is how they designate them on their English menus).
By far my favorite was the spicy pork (same for hubby).  The meat was exceedingly tender and had a nice amount of heat to it and lots and lots of flavor.  The corn tortillas (2 per taco) were also soft and you could really taste the corn flavor.  They were simply topped with onions and cilantro with lime wedges on the side.  They were good just like that, but when you topped them with some of that salsa verde.  Wow, it was amazing. One of the best tacos I have had.
The regular pork was also good.  If I didn’t have the spicy pork, I might rave about it more, but it was much milder in flavor.  The meat was also tender, but with some nice little crispy bits, and again, once I topped it with more of the green salsa, I was a happy camper.  The chicken was probably the least impressive, but it was still good—some of the better grilled chicken I have had in a Mexican place.  It was well seasoned and cooked and wasn’t tough at all, although it was a little dry.
So with this much food, a soda and a bottled beer for hubby, our bill was like $15.  The server was really super nice (even if we didn’t communicate with each other very well) and I wish this place was in my neighborhood.  The menu is huge and I want to try pretty much everything on it.  A bunch of you guys responded on twitter about what you recommend here when I asked, would love you guys to post a comment here telling everyone again (and anyone else too). I need a sub list of things to try at this place.  But no way will I not be ordering that spicy pork taco. Wow.
La Parada
1638 East New York Street
Indy   46201

La Parada on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Yats.  A place that is clearly an institution in Indy, and one which people have extremely strong feelings about.  And a place I had never been until this visit. Not sure why, possibly because I just get nervous about places like this—it seems like there are expectations to live up to and sometimes in this town I find with places like this (see, Mug n Bun),sometimes people’s sentimentality dominates their taste buds. (Actually, I could name a list of places that this applies to now that I think about it—Hollyhock Hill is the first one that springs to mind, not to mention a LOT of Italian places in this town).
But, it was cold, really cold, one day and I wanted something warm and comforting and thought it was as good a time as any to check it out (and I had an appointment on Mass Ave, so it worked out).  I felt as though it was a requirement to get the chili cheese étouffée with crawfish, as untraditional as it may be, just because it is the thing I always hear people talking about.  But I wanted to try more than one thing, so I also got the drunken chicken (a two plate combo is $6.75). 
You know, I liked the chili cheese étouffée ok.  As in, it was a cold day, and it hit the spot. I can see how you could develop a taste for it.  The texture is quite smooth (thinking processed cheese here) but the chili part of it added some depth. I enjoyed the bits of crawfish I got, but I have to say, they were few and far between (maybe like 3-4 pieces of crawfish, no whole tail pieces).  They were tender though when I stumbled upon one.   Couldn’t really describe it as Cajun in my opinion, but I am no expert there.  It certainly was not overly spicy.  The rice was kind of minute ricey, very un-sticky if you know what I mean and honestly, I can’t believe I am saying this, there wasn’t really enough rice to absorb the sauce and make the right proportion. I know most people would probably like more of the higher priced part of the food, but it needed more rice for balance.  I basically felt like I was eating stew off of a plate.
I wasn’t a fan of the drunken chicken.  It was a beer and tomato based sauce with other seasonings, but didn’t really have a whole lot of flavor to me.  Also, even with the chicken, I had a hard time picking out much meat.  I don’t know, I just didn’t get a lot of flavor from this dish, and I didn’t really care for it. I was glad I had gotten the étouffée because I much preferred it.  The dishes are served with a side of garlic bread which was pretty darn tasty—very garlicky in that bright yellow kind of way, but in the way that you just can’t stop eating it.  I can see why they offer extra sides of it for 50 cents.
So I wouldn’t put it in the same classification as the restaurants above. I think at least they are doing something unique (although I couldn’t really say it was truly authentic Cajun food) and you get something that they have actually made themselves for a very reasonable price.  It hit the spot for me that day, and I can see how it might pop to mind when you’re cold and you are running low on cash.  But not sure it lived up to my expectations of what I was hoping for….or I don’t know, maybe it did.  Maybe it just didn’t live up to the hype.
Yats (various locations around town)
659 Massachusetts Avenue
Indy  46204

Yats (Massachusetts Ave.) on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 5, 2011


After getting into a discussion online with some folks about tenderloins, I really wanted to try Muldoon’s version.  I convinced hubby to go with me (even though he was suffering from a temporary health kick).  We drove up to Carmel, dodged the weirdo statues outside on Main Street, and made our way in.  The place is a pub, a clean, non-smoky pub, but not fancy or anything.  There weren’t a lot of people in there just before noon, but several people came in while we were there.
So we got the tenderloin sandwich ($7.95) and the fish sandwich ($7.95) and it turned out to be the perfect combination.  I really wanted to get the fish and chips over the fish sandwich, but the sandwich was like $3 cheaper, and as it turned out, had the exact same bun as the tenderloin.  So we cut the tenderloin meat in half (it was huge) and both had plenty for each bun.  We ate the fish on its own without a bun (a la fish and chips). Voila! A tenderloin sandwich for each of us AND a nice piece of fish for each of us.

The tenderloin was great.  Just the right way to do a tenderloin—not too thin, hand breaded and homemade.  It was very tender.  We both just added a bit of red onion and mayo and were set.  The bun was perfectly toasted with butter also—not the least bit overdone, just perfectly toasted.  Seriously, this is up there as one of my favorite tenderloins to date.  I don’t know what else to say, other than it was very, very good.
The fish was also really good.  Honestly, I really enjoyed having a bit of each and I think we would be hard pressed to get anything different on a follow up visit, which I would guess will happen soon based on how much hubby has talked about this sandwich since (it may be somewhat challenging to get him to try new ones now that he found one he liked in a non-smoking place).  The fish was cod (as fish and chips should be, in my opinion) and was hand breaded with pretty much the same breading they use on the tenderloin.  The fish was super moist and tender.  The breading is a very light breading with just the right amount of crunch and lots of seasoning.
Fish Sandwich

The downside was the sides—the fries were just your standard food service fries and they were an up charge ($1) actually.  With the tenderloin we went with the standard side of chips and they were just straight out of a bag ruffle cut chips.  I am wondering if any of the other sides are housemade and if any of them are particularly good.  Not that you need the sides, mind you, there is certainly plenty of food with just the sandwiches. I also appreciated a good fizzy fountain soda. I hate it when it isn’t carbonated enough.
I have a quite a large list of places to try just for tenderloins, but I always welcome more (hint, hint).  So far Muldoon’s is up there though.  And don't forget to tell me if there are any better sides to check out too.
111 West Main Street, Suite 100
Carmel, IN 46032

Muldoon's Irish Pub on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mama Irma

As soon as I heard about Mama Irma’s opening in Fountain Square I was excited. One thing Indy seems to be lacking is Peruvian restaurants. Machu Picchu on the West side is pretty good, but I was psyched there was somewhere a little closer—and in Fountain Square which is an area I really like because of the neighborhood feel.  I was also bummed after trying to go to Peruvian Corner for the first time recently and finding it closed.
Anyway, I stopped in for lunch one day and looked over the menu. I had a really hard time deciding what to order, and I really wanted to try more than one thing, so I decided to go with a papa rellena appetizer ($5.50) and a soup ($6.25).
I loved the papa rellena. Seriously, I have been thinking about this thing since I ate it and am trying to figure out a way to get over there and eat another one. Hubby has been making fun of me about it, but I plan on getting another one very soon.  It is basically a football shaped ball of mashed potatoes that are filled with wonderfully seasoned ground beef and boiled egg pieces (the egg tasted almost like it was slightly pickled).  The whole thing is then very lightly fried, just giving it a very slightly crispy golden edge.  But my favorite part of it was the thinly shaved pickled red onions served alongside. There were also a few red pepper pieces as well.  I loved the tartness of the onions with each bite of the potato/meat mixture.  And I really appreciated that they gave you more than enough to have some with every single bite.  And I ate every single bite.  And if I got it again (which I most certainly will), I probably would not want to share.
I chose the soup, the sopa a la criolla, because it was quite a cold day and soup sounded good.  Also the menu said something like, “there’s no way you won’t like this soup,” and I appreciate confidence.  And it had a poached egg in it.  I was sold.  The soup was solid.  It was a creamy broth with spaghetti noodles, some tomato, and a lot of seasoning. And when you broke the poached egg, the yolk made it even richer and creamier.  There were also little strips of beef in it, which probably added to the flavor, but they were pretty tough. I ate a couple pieces and left the rest.  But I enjoyed the rest of it…although not as much as that papa rellena.
The place is cute and homey, although on the particular day I was there, it was not just freezing outside but also inside the place.  I had to keep my coat on throughout my meal, which is not my favorite thing to do.  The servers were all super-friendly and very enthusiastic about the food.  I am pretty sure they are making everything to order back in the kitchen though because my soup took a little while. Part of that may have been that they were quite busy, which is always a nice thing to see for such a new restaurant.  The prices were a little more expensive than I would have thought (most entrees were in the $10-15 range), particularly since they had no separate lunch menu (might be a thought).
Overall, I liked it though, and look forward to trying some of the other things.  Have you been? Tell me what you have had and liked.
Mama Irma
1058 Virginia Avenue
Indy  46203

Mama Irma on Urbanspoon