Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Barking Dog Café


Several people in the last few months keep telling me I needed to try the Barking Dog for a burger.  I have been there a few times, but have usually mainly focused on the seafood-type items because they seem to really highlight them on the menu (East coast shrimp, crab and lobster rolls).  This time though, I went in with the directive of getting a burger. And part of whatever hubby ordered. (And an FYI, this place was also featured on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives).

Hubby started with a cup of the clam chowder, which is my Dad’s favorite thing here (my parents really like this place).  I think this is probably the best clam chowder I have had in Indy.  It is a more cream based type than some I have had (some are more sort of potato based and more like a stew if you know what I mean).  This one has a great flavor and a lot of pieces of clam (one of the benefits to all the clam dishes they offer on the menu I am sure).  It didn’t need anything except a few oyster crackers thrown in.

I ordered “Jeff’s ‘thin and crispy on the edges’ single cheeseburger” with everything—well almost, I had them hold the lettuce.  The burger was a very large, but very thin patty with melted cheese, pickles, onions, ketchup, Dijon mustard and special sauce.  It was great. Really, really good.  The beef was exactly as described, with a nice crispy edge (which I love).  The onions were super thin (almost shaved) so they were not over-powering but gave a nice crispy bite.  I also really liked the pickles on the burgers—they were a little thicker cut than many.  The special sauce was sort of like a slightly spicy Thousand Island dressing and while I normally wouldn’t put this on a burger, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  In fact, when we went back with the kids a week or so later, I got the exact same thing and enjoyed it just as much, if not more.  A side note, I loved the fact that they specifically don’t offer tomatoes this time of year because they recognize that what they can offer are just not good.

Hubby had the crab roll on this fist visit.  I think this is probably pretty authentic New England-style crab roll, and the crab was nice big lumps of crab meat.  The “roll” part was a nicely toasted thick piece of bread wrapped around—this is pretty true to the rolls I have had on the East coast.  However, what I didn’t like about it was the seasoning on the crab itself—or should I say lack of seasoning. It seemed like it was pretty much just mayo, which to be fair, may be a very traditional way to eat them, but when I make them, I like to jazz them up a bit—some lemon, some Dijon, a little hot sauce, some chives.  We did get a couple of lemon wedges and squeeze them over the top which helped a lot.  The ingredients were all good though, but it couldn’t compare to the taste of the burger.

We also shared a side of fries—they offer a choice of homemade chipotle ketchup or kalamata rosemary aioli (yay!). Of course we got the aioli because this is my favorite kind of thing to dip a fry in.  They were also really good. The fries are nice and crisp (a darkish brown color) but thinner than a lot of homemade fries.  The homemade slaw on the side was also one of hubby’s favorite things—it did have a nice spicy flavor and tasted like it had some of the housemade sweet pickles in it that are served as a garnish with the sandwiches.

As I said, we went back for lunch a little over a week later and took the kids this time.  They wanted a burger (with cheese only) so I made them split one because they are a pretty good size and so often they leave so much food when we go out.  Well, they loved the burger and pretty much inhaled their halves.  We had to order another one for them to share, which they also polished off.  Suffice it to say, they are big fans of the place.

I had the burger again, but hubby ordered the clam plate on this visit.  It is a huge plate of fried clam strips which we chose to have with remoulade (you can also have cocktail sauce).  These were good as well—the clams were tender and battered and fried.  They served them with some lemon wedges which I really liked squeezed over the top.  I am not so sure about the remoulade—it seemed almost like more of a tartar sauce than a remoulade, but the clams were pretty tasty on their own (I would probably try the cocktail sauce if I got them again).  But still, the burger was the thing that was at the top of my list.

It’s a cute little place on 49th Street near Penn, and has a large glassed in front with some great light coming in—the downside is when it is cold outside, it is difficult to keep it warm inside. Our first visit we were pretty close to the front and when the door opened, there was a cold burst.  The second visit was more comfortable because we were near the back and they seemed to have the heat really pumping.  Our server (on both occasions) was super friendly and incredibly enthusiastic about the menu and food.  A cup of clam chowder, a burger, and some of those fries is a great lunch for sure.  And it may be one of my kids’ new favorite places.  So have you been? What do you think?

The Barking Dog Café
115 East 49th Street
Indy 46205

Barking Dog Café on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 28, 2013

Late Harvest Kitchen - Revisit

 This one is tough for me. I love the interior of this place and I love that someone has made the effort to get a higher end independent restaurant in this part of town. It is close to my house, and I wish it could be a go to restaurant for us.  We had a pretty good meal the last time we were there, after a couple of disappointing ones, but this last one sort of fell back into the realm of disappointing.

We started out with a fried chicken liver appetizer ($10). I think I mentioned recently how much I like chicken livers, and deep frying them certainly doesn’t hurt.  This was the best course we had of the savory dishes by far, but it had a couple of issues too.  There was a lot of the crunchy batter on them—almost too much on a lot of them.  I felt like I was eating batter mostly and occasionally got a little bit of the liver.  There were a couple of meaty bites and when you got one of those, they were really good—but unfortunately they were sort of few and far between. I loved the potato chips they were served on top of—great potato flavor and crisp crunch. And the drizzle of thin ranch-type dressing added a needed moisture element and a nice slightly sour contrast in flavor.  It was a huge portion of fried food, and even between the two of us, we didn’t finish it.
For my main dish, I had the chicken thighs ($22.00) which were done in a slightly sweet Creole type barbeque kind of sauce.  They were served over cheesy grits.  I really enjoyed the grits, but the chicken was just too heavy and rich for me—and honestly I think one of the thighs was a little undercooked.  This dish was a good example of why I have a hard time with Late Harvest—so many of the dishes (pretty much all of them in the winter) and just really rich and heavy and not really balanced.  We also had a side of the garlic fries ($8) which I liked quite a bit—they are very large cut fries and really well done. Crispy on the outside with lots of garlic.  But again, a gigantic portion—I think it could have fed at least 4 people as a side.

Hubby’s dish was the most disappointing I think. He had swordfish with what was described as salsa verde and a fried egg ($29). It made me realize there is officially something that I don’t like an egg on top of. It just wasn’t right.  And we were intrigued by the “salsa verde,” but what we got was pretty much a puree of parsley.  Honestly, it tasted like grass.  Hubby instantly scraped it all off.  It needed acid, big time, as well as some other ingredients because all you could taste was parsley. It was like pesto made of parsley (and an egg according to the server) and, well, nothing else.   There was just nothing about either entrée that made it stand out. They seemed heavy, and flat.

We knew we could somewhat redeem the meal by ordering dessert—one of the best things going at Late Harvest is the Sticky Toffee Pudding ($8).  I have talked about it before I think, but it is one of the most well done, true to authentic English sticky toffee pudding that I have ever had in the U.S.  It is a really moist square of cake that is covered in a warm toffee sauce and served with whipped cream.  They do it well, and this was no exception.  Sadly, I am to the point where I am thinking that maybe Late Harvest may be a good option for dessert and an after dinner drink (nice dessert wine selection), but I think I will have a hard time getting hubby through the door again for dinner.  The food was pretty off, and the server was a little know-it-all-ish with us, assuming we knew nothing about anything on the menu (this is a big pet peeve of mine).  There was one conversation that went like this:

Hubby (to me): “Oh look, they have cassoulet on the menu.”
Me: “You should order it.” (He really likes it).
Server: “Are you familiar with cassoulet?”

Really? Would we be having this conversation if we had no clue what it was?  Anyway, much of the service went this way, and I found it kind of annoying.  If I don’t know what something is, I will ask. Or if you want to say, “Do you have any questions about the menu?” that is fine too. Don’t just assume people are clueless. Ok, that’s my rant.  Overall, I am sad that we don’t like this place more because like I said, it is a really nice interior and a great location for me.  But I just am not seeing it.

Late Harvest Kitchen
8605 River Crossing
Indy 46240

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Black Market - Revisit

It has been awhile since we have been to Black Market, and I have had some up and down meals there, but I firmly believe that a place with an ever-evolving menu deserves to be re-visited.  Plus, I love the atmosphere of the place.  Modern and hip feeling, but not pretentious at all. On a random weeknight, the place was already doing a decent business by 6:30.  It is also an adult-only restaurant, which even though I have kids of my own, I can completely appreciate (when we go out without kids it doesn’t bother me a bit to only be around adults).

They lured me in on this night with the promise of the ceviche tostada ($10), which I had a version of the first time I went to Black Market.  This one was a little heavier, with the addition of a black bean puree under the fish (which was halibut and sea trout if I remember correctly).  It was all topped with a healthy dollop of Serrano cream.  The fish was marinated just right so that it was still tender and had the right amount of acidity from the marinade.  You needed the acid from that as well as the tangy cream to balance out the rich hearty black bean puree.  But it did indeed make it feel more like a winter dish. 

We also shared another starter, completely on the opposite end of the ceviche—the mushroom and chicken liver papardelle ($10).  I am a sucker for chicken livers as well. I appreciated that they put this on the appetizer menu and made it a fairly small (for pasta in Indy) portion.  I mean, this was a really rich dish—chicken livers alone are rich, then you add earthy mushrooms and the meaty, buttery sauce.  I really enjoyed this, and it was a nice balance with the sharp acid from the ceviche, but I was really glad we were splitting both to get such completely different flavors.  And hooray for fresh pasta.  Just looking at the menu recently though I have noticed they have added sweet and sour red onions to the dish, which makes me jealous they weren’t doing this when we had it.  I think the addition of those could take this dish to another level.

For our main dish, we split the pork schnitzel ($17).  We weren’t going to get it because we have had it a couple times before (although we have always liked it a lot) but it was a special and then the server told us there was only one order left and we needed to tell her if we wanted it. It seemed like a sign, so we went ahead and ordered it.  It was again very good, although possibly not the best one I have had at Black Market.  The pork was a little thicker, although still tender. On the night we ordered it, it was served with lemon spaetzle, which was ok (similar to when I had it the first time, not a ton of flavor), but I missed the tangy cabbage and apple slaw I have had there before.  They did serve it with an additional lemon wedge which I used and appreciated.  There were also some nice collard greens served underneath.

But man, the dessert was kick ass. Why have I not heard about this brickle thing before now (I mean, in general and at Black Market specifically)?  It is salted chocolate brickle with cream cheese ice cream and Bourbon caramel sauce ($7).  Honestly I didn’t even know what it was when I ordered it but it just didn’t seem like you could really go wrong with those ingredients.  So what is it you ask? It is actually saltine crackers that are caramelized—some also had chocolate on them.  It was amazing. I loved that the saltines made it kind of light inside of the crunchy caramel outside and the cream cheese ice cream gave it the creaminess as well as the cheesy tang. And there was some sprinkles of black salt on top. So good. This was a dessert that had me researching how to duplicate it when I got home.  It also, as I said, had me wondering why I had never had it before.
Brickle baby
I really enjoy the ambiance of Black Market. The service is smooth and professional and the food is solid.  I like that the menu changes around a lot—this is a place that stays on our list as a comforting place to get a good meal when we are without the kids.

Black Market
922 Massachusetts Avenue
Indy 46202

Monday, January 21, 2013


If there is one thing I have taught my kids (and hopefully there is more than one) it is that it is good to try lots of new restaurants. Usually they are pretty game, but sometimes they roll their eyes and wonder why they just can’t go to one of their favorites (the answer is because there are only so many times we can eat at Steak ‘n Shake and MCL), Anyway, I find it is best to just announce the new destination enthusiastically and they’ll be pretty happy.

They generally like eating at Japanese restaurants because they like teriyaki and various things like that (and an occasional piece of tuna).  We decided to hit the road and hit Kobayashi up in Noblesville after a quick twitter poll revealed most of you (although not all) who have been there like it pretty well.

The restaurant calls itself “Sushi and Asian Kitchen” and they have several non-Japanese options on the menu as well.  My daughter’s bento box came with soup and they offered miso or hot and sour and we decided to go with the hot and sour to start.  I quite liked it—it was chock full of all the typical hot and sour ingredients, including lots of tofu and had a decent spicy flavor.  If I could have made it perfect, it would have been slightly less thickened, and would have had a bit more of the “sour” part of its name, but overall, I would order it again. It’s interesting to me that miso doesn’t vary that much, but hot and sour varies so greatly.

Hubby and I shared a couple of different rolls—the Tiger roll ($10.95) and the Kobayashi roll ($10.95).  Both of them were pretty good, but I think I preferred the Tiger roll if I had to pick one.  It had shrimp tempura (which was nice and crunchy, which you know I like) and cucumber inside and then had alternating slices of salmon and avocado on top.  It was also drizzled with eel sauce and a thin mayo drizzle and sesame seeds. I liked that the majority of the eel sauce (a sweetened soy based sauce) was on the plate so you could sort of use what you wanted and the roll wasn’t overly gooey. I was surprised by the mayo because it wasn’t listed on the menu, but it was thin and lightly applied and didn’t detract.

Kobayashi Roll
The Kobayashi roll was good too, but it just seemed to be missing some pizzazz or something. Honestly, I think it was missing the ponzu sauce ingredient that was listed on the menu (or it was so lightly used, you could barely taste it). Anyway, it had spicy tuna and avocado inside and then very lightly seared tuna on top (and some sesame seeds).  I appreciated that the spicy tuna clearly had good quality tuna in it.  I wouldn’t say it was overly spicy though. If I could have tasted the ponzu a bit more, I think I would have liked this one better.  But overall, the ingredients were good, the rolls were not ridiculously large and they were well put together.

My daughter had a bento box lunch special which is a great deal at $6.95 (this is not a kid’s meal, anyone can get this deal).  You get a protein (she got chicken teriyaki), a couple of California roll pieces, salad, the soup I mentioned before, rice, and a few pieces of tempura (there was a carrot, an onion ring, and a piece of potato I believe).  The chicken was not bad—seemed like a more marinated kind of teriyaki than a saucy one, but the chicken was fairly tender.  The real standout of the kids’ meals though was my son’s chicken katsu meal.  So katsu is just a cutlet that is breaded and fried, but wow, this was incredibly tender chicken. My son was annoyed when we all kept grabbing a piece.  Who knew?  I mean it is basically just a Japanese version of chicken fingers right? But tasty.

Anyhow, if I lived in Noblesville, I can see this being a place I might frequent for a causal meal (interesting bbq restaurant turned into Japanese restaurant décor makes it hard for me to buy into for a nice dinner out). 

2295 Greenfield Avenue
Noblesville, IN 46060
Kobayashi Sushi & Asian Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Union Jack - Revisit

So one of those really snowy nights not long ago, we got really stir crazy and had to get out of the house, even though the roads were really bad. Not a lot of places were open, but we found out that Union Jack was, so we got in the 4 wheel drive and headed out with the kids.  The roads were fairly empty, but apparently, a lot of people had the same idea because the restaurant was doing a booming business. Unfortunately, they were short several staff members, so things were a little crazed, although our server did an awesome job—she was really up front about certain things taking a very long time (pizza) and I am pretty sure she was waiting on the entire family side by herself. Honestly, considering everything, she did a great job.

Hubby has a thing for the cheesy fries ($7.95) at Union Jack. We had them once before and he really wanted to get them again. Pretty straight forward—a mound of fries, bacon bits, a ton of melted (real) cheese, and ranch dressing for dipping. The kids loved these too. What’s not to like about fries, cheese, bacon and ranch?  The fries were crispy and the cheese was cheesy (and gooey like only actual cheese can be). This apparently reminds hubby of a favorite bar in New Orleans that he used to hang out at in college.  They sort of remind me of potato skins. Same kind of flavor.

In spite of the warnings, the kids ordered kid’s pizzas ($5.65 ea)—one with just cheese and one with sausage. We did order them immediately, before we even placed our drink orders after our server warned us.  The pizzas were great. I am assuming this is their “regular” crust pizza and it was crisp on the edges but with a really nice light, airiness to it.  This was some of the better pizza I have had in awhile. The kids both decided they liked the sausage the best (they call them sausage meatballs because they are such big pieces of sausage).  We had the thin crust awhile back and it was just ok, but this was great. And it has been years and years since we had the deep dish pizzas—I really want to try one of those (we were scared off by the warning on this night since they take 40 minutes normally according to the menu). Hmmm..only question would be Chicago style or deep dish (in other words, one crust or two)? I think very soon, we will be back in for some more pizza.

Hubby and I split fish and chips ($12.95) for our actual dinner (although we sort of stole a fair amount of our kids’ pizzas).  They weren’t bad, and the fish was juicy and tender, but they were breaded, not battered which isn’t my favorite thing.  They are made in house though, and the breading has a nice amount of seasoning and flavor.  They also do a breaded tenderloin in what I am assuming is the same breading, and I bet it would be really good if the pork is done well.  We had a house salad on the side as well. Pretty standard—they do make their dressings as well and I liked the blue cheese.  The rest of it was standard—mostly romaine lettuce and croutons as well as some cherry tomatoes.
We had a fun night with the kids and they really liked the pizza. And so did we. So we are going back soon for the full enchilada, so to speak.

Union Jack Pub
924 Broad Ripple Avenue
Indy  46220

Monday, January 14, 2013

Elevation Burger

We had to hit the mall to return a couple of things over the holidays, so I figured, hey, a new burger place! And everyone in my family likes burgers (a rare thing that we can all agree on something) and I knew would be good second, third and fourth opinions for this post. So Elevation Burger is part of the new food court that has opened up in the Fashion Mall.  Right now the only other things are Pinkberry yogurt and Freshii, so everything in there is a chain—but soon a branch of Naked Tchopstix is opening as well as Napolese (or so I have heard).

Elevation Burger’s motto is “The Best-Tasting, Better-For-You Burger.”  They use 100% organic, grass-fed, free-range beef. They freshly grind the beef; hands cut their fries and fry them in olive oil.  They also partake in environmentally friendly practices, recycle, and tell you exactly how many calories are in what you are eating (presumably to help you maintain a healthier lifestyle).  All of those things made me go into it with a pretty positive attitude. I mean who wouldn’t want their beef to be organic and freshly ground, etc. etc?

Here’s the problem for me—the burger was only okay.  I got a kid’s burger (the only way you can get a single patty burger) ($3.79) with cheese, grilled onions and pickles.  The meat honestly wasn’t that exceptional tasting and was cooked more than I would normally want (although I guess you can’t really expect it to be cooked to order at what is basically a fast food place).  I liked the grilled onions that were chopped into small pieces because they were easy to eat on the sandwich.  The bun was the biggest failing for me—it was really soft and kind of too small for the burger (even the kid’s burger). It could barely hold up.  Hubby had the regular Elevation burger (which is two patties) ($5.29) and I can’t imagine having even more meat with that bun.  He said if he came again he would get the kid’s burger too—that there was no need for extra meat.

The surprise hit were the fries ($2.69). They are hand cut thin fries and they are fried in olive oil. I was kind of skeptical about this wondering if they would be crispy, but they were really quite tasty and had a nice crunchiness to them.

All in all, if you think of it as a mall food court, it is a good burger—for a food court. If you compare it to a lot of our local burger places, it is just an ok burger.  The kids said they liked it but when I asked them to compare it to their favorite spots, they both agreed there were others they liked a lot more. 

Elevation Burger
The Fashion Mall
8702 Keystone Crossing VC01
Indy, 46240
Elevation Burger on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Five Years and Counting...

5 years.

For 5 years (and nearly 500 posts!) I have been writing this blog. It is funny to me how much it has changed and grown over the years—sort of like another child.  Mostly such a blessing, and sometimes a pain in the butt. The other day a woman who had just found it said to me, “what a fun job!” and I said, “It is fun, but more like an expensive hobby.”  People often think somehow I make a lot of money doing this, and the truth is, I make a little —through my Google ads (when someone clicks on them) and occasional other ads from people who approach me (incidentally, always happy to entertain any advertising offers, email me!).  I appreciate every dime, but the truth is (and the fact is) I am clearly not doing it for the money.

I write the blog because I love Indy, and I love food, and because it makes me happy. In some ways it was something I always wanted to do (hubby and I used to write our own little mini reviews of restaurants in San Francisco in our restaurant books or just on our own computer.)  But this baby has grown. Sometimes I can’t believe it when I look at my stats and remember back to when I got excited if I broken double digits in one day. Honestly, I didn’t know if anyone would ever read a word (besides my parents and hubby). (Speaking of--who knew how annoyed people would be by calling hubby “hubby?”  I started with “hubby” just as an affectionate name, way back before I knew how often it is used on blogs and other places in the internet.  I’m always open to change though. We’ll see.)

Something else? When I write, I write the way I would speak if I was talking to you. Yes, that means my grammar isn’t always perfect (as a couple of you love to point out to me). That means there are lots of fragments. But when you read my writing, you are really hearing from me. And sometimes I start sentences with “and.” That’s just how I roll.

One last thing—even though I know blogs are somewhat antiquated these days, what with all the online reviews, and the constant chatter of twitter and all, I want to let you know that I appreciate all of you who take the time and read my posts. And nothing makes me happier than your comments (pretty sure most bloggers consider their “pay” to be their comments—it lets us know someone is out there who cares).  So please keep ‘em coming. Let me know what you agree with, or what you don’t, or what restaurants I should go to, or should not. And hey, if you have any suggestions for ways to improve the blog, please leave them here too.

In that vein, I have decided to try out a new idea. A lot of people ask me to list my top 5 or 10 Indy restaurants, but I always find this hard to do. It is hard to compare Recess to a cheap Chinese place, even though they both might be great in different ways. So, I am going to keep a running list of the best three meals I have had lately—it will be chronological, so when I add a new one, the bottom one will just drop off. That way, it could be a great burger, or a 5 course tasting menu, but they can be equivalent in some way. Also, I don’t always write a full blog post on every meal I eat, so I can incorporate some of those too. So you will find the list, right at the top right side of my blog, under my picture of the Circle. Let me know what you think or if you have any other ideas.

Thanks for indulging me in my rambling anniversary post! I appreciate you all.


Monday, January 7, 2013

B's Po Boy - Revisit

I realize it hasn’t been that long since I posted on B’s Po Boy, but there were a couple of new things that inspired me to do it anyway.  Plus, I have been to New Orleans and had some po boys there and feel like I have a better frame of reference now.

Bottom line, hubby and I really like B’s. We split a fried shrimp po boy with extra shrimp ($9 for sandwich plus $6 for full order of extra shrimp). It is just as good, if not better, than many of the po boys I had in New Orleans. They know what they are doing and are doing it well. As I wrote in my first post about B’s, the thing that makes the sandwich so authentic is the bread. They ship it in from New Orleans and it is perfectly light and crisp on the top. The shrimp, which was completely overflowing out of the sandwich (yay!) is fresh, tender and has just the right breading. They served them “dressed” with lettuce, mayo, pickles and tomato unless you ask otherwise. I also love getting the side of remoulade sauce (.50) and drizzling it on my sandwich instead of hot sauce. That remoulade is a great addition to their menu. AND! They also now have Crystal hot sauce on the tables instead of just Sriracha which makes hubby very happy (he’s a purist, just likes hot sauce on his sandwich).

As a special they were also offering house made beer battered onion rings (made with Abita Turbodog beer) ($4.50), so naturally we had to get some, even though supposedly we were eating “light” by splitting a sandwich.  I really liked the flavor of the beer batter- you could really taste the beer, which is a dark rich tasting beer. And they were cooked nice and crisp. My only complaint would be the onions were a little too fat and still a little raw tasting. Cut them a little thinner and those things could be spectacular. I really appreciate a place making them fresh though, so few places seem to anymore.

Ok, ok, so maybe we didn’t really eat light because then we had to try the beignets ($3.50) again as well (again we got them with the chocolate sauce for dipping). I had been told they have changed the recipe a bit since our first visit to make them lighter. It was true. I liked them much better this time.  The insides had big air pockets which made them less dense and fluffier. They are still pretty heavy though—I could only eat about 2 of them without feeling ridiculously stuffed (ok, the fried shrimp and onion rings might have had something to do with it too, but whatever).

I’m pretty sure we have a perfect po boy place in Indy now if you want a truly authentic New Orleans fried shrimp (or oyster) po boy. I feel like I can say that now with slightly more authority since I have eaten several in New Orleans.  The other thing I like about B’s? They obviously listen to suggestions and are working to constantly improve, and are doing a great job. (P.S. B’s, if you’re listening, hubby would love some Zapp’s potato chips with his sandwich.)

Good thing this place isn’t closer to my house or I would eat there way too much.

B’s Po Boy
1261 South Shelby Street
Indy  46203

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Harry & Izzy's - Brunch

What is the deal with brunch in this town?  If you want to plan on going somewhere, and getting actual brunch type food AND make a reservation (and having booze doesn’t hurt), Indy is a tough place.  We had relatives stopping for a visit as they passed through town, and it was a fairly large group, so we wanted to make sure we had a reservation somewhere. A lot of places simply don’t take reservations and on weekends, wait times can be endless at the usual suspects.  I don’t usually go near a “chou” restaurant on the weekends, even though they are regular haunts for me during the week.

After doing some research, I was excited to see that Harry & Izzy’s has brunch on Sundays! There’s a real brunch menu and everything! They also take reservations, and serve alcohol, and as a bonus, the north side location is like 3 minutes from my house. I was surprised I haven’t heard about this option before—I wonder if they have always had brunch.

The brunch menu isn’t huge, and you can order off of their regular lunch menu as well (they actually didn’t bring the brunch menu until I asked for it).  Hubby and I agreed to get a couple of different items and share them. I had the steak and egg wrap ($10) and hubby had the steak and egg sliders ($15).  The wrap was good—there were a couple of chunks of beef tenderloin (I would say all in all it was close to the same amount of meat that is in the sliders, but for a significantly lower price), lots of scrambled eggs, queso blanco, and homemade cilantro salsa. There was also some pico de gallo on the side.  All in all, I liked it. The meat was pretty tender, the eggs weren’t dry and the salsa that was inside gave it a nice fresh, slightly vinegary flavor. I added some pico to most of the bites as well, and the tomatoes took the acid level even a little further. If I could make it better, I would cook the meat perfectly medium rare and then chop it into slightly smaller pieces—often you took a bite only to pull out a very large piece of the beef. They gave you a choice of a fruit cup or potatoes—I had the fruit and it was good fresh fruit. I liked that it wasn’t all melon (fruit cup pet peeve).

Hubby’s sliders were basically the same thing you get on the regular menu which we have enjoyed several times, except these also had some scrambled eggs and creamed spinach on top. Sort of like a mini steak dinner with eggs on top. They were good too and the meat here was cooked to order so they were nice and medium rare. This was not the case with my son’s beef medallions plate (from the kid’s menu)($10) which he ordered medium rare and they sent out well done. The boy knows what he wants though and promptly sent it back. I am not sure why they couldn’t cook his properly because they were basically the same pieces of meat that were on the sliders.

My father-in –law had the breakfast sandwich ($9) which looked really good as well—it had scrambled eggs, this time with bacon (or you can have sausage), cheese, and served on asiago cheese bread. I didn’t get to try it but he seemed to really enjoy it. I had a bite of hubby’s potatoes and they had a decent flavor. I don’t get that excited by roasted potatoes at restaurants, but these were seasoned well.

All in all, Harry & Izzy’s is a good option for a Sunday brunch meeting all the criteria I mentioned above. The food is pretty solid (if not overly exciting) and they can make you a good mimosa or bloody mary.  And you can make a reservation. I will certainly store it in mind for future such needs. Now, you guys tell me, what are your favorite brunch spots around town? And which ones take reservations?

Harry & Izzy’s
4050 East 82nd Street
Indy  46250

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