Friday, June 28, 2013

Platt 99

I know Platt 99 is really a bar with little plates of food, more than a restaurant (I don’t think there is even a full kitchen associated with the place) but this is sort of an ideal place for me, because I love eating small lots of little things, and who doesn’t love a drink? The cocktails I have had have been good—the wine list is kind of limited by the glass, but it purports to be a cocktail place so I guess I can’t get too uppity about it.

I love the interior of the bar—it is modern and has what are probably the most photographed lighting in all of Indy Instagram world (that glassed in part in the picture is the bar).  But the hotel is artsy, with some beautiful pieces of art scattered about, and Platt 99 follows the creative lead of the hotel.

Anyway, I am just focusing on the food here and there were certainly some ups and downs.  I appreciate the complimentary truffle popcorn.  You can’t really go wrong there. It’s good to have a little something to munch on that has a hint of truffles.

As far as what I liked, I enjoyed the beef roulade ($11).  It is fresh and has a great mash up of flavors without being heavy.  There are little thin pieces of rare beef that are rolled around arugula and blue cheese and dressed lightly with a truffle vinaigrette.  Four little tasty bites.  It was really well-balanced in its flavors and this
 was one I wanted more of.

I also really liked one of the specials—the banh mi ($7).  Sadly, our server never mentioned it to us, it was another server who was friends with my date that mentioned it and recommended it.  But it was also one of the better things we had. It had duck pate, pickled carrots, arugula, cilantro, peppers and a seasoned mayo. It had a fair amount of heat and was one of the more flavorful items I had.  If it is offered again, it’s something best split between just two people—it comes in 2 small halves.

We also had the Riverbend blue grilled cheese with pears and onions on raisin sunflower bread ($8). It was okay, but the cheese wasn’t really very melty, and honestly, did not have the blue cheese flavor I expected. I wonder if they used a different cheese to be honest.

My least favorite was the escabeche ($9)—and sadly was the one I was most excited about ordering. The description was sardines, egg salad, and toast—all things I really like and was kind of excited by the prospect of something totally different from most Indy menus.  It just didn’t work—the egg salad was underseasoned, the fish very cold and bland.  I expected more of a stronger acidic flavor with the fish, but it was pretty lacking. Interestingly, at the suggestion of a server, we ate the parts separately, and it was better that way. Still not great, but better. I was looking and I think they may have taken this one off the menu which was probably a good call.

The service was a little strange. My friend’s friend (who wasn’t our server) offered up some good advice about food.  Our own server didn’t give a lot of guidance and actually seemed to be rushing us the whole evening (even with not even half the place full). I am not sure if his shift was ending, but it was odd.  I still really like the vibe of the place (and the cocktails I have had in the past have been good) and I look forward to going back to try some of the other small plates. What ones have you guys had?

Platt 99
The Alexander
333 S. Delaware Street
Indy 46204

Monday, June 24, 2013

Asaka Sushi

I have been trying to get to Asaka since one of you guys recommended it as a favorite sushi place. We tried to go for lunch once but apparently they aren’t open for lunch.  It’s also kind of hidden in the depths of Castleton (it’s next to Hooters, if that helps you) and it took us awhile to find it.

The day we went, we were with my son and got there around 7:00 after his last baseball game of the season. Apparently, they have some kind of sushi happy hour until 7:00 on certain weeknights, and the place was packed when we got there.  We got the only empty table and it had to be cleaned.  The servers were a little crazed and the service a bit slow, but eventually we got settled in and made our order (I think this maybe the largest list of sushi rolls I have seen yet).  It took us a bit because there are A LOT of rolls with cream cheese on them and that is not our fave.

We went for the Asaka roll ($9.95)--I mean, you figure the namesake roll would be worth ordering right? It was good; there was yellow tail, salmon and tuna inside.  The fish was good quality and fresh, even if it was almost shockingly cold.  Nothing hiding the straightforward flavors in this roll. We enjoyed it, even if it didn’t turn out to be my favorite.

My favorite of the evening was probably the funky tuna ($8.95).  It was a mix of spicy tuna (i.e. tuna mixed with spicy mayo) and crunchy tempura bits. It was on the inside and on the outside of the roll as well. Even though the tuna was mixed up with the spicy mayo, it still seemed to be of decent quality and in a fair amount. It was perfectly mixed with the crunchy bits giving it just the right texture variation. I liked it. I’d get it again.

Lastly, we had the spider roll (soft shell crab) ($7). It was a pretty standard spider roll—the fried soft shell crab was chopped up and mixed with a bit of mayo.  I prefer my soft shell crabs whole rather than chopped up like this, even though there was a lot of the crab there.  It was a bit dry though and just didn’t get me overly excited.  Not bad. Not great.

The salmon nigiri was very good and very tender, and even lured my son in, who can often be tempted by any kind of pink meat, even if it's fish. (He loves his rare red meat).

My son had a chicken cutlet ($6.95 and includes a drink) off the kid’s menu and quite liked it. He ate every single bite of the chicken (other than the one piece hubby and I split) and even liked the tonkatsu sauce (sort of a Japanese style BBQ sauce with soy and Worcestershire sauce) they served on the side. The chicken was pretty darn tender.

All in all, it’s a decent option for dinner in Castleton somewhere that isn’t a chain. It’s not in my top couple of sushi places in town, but it is certainly worth a go.  I am not exactly sure what the whole happy hour deal is, but it is obviously popular. And something to know—if you pay in cash, they give you a 10% discount off your bill.

Asaka Sushi
6414 East 82nd Street
Indy  46250

Asaka Japanese on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 20, 2013


I was patiently waiting for a decent amount of time to pass before I went into Rook, but my friend @Indyfoodswap convinced me to go just a teeny bit earlier (it wasn’t hard).  I am always excited to go to a new place and I am particularly intrigued when someone is trying something new like they are at Rook.

It’s a small menu, just sandwiches (all $8), a couple of “snacks” (both $2.50), and 4 flavors of macaroons ($1.75 each, 3/$5 or 5 for $8).  The sandwiches are various non-traditional Banh Mi sandwiches inspired by various Asian flavors.  A Banh Mi is a Vietnamese sandwich that can be filled with various things, as the term “banh mi” refers to the bread itself.  This is exactly what Rook is doing—it’s the same basic sandwich (they all come with pickled Korean radish and carrots, mayo, cilantro, and jalapenos) and they change up the meat (or protein).   Suzanne and I tried the “Rook” (we had to get the namesake right?) and the “Raven.”  The rook has the setup mentioned as well as pork roll and chicken liver terrine.  We both enjoyed it. I loved the crisp flavor of the topping.  The pickled radish is my favorite.  The veggies were crisp, but cut very thin so the light pickling made them slightly tender.  They had great acidity (lime in there? And a touch of sugar maybe?). I didn’t get a ton of chicken liver flavor, which made me a little sad, but all in all it was a good sandwich with a nice combo of flavors and textures.  The bread is soft and easy to eat and the sandwiches are not ridiculously overfilled like some places.

The raven is made with marinated steak that is sliced and grilled.  It had a great seasoned flavor that was also really nice with the tangy toppings. There seemed to be more meat on this one than the rook, and felt quite a bit heartier.  Honestly though, I loved the toppings and their flavors so much, I can’t wait to try it with all the different meats.  We had both snacks, the shrimp chips and the pork cracklings and both were very good as well. I would recommend getting at least one of them because the crunchy saltiness is a great balance to the sandwiches. We both loved the shrimp chips and were fighting over the last few crumbs. They are light and crisp with just a small hint of the shrimp flavor. I could munch on those for days.  The pork cracklings were very good too, but well, it’s pork skin that’s fried so they are richer and I couldn’t eat an entire order of them at once. (Hubby happily polished off our leftovers when I got home though). Loved that they were both slightly warm when we got them.

Half and Half with the snacks
They are keeping it local with meats from Smoking Goose and macaroons for dessert from Circle City Sweets.  Yes, of course we had to try the macaroons as well. They are doing interesting Asian-themed flavors like lemongrass, wasabi white chocolate, black sesame, and green tea.  We had all but the green tea.  They were just right as far as macaroons go—crisp outer shell giving way to a slightly soft chewy interior.  I am torn as to whether I preferred the lemongrass or black sesame the best.  The sesame had a distinct almond flavor to me that reminded me a little of Christmas and the lemongrass had a very slight tartness that I like. I personally wasn’t a fan of the wasabi/chocolate combo, but I am generally not a huge lover of wasabi and while I appreciate the creativity, I certainly can pass on it in my dessert.
I like the focus on a very small menu. It makes you feel like there is a real focus on the ingredients. I like the uniqueness of the menu and having another cool alternative in the area.  They are also open 7 days a week.  Love the modern, alley-like interior with the power lines busting through the wall. Rook is another great example of how much Indy has changed and grown in the last number of years, and I am happy to see it.

710 Virginia Ave
Indy  46203

Rook on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 17, 2013

El Puerto de San Blas

A friend of mine has been recommending this place to me for a while. Another friend overheard us talking about it and several weeks’ worth of planning later; we finally all met up for dinner.

I laughed when I pulled up and saw that it was in a building that must of at one time been a Long John Silver or something along those lines. I loved the giant prawn hanging outside too.  Inside, I was pleasantly surprised; it was a bright cute little restaurant. There were TVs with Mexican TV playing as well as various parts of a mariachi band walking around.  

The menu is huge, and seafood heavy (it is a seafood place).  Luckily, I was with all people who like to eat and are willing to try lots of stuff, so we got a bunch of different things (way too much ultimately).  As soon as you are seated they give you homemade chips and salsa (very spicy green salsa) as well as a bowl of fish ceviche with fine shreds of fish, cilantro, carrots, red onions and lime. I thought it was pretty tasty, and was impressed that they provided it complimentary.

We started with some shrimp ceviche tostadas ($3.45 each) that we shared.  I really liked these—and shrimp ceviche is one of my favorite things when it’s done well. Similar seasoning to the fish ceviche, but a lot more of the meat, and there were dices of fresh cucumber as well (and no carrots).  Nice generous slices of avocado on top to give an extra creaminess and extra limes to squeeze on top. I’d get it again in a second.

We got a plate full of shrimp empanadas as well (ours had 8 and it was $12.95).  This was an exceptionally generous portion I thought.  The empanadas were pretty big. I liked the crust and they were obviously very freshly made, but I didn’t get a lot of shrimp flavor from the filling. In fact, there wasn’t a ton of filling.  But they still tasted good with some of the spicy crema sauce served along with.  It was a nice starchy type thing to go along with what was a ton of seafood by the end of the night.

The sauces really made the dishes here.  They had a lot of deep flavors and while several were similar in some ways, there were subtle differences that had you trying to choose a favorite.  Probably my favorite dish and sauce of the night was the “El Medio y Medio” or half and half of whole shell-on, head-on shrimp and what they called lobsters, but what I would call langoustines.   Overall, I liked the whole shrimp better than the peeled shrimp that were included in all of the dishes, because they just seemed fresher and had better flavor and texture.  The langoustines were cut in half, but they were shell-on as well. This dish was the shellfish simply prepared over a mound of rice in a deep red, flavorful sauce that included some tomato, some lime, and I would say, a fair amount of garlic as well as a fair amount of butter and oil. It was delicious. This would likely be a must order dish as well and focused on two of the best ingredients of the night.

We also ordered the whole fried fish (“moarra frita”) ($13.99).  I liked the crisp fried skin, although it was maybe fried a little too far, and parts were a little dried out.  When you got to some of the tender bits of meat, it had a nice flavor, particular dipped into one of the sauces (we had a side of chipotle and the garlic sauce).  I loved all the limes they served with everything. You know me and my love of acid.

Surely the most impressive dish of the night visually (although honestly they were all pretty impressive looking) was the Parrillada Miramar ($52).  And yeah, it’s expensive, but it is A LOT of seafood and while the menu says it serves at least 3, I will jut say, the 6 of us probably didn’t eat half of it. It is huge. Seriously. It’s a giant silver bowl that has its own heat source and it is full of a savory, lighter broth that is chock full of the peeled shrimp, the unpeeled, head-on shrimp, snow crab legs, giant green lip mussels, fish, bay scallops, slices of octopus, and a couple of oysters.  I liked the broth a lot, and enjoyed the larger shell-on shrimps and the bits of octopus, and the crab legs, but a lot of the other stuff in there was starting to get a little tough. And I have never been a fan of the green-lipped mussels—they are just too big for me and often have a bit of a funky taste (I didn’t even eat one of these).  It’s a great broth, but I would probably skip this one just for the expense and because some of it was just ok.

We had some churros for dessert (how could we really say no?). They were very good, although I could barely eat all of mine. Man, there was a lot of food. 

This is a cool place. And there’s langoustines and Chavela (beer and Clamato juice anyone?). The people are really nice (although little English is spoken) and it’s a cute little place.  A bunch of the food was really good too. We all quite enjoyed ourselves.

El Puerto de San Blas
3564 Lafayette Road
Indy  46222

Thursday, June 13, 2013

U.S. Adventure: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Once we got to Hilton Head, I had only mapped out a few of the meals. It seemed harder to find solid trustworthy recommendations for restaurants. We were here for several days though so we ended up eating at quite a few places.  There are a ton of restaurants; it’s just hard to wade through which are worth going to.

Probably the top two highlights of the trip for me were Robert Irvine’s Eat! and Lowcountry Backyard Restaurant.  We left the kids at the kids’ club for Eat! and had a nice adult meal. We focused on the tapas part of the menu. We both really liked the chicken pate ($7) with the most amazing crispy, garlicky, salty pieces of toasts.  The fried green tomatoes were good as well, and a bit different with feta cheese and a brown butter vinaigrette ($8). The tomatoes were a little thick cut for me, but still good.  One of our favorite things was the salmon salad ($10) which was poached salmon tossed with a spicy aioli (and there was a LOT of salmon there), and served o top of a sliced asparagus salad with a lemon vinaigrette. And the topper? A perfectly sous vide egg, that made the dish even richer with its yolk. The crab cake ($7) with chipotle remoulade and sizzled greens was not overly exciting (hubby liked it more than I did), although those lightly fried, extra crisp (like a potato chip) collard greens are something that must be tried at home (I’m thinking baking them in the oven like I have done to make kale chips I the past). They were amazing. Also, the Scotch quail eggs were too little egg, too much sausage ($7).  It was a fun meal though, and another great service experience (I do wonder if all the men that work there are required to have Robert Irvine’s haircut though).

We had a lunch at Lowcountry, and it was just a great, mellow, Southern experience.  We sat outside in the “yard,” the kids drank lemonade and juice out of mason jars, and hubby finally got some perfectly cooked shrimp in his shrimp and grits ($17.95).  The local shrimp, which were very plentiful on the plate, were perfectly seasoned and cooked and the grits were just as good. He pretty much licked the bowl clean (although he wasn’t as big a fan of the sausage which was more like summer sausage). I had a fried green tomato BLT ($9.95). It was served on flatbread with the most amazing homemade Ranch dressing that was chock full of fresh chives. The tomatoes were thinly sliced and very freshly fried. I had a side of mac and cheese and it was clearly homemade with a lot of fresh cheese as well. I could not stop eating it, except there was so much of it, I had to. (Side note --my son’s meatloaf was some of the most tender meatloaf I have had).  I would absolutely return to this place.

We also had a lovely dinner at Truffles, which is one of the old school long-standing Hilton Head restaurants. This was at the end of the trip and I was craving something different from what I had been having, so we had the seared ahi tuna starter ($11.95), which was very good. It had fresh fried wonton chips at the bottom, a heavily dressed cabbage salad (with a wasabi cream dressing) and rare sliced tuna. I had a filet ($29.95) and it was a good steak (starches were not so great, both mashed potatoes and fries). Hubby had ribs and enjoyed them as well.

For one of our touristy meals, after visiting the Hilton Head lighthouse, we had lunch at the Salty Dog Café, which is one of those well-known tourist trap type places. But we were pleasantly surprised with it as well. The hush puppies ($5.99) were fresh and hot, and because they were made with cornbread, tasted sweet almost like they could be dessert. I had the shrimp salad sandwich ($9.99) that I really enjoyed (it was described as “the dish that started it all” whatever that means). The shrimp were tender and tasted fresh and the dressing had lots of flavor. It was what I needed after having a fair amount of fried stuff.  Hubby had the shrimp toast appetizer ($7.99), which was not bad as well. It was basically cheesy garlic bread with some shrimp added into the cheese.

Our last night, we also had a very nice meal at Guiseppi’s pizza. We needed something that wasn’t seafood and pizza hit the spot.  I loved the little lightly fried dough bits (they called them parmesan dippers). They were made with the pizza dough, but were crisper on the outside than traditional breadsticks and garlic knots. I love the garlic dipping sauce as well. The pizza was also very good. Nice chewy crust, lots of toppings (for me were red onion, mushrooms and kalamata olives) (ours was about $16).  I had a veggie salad on the side ($4.50) that had a nice housemade ranch (I appreciate that they’re making some of their own dressings in house).  It totally hit the spot and if it were in Indy, I would probably eat there as well. I loved dipping my crust into the garlic sauce.

This pretty much sums up the trip, other than a couple places hubby and I would likely not return to (Scott’s Fish House and San Miguel’s Mexican—although inexplicably, Scott’s is what my kids will name as their favorite place.)  I can’t say Hilton Head is really a foodie destination, although there are a ton of restaurants.  And we seemed to eat pretty well.

Robert Irvine’s Eat!
1000 William Hilton Pkwy
Hilton Head Isle, SC 29928

Robert Irvine's Eat! on Urbanspoon

Low Country Backyard
32 Palmetto Bay Road
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
A Lowcountry Backyard Restaurant on Urbanspoon

8 Executive Park Road
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
Truffles Cafe on Urbanspoon

Salty Dog Café
224 S. Sea Pines Drive
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
The Salty Dog Cafe on Urbanspoon

32 Shelter Cove Lane
The Plaza at Shelter Cove
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

Guiseppi's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 10, 2013

Aristocrat - Revisit

We had not been back to the Aristocrat since it has been remodeled after a fire, and after our last visit, which really annoyed hubby.  But we figured we should give it another try, check out the new digs, and I really needed to try the tenderloin because I had never had it.

The first thing I noticed was how incredibly friendly the people were the whole time we were there (which may have been more noticeable after our last bad service experience there).  The hostess was really friendly as was our server.  We ordered our drinks and got them right away.

I decided to get all designated “Pub Favorites” for the entire meal. Guaranteeing me the best meal possible right? We started with the beer cheese dip with apples and pretzel bread ($8). We had our son with us and I thought he might dig it too. It was fine. The cheese had a little more flavor than your typical nacho cheese type dip (the beer, I guess), but not a ton more.  I liked the apples with it—I thought it gave it an interesting little kick with the slight tartness of the apples. The pretzel bread wasn’t very good.  I never would have guessed it was pretzel bread until I looked back at the menu.  It was very soft and it had a kind of funky taste to it and wasn’t salted, which I sort of expected. Hubby and I mainly stuck with the apples.

Like I said, I really wanted to try the pork tenderloin sandwich ($9) but hubby wanted to order it, so we agreed to split it and I would get something else. It is very good—the meat is very tender, and not pounded too thin.  The coating is the classic seasoned breading.  My only complaint is that I think it could have stood to be cooked just a little crisper. Hubby said in the past when he has gotten it, it was always a little darker in color.  But the toasted bun and the accompaniments were right (mayo, red onion and pickles for me).  He got the kettle chips on the side which were heavily seasoned with black pepper. So depending on how you feel about a lot of black pepper, you may or may not like these.

I got the Cobb salad ($11). Honestly, I was kind of disappointed in it overall.  The lettuce was one of those mixes with hard matchsticks of carrot in it and a lot of iceberg hearts. And there wasn’t much lettuce considering it was a salad.  There was a ton of alfalfa sprouts, a few very thin slivers of avocado, a boiled egg, crumbles of blue cheese, diced tomatoes, very small bacon crumbles that kind of tasted a little fake to me and a grilled chicken breast.  The chicken was nice and tender though, although not overly seasoned.  As we left, I saw some friends who had ordered other “Pub Favorite” salads and they looked much better—with field greens and spinach. If I were to be with someone who wants a salad, those would be what I would recommend.

I do like the interior remodel.  They have done a nice job of opening the space up and making it feel like a cohesive restaurant, but maintaining the pubby feel (although like almost every restaurant in Indy in the summer, it was freezing in there). And our service was really, really great.  I guess I am a little disappointed that they didn’t really seem to make any changes/improvements to the menu and from what we had, I probably won’t rush back.

Aristocrat Pub
5212 N. College Ave
Indy, 46220

Friday, June 7, 2013

U.S. Adventures: Savannah, GA

We were planning a family trip to Hilton Head and when we realized we had to fly into Savannah, I thought, hey, what a great opportunity to check out Savannah with the kids. My kids seem to love cities as much as they do the beach—New Orleans being one of their favorite trips.  I thought I would just do a brief post on where we ate while we were there. (Really, I am trying to be brief, so not hitting on everything, particularly skipping several of the kids’ meals.)

Anyhow, we arrived just after lunch so I hadn’t made any specific plans for that first lunch and after mentioning that we were headed there on twitter, @AttackResist tweeted me that we must go to Crystal Beer Parlor. I figured, sounded good, we had no other plans, and we were hungry.

In short, we really enjoyed it. In fact, we all agreed it was one of our favorites of the trip. It’s a little out of the way too so I am sure I wouldn’t have found it on my own. It’s an old school place that was established in 1933—and it looks like it. Our waiter was one of the nicest I have experienced in a long time. I asked him for must orders and he told me. And I listened. Hubby and I split fried local shrimp (with onion rings) ($17.95) and a cup of the Crystal Crab stew ($4.95).  The stew was really rich and hearty—had a very slow cooked taste of crab. Loved that they serve it with a side of Sherry to sprinkle on top. It gave it another layer of flavor. Good to share though, man it’s rich.  The shrimp were great.  Some of the best of the trip (and as you will see a lot of shrimp were eaten throughout this vacation). Super tender with a hand battered, very light fried crust.  The onion rings didn’t look that good to me—very lightly battered as well, but they were delicious. They really tasted like onions, with just a hint of the seasoned crust. Not a fan of the Ocilla slaw, which was a slaw with vinaigrette. A little sweet for my taste, even though it is described as “tangy.” The kids loved this place too. Especially the chocolate Johnnycake dessert ($6.50).

Crystal Beer Parlor
For dinner I had researched and made reservations for The Olde Pink House.  This place is really cool. A huge old house with many rooms turned into various dining room, and again really friendly service. Hubby and I shared a couple of appetizers and an entrée. The crab cake appetizer ($13.95) was served with fried green tomatoes.  The thing that made this dish was the remoulade sauce. It had a fair amount of heat from what tasted like horseradish and mustard. It was also tangy. We were both kind of hoarding it, so I asked for an extra side of it. The shrimp and grits ($10.95) was the other app we had and again, the sauce really made this one as well. It was a tasso ham gravy. The grits were in the form of little grit cakes and they, along with the gravy were so good. Creamy, rich and perfectly seasoned. Unfortunately, the 3-4 smallish local shrimp were pretty horribly overcooked and rubbery so we ended up not eating all of them. Honestly, the other stuff was so good on the plate, I didn’t even mind. The concierge at our hotel as well as our waiter suggested we try the specialty of the house, the crispy flounder for our main ($27.95). It was really good as well. And yes, the sauce was great.  It was a whole bone in, skin on flounder (head was removed) that was scored and then very lightly deep-fried.  The tender little medallions of fish just pulled right off onto your fork.  The sauce was an apricot shallot sauce, which I had my doubts about, but it tasted similar to a kind of Thai chili oil sort of flavor. There was certainly a fruit flavor to it, but a good amount of heat as well.  There were sides of collards and grits, but honestly, the food was so rich and filling, it was hard to eat it all (the collards were spicy and delicious though).
Olde Pink House
Our last lunch in Savannah, we tried to go to a restaurant I had read about, Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room, but it is a first-come-first-served restaurant and even by 11:30, the line was around the block.  The kids were certainly not having it. So I asked the pedicab driver on the corner for a suggestion nearby and we ended up at The Public.  It was nice to sit on the street, although this was the first place in the South where the service fell off a bit. I had the Carolina pulled pork sandwich($11) (which is a vinegar based sauce), which I really quite liked. It was North Carolina style, rather than the mustard sauce of South Carolina, but it was really very tangy and spicy.  There was a fair amount of cabbage on top, which added a nice crunch, although I could have done with a bit less of it. Hubby continued his quest for his favorite shrimp and grits ($18), and while he also really, really enjoyed the grits and sausage part of this one, again, the shrimp suffered from being overcooked.  These were more of the traditional-style soft grits and they were also really good.  Another great rich, buttery gravy—thicker though, almost like more of a stew.  It was a pretty cool place, very modern, and very crowded inside and out.
The Public
All in all, we had quite a pleasurable food trip in Savannah.  The kids loved the old city, and it is truly a beautiful place to visit. The history, the friendly people, and all that beautiful Spanish moss.

Crystal Beer Parlor
301 West Jones
Savannah, GA 31401
Crystal Beer Parlor on Urbanspoon

The Olde Pink House
23 Abercorn Street
Savannah, GA 31401
The Olde Pink House on Urbanspoon

The Public
1 West Liberty Street
Savannah, GA 31401
The Public Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 3, 2013

Osteria Pronto - Revisit

We were having a fancy night out with the kids and they wanted to go downtown, so we decided to go to Osteria Pronto. Neither hubby nor my daughter had been before and it had been quite awhile for me. It’s interesting because you heard a lot about it when it first opened, but not much since. Honestly, I think the menu has become less adventurous if anything since it opened. Maybe they are mainly catering to out of town travelers or something.

We started with the carpaccio ($11) and the fried calamari ($10).  I had had the Carpaccio before and will say that this time it was a little more dressed, but we didn’t particularly care for the dressing on this—it was a little sweet.  The whole dish needed some salt in some form as well. There were a few capers and some Parmesan, but it needed a little more.  It was just kind of flat.  We liked the calamari better. It was not just fried calamari, but had ribbons of fried zucchini and other squash.  When you got a really crisp one of these ribbons, they were really good. There were also some fried pepperoncini.  The calamari looked a little undercooked, but tasted okay. It was tender even if the crust could have been a little crisper.  The aioli was drizzled on top and I am not sure how I feel about this. It tended to make the things it was on get soft a little fast. I liked the flavor of it (as well as a squeeze of lemon that they served alongside) but I would have preferred it on the side.

I ordered a small portion of the fettuccine with mushrooms ($10) and wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but I quite liked this. It was an olive oil and garlic-based sauce rather than a cream sauce (which is sort of what I was expecting) and it had really nice flavor.  It had freshness from basil as well as some wine or lemon as well.  The mushrooms were simply sautéed. The dish was topped with a little Parmesan. Hubby and I both enjoyed it.  I also appreciate that they offer small portions of their pasta dishes because I often don’t order pasta just because portions are too big.
My daughter ordered a small portion of the gnocchi (except she asked for it plain—normally it comes with marinara).  She is a bit of a gnocchi connoisseur and has some amazing gnocchi in her travels. This wasn’t one of them. This was very dense and kind of grainy. Now it is possible it would have been better with more of a heavy sauce, which she didn’t want. But she didn’t even finish a half order ($12).

Hubby and my son split the lamb chop meal ($29).  First of all, the 2 lamb chops were perfect.  They were perfectly seasoned and cooked and pretty meaty. Too bad there were only two.  There was some lamb sausage served alongside, but it was pretty forgettable (and pretty dry). Neither of them seemed overly excited about it.  The vegetable medley and potatoes that were served alongside were pretty standard-roasted potatoes and some zucchini and peppers. Again one of those kinds of sides that I am sure came along with every protein-based dish.

We also had the tortelli for dessert ($7). I quite liked these. Doughnut/beignets seem to be very popular these days and I have no problem with it at all. You can’t really go too wrong, as I have said before, with fried dough dipped in chocolate.   There was one that was maybe fried a bit too crunchy, but other than that one, we really liked these.

Overall, we had fun, and we had some good things and quite a few just okay things… Not sure we’ll be rushing back though.

Osteria Pronto
JW Mariott
10 S. West Street
Indy  46204