Monday, July 29, 2013

Bluebeard - Revisit

Hubby has been hassling me about how I never let him go back to places he likes because I am always making him try new places, so we agreed it was about time to go back to Bluebeard.  Our last meal (lunch) was really good, and just about every meal I have had there has been an improvement on the last one.

It was Saturday and we went early, but it was already really busy.  We got seated right away, but in the front room which doesn’t have the atmosphere of the bar room or the patio.  But you can’t really complain when it is the only table available. I appreciated that the restaurant was one of the few that wasn’t completely freezing inside (I had brought a jacket with me and didn’t have to put it on. Why is it only the times I don’t bring a jacket that I find myself dining in the deep freeze?)  Our waiter was friendly, although it was tough to hear him in that front room—it is quite a bit louder.

We started off with one of their salads--mainly because we were so impressed with the salad last time.  I like that they have a lot of ingredients, great balance and are tossed (hooray!) in an appropriate amount of dressing.  We had the small size of the mixed greens salad ($6) with apples, fingerling potatoes and Point Reyes blue cheese.  It was dressed in champagne vinaigrette. Honestly, I think Bluebeard is doing some of the best, well-balanced salads in Indy.  (As a side note I think Recess/Room 4 does great salads too).  The greens were plentiful enough and the apples were super-thinly sliced. The potatoes were cooked just right (not too firm) and there were nice chunks of the cheese mixed throughout.

We then decided to share the Iberico ham plate ($30) which was a splurge but we were intrigued because it isn’t something you see on menus around town that much.  It was a nice amount of the ham served with whole grain mustard, “red eye” aioli and cornichons (those cute teeny pickles).  There were also some pieces of grilled Amelia’s bread.  The ham was great—I mean it sort of speaks for itself with its rich, salty flavor. It was a little thicker cut than what I have had in the past, but tasty. A little bit of the aioli with it was great with it—so what is “red eye” aioli you ask? (as I did). Well it is made with coffee.  The slightly bitter taste was nice with the bread and the ham. I thought the mustard was just a little strong. It was a fun splurge, although I am not sure I liked it a ton more than I would have liked Bluebeard’s normal charcuterie. I also like the bread here, but I still don’t really care for the really burnt pieces. That flavor overpowers everything it comes into contact with to me.  

For our main dish, we got two of the small plates and the side of spaghetti ($9).  We have had the spaghetti before—I love the creamy rich flavor from crème fraiche and the very lemony flavor from, well, lemon.  There’s a fair amount of Parmesan cheese as well.  It is a great side dish to pair with proteins because even though it is rich, it seems light because of the tangy flavors of the crème fraiche and the lemon.  We also had the grilled octopus ($10), which is one of the quintessential Bluebeard dishes I think.  They do a great job of grilling it perfectly so it stays tender. I loved the flavors that went along with it too—the roasted tomatoes and olives gave it the right amount of salt and acid and the bagna cauda gave it depth from the anchovies and garlic. You certainly get the taste of the sea without feeling like you’re eating anything too fishy.  They do a great job with it—in fact recently a friend had a friend visiting from another state and wanted a good recommendation for somewhere he could eat alone at a bar and get good, unique food. I sent him to Bluebeard and he raved about the octopus.

We also had the foie gras ($15). It was a nice perfectly seared lobe of liver served on top of Bluebeard’s version of green bean casserole. I really enjoyed this dish. It was totally an unexpected combination, but really tasty.  The casserole had creamy green beans with chanterelle mushrooms, duck bacon and was topped with crispy thin fried shallot slices. This was seriously my kind of green bean casserole. It was delicious. The only thing that was maybe slightly overkill was the bacon. It was very strong in flavor (bacon flavor and smoky flavor) and you didn’t want to eat it with the liver or it masked the taste too much. If they did the green bean dish on its own as a side, the bacon is perfect. With the foie gras, I think it was unnecessary. But we ate every single bite.

I have had great desserts at Bluebeard and we decided to go with the spicy chocolate pot de crème.  To be fair, the menu said it was spicy, but wow. This was way over the line for us to be something we can eat. I often talk about how I like spicy as long as it doesn’t ruin the flavor of the food or the experience of eating it. This was a perfect example of exactly that. A little of the chocolate with some of the cooling cream and the little doughnuts served on the side was pretty good when you had the cream and the sugary sweetness to balance it, but once we finished those parts, we couldn’t eat any more. It wasn’t something we considered complaining about, as we knew it was labeled as spicy (we just didn’t realize how serious they meant this) but I was impressed when our waiter noticed we barely touched the chocolate and got us a certificate for a free dessert for next time (we had already paid at this point or he said he would have taken it off the bill).

That was a nice service touch, and I appreciated how friendly our server was. Unfortunately, the overall service was quite choppy and slow. I am not sure if it was just because they were so busy, but the meal didn’t flow as well as the last couple of times I have been there.  Hopefully it was just an off night.

Regardless, I feel like Bluebeard is one of Indy’s best, most interesting restaurants and will continue to recommend it to out of town visitors looking for a place that is unique to Indy.  

653 Virginia Avenue
Indy, 46203

Thursday, July 25, 2013

10 01 - Brunch

One of the things I get asked a lot is for good recommendations for brunch.  It’s a hard question for me to answer because most of our options aren’t really places that have a special brunch, they are just places that serve good breakfast and lunches all the time (and most of which don’t take reservations, so they can be a pain to go to). I have found a few places, but not too many that I really like so I was excited when I was perusing the 10 01 menu lately and saw that they are now offering a Sunday brunch.

I have heard pretty good things since they have gotten their new chef, Dan Dunville. I still haven’t had an opportunity to try the other meals yet since he has been onboard, but saw several things (particularly some of the specials) that looked appealing for another visit.

I ordered the breakfast flatbread ($9). It was a very thin, crispy crust topped with sausage gravy, bacon, scrambled eggs, and a blend of 3 cheeses.  Overall it had a good flavor (needed a little salt).  The eggs were cooked well, not dried out the way scrambled eggs tend to be. The bacon was tasty as well and you just got a hint of the sausage flavor in the sauce.  My only complaint was while the eggs weren’t dry, overall the whole thing was just a little dry.  There wasn’t a lot of the gravy (although you wouldn’t want too much or you’d get a soggy crust) and it could have used a bit more cheese.  But I liked it. Between hubby and I, we ate it all up. I think he preferred it to what he ordered.

Hubby got the huevos rancheros ($9), which were flour tortillas topped with over easy eggs, black beans, salsa verde, sour cream, and cilantro. While they did a nice job with the salsa—it had a fresh, well-seasoned flavor, hubby wasn’t a fan of the whole black beans. I guess he is kind of traditional, but he prefers them refried in huevos rancheros.  I think they were just doing something a little different.  Nothing special about the tortillas. Overall, it was not bad. Mine was better.

My son ordered the open-faced sirloin and eggs ($14). He is a bit of a steak fanatic so we went with it.  They normally do the egg sunny side up, but he isn’t a fan of a runny yolk (I know, it’s pure craziness) so he got it fried hard.  He actually really liked it and devoured quite a bit of it and even asked for more bread to eat it with because he wanted it to be an actual sandwich with 2 pieces of bread. I was a little surprised that the sirloin was not in the form of a steak, but was more like sliced roast beef.  The menu just said “roasted sirloin.” The meat was very tender and tasted pretty good (although it wasn’t particularly rare) but it seems like they might want to word it in a different way. It was even more misleading when the server didn’t mention this when my son specifically asked for his steak medium rare. My Dad had the steak and cheese omelet ($11) and it had the exact same sliced meat in it. That description was even more off. 

My daughter had the yogurt and house made granola with fruit and liked it ok. The granola was good and had the right balance of nuts to other stuff and the right amount of sweetness that was balanced out well with the tangy yogurt. Not my ideal breakfast (never been a granola kind of girl) but if you are into that sort of thing, this one was pretty good.
Honestly, the biggest disappointment of the meal was the service.  Even though the restaurant was not very busy, our service was not very good.  And you could see the servers standing around chatting with each other. Our server was not particularly friendly either. There was actually another server (manager maybe) that came to check on us a couple of times who was much more on the ball.  Also hubby was annoyed by the “mimosas for 2” for $15 which turned out to be not as good a deal as just ordering them individually for $3.50.  The orange juice was fresh squeezed I think as opposed to my parents’ straight orange juice that had no pulp in it at all, but still it wasn’t a good deal.

10 01 is an option for brunch if you are looking for a true brunch menu and a place where you won’t have to fight a crowd. The food isn’t bad, but nothing about the experience wowed me. I do intend to go back at some point for dinner and see how it has changed since the last time I was there.  Anyone else been recently?

10 01 Food & Drink
1001 Broad Ripple Avenue
Indy  46220

Monday, July 22, 2013

Good Morning Mama's- Revisit

My daughter had been away at camp and even though my son was busy with his activities as well, we always take advantage of some Mommy/son time while she’s away.  I was trying to think of a lunch place he would like that he hadn’t been to and thanks to twitter, Good Morning Mama’s came up.  We never go on the weekends because it is oppressively busy (good for them) but midweek, we got in no problem (although it was still pretty busy).

I ordered their Panini grilled cheese ($5.99) which had two kind of cheese (cheddar and Swiss, tomato, and I added bacon for $1.00. I am a sucker for a Panini grilled sandwich—I think just because it makes it thinner and easier to eat.  Also it tends to melt everything pretty well, although when I got my sandwich, it didn’t seem like the cheese was all the way melted. But when I started eating it, it was much better and was meltier than it looked. For my side, on the server’s recommendation, I had the potato salad as my side and it was pretty good. Again, it was the old school kind with chunks of potato, celery, mayo and a bit of egg. I think there was a bit of pickle in there as well. It needed salt and then it was pretty good.

My son loved the kid’s breakfast option, “Nola’s onesie” ($3.99).  It comes with one egg (cooked to order), one sausage link, one piece of bacon and one pancake.  He got his egg scrambled and practically licked the plate clean other than a little bit of the eggs.  He also liked the colorful interior of the place and told me he wished we could go more (we have gone 2-3 times to try to go with the kids and the wait was just too long).

They appear to have changed the menu a bit and taken off some of the things that are not made in house, which I appreciate. I think I heard our server say that most everything is now made in house.  I know it will never happen, but my secret dream would be for restaurants to make some special designation of the things that they make themselves.

It’s a pretty straightforward diner-style place with pretty decent food. If we could get in more easily, we’d probably take the kids a fair amount. As it stands, it’s a good simple weekday breakfast or lunch place.  I know some of you must frequent this place with as busy as it is….what else is really good here?

Good Morning Mama’s
1001 East 54th Street
Indy  46220

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Road Trip-- Third and Hollywood, Columbus, OH

Over the Fourth of July, on our visit to Columbus, Ohio, we went out with some of hubby’s high school friends to somewhere new to us.  We had been debating where to go, but after I looked at the menu, I thought this would be a good option because they had a fairly wide menu and they had grilled artichokes on the menu and I have been craving them.

We started with a couple of orders of the cheddar cheese skillet biscuits ($8) and the artichokes ($12).  Both were so, so good.  The biscuits were so rich and buttery and full of cheese, and scallions and brushed with butter (garlic butter maybe).  They were exceptionally moist. Possibly the best biscuits I have ever had. I had to restrain myself from over eating these things.  Everyone just wolfed them down.  Even though we had really over-ordered too many, every single crumb got eaten.

The artichokes hit the spot for me too. They were good tender, but then grilled and had nice, slightly crisp edges from the grill.  I love artichokes but hate cooking them at home because you have to clean them and then cook them quickly and then get them on the grill. So when a restaurant has them on the menu, I will usually order them.  They served them with a great classic remoulade sauce that was perfect with them. Just a little spicy but had a nice mustard flavor as well. 

For my main dish, I had the seared tuna with chopped veggies and caper Dijon dressing and goat cheese ($25). Wow, this was great too. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from “mixed vegetables,” but these were veggies that reminded me of a Nicoise salad.  There were green beans, fingerling potatoes, a little arugula, some fresh corn, red peppers and tomatoes. There were also olives and several wedges of boiled egg (that were cooked perfectly slightly under hard).  Wow. The veggies mixed with the dressing (and an ample amount of it) were just as good as the perfectly seared tuna. I loved it and it was beautiful on the plate.
Hubby had a special--it was seared trout that had a lemon butter sauce with wonderful crispy fried capers on top.  The fish was cooked perfectly tender and served with a green bean/corn mixed veggie side that was also dressed and very flavorful. We fought about which one of us had ordered the better dish. Honestly, they were both really great.

For dessert we shared a couple—the lemon square ($9) and the chocolate pot de crème ($9). I liked the dark chocolate flavor of the custard in the pot de crème, but the lemon bar was what stood out. I mean, just look at it. This is more than just a lemon bar. It was made with a graham cracker pecan crust and a wonderful, just tangy enough, lemony filling. There was a fair amount of whipped cream as well. 

So we liked this place so much the night we went for dinner early in the trip, that we ended up going back for lunch with the kids and the in-laws on our way home to Indy.  This time we got a side of the pimento cheese to go with the biscuits (there is absolutely no reason you would ever go to this restaurant and not get some of the biscuits).  Honestly, I liked the pimento cheese but I think the biscuits are better just on their own. There’s enough going on with them flavor-wise, you don’t really need to add pimento flavor and more cheese.

Hubby and I split the fish sandwich for our main dish ($17)—it was fairly simple sandwich of grilled Barramundi with lettuce, tomato and red onion and a lovely aioli.  The fish was nicely (but lightly ) seasoned and was very tender. I thought it just needed a little more of the aioli so I got a side of it (which incidentally went very well with the crisp thin fries they serve there).  I liked the way they split the sandwich for us and gave us our own portion of fries (otherwise hubby will eat them all). They were also kind enough to bring me one artichoke on the side because I wanted another one so bad. My kids ended up eating a bunch of it though, so I sort of wished I had gotten a full order.  My daughter had a burger and wanted to make sure that I mentioned that she really liked it. She says it was a little pink, which she liked, and tender and that the cheese was really melty.

This is a great place to check out in Columbus and I am sure there will be return visits for our family when we are in town. The menu can appeal to just about all tastes and everything we had was done very, very well.  The service was very professional as well. It’s a busy place that doesn’t take reservations, but both times I was there (and with larger parties), we had no problem.  Also, while it is noisy, I appreciated that you could still hear the people you were dining with.  I wish we had a nice independent place similar to this in Indy. Even the kids liked it.

Oh, and did I mention those biscuits? 

Third and Hollywood
1433 West Third Avenue
Grandview Heights, OH 43212

Third & Hollywood on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 15, 2013

Eggshell Bistro- Revisit

I met my friend Suzanne the other day at Eggshell Bistro for my second visit. I enjoyed it my first time and was excited to go back—the menu was quite small when I first went, and some friends had told me it had gotten a bit bigger since then.  This is a menu that has my name written all over it because it is full of eggs, and more specifically sous vide poached eggs (there are other types as well though). I love them so. I had a tough time narrowing my choices down and could happily eat my way through the whole menu.

This time I had the pancetta crostini (I didn’t note the price but everything was between about $9-12).  I really enjoyed it. It was a long piece of thin and crispy (but not burnt, like crostini often is) toasted baguette and was topped with one of those beautiful poached eggs, La Quercia pancetta, roasted asparagus and red onion marmalade. That pancetta? Amazing. It was crisp, but practically melted in your mouth. I had to ask where you could buy it locally (Whole Foods). It actually makes my mouth water thinking and writing about it.  The asparagus was good as well, appropriately crunchy but fully cooked and the onions added a slight sweetness that was overly cloying. My only complaint was the way it was laid out (it looked pretty) because it made it challenging to get a taste of everything. You kind of had to move stuff around a lot if you wanted all the flavors together (which were great). I would have loved another egg too but I could eat about 10 of those. I liked the way they are seasoned as well. I normally always salt an egg, but this one didn’t need it.  

I also had a little bite of Suzanne’s sweet potato hash.  It was really good as well. The hash had more of a Mexican bent to its flavors with black beans and jalapeno with a little pico de gallo-type diced tomatoes on the side. I am often not a huge sweet potato fan, but these were done really well and seasoned in such a way that they weren’t overly sweet (I am not a fan of sweet potatoes where more sugary things are added, I like them to be very savory).  And she got 2 poached eggs so I was jealous.

I also ordered a side of Smoking Goose bacon on the side (they offer regular and lamb bacon as a side) because last time I was there it was so amazing.  This time it was still good, but not as crisp, so it didn’t blow me away as much (it was partly my fault because I forgot to order it until awhile after we placed our initial order and I think they cooked it really fast to get it out to me quick).

I really like this place because I really like this kind of food. The ingredients are top notch and I find the portions reasonable. I think a lot of people would complain they are small because they are used to massive breakfast plates of food.  Our server was very nice and helpful, but the service is leisurely to say the least (I think this is the kitchen).  Go when you aren’t in a rush and expect a lovely plate that will taste great.  It won’t be huge, but bigger isn’t always better.

Eggshell Bistro
51 West Carmel City Drive
Carmel, IN  46032

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Foon Ying

The other day my son made a horrible mess in the backseat of my car (I will spare you all the details), but needless to say, I realized I needed my carpets steam cleaned fast and in a bad, bad way.  I called around to the car washes around me and they were all busy, so I ended up at 38th and Shadeland which is a little far for me, but trust me, I was desperate.

Anyhow as I paid, the cashier told me I should go get something to eat (it was lunchtime) because it would take awhile. As we discussed my options (White Castle? No. Rally’s? No.), she mentioned the Chinese place I spied on my way in and I decided that was what I would go for. 

I had no idea what to expect. It’s a place with those faded out pictures of meals above the counter. You order there and then you either take it to go or you can sit and eat in the dining room. Either way, you get your meals served in the same Styrofoam to go containers.  They give you a number and they call it when it’s ready. I have to say, they did have a decent customer base coming in and out the whole time I was there.

As I am prone to do in the case of a new and slightly divey Chinese place, I tried the garlic chicken ($4.75). For one, it is easy to compare from one place to another. For another, I just generally like garlic chicken.  You certainly get your money’s worth of food here. I think my Styrofoam container weighed about 3 pounds.  The chicken was decently tender and the veggies were very plentiful. Mainly broccoli and peapods with some peppers, water chestnuts and the occasional mushroom.  The sauce was a little thick and a little sweet for me though. I doused it with some soy sauce to help dull the sweetness a little (from all the signs around, you don’t want to use too much soy sauce though because they will charge you for it).

You also get a choice of soup with your lunch (seriously, this is an insane amount of food for under $5.00) and I got the hot and sour. I liked it better than the main dish—it was a good hot and sour soup. Not the best and certainly not the worst. A tiny bit too thickened for my taste, and more sour than hot, but I kind of like the sour vinegar taste in the soup and there were nice chunks of tofu and pieces of egg in there, which are my favorite parts.  They gave me a little bag of fried wontons as well with the meal, and I generally like putting them into my soup, but these were pretty stale tasting (I put them in anyway).  Just not much crunch.  It was rounded out with a fortune cookie.

This place offers a huge amount of food for a moderate price. It’s decent food with fresh veggies.  I would not seek it out, but if I ever am at that car wash again, I’d consider it (certainly better than the other options). I would try a different sauce for sure. I’d probably stick with my hot and sour soup and my fortune was pretty good as well.  And I always love an excuse to try a new place wherever it is. Feel free to recommend your favorite dive!

Foon Ying
3770 N. Shadeland Ave
Indy,  46226

Foon Ying Chinese on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 8, 2013

Road Trip - Roscoe's--Richmond, IN

The family and I were headed to Columbus, Ohio to visit my in-laws for the 4th and because I am always looking for an excuse to venture somewhere new to eat, we decided to time the trip around lunch in Richmond, Indiana. I headed to twitter and asked around. A bunch of you offered great suggestions and it was my intention to try Ghyslain bistro, well, because once my kids heard there was chocolate involved, they were sold.

Sadly, once we got there (and it looked very cute), we learned they were closed on Mondays, so we had to opt for Plan B. Luckily twitter had given me lots of options and we tucked into Roscoe’s (thanks @TinaDNoel), which is a little Coffee Bar and Tap Room.  They have lots of coffee drinks and a fair amount of local beer and a few wine choices.  The food menu focuses pretty exclusively on Paninis. Pretty sure this is meant to be a college hangout—they offered discounts for college students and had a live music area in the back.

The kids liked it because there were couches and upholstered chairs they could sit on if they wanted (they did).  I am a fan of Paninis in general, and I realize it is an easy way for a small place like this to offer a large selection of flavors even with a limited kitchen.

I had the Roscoe melt ($8.25) with chicken breast, bacon, avocado, colby jack cheese and ranch on sourdough.  You got to choose a side and I went with the homemade hummus and tortilla chips.  The sandwich was good—it hit the spot for a road lunch.  The ingredients were all fresh (and the avocado was ripe). I wished for a bit more ranch to moisten it up and got a little extra on the side. I am pretty sure it was just ranch dressing from a bottle which was a little disappointing. It could be great with some homemade herby ranch. I loved the homemade hummus. It had a great seasoned flavor. I love hummus but often find it bland and this one was not at all. Hubby was sad he had just gotten the standard chips and pickle side.

Hubby’s sandwich was the buffalo chicken Panini ($6.75). It was grilled chicken, buffalo sauce, ranch and Colby jack on sourdough.  I liked that in both sandwiches, the chicken pieces were sort of pulled and in bite-sized pieces and not a huge hunk of dried out chicken breast.  If you like buffalo chicken wings, you would probably really like this. It was pretty spicy too. You know what would make it awesome? Some big hunks of blue cheese.  But then again, I naturally crave blue cheese when I eat anything buffalo flavored.

My son had a basic grilled cheese with cheddar that was very cheesy and my daughter got the ham and cheese on pretzel bread ($6.25).  She doesn’t like mayo, so I thought it was a little dry but that roll was outstanding. I have kind of gotten jaded on pretzel bread because it’s usually too bready for a sandwich, but this was great. It was smashed down in the Panini press and had a great soft pretzel flavor without overwhelming the sandwich fillings with bread.

Loved that they made a kick ass double macchiato to end the meal with and I loved how friendly and welcoming they were. They asked how we had heard of it and he seemed a little surprised when I said twitter (they haven’t been open too long). If it were my town, I would add it to my list of a good sandwich shop.  I am still intrigued by Ghyslain and several other places you guys recommended (and that were pretty much all right there by Roscoe’s).  It is a cute little street with a bunch of fun looking local places. Feel free to tell me which ones are your favorites if you know Richmond, as we make the trek to Columbus fairly regularly, and I love any opportunity to skip the roadside fast food.

185 Fort Wayne Avenue
Richmond, IN 47374

Roscoe's on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Mitchell's Fish Market - Revisit

I took my parents out for lunch the other day and let them choose the location (it was his Father’s Day lunch a day late).  Dad chose Mitchell’s because he had fond memories of a nice lunch sitting outside with some good appetizers.  He wanted to see if he could have a similar experience.

I haven’t been to Mitchell’s in ages and I don’t think I had ever been for lunch.  They do have a nice patio and we sat out there. Dad went with his classic combo—shrimp cocktail ($12.99) to start and a big bowl of clam chowder ($5.99).  While we don’t always agree on food, he certainly knows his clam chowder. He has eaten it about everywhere.

He shared his shrimp cocktail—there were 4 good-sized shrimp and they were nicely done as you want shrimp cocktail. Tender enough and not mushy.  They were obviously very fresh. I liked that they served it with two sauces—the usual cocktail sauce (my Dad’s favorite) but also a spicy mayo-based remoulade-style sauce. I appreciated having something different. It was well done, although shrimp cocktail isn’t something I would normally order. 

He thought the soup was just ok and I agreed. There are several styles of clam chowder and this was the type based mainly on heavy cream. I like clam chowder that is thick and more like a stew and less like a soup. And with lots of clams. This had a more milky taste, rather than a chunky chowder kind of taste.  It probably could have used a little more seasoning as well.   

Mom had a shrimp sandwich ($11.99 that was very interesting to me.  It was shrimp that were about the size of the ones in the shrimp cocktail that were fitted together into a patty and then grilled.  I don’t think I have ever seen a patty made out of a puzzle of whole shrimp.  It was topped with avocado slices and garlic chili mayo and served with a side of fries (there was some lettuce and tomato on there as well). It was a little dense though, because there was just so much shrimp packed in there, and I would say a little overcooked as well making it a little tough. Good flavors though—naturally I like the avocado and the mayo was good giving it a little spicy kick. Maybe a bit more of it to help with the dryness.  The fries weren’t bad, they were just slightly seasoned.

For my lunch, I had the yellowfin tuna off of the “today’s fresh catch” section of the menu (I think it was $14).  I chose to have it done “Shang Hai” style, which means the fish, is steamed with ginger and scallion and served in a soy ponzu sauce with steamed rice and spinach alongside.  I asked our server what temperature the fish was cooked to, and he said whatever I wanted. I told him medium rare. I bet you can guess how this went. It was not medium rare at all.  I would say at best it was mdium to medium well.  The sauce was pretty good, a little sweeter than I expected and I didn’t get a lot of ginger flavor from any of it, which made me a little sad.  There was a fair amount of flavor though, and if the fish had not been so overcooked, I would have enjoyed it, but with it prepared as it was, it was only okay.  The spinach was plentiful and nicely sautéed and I thought went very well with the fish and the sauce.

This meal pretty much reminds me of most I have had at Mitchell’s.  They have good quality seafood and ingredients, but the execution is just off enough that I have a feeling it will be awhile before I return.

Mitchell’s Fish Market
14311 Clay Terrace Blvd.
Carmel, IN 46032

Mitchell's Fish Market on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 1, 2013

City Barbeque

While my daughter was still at camp, hubby and I took our son out for dinner at City Barbecue. We have wanted to go for a while, but driving to Carmel during rush hour always seems daunting (and the other locations are even further). But we sucked it up and made the drive one night. 

We had eaten at City BBQ in Columbus, Ohio once while visiting hubby’s parents and really liked it, but it had been quite awhile. We were excited when we heard this one was opening.  It hasn’t been open too long in Carmel, and I had heard there were pretty big crowds. On the night we were there (a Tuesday) it wasn’t too bad. You wait in line to place your order and they call your name when it’s ready (unfortunately hardly anyone there seems to be of age, so if you order a beer, you have to wait for a manager to bring it to you, which took longer than getting the food).

They have a pretty extensive menu and a ton of sides.  Hubby and I made negotiations and ended up with a pulled chicken sandwich (me) ($7.49+ $2.99 for 2 sides) and a sampler platter of a mini pulled pork sandwich, a mini brisket sandwich and smoked sausage (hubby) ($13.99+ $2.99 for 2 sides).  My son got the kids meal with mac and cheese, a side of baked beans and a drink ($3.99).

I had read about the pulled chicken online which is what inspired me to get it (that and the fact that I am pretty sure my in laws had it that time I ate it at their house).  They smoke the chicken and then pull it and simmer it in what they call their “white” BBQ sauce that has a bunch of things in it like cayenne, vinegar and horseradish.  This is easily one of the most tender pulled chicken sandwiches I have had. Honestly, you barely need BBQ sauce because the meat is so tender and flavorful, but they have a selection of sauces on the table for you to dress your BBQ as you wish. I tried the mustard sauce first because I tend to like mustard sauces, but this one was a little too pure yellow mustard for me. I ended up settling on their original sauce, which is your typical red BBQ sauce. It was nice and smoky with a hint of heat (they also have a pure sweet and a hot version).

Hubby’s pulled pork was also delicious—just as tender as the chicken, but with the richness you are only going to get from pork.  We both loved it.  I am not a huge fan of brisket—just a little dry to me, even with the sauce on top.  My son however was excited that his baked beans contained bits of the brisket and he really liked it. He ended up finishing up hubby’s mini brisket sandwich.  I didn’t try the sausage but hubby said it was good, just not as good as the pulled chicken and pork.

There are so many sides it is hard to decide which ones to get.  Since my son got the mac and cheese as his main dish, I knew I could try his and got something else. I remembered the potato salad being good and I also ordered the corn pudding.  I do like the potato salad even if it isn’t overly flavorful.  It is kind of an old school version with celery, egg, and mayo.  Reminds me of my Grandma’s.  I liked a bite of it with a bit of the BBQ. I also enjoyed the corn pudding—it was sort of like a softer, buttery cornbread with bits of whole corn in it. Sweet, but not sickly sweet.  The baked beans were good. There are pieces of the brisket cooked into it, which is what made my son decide he really liked the brisket.  We also had an order of the hush puppies—they are corn meal balls that are battered and deep-fried. The batter was decent, but the inside of the hushpuppies didn’t really have any seasoning. I would pass on these next time.

All in all, I quite liked this place—especially the pulled pork and chicken.  I would totally stop and get a pound of this carry out. I also liked their house bbq sauce and while none of the sides completely blew me away, I enjoyed the potato salad and the corn pudding. The mac and cheese, while pretty straightforward, was decent as well. Even though it’s a chain, it’s a darn good option.  And hubby is looking forward to trying the ribs next time.

City Barbecue
1356 Rangeline Road (and other Indy locations)
Carmel, IN 46032

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