Thursday, January 28, 2016

Bluebeard - Revisit

Ok, another quickie Thursday post…. about Bluebeard. It was my daughter’s birthday and her choice (I am raising these kids right obviously).

When it’s her choice, we always get the bread plate ($4). She’s a carb fiend. The bread plate at Bluebeard is always good and this time I was pleased to find the anchovy butter a little less strong than usual. It was delightful. Also sauerkraut and mustard butter, although I did kind of miss a sweet choice.

Also, Crab Rangoon ($14) at Bluebeard? Yes please. Loved they offered two sauces—one being soy and Sriracha based (the other a lemongrass sweet and sour). I always eat my Rangoons with soy.

And octopus? Well Bluebeard never screws it up. How come it can be so god awful chewy some places and so perfectly tender at others? It always is done right here. Served on grilled bread with bagna cauda (a garlic and anchovy type spread). 

They were obviously featuring king crab on the menu in a couple ways, and my son was thrilled to have it as an option for dinner ($26). They even took the shells off. I thought it was great, but he wished it was warm. The waffle fries and curried ketchup on the side? A tad addicting.

My daughter chose the lasagna ($26). Ridiculously huge. This portion could feed a family of four. Made with lamb, it was interesting although probably the least favorite item of the evening. It just didn’t wow us.

I had an interesting “lobster” roll made with monkfish ($18). It was also unique—sort of a deconstructed lobster roll. I really liked it with the pickles on it and the curried lobster remoulade.

But the star of the evening was the bucatini ($18) with a poached egg, ham, sweet potato, zucchini, pearl onions and Parmesan in a carbonara sauce. That my friends, was one of the best pastas I have eaten in Indy in years. Maybe ever. Seriously, you ever see that on the menu, order it. We fought over it.

There were desserts too… also good. This place is solid. So nice to have such a reliably good place to eat in this town.

653 Virginia Avenue
Indy, 46203

Monday, January 25, 2016

Diavola Pizza

Hubby and I had a date night the other night and were struggling with somewhere to go. We wanted something new but really didn’t want to go downtown either. Several of you guys asked if I had been to Diavola yet, and I hadn’t, so we decided to check it out. Diavola is the new Neapolitan style pizza place in the old Zest/Twist location on 54th Street. We didn’t know it going in, but the same man who owns Ambrosia Italian owns it. They have done a nice job with the interior—it’s nicer feeling than your average pizza joint and could stand up to it being a date night.

The pictures of the pizza online were certainly appealing, so we were looking forward to it. We started with the arugula salad ($9)(what you see in the picture is half-they split it in the kitchen for us). It was done well—nice crisp, fresh arugula with shaved Parmesan and some homemade croutons that had a nice herby flavor and a light vinaigrette. It was dressed appropriately and a nice thing to start with. I also liked that it wasn’t ridiculously huge, so you didn’t feel overwhelmed before you even got to the pizza.

Our server recommended if we split a pizza, that splitting a salad and appetizer was a good way to go and would be about the right amount of food. Based on her advice, we ordered the polpo appetizer ($13) next. This was the first clue for me about it being owned by Ambrosia. The set up was really similar to the octopus dish there. There were little cakes made of potato underneath, the charred roasted octopus on top, and there was a lemon vinaigrette throughout the dish. There was also a small pile of undressed arugula in the center of the plate topped with sliced olives. The olives were nice and salty and were a nice component in the dish. The potatoes were ok, a little bland maybe, but the biggest problem with the dish was the octopus itself. It was terribly chewy and overcooked. It looked pretty but it was borderline inedible. The vinaigrette was good as were the olives. That’s about all I can say positive about this dish.

We ordered a pizza ($14) and got a half and half combo—our server assured us we could do that. I chose the Contadina minus the roasted red peppers and hubby chose the Diavola. That meant that my side of the pizza would have artichokes, roasted mushrooms, basil, their homemade tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella. Hubby’s would have the same sauce, basil, and cheese as well as spicy soppressata and extra virgin olive oil. Ok, my first gripe was that I had them hold the roasted red peppers because I feel like they dominate flavors too much, and in general, I don’t really love bell peppers. But for some reason, they added green bell peppers to my side, which I like even less, and which bummed me out. Other than that, the pizza was just ok. The middle of the crust was way too soggy and even the outside was a bit limp. Hubby was not finding a lot of the spicy soppressata on his side—he wished for more. I think part of the problem was that there was too much of other things on the pizza—from the toppings themselves to the cheese and sauce—it all didn’t help the crust any. The crust just couldn’t stand up to it. It’s possible that this place will perfect the pizza (I hope so) as it is open longer—I feel like it took both Pizzology and Napolese a bit of time to really perfect the pies, but I can’t say I would be rushing back to check. Based on this visit, I think there are many better options in town (mentioned above). Also, I have no idea if they even offer dessert because a check was plunked down before we were even asked. Maybe our server thought we had had enough, who knows.

Diavola Pizza
1134 East 54th Street
Indy 46220

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Milktooth - Revisit

Here’s a quickie post—because well, Milktooth. I have written about it a lot. It’s no surprise that I am a fan of this place—I know there are some people that think it’s a bit precious, but I am not one of them.

Lunch with the ladies—we were treated to some uni spoons—not something I would normally order, but really good. Sometimes uni is a bit over the top for me, but these were perfect little umami bombs. A spoon, the uni, a bit of a soy-based sauce and a touch of wasabi on the end. Nicely done.

I have a thing for the lamb frita ($10) with pineapple pickled jalapenos, chile ketchup, white American cheese and tostones—oh yeah and add a fried egg ($2.50). I’ve had it before, written about it before, and will likely eat it again should the opportunity arise. A damn flavorful burger-type sandwich.

One friend had the Korean bbq wings ($12). Wow. Crispy fried wings in a wonderful, slightly sweet, slightly savory sauce. A nice sesame flavor and served with a lime. Hard to not want to order these again too should the appear on the menu. These things were slightly addictive.
A doughnut was also shared—served with a distinctive citrus glaze and some granola on top as well. I enjoy the sweets at Milktooth a lot, but am more easily lured by the savory options…. Although a salted rye brownie ($4) sounds good about now.

This place gets written up in some national publication like every other month—you should go try it if you haven’t already. It really is like nothing else in Indy.

540 Virginia Ave
Indy  46203

Monday, January 18, 2016

Table by Market District

I have been hearing lots and lots of things about Market District the store—and had not even been there to shop. But then I heard there was a restaurant too, and that’s what got me in the door. The main reason I haven’t been is because it’s not close to us, and even more specifically because, Meridian Street. I have avoided that area like the plague.

I was surprised to see that it’s a nicer, more full service type restaurant than I expected. I was kind of expecting a café-type place, but this place has a wine list, lots of booths and table service. The menu is actually very appealing as well—there’s a whole list of doctored up French fries (they call them “knife and fork fries”) that sound good, some nice salads, sandwiches, and pizzas. I went with the BELT pizza ($12). This was a pizza crust topped with bacon, egg, blistered tomatoes, provolone and fresh arugula. (I am sure you are shocked to hear that I ordered pizza that had eggs on it.) This was a really good pizza. The crust stood up to all those toppings—even with those perfectly delicious runny eggs on top, and was still crisp on the edges. I loved the lightly seasoned fresh arugula on top to give the whole thing that crunchy fresh edge. Even though it’s not really tomato time, by blistering the cherry tomatoes, they had a great softness and sweetness. And did I mention the perfect eggs being yolky all over the whole thing? And yet still not runny whites? It was very well done and I would eat it again. My friend, who may be slightly less a fan of all that egg on a pizza really enjoyed it as well and even took my leftovers home.

He had the “turf and turf” burger ($13), which was quite a large burger topped with house smoked BBQ pork, cheddar cheese, fried onion strings, BBQ sauce and pickled chow chow. The burger patty itself was made with a brisket and chuck blend and was extremely flavorful and tender—and they cooked it pretty nicely too, with a nice pink interior. There was a lot of stuff going on with this burger, and I am not usually a fan of BBQ sauce on a burger, but this was very tasty. Loved the texture from the onions and the acid from the pickled veggies. It was large, but not ridiculously so, and the bun (brioche) was soft and smashed down as you ate it. Much better than the too-firm pretzel buns I am seeing a lot as of late. I hate it when the bun makes it too hard to eat.

Like I said, I like the menu here a lot—there were lots of things I would like to try and based on what I had, I will certainly return. I also like that their “kid’s menu” includes not only some of the regular type choices, but that they will make any of the menu items at a smaller sized to allow kids to order everything on the regular menu. My kids will really dig this, as they aren’t huge fans of many of the typical kid’s menu choices.

The service was extremely attentive and the food was well paced. Like I said, I look forward to trying it again soon—maybe even for dinner with the kids. I just wish the traffic out there wasn’t so crazy. Oh yeah, I also checked out the grocery store. It is massive! I was just sort of browsing to see what they had, but that fish counter was very tempting. It’s nice too that while they have the gourmet stuff, you can still get regular stuff there too like name brand soda and cereals. If it was closer to me, it would certainly go into regular grocery store rotation.

Anyone else eaten at Table yet? Curious to hear what you had/what you thought.

Table by Market District
11505 North Illinois
Carmel, IN  46032

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Marco's Pizza

Here’s real quickie one—even though it is not a place that I have written about before, since we only got the one pizza (well, we only ate the one pizza), I thought I would just mention Marco’s. This place is a chain, but I had it at a kid’s birthday party and thought, hey, this is pretty good pizza so we ordered it for my daughter and her friends on her birthday.

Hubby and I got our classic toppings—red onion and mushroom. We also heated up our pizza stone in the oven while we waited for the delivery (I like that you can set a delivery early in the day to come at a certain time). The crust has a good amount of chewiness that I like and the sauce is not sweet. And there isn’t too much of it. We got it crisp on the stone, and it was a tasty diner. I will say though, I sort of hate their website—for some reason it is really difficult to just see what’s on the menu and how many people the pies serve.

All in all, it is a decent delivery option. Honestly, better than most I have found. It’s not overtopped and the crust has a nice yeasty flavor. What do you think? What’s your go-to easy delivery option for pizza?

Marco’s Pizza
7002 Lake Plaza Drive (multiple locations)
Indy 46220

Monday, January 11, 2016

Kuma's Corner

I finally got around to meeting a friend for lunch at Kuma’s. I have wanted to go there since it opened, but honestly, just kept forgetting about it. It is a place I had wanted to try in Chicago, but once I figured out it was opening here, I thought, no point wasting a Chicago meal on something I can get here!

First things first, it’s loud. Really loud. Their thing is death metal music—it’s what they play, and it’s how the burgers are named. Hey I get it, my boyfriend in high school was into this exact music—I have heard my fair share. But that was a long time ago for me, and I just have a hard time with any kind of music this loud unless I’m at a concert. It’s hard to carry on a conversation. Even the server sort of joked about how hard it is to take orders. We were eating early so it was extra loud when we first got there because we were the first customers of the day—and they did turn it down a teensy bit after a few tables were seated. But prepare yourself. This is not a place for any kind of deep conversation.

But it was ok for us; we were just having a quick lunch. I like the way they offer smaller versions of many of their signature burgers on the lunch menu—a reduced size and a reduced price (the lunch burgers are around $9) I ordered the “Kuma” burger—I always think the one named after the place must be good right? It was a burger topped with sharp cheddar, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion and a beautifully fried egg. While the burgers are cooked to order, because the smaller versions are harder to modulate I guess, you can only get rare, medium or well done. I normally would get medium rare, but that’s only available on the full-sized patties. So I went with medium. My friend got rare and it was probably the better choice. The burgers are served on pretzel rolls—I like this idea in theory, if it’s a nice soft, warm pretzel roll, but these are just a little dense for me—and big. Hard to fit in my mouth. I can only imagine the larger burger. The burger itself and the toppings were good though---a quality burger. Tender meat, perfect egg and the right proportions. We got fries with ours as our side and they were very good—those slightly fatter, slightly browner Brugge-style fries. Nice and salty. They serve them with their house ketchup but I noticed they had a garlic mayo on the menu so I got a side of that too. That was a good choice. Also good on my burger. I would definitely recommend getting it. My friend ordered the chipotle mayo on the side for the same reason and it was good as well—although it had some serious kick to it.

His burger was pretty darn good —it had a Greek flavor to it with herbed goat cheese, kalamata olives, and a tzatziki-like sauce if I recall properly. It had a more distinctive unique flavor than the Kuma burger, which was more like a jacked up version of a regular burger. It was also rare, so it was more tender. I really liked the goat cheese with it. And the olives. You know I love olives.

Overall, these are solid burgers. The fries are also really good. I wouldn’t say it’s one of the best burgers in town, but I would happily eat one again. I wish there were bun options though. Love the fries, and the fact that you have several sauce options to go with them (even if they don’t advertise them as such). I am intrigued by the build your own mac and cheese as well. The server was exceptionally friendly and checked on us often.

You gotta love a restaurant that states clearly on their menu, “there are NO vegan options!” and whose motto is “Harshing your Mellow since 2005.” If you like metal and meat, this is your place.

Kuma’s Corner
1127 Prospect Street
Indy,  46203

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Petite Chou - Revisit

Adding back a Thursday post every so often now (did anyone even notice I’ve been doing only one post a week?) Anyway, they are going to be quickie posts probably about places I have written about before. Mostly pictures and a few words.

I had a birthday lunch with my friend Suzanne at Petite Chou the other day (Happy Birthday Suzanne!). They have changed up the menu a bit since I was more of a regular there, and it looks good. 

I had the benedict crepe ($12.95). It was similar to ingredients in a Croque
madame, or an eggs benedict but with less heft, which is what I was looking for. A simple tasty crepe filled with ham, Gruyere cheese and a lovely sunny egg. It also came with Béarnaise sauce that I had on the side because I am particular about my Béarnaise, but I would go for it next time—this was a lovely one with just the right acidic kick. The side salads at chorus always need more dressing, and this was no exception.

Suzanne had “Le Club.” ($11.25) This is a tasty sandwich with all my faves—avocado, roasted rotisserie chicken, Dijon, aioli and bacon. Oh and cucumbers. I could certainly live without them though. It was a triple-decker on thin Brioche. The bread was good, but I would have preferred just two slices. The bread kinda took over.

Oh and the duck fat fries. With the Dijonaise. You cannot go wrong with those. Delicious. Crispy, rich and salty. You should get them.

Petite Chou
823 Westfield Blvd
Indy 46220

Monday, January 4, 2016

Ocean Prime - Revisit

For my Mom’s birthday, she chose Ocean Prime for dinner. It had been quite awhile since we had been there, so I figured it was a good time for an update.

There was a lot of food on our table throughout the course of the evening, but I didn’t try everything. I noticed they now have sushi rolls on the menu (not sure if this is new or not) but that sounded good so we decided to order some. We ordered the Dynamite roll ($17) and the lobster roll ($18). We also ended up with a free tuna roll that they accidentally made ($16), so honestly, by the time I was done with this and a few bites of other things, I could have called it a day.

The Dynamite roll was probably my favorite—it was filled with tempura shrimp and spicy mayo and then topped with some more fried shrimp. It was crunchy and quite delicious actually—both the kids and adults liked it a lot—their spicy mayo had a little bit more heat than many.  The lobster roll was filled with poached lobster tail, pickled Serrano peppers, kiwi, and massago. It was topped with more of the peppers and spicy mango puree. This one actually had a serious amount of heat to it. The ingredients were good quality, but I didn’t love this roll. It was a little too spicy, which detracted from the delicate flavor of the lobster. Also fruit in sushi rolls is not my favorite thing.

The free tuna roll was pretty good and probably fell in the middle for me. It was made up of a lot of spicy tuna on top, and avocado and cucumber inside. It also incorporated the wasabi-flavored roe, which actually had a fair amount of wasabi heat, giving this roll a pretty heated taste. All the rolls had a fair amount of spiciness that kind of surprised me a bit. Good or bad, I guess, depending on your taste. But overall, I was fairly impressed with the sushi quality and if I should find myself here again, wouldn’t hesitate to order a roll.

I had a bite of my sister’s salad as well—the Ocean Prime House salad ($10) with romaine, mixed greens, Granny Smith apples, goat cheese, walnuts and a Sherry mustard vinaigrette. I will say, this is a pretty decent tasting salad--the right amount of sweet without being over the top—and the goat cheese, slightly tart apples and vinaigrette balance it all nicely. I love a good vinaigrette. My other favorite appetizer is the goat cheese ravioli with mushrooms ($14), which I wrote about before and which my daughter had on this visit.

Sadly for me, the meal went downhill from here—this is usually my experience at Ocean Prime. You can get some nice apps, but when you move on to an entrée, they just fall a little flat. I split the Ahi tuna ($39) main with my daughter (the picture you see is half of the portion). It was served with small round roasted potatoes, fava beans and a truffle jus. Or so it said. I found the tuna, while cooked pretty well, to be pretty bland. Nothing about it really stood out for me. I didn’t get a lot of truffle taste—and I found it odd to be eating fava beans (and there were peas as well) in the middle of winter.

Luckily, the men in my immediate family did better with their meal—they shared an 8-ounce filet ($41) and thought it was very good. I did get one bite and thought it was good as well--much better than my tuna. They also do a very nice job with the au gratin potatoes at Ocean Prime ($11). They use roasted jalapenos in them, which are tasty—not spicy really at all, just adding richness and a little extra flavor. We have had ups and downs with steaks here, but this one was very good.

My sister's surf and turf app
Overall, it was a better meal altogether than most we have had here. The discovery of the sushi on the menu excited me a bit. I was bummed about my tuna and I wouldn’t order it again. I’m not sure this is a place we would rush back to, but if we do go back, a sushi roll and a steak would make a nice meal. It’s an expensive meal, even when you’re splitting, but such is life in most of the big chain steakhouses.

Our service was good—even with a large group. Hubby wanted me to mention that he hates the chairs here and finds them very uncomfortable. And the big round booths that look pretty cool are laid out right in what is basically a hallway, which isn’t an ideal place to sit either. They do have nice outdoor bar seating when the weather is nice.

All in all, it was a better meal than I was expecting and my mom was happy, so that’s all that matters.

Ocean Prime
8555 North River Road
Indy  46240