Monday, February 26, 2018

St. Elmo -- Revisit

It’s been like 7 years or something since we just went to St. Elmo for a regular dinner (we’ve been for some organized fundraisers etc., but not to just order off the menu). And the kids had never been. Oh, and I had a gift card from a silent auction (I have a little problem with silent auctions) so we finally got in there. I felt like it was our duty as parents to get the kids in there.

So, they took us through the maze of the restaurant and to a table downstairs that miraculously had a serious draft even though it was in the middle of the room. That was a chilly table. Our server was very nice though, if not a little overwhelmed. They were pretty busy—although I think they always are. 

Hubby ordered the obligatory shrimp cocktail ($15.95). I have said it before, and will say it again, I think the sauce is dumb. Too hot to enjoy. Hubby likes it though, and I know people have a weird obsession with it, so let’s just agree to disagree. They have nice big tender shrimp, and hubby made strange painful moaning noises when he ate it. So there’s that.

Hubby and I then shared the chopped BLT salad ($11). Even as a split, it was very generous. This was a very tasty salad. It had chopped romaine lettuce, Gorgonzola cheese, tomatoes, bacon and fried onions. They whole thing was tossed with a nice amount of their house vinaigrette. It was nice because everything was bite-sized and I loved getting the hunks of blue cheese. I would happily eat this one again. My son had the Caesar ($11) and really enjoyed it as well. It was also nicely dressed.

Moving along, the boys wanted steaks, and since I knew there would be more than enough to go around, us girls ordered a couple fish entrees. All the entrées  come with tomato juice or bean soup. I know it’s tradition, but do people really get the tomato juice? The kids got the bean soup and hubby upgraded to the lobster bisque (+7.95). The kids love beans and thought the soup was fine. Hubby was very disappointed with his bisque and I can’t blame him. It was really boring. Lots of rich, none of that depth that you want in a bisque. Maybe no sherry or something? There were chunks of lobster or crab in there, but it didn’t save it. He ate like two bites and left the rest. This was probably the biggest disappointment of the evening.

My son got the 8-ounce filet ($42) and hubby had the 14-ounce ribeye ($41). Both steaks were very good. I thought the ribeye was a bit better. When you get a great ribeye, it can easily beat a filet, but often they’re too fatty and chewy. This one was perfect. And this is not to say the filet was bad, because it wasn’t. Steaks are certainly strengths here, as they should be. I like that the price of the meal also includes a potato side (as well as the soup/juice). Hubby had fries and my son got a baked potato. They are both standard, but hit the spot with your steak.
I had the tuna steak ($35), which was a huge piece of tuna, along with sushi rice and a ball of wasabi and some seasoned soy. It was very good quality tuna, however, when they asked me if rare was okay, I didn’t expect it to be ice cold in the middle. I just pretended it was sashimi and it was fine, but I would have preferred it to be at least somewhat warmish at least all the way through. Obviously, I have no problem eating raw tuna, but when you expect a cooked piece of fish, you expect it to be a little warm. Even though I got rice with this dish, I also get a potato side so I had the baked potato as well. A perfectly normal baked potato. My daughter had a fish special that left a bit to be desired in my opinion—tasted a little fishy to me—but I appreciated her willingness to try something different.

We decided, hey why not, let’s have dessert. My kids have a strange obsession with giant pieces of chocolate cake. They can come from foodservice, and they’re just as happy. It’s weird to me. Cold cake is not my thing. But anyway, they ordered St. Elmo’s version, and they were happy. We also ordered the cookies and milk—this was actually a fundraiser dessert item so how could we say no? There were three warm gooey chocolate chip cookies and a glass of Trader’s Point whole milk. A very nice and comforting dessert. And it was all for charity. So the calories don’t even count. Right?

All in all, this was a better experience than I have had at St. Elmo, not that I have been that many times. It’s a solid steakhouse, and I’m glad since it’s one of the few local ones. I’d stick with steak overall, they were definitely the stars. Oh, and that salad.

St. Elmo’s Steakhouse
127 S. Illinois Street
Indy 46225

Monday, February 19, 2018

Louie's Wine Dive - Revisit

A friend was in town recently and we had a quick dinner at Louie’s in Broad Ripple. I have only had dinner there once and was interested to try it again. I appreciate the fact that it’s an adult-ish kind of option in Broad Ripple and has an interesting wine list. I like the interior, even though it tends to be a little cold in the winter with all those windows. Our server was very nice as well. The place wasn’t very busy, but it was a Monday, so hopefully that’s why.

I ordered the burger (they call it the “gourmet Sinatra burger) ($13) because I was just feeling that burger call. So it’s a thick burger, but they cooked it just as I ordered—nice and pink inside. They top the burger with some interesting things. There’s cheddar and bacon, but also balsamic, green goddess dressing, and heirloom tomatoes. I didn’t think I would like the tomatoes on there, but honestly, it was all really good together. And the balsamic really added a ncie touch. And so did the green goddess. They used a brioche bun, which was soft and delicisous. I have to say, it’s one of the better thick burgers I’ve had since my last Room Four burger. It’s not just a good burger, but has just the right amount of extra stuff to make it somewhat exceptional. They bacon was delicious too. Just the way I really like it-really salty and flavorful but also really crisp so it would practically shatter when you ate it.

The burger came with fries, and they are the thin, crispy type. In theory, I like this type of fry a lot, but these were strangely cold as soon as they were served. Not sure what happened here, but the timing was just a bit off. Would love to get a batch fresh out of the fry-o-later though. I did get some of the green goddess to dip in, and I recommend it. 

All in all, I would happily eat this burger again when I am in the mood for a fat burger. What’s your favorite burger these days?

Louie’s Wine Dive
701 Broad Ripple Ave
Indy  46220

Monday, February 12, 2018


Recently when my in-laws were visiting, we decided to try Sangiovese again. We had not eaten there since they moved to Ironworks. I never loved it when it was at its old location, but I heard a few things from a few different people that inspired me to want to try it again so we did. 

We started with the torta di caprino ($14), which is described as a goat cheese pie served with a rosemary cream sauce, roasted red peppers and crostini. I will admit, it didn’t jump out at me on the menu, or when it was served (my daughter was the one who really pushed for it), but I was pleasantly surprised when I took a bite. First of all the crostini was done really well—nice and crisp with parmesan baked on, but still light—you didn’t feel like you were going to break your teeth on it. And I was pleasantly surprised by the texture and flavor of the cheese. It wasn’t just like cold goat cheese, which is what it looked like. It was creamy, and had much more depth than what I was expecting. I was trying to eat a little healthy on this night, but this pulled me back in for several bites.

Possibly my favorite item of the evening though was the insalata mista ($9) that I split with hubby. A salad, I know. It was mixed greens that were topped with marinated tomatoes and Gorgonzola. These little tomatoes showed up on multiple items and are delicious. This is such a better way of serving tomatoes in the winter. Add some kick to them by marinating them a bit. The salad was dressed—like every single leaf was dressed—with a creamy balsamic vinaigrette. It was a fabulous little salad, and I appreciated that it actually had enough dressing on it!

Like I said, I was trying to be a little healthy on this particular night, so instead of pasta, I ordered the half roasted chicken ($16), which is listed as a house specialty. It is marinated in rosemary, lemon and garlic olive oil. It was quite good actually, although with all the oil and the roasted potatoes on the side, not sure it was super healthy. I really enjoyed the rosemary flavor. I also liked that they also used zucchini in the vegetable mix, as it is a veggie that can be cooked in a variety of ways, and usually come out good. I find many side veggies are either over or under- cooked and almost serve the purpose of being a garnish more than a part of the meal. I thoroughly enjoyed my meal though and would likely order the chicken again. And you could easily split it with someone.

Hubby ordered the special seafood pasta, which had a lobster cream sauce and several types of seafood in it. There were scallops and shrimp and some fish I believe. He enjoyed it and I liked that the sauce did have a rich seafood flavor. No way I could have finished even a third of it though—the portion was generous and the sauce was so rich.

My son had the lasagna ($18) and seemed content. He likes lasagna and ate a fair amount, and said it was one of the better ones he had. My daughter ordered the tortellini alla effie ($21), which was tortellini with shrimp and spinach in a vodka tomato cream sauce. She said it was fine, but nothing special. Based on my one bite, I tend to agree. All in all, as far as pasta at the table went, I would say hubby’s special won. My mother in law had a fish special that was very, very good. Looking back, maybe the protein heavier dishes were the star, although I really loved that salad! And we also had a lovely bottle of Italian wine that I really enjoyed as well. The service was also on point, and all in all the meal was quite pleasant. You know how I feel about Italian food in Indy, but there's a good chance I will return to Sangiovese.

2727 East 86th Street
Indy 46240

Monday, February 5, 2018

MIlktooth-- Revisit

Hubby and I had a rare day off when the kids were still in school just before Christmas and decided to hit up Milktooth. Wowza, it was packed. I guess other people had the same idea. Anyway, we waited about 30 minutes but it was actually one of those sunny days and we sat outside in the sun.

We had already looked over the menu when we did get seated, so we ordered right away. While there were several things that sounded good, this was a menu that wasn’t as compelling as some I have seen. But it changes all the time, so this will happen sometimes. We were intrigued by the Indiana hot wings, but the warning that came on the menu that they were extremely hot and that no refunds would be offered scared us off so we decided to pass on those. If they have that kind of warning, we figured they must be really hot. And I’m not the type to love super fiery hot stuff that destroys my taste buds anyhow.

So we ordered the burger ($14), because, let’s face it, it is usually one of the best burgers around these days. They vary it up and this one was different and extremely tasty. It was a thin beef patty topped with asiago, shitake mushrooms, cream cheese chive aioli. Oh, and of course, we added an egg. Part of what makes it so good is that Amelia’s Pullman bun too. It’s just perfect. Light but exactly right to hold up to the stuff inside. Seriously, we split this (as well as everything else) and hubby really wanted to order a second one for dessert. We were both savoring every single bite.

We also ordered the Dutch baby pancake with Manchego, grapefruit, shaved Brussels sprouts, Sherry vinaigrette and chopped hazelnuts--oh and we added the meat option ($16). I want to say it was morcilla? I was glad we added it though—although it was a bit chewy, it added a nice smoky hearty flavor. I liked this better than the last Dutch baby I had at Milktooth because it was pretty much purely savory. The acid and intensity of the grapefruit was a nice contrast with the cheese. The Brussels sprouts were very tasty too and overall were sliced very thin. There were a couple that were just a little too thick for me, but overall, this was a dish that was super interesting and really good.

We tried to get the ham and cheese croissant, but sadly they were out of it, so we decided to get the latke ($5) instead. They usually have some sort of latke on the menu, but they mix it up as to what’s in it, and what’s on it. This one was potato and rutabaga and was topped with acorn squash butter and green harissa cream. I loved the harissa cream—it was tangy like it was made with sour cream. I didn’t really like the acorn squash butter as much, but it didn’t really matter because I just pushed it out of the way and ate all the rest. 

Ok, we had some wine, and in order to prevent hubby from ordering that second burger, we decided to try a pastry for dessert. We got the twice-baked pumpkin/chocolate croissant ($4). I was suspicious because pumpkin flavored things aren’t typically my first choice, but this was really good.  Decadent.

The only downside was the service was pretty slow. But like I said, they were really busy, so I think our server might have been a little overwhelmed. But we had nowhere to be and had wine, so we were generally pretty happy. I’ve said it many times before, but we are lucky to have this place and I am glad to see it still living up to the hype. There’s always something new to try, and always a twist on an old favorite as well.

540 Virginia Ave
Indy  46203