Monday, December 16, 2019


Ok, it’s a chain, but it’s in Ironworks (there are some other central Indiana locations as well), and I had to try it because that’s super close to my house. A friend and I headed over for a weeknight meal. I was surprised it wasn’t busier than it was—usually new places seemed to be packed in this town no matter what they are. But It was probably only about half full.

Anyhow, we settled in and ordered a couple of the barrel select margaritas ($16)—which is their top shelf margarita. It has fancier liquors in it and it also has a fair amount of orange in it. It was a good margarita but maybe just a little too orange for me. I think I would try the house margarita next time. They also brought the obligatory chips and salsa. The salsa was fine—had a mild, fresh taste. The chips were not good.  They were like the cheapest grocery store tortilla chips. And not warm. You can make chips so good (just look at Nada) or go with quality non-homemade chips, but these were disappointing. I guess on the bright side, I was not tempted to eat more than a couple.

It’s also a really big menu (as it seems that most Mexican places are). There is a fair amount of tasty sounding items (I would like to try the ceviches, which I love when done well, but it was just too damn cold out). We settled on sharing the empanada trio ($12). There were three—one with chicken, one with steak, and one with cheese and corn. They served them with a special salsa and pico de gallo. They were all pretty good. The cheese one was nice and rich and I really enjoyed the slightly pickly topping on the steak. I also liked adding some freshness from the pico de gallo. I sort of wished for a light crema or guac but I enjoyed them all. The crust was nice and crisp. Mind blowing? No. Quite tasty? Yes.

We then ordered their street tacos—you can get them in sets of three or order three different ones, which is what we did ($15). I had the tinga chicken, fish, and shrimp (the fish was one of the signature flavors). I will say the fish was probably my favorite—I liked that the fish was in smaller hunks rather than one big piece. This made it much easier to eat. The fish had a slightly spicy chipotle flavor and was topped with red cabbage and a slice of avocado. While I love avocado, this big slice was a little hard to eat (sorta like when the fish is one big piece). Maybe chop it up or use some guac for extra flavor? Same goes for the shrimp taco which was basically the same seasonings and toppings. However, these were whole shrimp and kept spilling out when I was eating it. Again, would love it if they chopped them into smaller pieces to make it less messy. The chicken taco was a bit easier to handle—it was seasoned shredded chicken topped with queso fresco. The menu said crema too, but I wasn’t seeing any. I got some extra pico de gallo and used the lime and salsa with the tacos and they were decent. Most interesting tacos I have had? No. But not bad. I liked the empanadas better and next time I would try something other than tacos. The elote corn on the side was mushy and sort of lukewarm.

Service was decent, but maybe a little slow at the end considering it wasn’t that busy. It took a fair amount of time to get the check. I am sure we will be back at some point considering the proximity to our house…so please send me your favorite items.

Verde (multiple locations)
2727 East 86th Street
Indy  46240

Monday, December 9, 2019

Meet Noodles

Struggling for a place to get a quick dinner on Sunday, I remembered reading about Meet Noodles and so we headed over there. It was impressive to see such a large crowd for a small local place in Castleton on a Sunday. It’s a warm feeling interior—more so than many of the Asian places we like on this side of town. The wood tables are cute, but strangely awkward to sit at if you are on the booth side as you can’t cross your legs under the table. But I switched to a chair and was good. 

So they specialize in ramen and noodle bowls made with homemade noodles. We got 2 of the ramen choices—the tonkatsu ($12) and the shoyu ($12) as well as the lanzhou la-mian with the hand-pulled noodles ($12).  Honestly, they were all good, but if I had to pick a favorite it was probably the shoyu ramen. It was a clear soy-based chicken bone broth base with the classic ingredients—sliced pork belly, corn, bamboo shoots, soft boiled egg, scallions and black mushrooms. I loved the crispy garlic bits that were sprinkled on top. I really enjoyed the salty taste of the broth and even if the noodles aren’t hand-pulled, they are quite tasty. And I preferred the soft-boiled egg to the one that came with the hand-pulled noodles. 

The Lanzhou la-mian was also very tasty—these were the hand-pulled noodles and I liked the slightly different texture to the noodles—not sure how to describe them exactly, but they were a little softer and more delicate. The beef bone broth in this dish was really good—deep and rich even though overall it was a more delicate flavor as well. The thin sliced marinated beef was very tender even though it was thoroughly cooked. It was paper thin. While I appreciate the idea of the soy marinated egg, it was more like a hard-boiled egg and didn’t have that rich creaminess like the soft-boiled egg. I liked the freshness of the bok choy and the cilantro. It needed a little of the chili oil from the table to jazz it up a bit, but it was good. Simpler but good. It was more like a pho than a ramen.

The tonkatsu ramen was similar in toppings to the shoyu but had more of the garlic and was in a pork bone broth. I am not sure why, but this was my least favorite—the broth had a slightly fishy taste maybe? Maybe fish sauce? Maybe from the nori in there? It was just a little unexpected I guess. The rest of the ingredients were really good—and the pork that they use in the ramen is cut very thin, making it easier to eat with chopsticks and a large spoon.

All in all, a really nice addition to the Castleton area which is so notorious for bad food and chains (with some distinct exceptions of course). It’s beer and wine only if that matters to you—and when they say wine, they mean sake and that’s it. The service is fast and friendly and the place is already seemingly very popular.  Who else has been? I am curious about the appetizers… what have you tried?

Meet Noodles
6368-B 82nd Street
Indy 46250