Monday, September 28, 2020

Vida -- Revisit

This past weekend was our wedding anniversary, and we really wanted to go to Vida, even though I didn’t think they had outside seating (which they actually do—at least 4 tables that I saw). Anyway, we went for it hoping that the spacing would be good and hoping for good air filtration. We were the only ones inside for the first half of our meal, and after that the tables were very well spaced apart. I am still nervous about eating inside, but as the weather gets colder, I am starting to consider it. How are you guys feeling about dining in a restaurant?

Anyway, hubby got the 4 course (which is $65), in which you pick 4 courses from the menu, or you can go the a la carte option, which is what I did and then we split everything. But first, they brought us an amuse bouche that was cold soba noodles with a little bit of tuna and some carrots and fish eggs—I have had this flavor combo before here at Vida—and I love the sesame flavor here and the kick of salt from the fish and eggs. I could easily eat a whole appetizer of this.

Our first ordered course was the Hamachi crudo (a la carte is $16), which was two large but thin slices of raw hamachi with slices of perfectly ripe mango, a little avocado mousse, sliced radish, habanero onion and cilantro. This was so good. I wasn’t sure how I felt about mango because it really needs to be just perfect, but it was. And the dish was salted/seasoned just perfectly too. The fish almost melted in your mouth.

Our next course was the wall greens salad ($12) and the crispy chicken thigh ($12). The salad was a good mixed salad with some of my favorite things—blue cheese, nuts, sliced figs and a tangy vinaigrette. The lettuce was soft and supple (and I assume came from their wall of greens, based on the name). The chicken was even better though because you got a little of a similar salad aspect, but with a slight sweet, slight spicy perfectly tender fried chicken thigh underneath. And the flowers on top made it look like art. Art that tasted delicious.

For the main dishes we had the ribeye ($42 a la carte) and the cacio e pepe cappelliti ($28 a la carte). Hubby wanted the ribeye really badly after having a bite of someone else’s the last time we were there. He was not disappointed. There were roasted potatoes and black truffle gnocchi and a few Brussel Sprouts leaves on top. It was rich and delicious. The pasta was soooo good. It was little stuffed pastas with Trillium cheese, crispy roasted broccoli, slices of pecorino cheese and black pepper. Fresh pasta is so worth it—and the cheese inside was delicious. The most amazing part was the broth it sat in that was rich and buttery with just a hint of lemon. The waiter brought us some extra freshly made focaccia for soaking it up and it was much appreciated (oh yeah, the complimentary bread plate is always awesome too—this one had the herb focaccia and zucchini bread).

Finally, we had the ricotta doughnuts ($11 a la carte) which I think have been on the menu since the start. And there’s a reason. They are little like beignet-sized doughnuts with a bourbon maple glaze, candied bacon and caramel ice cream. Seriously, a perfect mix of sweet, rich and salty and savory all at the same time. And one of the best dessert wine lists in town (just ask). 

Our service was also spot on, and it is one of the nicer feeling atmospheres in the city. And I love the extra space between tables. I know it’s not cost effective, but I would love it we could maintain some of it even post-pandemic for having more private conversations. 

Overall, one of the best meals I have had since I can remember. I am already thinking about how I can plan some private dinners in some of the private spaces for some even safer dinners. Seriously, this is probably one of Indy’s best fine dining places right now. Check it out and don’t let them close!


601 East New York Street

Indy 46202


Monday, September 14, 2020

Blupoint Oyster House

I was excited to hear about a new place in Sobro with a good-sized patio and specializing in seafood. The stuff I read online was decent, and the menu looked very appealing, so we headed over to give it a try a couple weeks ago. Actually, this review is a combo of two visits—one with just hubby and one with the kids. They have a nice large outside patio (the inside looks cute too but I am not there yet) and a wine list that is also appealing to me.

At each visit we started with one of the tartares—the salmon tartare ($14) the first visit and the tuna ($15) the second. Ok, these were the biggest letdowns of both visits for me. There was nothing wrong with the quality of the fish but they were both pretty bland. The tuna was a little better because it had some capers in there that at least gave a salty kick every once in a while, but I would have guessed with anchovies, serrano peppers, and olives (according to the menu description) there would have been more flavor but it really just tasted mostly like tuna with a couple of capers. The salmon one said it had sesame oil, sriracha vinaigrette and sesame seeds, but again, I got very little flavor even when I dipped in the very minimal dollops of sauces on the side. Add some soy or something. And both needed a much bigger kick of acid. They were both served with freshly fried tortilla chips which were tasty, but because the fish was just ok, we didn’t eat that many.

But moving on, we also tried the panzanella salad ($8). We actually had this both times. The salad included cubes of ciabatta croutons, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, feta, and red wine vinaigrette. This one had the kick of acid I was craving and was well done (other than I really wished for a couple more of the croutons).
With the kids we also tried the fritto misto ($15). This was excellent. It was lightly and perfectly fried shrimp, calamari and oysters with a yummy, slightly spicy aioli (my favorite dipping accountrement). This is one of the better fritto mistos in town I think. The crispy exterior just kind of cracks to reveal super tender seafood—even the calamari isn’t chewy. And throwing some oysters in was a nice bonus that you don’t see at many places in their fritto misto.

On one visit, we tried the gambas al ajilo ($12) as well. This was a nice piece of bread topped with several shrimps which were all cooked just right. The sauce had a fair amount of garlic, but also a lot of paprika and chiles. There were six of the shrimp, so it was pretty sizable. It was tasty. A squeeze of lemon would have been perfect. (I know, I am predictable.)


With two visits we also tried two of the pasta main dishes and both were excellent—in fact I would venture to say their pastas are their strengths. The first time we had the squid ink bucatini with lemon cream sauce, chile flakes and we added the shrimp ($18 + $5). This was really well done. The sauce was rich and decadent but had a distinct lemony flavor which helped balance it. The pasta was cooked just right as were the shrimp. Both hubby and I agreed we’d easily get this again.

We also had the linguine and clams on the second visit (the picture you see is half portion as they split it in the kitchen) ($18). They make theirs just like I do, and it is my favorite way—some white wine, chile flakes and garlic in the sauce. Simple, and just right. It had a nice balanced flavor and everyone was happy with this one too. 

My son also had the seared salmon entree ($24) which was served with roasted potatoes, olives and asparagus. It was served with salsa verde on the plate as well. He enjoyed the flavors but thought the portion was small--he is a 15 year old boy who just finished tennis practice so not surprising. But it wasn't huge. It was also cooked through so depending on how you like it, this may or may not be your thing. Or maybe ask for it medium rare (that's what I would do).

With the kids we had a couple of the desserts. My kids were happy with what I would assume was a foodservice chocolate cake. They have a strange love for foodservice cake and this one did not disappoint them (I on the other hand do not think cake should ever be cold). We also had the tartufo which was gelato covered in cocoa—simple, cold, and delicious. 

Overall, it’s a pleasant place to go. There are definitely some ups and downs food wise, but the pastas and fritto misto and solid. I hope they tweak the tartares because I love to order them and I can see potential with the quality of fish they are using. Service was good as well. 

Let me know if you have been and what you think!

Blupoint Oyster House
5858 N. College Ave
Indy 46220