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Alas, they bring us little box lunches at the Speedway. Still, I managed to enjoy one good evening of dining, thanks to a 6-month-old Korean restaurant in the suburb of Fishers, called DaMi (10989 Allisonville Rd). Starting off with a dozen or so assorted tiny plates of pickled vegetables, preserved fish and condiments, two of our party went for a variation on bibimbab, while I dived into a plate of spicy squid with vegetables. Our server felt the need to warn me twice that it was "very spicy", but I think they still toned it down a bit as I found it to be only barely "very" hot. My Korean-American host did the ordering honors so unfortunately I can't pass on the dish names, but everything had that...well, authentic Asian taste. Apparently his fresh-off-the-boat cousin agrees, and has been hitting DaMi with alarming frequency when he needs a taste of home.

We skipped dessert in order to hit the local branch of Handel's ice cream. The flavors are very midwestern...by which I mean that the chocolate almond (which was delicious) is more Hershey's than Valrhona. I might have preferred if it were frozen harder and a bit grainier, but it was a very tasty treat.

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Okay, I found (and liked) Oakley's Bistro. R Bistro is closed for two weeks. Does anyone else have any recommendations in Indianapolis? Preferably in the "good but not dressy" category?

I just sent this letter to a seemingly knowledgable Indianapolis food blogger:

xxxxx, this is Don Rockwell of dcdining.com and donrockwell.com (largest regional restaurant forum in the USA). I'm in Indianapolis for 3 days (with 3 14-year-old boys!) and am looking for something - anything! - better than the awful food we had last night at Champion's sports bar. I couldn't even eat it.

I had lunch at Oakley's Bistro today and liked it a lot (I may go back there with my son tomorrow night). R Bistro is closed for two weeks.

In about two hours, I'm going to have three hungry kids in front of me. I can't do bad food two nights in a row. We're downtown and I have a car. Decent food, not expensive, not dressy. Two out of the three kids couldn't care less about food but me and my son do. I have to please everyone. Help!

Thanks if you get this ... All I need is a couple of names; I can do the internet research. No national chains if at all possible. Don Rockwell

---

ETA Thanks to Scott Hutcheson of hungryhoosier.com for a quick, ten-minute-turnaround reply to my desperate email. He recommends both Santorini Greek Kitchen and Shapiro's, and for my parameters, both seem just about perfect.

---

ETA Also just got this Tweeted to me by a knowledgable area food writer - info too valuable not to share: "My Indy friend sitting here with me says @Pizzology, Scotty's @Brewhouse, @ZestIndy, Bazbeaux and Adobo. Good luck"

And @Brewhouse's response to that Tweet: "thanks for recommendation. Recess is also incredible, Black Market, our new Brewpub Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Co..."

Edited by DonRocks

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From a friend who is an Indiana native:

Broad Ripple has some good restaurants. I like Broadripple Brewery.

Another good place is Scotty's Lakehouse. It's a locavore kinda place which is rare for Indy.

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Broad Ripple has some good restaurants. I like Broadripple Brewery.

Yes, Broad Ripple Brewery is pretty good. Broad Ripple is a good neighborhood all together (or at least was when I used to go there several years ago). St. Elmo's remains a fine, fine steakhouse. We used to go there before the IU December 26 game at Canseco Fieldhouse or whatever it is they're calling it now and would come close to falling asleep from a stomach full of tastiness by the end of the first half. Good steaks, good service, good wine, old style. Shrimp cocktail has great shrimp and their particular condiment: cocktail sauce that is essentially a big pile of fresh horseradish mixed with just a touch of ketchup. Recommended.

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Thanks to everyone who came to my rescue. Here's my Indianapolis trip in a nutshell which includes a dive bar, a tourist trap, a James Beard nominee, a world-class pizzeria, a 100-year-old Jewish deli, a family-focused farm-to-table burger-brewpub, a hyper-local sports bar, and a historic steak house:

Basey's Grill & Spirits - Location: Downtown, one block west of Lucas Oil Stadium. Category: Dive Bar. Minimum Dress: Tank-top and shorts. DC Comparable: Quarterdeck. Notable For: Owned or heavily subsidized by Budweiser with dozens, perhaps hundreds of signs, coasters, etc. Highlights: 75-cent Bud Light draft all alone on sunny patio after an exhausting 600-mile drive with three teenagers. Recommended: Nothing. Verdict: Glad I went due to desperate, esoteric situation, would never return.

Champions Sports Bar - Location: Downtown, north side of Convention Center. Category: Sports Bar. Minimum Dress: T-shirt and shorts. DC Comparable: Hard Rock Cafe. Notable For: Tourist trap with extreme crowds. Highlights: Nothing. Recommended: Nothing. Verdict: Avoid at all costs.

Oakley's Bistro - Location: North Indianapolis, 20-minutes north of Downtown. Category: Seasonal American. Minimum Dress: Polo shirt and jeans. DC Comparable: Salt & Pepper. Notable For: 2011 James Beard Semifinalist for Best Chef, Great Lakes. Highlights: Lack of Pretense, Tomato-Basil Soup, Crab Pot Pie (lunch only). Recommended: Everything tried. Verdict: Glad I went, would happily return, the most refined food of the trip.

Pizzology - Location: Carmel, 30-minutes north of Downtown. Category: Seasonal Italian, Pizza. Minimum Dress: T-shirt and jeans. DC Comparable: 2 Amys but only Pupatella currently has better pizza. Notable For: World-class pizza, good wine list. Highlights: Homemade Sausage Pizza with Fresh Farm Egg, Boylan's Creme Soda. Recommended: Pizzas. Verdict: Glad I went, would happily return, highly recommended.

Shapiro's Delicatessen - Location: Downtown, two blocks south of Convention Center. Category: Jewish Deli in Cafeteria Setting. Minimum Dress: T-shirt and shorts. DC Comparable: None but think Attman's in Baltimore. Notable For: In same location since 1905, world-class corned beef. Highlights: Corned beef on homemade rye. Recommended: Corned beef and most likely pastrami. Verdict: Glad I went, would happily return for a sandwich, highly recommended.

Scotty's Lakehouse - Location: Fishers, 45-minutes northeast of Downtown. Category: Family-Friendly Sports Bar and Brewpub. Minimum Dress: T-shirt and jeans. DC Comparable: Cross between Sweetwater Tavern, Burger Joint, and American Flatbread but none of the three has better hamburgers. Notable For: Organic and local ingredients, exceptional hamburgers, beer selection, noise. Highlights: Burger with fried egg, applewood smoked bacon, Fair Oaks farms smoked gouda, chipotle ketchup with a side of fried pickle chips, Three Floyds "Robert the Bruce" Scottish ale. Recommended: Burgers, house fries, any Three Floyds beer (this despite Scotty's brewing their own). Verdict: Glad I went, would happily return if I was in the area.

Jimmy B's Pub - Location: North Indianapolis, 30-minutes north of Downtown. Category: Sports Bar. Minimum Dress: T-shirt and jeans. DC Comparable: Velocity Five. Notable For: One thing only: Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich (interesting website devoted to this esoteric local specialty here). Highlights: Extremely non-touristy, good (and huge) breaded tenderloin sandwich and nothing else. Recommended: Breaded tenderloin sandwich. Verdict: Glad I went once to try this local specialty, would not return unless someone else really wanted to go.

St. Elmo Steak House - Location: Downtown, 2 blocks east of Convention Center. Category: Steak House. Minimum Dress: Bar area, T-shirt and jeans, Dining area, Polo shirt and jeans or slacks (servers wear tuxes). DC Comparable: None but think Old Homestead in New York City. Notable For: In same location since 1902. Highlights: Old-school charm (all steaks come with either a cup of Navy bean soup or a glass of tomato juice (WTF?!)). Recommended: Loaded baked potato (worth the $3 upcharge). Verdict: Glad I went once for the historical aspect (not necessarily the $42.95 cowboy cut), would not return.

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I've now lived in Indianapolis for 3 1/2 years now, I guess I can provide some additional info for the community.

Echoing what Rocks said above, Pizzology and Oakley's are among my favorites. Shapiro's is also an institution, get a reuben.

Some new places that have popped up worth your attention when visiting Indy:

Downtown:

Black Market Co-owned by an ex-R Bistro chef. A Casual, communal bar with a rotating menu of imaginative comfort food. Great local and craft beer selections, get the beef tongue cocktail if its on the list that day. Kitchen is open until midnight.

The Libertine From Neal Brown (proprietor of the amazing Pizzology, mentioned above). A little more hip and classy than the casual black market above. Amazing wine, all the whiskey related drinks are fantastic. Best sazerac in Indy. The food: two words "Bacon...flight" done and done.

Midtown:

Recess Greg Hardesty's place serves just one pre-set, multi-course, price-fixed meal each night from as many locally sourced ingredients as possible. Wine pairings also available.

Room Four More affordable version of Recess, right next-door.

South Broad Ripple:

20 Tap Serving exclusively indiana craft beer, tasty sandwiches and burgers

In the Keystone area (north of downtown)

Late Harvest Kitchen Farm to table, fine dining restaurant. I haven't been yet, but I have heard really good things.

If anyone is in Indy and needs some additional info, PM or tweet me.

-Andy

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If anyone is in Indy and needs some additional info, PM or tweet me.

-Andy

Thanks for the post, Andy - I'll be back at the end of June, so your information is much appreciated! (Looking back on my post... damn, that was 40 hours of intense work distilled into 600 words.)

Cheers,

Rocks

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It's been almost ten years since I lived in Indiana, so obviously take this with a huge grain of salt. I would love to revisit MaMa's House now that I am better familiar with Korean food, but all of my Korean friends in the area crow about how good it is. Mikado Japanese Restaurant downtown, next to the RCA Dome, used to have the best sushi in the city by far, but I hear the main sushi chef has returned to Houston. Shapiro's is an institution of course, and the restaurants on Massachusetts Avenue are at least independent and better than average. I have no knowledge of the north side.

IMO, the food is much more interesting outside of Indianapolis, where you can visit regional cafeterias or smaller diners. Bloomington, where I still return for alumni events, also boasts a James Beard nominee, and has plenty of terrific restaurants (Korean, mediterrean, Afghanistan) that reflect its broad student cultural base

Ericandblueboy, good luck with lunch on the southside, slim pickin's. My friend swears the Classy Chassis serves a great lunch at 465 and 37, but I can't seriously propose that to you.

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New additions to Indianapolis restaurant scene:

Bluebeard In the southeast cultural district of Indy, Fountain Square, contemporary Italian-inspired cuisine featuring the best in local produce. The building also houses a wholesale bakery, Amelia’s.

B's Po Boy New casual sandwich spot again in Fountain Square. Imports bread from Louisiana.

Now that I have eaten at Room Four twice, I feel the need to change my evaluation of it. This is not a cheaper version of Recess. It's a casual comfort food spot with locally sourced produce and great craft beer. It seems as if the chef makes a daily menu of his favorite meals to eat on his off day. Two types of tacos and burger preparation bless the menu each day, with the other small plates and entrees on rotation.

This spot is now in my circle of trust rotation along with Black Market for the indefinite future.

-Andy

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A friend in Indianapolis suggested a placed called Bjava to me for what he felt was the area's best coffee. Tragically, I got there last week at around 5:30 and they were closed. But passing along the suggestion for others anyway since, though my information is still second hand, it's of the higher quality variety and I'm guessing bjava is a very safe bet for coffee hounds in need of joe and close to the northwestern part of the city.

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Thanks for the lead to Santorini's Greek Kitchen! I went twice last week when I was in town for a convention. Homey atmosphere (we sat by a mantle with family pictures and sports trophies on it). The tenderest gyro meat, much better than the schwarma around here. Lightest spinach pie, tasty briam dish, moist and sweet baklava. It's off the beaten path, in the Fountain Square area.

St. Elmo's was great! Do not miss the navy bean soup! One of the best things I ate that week. Some kind of salt meat in it, ham I guess. I had an old fashioned and my friend had a gin martini. Very satisfied! My ribeye had so much flavor and the fat was delicious.

We had the breaded pork tenderloin sandwich at Bourbon Street Grill. I would normally not have tried a place with such a name in the middle of the country, but it was right across the street from the Kurt Vonnegut museum, so we gave it a whirl. Very nice! Reminded me of chicken fried steak. The pork was moist. Lots of locals at lunch time, probably state government workers and maybe students from IUPUI.

I'd try Shapiro's again but not the corned beef. I prefer the moist, tender corned beef at Deli City on Bladensburg Road. This was good quality but a bit dry. I have to say the rye bread and mustard were quite good! What I would try are the daily specials like meatloaf or spaghetti and meatballs. Should have had cake too!

Missed out on the ballpark food. There's a AAA minor league baseball field right downtown, a great place for relaxed fun. Didn't know Indianapolis is such a friendly town!

BARcelona Tapas is every bit as loud and fun as Cava in Rockville. Highlights were the fried artichoke and the goat cheese with tomato sauce, tres leches cake.

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Recent article in the Indianapolis Star about the top 50 restaurants in Indianapols: http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Avis=BG&Dato=20130503&Kategori=THINGSTODO21&Lopenr=305020094&Ref=PH

I've been to 39/50 of these. If anyone has any questions, feel free to DM or post something here as I'm glad to share the love for Indy's developing food scene.

Thank you, sir! My son and his mom are going back for the third straight year the weekend of July 4th-6th - are there any new discoveries or information?

They'll be staying in the underrated Springfield Suites (attached to the Marriott) where he and I stayed last year), and I've forwarded her this email so she'll be on the prowl for good hints.

Thanks to any and all for advice and assistance!

Cheers!

Rocks

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I was in Indiana for a wedding in Kokomo this weekend. Due to wedding activities, I didn't have a lot of time to explore around the area, but here are some quick thoughts:

Bourbon Street Distillery - We were looking for a quick lunch in Indianapolis on our drive to the airport, and we ended up here after some rather haphazard internet searching. I had the pork tenderloin sandwich, which I didn't know was a thing until a couple of weeks ago. It was delicious. Perfectly fried, not at all dry, great pork flavor. I really enjoyed it. My wife's popcorn shirmp Po' Boy was also quite good. This is a divey, neighborhood-type bar, and we enjoyed it very much.

Bub's Burgers and Ice Cream - In Carmel. We did essentially no research for this trip, and on this occasion we were looking for a place to eat in between the airport and Kokomo. This is what we found. My elk burger was delicious, and we also enjoyed the sweet potato waffle fries. I wasn't remotely expected the question "Would you like marshmallow dipping sauce for that?" I replied yes for novelty alone, but would not order it again. Nice spot.

Half Moon Brewery - In Kokomo. Pretty much everything we saw in Kokomo is a chain. This place may be a regional chain, I don't know. But their beer is decent and service was great. I can't speak to their food.  I was also again reminded, when picking up a round of drinks, how absurdly cheap things can be in other parts of the country (or how absurdly expensive they are here).

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New additions to Indianapolis restaurant scene:

Bluebeard In the southeast cultural district of Indy, Fountain Square, contemporary Italian-inspired cuisine featuring the best in local produce. The building also houses a wholesale bakery, Amelia's.

Recognizing that this is from 2012, but I just had dinner two nights in a row at Bluebeard, and Wow! I was exceedingly impressed, but think that the menu is much more squarely American than Italian-inspired at this point--and that incorporates the fact that one night I had radiatore bolognese as my main course. This is a big-league restaurant--perhaps the Woodberry Kitchen of Indianapolis, though not as big and with slightly different ambitions.

Dinner 1 started with their bread basket, served with garlic oil, anchovy butter, and honey butter. The bread was from Amelia's and delicious, and the anchovy butter was unreal. I ate too much of it, enjoying it all of the way. I then had their melon salad; this is a dish that I feel that I could easily whip up at home with a watermelon, a canteloupe, and a cucumber--except theirs had coppa and curtido, and basil and mint, and manchego, and a white balsamic viniagrette. This is one of the best dishes I've eaten this year. I then had the radiatore--a massive, mid-western portion with their butcher-block bolognese--a mystery meat mixture that was spicy and rich. It was too much, so I took it back to my hotel and ate it as a snack and later as an early breakfast, cold by that point, of course, but still flavorful and better than my options at Starbucks and Panera.

Dinner 2 kicked off with pickled herring--a tasteful preparation, not over-the-top large, so just the right way to start the evening. The octopus confit was very good--I'm not sure what the confit-process added, as the octopus seemed closer to a classic sous-vide preparation (if there is such a thing for octopus). It came in a nice broth with corn and (what I think) were partially sun-dried tomatoes. I finished with lamb-belly buns--exceedingly spicy with dragon sauce, cooled slightly with pickled radish and pickled, umm, pickles.

The cocktail program is substantial and worthwhile, with friendly and knowledgeable bartenders.

I'd say, "I wish that we had a place like this here," but we do--a number of them. It's just really nice to see this place out in Indianapolis--what appeared to be a really good food town, in my too-brief stay.

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On 7/2/2012 at 1:30 PM, And said:

New additions to Indianapolis restaurant scene:

Bluebeard In the southeast cultural district of Indy, Fountain Square, contemporary Italian-inspired cuisine featuring the best in local produce. The building also houses a wholesale bakery, Amelia’s.

...

-Andy

On 8/6/2014 at 7:57 PM, seanvtaylor said:

Recognizing that this is from 2012, but I just had dinner two nights in a row at Bluebeard, and Wow! I was exceedingly impressed, but think that the menu is much more squarely American than Italian-inspired at this point--and that incorporates the fact that one night I had radiatore bolognese as my main course. This is a big-league restaurant--perhaps the Woodberry Kitchen of Indianapolis, though not as big and with slightly different ambitions.

Dinner 1 started with their bread basket, served with garlic oil, anchovy butter, and honey butter. The bread was from Amelia's and delicious, and the anchovy butter was unreal. I ate too much of it, enjoying it all of the way. I then had their melon salad; this is a dish that I feel that I could easily whip up at home with a watermelon, a canteloupe, and a cucumber--except theirs had coppa and curtido, and basil and mint, and manchego, and a white balsamic viniagrette. This is one of the best dishes I've eaten this year. I then had the radiatore--a massive, mid-western portion with their butcher-block bolognese--a mystery meat mixture that was spicy and rich. It was too much, so I took it back to my hotel and ate it as a snack and later as an early breakfast, cold by that point, of course, but still flavorful and better than my options at Starbucks and Panera.

Dinner 2 kicked off with pickled herring--a tasteful preparation, not over-the-top large, so just the right way to start the evening. The octopus confit was very good--I'm not sure what the confit-process added, as the octopus seemed closer to a classic sous-vide preparation (if there is such a thing for octopus). It came in a nice broth with corn and (what I think) were partially sun-dried tomatoes. I finished with lamb-belly buns--exceedingly spicy with dragon sauce, cooled slightly with pickled radish and pickled, umm, pickles.

The cocktail program is substantial and worthwhile, with friendly and knowledgeable bartenders.

I'd say, "I wish that we had a place like this here," but we do--a number of them. It's just really nice to see this place out in Indianapolis--what appeared to be a really good food town, in my too-brief stay.

I had dinner at Bluebeard this week, and Sean's description is just about perfect. Instead of adding to the general description, I'll add some more data to support it:

Bluebeard has a wonderful drinks program, and it was my own fault I didn't turn myself over to them - I knew what I was ordering (sort of), and if I had it to do again, I'd get one of their $7 (!) house made Gin and Tonics to start.

A general rule-of-thumb when someone sets foot in Indiana is that they only need a two-word vocabulary: "Three Floyds" (who, by the way, has opened what is reportedly an excellent brewpub (with good food) in Muncie). I started with a pint of Three Floyds Necron 99 ($6) which was tapped earlier that day. It was very much of a well-made IPA (I didn't know this when I ordered it), hop-forward, and not my style of beer despite its obvious quality. If you like IPAs, then grab this should you see it, but I drank it relatively quickly because I knew it wouldn't go with my food (Bluebeard had ten fascinating beers on tap; this was the only Three Floyds, and this is what I specifically asked for).

My first course also was just put on the menu yesterday for the first time, and is the first time this year I've seen butternut squash (autumn is on its way). A small Butternut salad ($13) was an ingredient-driven, farm-fresh, composed plate that looked unbelievably good. This may have been a personal thing, as I was somewhat salt-deficient, but it came across to me as a bit skimpily dressed, and while the ingredients were all just about perfect, I think it could have used a bit more seasoning to bring everything together. Still, you can tell it was a terrific salad just by looking at the picture - it contained cubes of butternut squash placed inside endive leaves, bacon, goat cheese, pecans, basil, shallot, and bourbon maple bacon vinaigrette which lent an undertone of bacon to the dish as a whole. It was an honorable salad, a very, very good salad, but just a touch on the bland side for me to call it a "great" salad.

IMG_3540 .JPG <--- This was just as fresh as it looks.

Having knocked back my Necron 99, I wanted one more drink to carry me through the meal. I love Chinon, and equally love the producer Couly-Dutheil, but haven't had much Chinon Rosé. A generous glass of 2016 ($13) was disappointing - very much like a grapey Spanish rosado rather than a pale, bone-dry Provençal rosé. This wine is a vin saigné - literally a "bled wine" ... the wine is "bled" (or siphoned) off the top of the vat, and the pink wine on top is made into a rosé. This has the added benefit - especially in lean years - to make the remaining wine in the vat darker in pigment (the pigmentation agents have more mass, and drop to the bottom of the vat, thus making a more concentrated red). Vin saigné is a *much* cheaper way to make rosé, and truthfully, it shows in the end product (which is pleasant, but never, ever profound). I knew this was 100% Cabernet Franc - the menu even said so - thus, it would be impossible for it to be anything *other* than vin saigné. In no way were either of these drink "errors" the fault of Bluebeard - I knew exactly what I was ordering, and the fact that I didn't love the selections falls on me and me alone. For them to even have either of these two offerings speaks volumes about their beverage program - they're both quite uncommon to see in restaurants.

Up until this point, things were more "impressive" than "great." However, that was to immediately change with my entrée: a Papardalle ($32). with butchershop Bolognese (more on this in a moment), tomato sauce, Parmesan, and herb oil. I asked my wonderful bartender about this Bolognese dish, and he said it's one of their classics - something that's generally on the menu in one form or another - I had a long day of travel (and after all, I'm 1/4 Bolognese), so it hit all the right notes for me as comfort food. They served it with a basket of sliced bread, baked at their bakery next door - something akin to a thinly sliced baguette, but slightly airier. While $32 seems like a *lot* of money for a pasta Bolognese, let me start by saying that this dish was enormous - enough for two people - and the Bolognese didn't seem spooned on; it seemed ladled on. Picture being at Nonna's house in Bologna for Sunday dinner -- "Nonna can I have seconds?" "Sure!" "Nonna, can I have thirds?" "Sure!" It was all I could eat, and there were a couple fork-fulls of house-made papardelle left on my plate, because I was stuffed to the gills: and I only had one little piece of their bread, too. The Bolognese sauce was thick and meaty, meaty, meaty, with a predominant undertone of fennel - if you don't at least "like" fennel, you probably won't like the flavors of this great sauce. There was plenty of papardelle, too, perhaps not *quite* as al dente as I wished, but I was so busy plowing through it that I hardly noticed - it was a sensational dish, and one which I could eat often. Do not let the price scare you away from ordering this - it was just fabulous, one of the best Bolognese dishes I've ever eaten.

IMG_3543.JPG <--- This photo may not look that big, but it was a *huge* plate of food (that's a pasta-twirling spoon).

So technically, I only "loved" three out of four things I had at Bluebeard, but I fell in love with the restaurant - I could see what was behind the bar (they have a first-rate beverage program), and I could see some of the other plates arriving as well. The comparison with a "small Woodberry Kitchen" is quite apt, and accordingly, Bluebeard was a semifinalist for a 2017 James Beard Award for Best Chef - Great Lakes - their talented, fully deserving chef is Abbi Merriss.

Bluebeard is now the best restaurant I've ever been to in Indianapolis, which is saying something, as I've been here about a half-dozen times, and have really sought out the best and the brightest, as well as hitting up the classics such as Shapiro's Deli (which now has an IND location) and St. Elmo's Steak House (where you'll most likely go only one time).

Bluebeard has a lot to be proud of, and a great future ahead of them.

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I go to Indy quite a bit, I will have to give this place a try next time I go. Normally the biz crowd wants to eat at St Elmos :rolleyes:

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47 minutes ago, Lobozooma said:

I go to Indy quite a bit, I will have to give this place a try next time I go. Normally the biz crowd wants to eat at St Elmos :rolleyes:

At St. Elmo's, you can enjoy a small glass of canned tomato juice as your appetizer (really).

if you do go, at least try to eat in the main restaurant, and not in the "mall annex" that it's connected to - I've done both, and the mall annex feels like you're paying $100 to eat in a prison cafeteria.

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On 4/2/2015 at 7:43 AM, And said:

A new, and now by far the best, breakfast/brunch spot in Indianapolis:

"Milktooth Chef Named among America's Best New Chefs" by Liz Biro on indystar.com

There were two semifinalists from Indianapolis for the 2017 James Beard Best Chef: Great Lakes award (all five finalists were from Chicago). One of these was Bluebeard, reviewed both here and three posts above in this thread. However, if you want breakfast at Bluebeard, you're out of luck, as it's open only for lunch and dinner. Milktooth, however, is open only for breakfast and lunch, and is *the* restaurant to go in Indianapolis to find an outstanding breakfast (Bluebeard and Milktooth are nearly across the street from each other).

Chef Jonathan Brooks has set up an extremely casual, high-volume operation that feels much more like Shapiro's Deli than any sort of fine-dining establishment. Tank-top and shorts? No problem! I took a seat at the bar so I could watch the cooks, who were operating in high gear at around 1 PM on a Friday afternoon.

My delightful server, Jess, took my order - I got a Large Glass of Fresh-Squeezed Orange Juice ($3.50), and something similar to what Washingtonians might see at Tail-Up Goat: House Salmon and Cream Cheese Rillettes on House Challah ($14). Fourteen dollars seemed expensive for what might be akin to lox and cream cheese on a bagel, but this was more than that, and served in the style of Tail-Up Goat's "Bread Courses."

While I watched three of the cooks, mesmerized by the high-heat, high-speed, high-risk ballet they were dancing, I saw with my left peripheral vision a figure, creeping towards me very slowly - I turned, and it was Jess carrying my orange juice - very slowly, very carefully, as it was filled slightly over the brim, and one false movement on her part would have meant a spill, but she somehow didn't spill a drop. I thanked her, bent down, and slurped my first sip, and it was perfect - I was now staring down sixteen ounces of fresh-squeezed perfection, and already deciding whether I would chug it and order a second one, or quench my thirst with water instead (I opted for the latter so as not to be a sea slug).

A couple minutes later, my Rillettes arrived - this is one case where a picture does some damage to the final product, because it had been pea-shooted to death. Now, I like pea shoots, but one of the three cooks, during their ballet, had grabbed a fistful of pea shoots with too much gusto, and the condiment was over-stacked. Not a problem, because I just pushed most of it aside, and made myself a little side salad, while enjoying a terrific rillettes on bread that was almost surely baked that morning. It was a great, knife-and-fork, open-faced sandwich. I should add that there are many more items on Milktooth's menu which are more complex and interesting; I merely ordered what I was in the mood for, but their menu has just about anything you can think of - do take some time and look at their food menu - they have a good selection of beer and wine also.

Do not judge this fine open-faced sandwich by this poor photo!

It's remarkable that Jess didn't spill a drop, and be sure you're aware that the rillettes sandwich was *much* better than it looks here. Both Bluebeard and Milktooth are two of about six very, very serious restaurants now in the Indianapolis area - this is slowly but surely becoming an important dining city, no doubt helped by the Convention Center. On my way out, I took $6, handed it to who appeared to be the head cook, and asked him to split it between the three of them - they deserved this and much more.

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