eating indie in indy

  • redemption 367
  • Himalaya Kabob 035
  • donut shop 147
  • BR Brew pub 266
  • divine 271
  • moon dog 244
  • Love Handle 225
  • mama irma 1
  • Iozzo 8
  • Repeal 286


Redemption Alewerks 7035 E. 96th Street.

Today we headed North to Fishers; the high rent district. It seems as though the new breweries,with few exceptions,have bypassed the far north of the Metropolitan area. That is why I was surprised when I realized that I had missed this one. It is a new construction in a strip mall in a heavily traveled area of the North side.

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It is an attractive joint and the brewing equipment is highly visible as you enter.

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As soon as you walk in you are greeted by the large semi-circular bar in front of you and the aroma of smoked meat and brewing beer all around you. If that doesn’t get your appetite up and running you are a lost cause.

The menu offers some unique items not usually found on a beer joint’s menu. Battered and deep-fried artichoke hearts or a basket of hush puppies on the appetizer menu. The artichokes at $7.49 are reasonably priced,I supposed, as I have never seen them on a menu around here. I do question the pups being priced at $8.49 though. I think across the board the food prices are a bit higher than what you would find at joints closer to the city.

We thought the beer they brew is excellent,having a beginning,middle and finish. Something desirable in food as well as drink. The pricing is from $5 to $6.50,with imperial pints selling for the higher price. That is the going rate for a lot of microbrews. They do offer a flight of 6 5 oz. glasses for $10,but I was told they would be raising the price to $12. So that may be incentive to go sooner than later.

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Pat’s sandwich was $10.49. Frankly I thought that a bit high for a below average portion. If I may digress a bit on the sliced vs pulled “controversy” pulling as opposed to slicing would save some money.

The sandwich I ordered was unique to me. It included items that I would not necessarily put together but I was intrigued. Here is the description from the menu. Alewerks Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Himalayan Kabob Corner 6066 E. 82nd St.

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Cute name isn’t it. I have never had Nepali or Afghani food before,so that is why we decided on Himalaya. When we arrived we were surprised to find a $10 buffet. We also learned that the place had new owners;as of September 1. A Russian married couple. The chef was the same so the food would not miss in the translation. The buffet line was small but nicely done and well stocked.

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I was impressed with the quality of the preparation. Each dish was impeccably seasoned. No one spice took control and none of the dishes were spicy hot. I especially liked the spinach and lentils. However I couldn’t find one single weak link. They offered kabob options,sans skewer in chicken and ground beef.

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The beef was really nicely done. Little torpedos of meat that still had a touch of pink in the center. The chicken in tomato sauce offered a bonus as the sauce was a good cover for the Jasmine rice.

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Before I forget they have an excellent chicken noodle soup. A goodly amount of noodles in a wonderfully tasty broth.

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They also offer a dumpling I believe it is called a Manto. Seasoned turkey and the only dish with onion in it. It was superb. No pictures though. One last thing. As we finished the owner brought us a piece of fresh Baklava. It was the best I have had so far in town.

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They have the buffet as a weekly lunch time affair. In the evening and on week ends they offer an extensive ala carte menu. They show the menu on their website and as you can see the prices are more than reasonable. Besides where else can you get Nepali food from a restaurant owned by a Russian couple, in Indianapolis.

Himalaya Kabob Korner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Donut Shop Bakery & Restaurant 5527 N. Keystone Ave.

This joint is a diner. It started out as a donut shop and gradually it grew into a full-fledged diner. I have had their donuts before,and they are some of the best in the city. So I decided to see what else they had to offer. Their prices are more than reasonable, such as fried mushrooms are $2.99. For that money I figured they had to be the pull from a bag and drop in the fryer kind. But they weren’t.

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They took larger mushrooms and cut them in quarters, covered them with a simple seasoned flour dredge and fried them up. That is why they served them for 3 bucks. They were really very good. You could taste the true mushroom and they were not at all greasy. Definitely worth ordering again.

They serve breakfast all day and from the plates I saw going out on my earlier trip they serve a big boy size breakfast. For their lunch offerings you get a choice of side. Fries,onion ring, pasta salad or a tossed green salad. Pat ordered an Italian beef sandwich with a side salad for less than $6.

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I actually had a tough time deciding what to eat. I finally settled on their “unsinkable”. It is their take on a Monte Cristo. But with theirs instead of using bread they merely took the ham,turkey and Swiss cheese rolled it up with honey mustard and then battered it and dropped the whole thing in a deep fryer.

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It was really pretty darn good. It looked like a Chimachanga but when you cut into it you saw the meat and cheese exploded inside. When you bit into it you could taste the ham,turkey and Swiss. Much like a crispy club sandwich.

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I decided on a side of pasta salad. It was so-so. Penne pasta with a bit of broccoli and carrot and smothered with a Ranch dressing. The salad I probably wouldn’t do again,but the sandwich I believe I would. I am usually not a huge fan of fried sandwiches but this was really good.,and it too was less than 6 bucks.

I took half of my sandwich home so I could save room for donuts. Donuts are six for $3.75. So the donut prices are as reasonable as their other food. I wasn’t able to take any pictures of them but I did get this.

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I think a lot of people know of this place as a place for donuts and coffee or even a full breakfast. But now you know it is also an option for lunch and diner.

Donut Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Broad Ripple Brewpub 840 E.65th Street

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This is the oldest craft brewery in the state,opening in 1990. It was modeled after an English Pub. It is a series of several connected rooms,wood-paneled and rather dark. Just the right atmosphere for sipping ESB and single malts,not so much for picture-taking.

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Pat and I have both been here before. I just never felt compelled to write about it because;frankly I thought the joint was a bit boring. Not bad just not too interesting. Well they have changed their menu and have added a couple of new and exciting brews so I thought today would be a good day to review the Papa of Hoosier brewing. They have always had a good selection of vegetarian dishes and with the new menu they offer even more. The also added a cheese curd appetizer for $8.75.

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These were just plain good. A nice size with just the slightest outside crunch to offset the mozzarella cheesiness inside. I think these are possibly the best in town.

Pat ordered a Pub BLT for $7.95. You could get it with Applewood smoked bacon or veggie coconut “bacon”. For 2 bucks you can add Braunschweiger as well.

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I was intrigued by the Thai spiced Pork sandwich,for $10.

Marinated in our ESB and slow braised with cumin, Chinese Five Spice and fresh ginger, flat grilled on toasted baguette with shredded carrots, spicy cucumbers, fresh cilantro and mayo.  10.00

Sound really great doesn’t? Unfortunately it reads better than it eats. The bread was hard,the meat was dry and offered little flavor. If they were trying to offer a version of a Bahn mi I can think of a few ways they could have pulled it off better. I also decided on a side of onion rings which were okay. Thin slices of onion simply coated and fried. Nice but nothing to shout about.

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The beers were great. The stars of the line were two cask ales. A red and an ESB. Both were very drinkable. Pat tried a mix of the two. Pretty tasty. If you are a beer drinking vegetarian this may be the place for you. They have a nice new menu on their website so one bad sandwich won’t deter me from going back.

Broad Ripple Brewpub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Divine 2 8748 W. Washington Street

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This is a BBQ joint;no more no less. It occupies one half of a building in a predominately industrial area.

When you drive up you can see a smoker out back and a big catering truck on the side. It is built for cue,not for style.

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The sign out front says it all. Chicken,ribs and pulled pork. Of course,as their menu board suggests they also have some more non typical fare,like BBQ nachos and a BBQ Manhattan; which is bread topped with mashed potatoes, pulled pork and BBQ sauce. I’ve never heard of that before but pig and taters does sound interesting. Pat ordered his usual pulled pork sandwich with a mild sauce. They dry rub their pig so the sauce is served on the side.

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The portion they offer is easily a half pound,that is why it is served in a basket with the bun on the side.  With the amount of meat you get you could have made two sandwiches.

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Pat’s sandwich was $5.25 and the porkburger was $3.25. I neglected to take a shot of the burger,but I did get a bite. It was really good. Nice and moist with a decent hint of smoke. I would recommend it as an alternative to the common pulled pork sandwich.

I had the rib dinner for $12. It came with 2 sides and bread,plus sauce. I too got the mild and it had a slight taste of cumin,which I thought was interesting. For my sides I ordered mac and cheese.

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It was creamy and cheesy just not smack in the mouth out of this world. I guess folks don’t finish mac and cheese off in the oven any more,with buttered bread crumbs. For my second side I picked baked beans.

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These were some of the best I have had in town,if not the best. Brown sugar sweet and seasoned with bacon. They would be a wonderful foil to some peppery coleslaw. This brings us to the center of the plate. The ribs. I got 6 nice size bones. The amount was such that I would consider it a half slab;or close to it. The meat was super tender and the smoke waited for just a bit before it hit your taste buds. A bite off the bone,dip in the sauce,repeat. Not only were they delicious they were fun to eat. Definitely worth the trip.

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The place is called Divine 2 but I never got around to ask where or what Divine 1 was. The catering truck? No matter this humble little joint does sell some great BBQ. I think it is more than worth the trip.

Divine 2 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Moon Dog Tavern 4825 E 96th Street

Well we wanted to go to a tavern; a bar; a place what sells alcohol in various form and serves food as well.The trouble is most bars in Indy are pretty much the same. There are a few that bring a little something different to the table but we have already hit most of them. In order to find a place that has something unique to offer we rely on word of mouth or the inter net. If folks don’t offer us suggestions or if joints aren’t willing to use electronic media we are pretty much out of luck. This time we got lucky,via free media. I have noticed Moon Dog before but nothing about it sparked my interest. Then I noticed that it was under new ownership and management;and they had changed their menu in July this year. When I looked at the menu I saw a reference to a smoker,that is always a good sign. So off to the Moon Dog we went.

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This is their smoker. They have it out back,secured and ready to go.

moon dog 242They offer three items from the smoker. Pulled pork butt,sliced brisket and meatloaf sandwich. I was leaning toward the brisket but Pat nudged me toward the meatloaf. He knows how I like meatloaf. I hesitated until our bartender told me that they cook it totally on the smoker. They also used the same meat blend for the meatloaf as they use for the burgers. A custom blend of Sirloin, Tenderloin and Ribeye from Kincaid Meat Market on Illinois St. After that no further discussion was needed.

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It was an excellent sandwich. The meatloaf was moist and succulent and the smoker dude did an excellent job cooking it on the smoker. A beautiful smoke ring, a wonderful aroma of smoke and a delicious texture of good meat cooked just to the point of perfection. And bonus, they offer star tots. I am sure I have covered this before but there is just something about tots.



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Funny story. When I was perusing their menu a few of the items and words reminded me of the Sinking Ship. Evidently Pat as well. I was going to ask our bartender but I forgot. Well, don’t you know while we were eating ,the bartender mentioned to another patron that the new owner had another joint in Broad Ripple. As one voice:” Sinking Ship “erupted from all 3 of us. Thankfully it was still early so the shock was minimal. So if  you want to grub on some Seitan wings and don’t want to drive to 49th Street trust the Moon Dog. If you are a carnivore these guys can take care of you as well.

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Love Handle 2829 E. 10th Street

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Well another new joint has opened in Indy. This one is unique in that the owner/operators Chris and Ally Benedyke are from Indianapolis originally and have just returned from Milwaukee where they owned a similar place by the same name. The new place, like the old one features specialty sandwiches and small plates using local sources. Since they plan on changing the menu weekly they are relying on Facebook and not a web site. Since that was the case I felt compelled to do a bit of reconnaissance, or reconn-oink-ering if you prefer. You know since they do a lot with pig. Well in either event I went in on Tuesday morning for breakfast.

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It is a small place with a counter and a few tables, so it is rather cozy. I was told it used to be a Subway, if that is the case the size makes sense.

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The one item I was most intrigued with was their version of bacon,egg and toast for $7. It was a big slice of pork belly with a jellied egg yolk and toasted french style bread. It was probably one of the most unusual things I have put in my mouth but also one of the tastiest. The pork belly;or bacon is self-explanatory. Salty and unctuous ( I know I use that word a lot but sometimes it just fits) with just the right amount of tooth. The egg was odd in all the right ways. A poached egg yolk encapsulated in an aspic derived from the preparation of hog feet or trotters. Since it was cold it was a shock to my tongue after puncturing the jelly and seeing the yolk flow out but it was as good a mopping egg as any warm poached one. And you had the bonus of pig jelly. Any talk of egg yolk mopping has to lead to bread and their choice of Amelia’s was good but their treatment of it was better. The bread is toasted then spread with a mixture of unsalted butter, apple butter and a hint of seranno chile. It was delicious. The whole plate was a hit.

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I also tried some of their miso and brown butter ice cream for $4. A browned butter is the start of a caramel so if you add that to sugar and cream you get a true decadent caramel. You freeze it you get this. Again a good job. However I didn’t taste much from the miso. But the earthiness of a brown miso can mimick an aspect of caramal I suppose. Regardless it was a great ice cream I would not hesitate to try again.

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I also tried a sweet roll, a Miso- Ovaltine Sweet Roll to be precise, and in full disclosure Ally gave it to me. I guess she thought I wasn’t getting enough to eat. It was an excellent roll and sells for 4 bucks

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So this brings us to Wednesday, the day Pat and I have decided for lunch. I had told Pat about this place and how I was going to check it out beforehand,and he groaned at my oink joke as I am sure most people would. Actually I was surprised that he was willing to give it a try,possibly because it was my turn to buy.

I was pretty sure what I wanted to try from the beginning the Tesa, $7 and the Trotter Croquettes for $6.

Tesa is similar to Prosciutto in that it is slow cured and is eaten without further cooking. Where it differs is the part of the pig it comes from. Prosciutto is from the hind or ham area Tesa is from the belly.

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I received a big old plate of piggy goodness with a bit of cooked beet,sour turnip and jalapeno as accompaniment as well as a bunch of toast. I also got another one of Chris’s eggs as a bonus. Once again everything fit like a glove. Actually I found this more interesting than prosciutto. With the ratio between fat and lean as it is on pork belly it was like getting Lardo as a bonus.

I also had to try the Trotter. Before you freak remember that there is some good meat in a pig’s foot. It just takes a while to get to it,but you do get the added value of the gelatin. Like everything else these croquettes were very good. A crisp exterior and a moist and meaty interior.

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With Pat it wasn’t so easy. I think he just agreed to go just to humor me.

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I was too busy feeding my face so I forgot to take any shots of Pat’s food until the very end.

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Pat's Popcorn

Pat’s Popcorn

They toss the corn in bacon fat and then sprinkle it with Nutritional Yeast, the result is unique and tasty.

The sauces Pat referenced was a soy type reduction and a soda pop mustard both made in-house. They both went well with the Tesa and the trotters,especially the mustard. That was made with Tamarind flavor Jarrito’s soda pop and minimally ground. A very interesting taste.

One last thing. We shared a slice of Lavender and coconut cream tart.

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Great crust,nice and creamy with good coconut flavor. As for the lavender it wasn’t as pronounced as I thought it would be. Good pie regardless. So as you can see I really enjoyed this place and its food. Pat; not so much. But he was a trooper for going there with me. In either event I think it a place worth exploring.

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Mama Irma 1058 Virginia Ave.

Peru has a reputation of being the greatest cauldron of fusion cooking, much more than the rest of Ibero-America. Italian, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese culture all lent a hand with the food of Peru. This place has been around for a while but it took us a while to get to it.

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It is a nice little cafe,seating about 30. The menu is a nice size and appears to represent Peruvian cuisine. However, before I get into the food I must comment on the cook/owner’s attitude about special requests. As most readers know Pat is allergic to onions. When Pat asked our server the best way to avoid onion,we were informed that the cook/owner becomes “offended” when people request changes in her menu. When we asked about the specials the server went back to the kitchen to ask. The cook came out and asked who had the allergy;with an eye roll; and proceeded to suggest the side dishes. She could have offered suggestions,she chose not to.


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I tried a glass of Chicha Morada for $3.50. That is water steeped with blue corn,pineapple skin and brown sugar. It was pretty tasty,but pricey.

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For my lunch,since I am virtually food allergy free, I ordered Aji De Gallina for $9.25. That is shredded chicken in a creamy walnut parmesan sauce and rice. It was a very good dish. The rice was stand alone good and the chicken and sauce was an added bonus. I would eat that dish again. Just somewhere else.

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So I think the food was nicely prepared. I just think that they should cut out the attitude. You don’t have to cater to every whim of the diners just meet them in the middle.

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Iozzo’s Garden of Italy

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Iozzo’s is a place with history. The Great Grandfather, Fred, was the patriarch that started the family business in Indianapolis in the 1920’s. By 1925 he had 2 dozen grocery stores throughout Central Indianapolis. The gem of the empire was an Italian restaurant on South Illinois. It featured a band stand, 2 kitchens,3 bars and seating for 850. A tragedy in 1941 led to a quick and final demise of the restaurant. The family kept their recipes and traditions intact for over 60 years before they opened Iozzo’s Garden of Italy in 2009.

Since it was such a gorgeous day we sat in the garden. A small courtyard paved with cobble stones.

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Along the side were niches that framed some dramatic flame colored blossoms and at the end was a tall lamp-post with lead glass lamps.

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How ever as charming and mellow as the setting was the food was the center of our attention. Also they had half priced wine this day. Pasta, wine and beautiful weather all in a stone and brick courtyard. That just seemed to call to us.

I decided that I needed a glass of Argentine Malbec to start.

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The wine inspired me to have a plate of spaghetti with Bolognese sauce and a salad. The basic pasta with the Family sauce or Marinara is $9. A change to Bolognese is an extra buck and the addition of meatballs is $4. So my pasta and salad was $14. I think it was definitely well worth it.

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Now this was a swell little salad. A bowl of Spring mix,which I really like, one slice of Roma tomato and a cucumber slice. All dressed with a nice Basalmic dressing. Nothing fancy. A simple salad designed to start your appetite.

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My plate of pasta was nicely presented and expertly prepared. A good bite for the noodle and a good sauce made for an excellent lunch, by itself. Add in the meatballs and you get an outstanding meal. They use veal,sausage and beef in making their meatballs. Which,in my estimation is the best combination for a meatball.

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I was very much impressed with this little joint. From the fresh cracked pepper for the salad to the fresh grated cheese for the pasta. Everyone was on point for the service. Also they were short-handed and everyone stepped up and took care of business. That is something I really appreciate. Also, as an aside our server;Elizabeth is one of the grand daughters of Fred. I am not sure how many greats should be injected but she is of the Family Iozzo. A part of the chain. Which I also think is cool.

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Repeal Restaurant 630 Virginia Ave.

I have looked forward to this place opening for a while. It is the restaurant part of 12.05 Distillery. The distillery opened several months back;the second one in Indianapolis. The whole facility, distillery,dining room and kitchen is in an old bank building,built-in 1924. The exterior features the original terra-cotta exterior and uses an abundance of old wood in the interior. The name is a dedication to the date when Prohibition ended. December fifth. I think they are trying to capture a 1930’s vibe and the menu reflects that.

The chef did his due diligence in making some dishes reflective of the era. They offer a Mock Turtle soup as well as a Cream Mongole.

I opted for a cup of a cup of Mongole to start. This is a crazy combo of split pea, creamy tomato and various root vegetables. It was very earthy and flavorful. It would be great winter time fare for $4 per cup and $8 for a bowl.

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The only critique I could make is the soup,as good as it was cries for some cracker. A bit of a crunch to balance the creaminess.

For my main dish I was really torn. They offer a Hot Brown, a Monte Christo and a smoked beef Manhattan. Well I decided on the raw Beef “sandwich” for $13. It was a half pound mound of chopped steak on a thick slice of a rye type bread, topped with a raw egg, pickled onion and a neon relish.

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I thought it was a very elegant and tasty bite for lunch, but then I have a thing for tartare and Kibbeh Nayyeh and the like so I jumped at the chance. I think there are only 2 joints in Indy that offer this particular dish. Once again I must pick a nit. I don’t know if serving it on a thick slice of bread is the way to go. I slid the meat off of the bread and ate it with pieces of the bread I tore off. Luckily Pat didn’t eat all of his bread so I had enough to finish. Also I always though naan was a thin flat bread. Hey I may be wrong. In either event I admire the person that put it on the menu.

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Pat, true to form, ordered the smoked pork sandwich, for $9.

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So;this is Repeal. A nice little joint with a few minor details to iron out. We had two menus. One said Brioche bun the other said Cholla bun. I guess Cholla is the new name for Challah. Oy Vey. Still I think it is a great new joint. I want to go back and try the Mock Turtle soup and the Pimento Cheese. And while I am there I might as well have a cocktail.

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