eating indie in indy

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Well due to the Corona virus our state government has decreed that all restaurants, breweries and taverns are to cease all in house dining. So Pat and I will not be out for the next few weeks. Tentatively this will only last through March. Carryout is still allowed so we may try a carryout post. Until we are allowed to eat out again everyone be safe and support your favorite joint the best you can.

Vinny's Drive Bar 707 N. Lynhurst Drive

Pat and I have been doing this for nearly 8 years and have reviewed more than 450 eating establishments. Some weeks are easier than others to pick a place. It is my function to find the joints to eat at. Pat has a hand in the process when there is a place he would like to try or when I come up empty. That was the case this week. He had a list from the westside and I thought Vinny’s would work. Of course I read it as Dive Bar and I figured that any joint that admits its diviness should be visited. Of course Pat and I were both wrong.

We started out with an order of Portabello fries. An interesting spin on the ever present breaded mushroom. They were pretty good. Thick and meaty and were served with a spicy ranch dressing. They were a pretty good way to start a meal and cost 6 bucks.

Their menu is typical bar. Basic sandwiches and appetizers. They offer BBQ and pizza as well but they do it with a different spin. The Q comes from BBQ Heaven and the pies come from Rolynos. That is a local joint that started putting out pies in the early 70’s. I find that interesting; especially the pizza. Their special that day was a Spanish burger with fries for $7.50. Now that would be a seasoned and hand formed burger marinated and then cooked in a spicy tomato based sauce with added green peppers, onions and jalapenos.

I thought it was a pretty good burger. Nicely spicy and good flavor but what really made it stand out was the compaction of the patty itself. If all of their pattys are done this way it may be worth a trip back to try one chargrilled. It could be a prefect candidate for a medium rare one.

When we review a place we don’t expect folks to drop everything and run and try it out. What we would like is for those times when people are out and decide they want to eat they may remember a joint nearby that we reviewed and want to give it a try. If you are in the area keep Vinny’s in mind.

Hellas Cafe 8501 Westfield Blvd.

We weren’t sure where we were going to eat this week. I thought of an Asian Grill that was scheduled to open in Broad Ripple. We drove by but they weren’t ready yet so we headed north. When we hit Nora we saw Hellas and decided we needed some Greek food.

I had a desire for Mousaka. A creamy macaroni dish just appealed to me. Their version was very good. The Sauce Bechamel was smooth and creamy and decadently rich. The sides were well executed s well The beans were cooked down Hoosier style and the potatoes were crisp and tender. All in all it was an excellent meal.

Both of our lunches came with salads; which I forgot to take pictures of. They were normal side salads and came with an excellent vinaigrette. Both cost $12.49 so I thought they were reasonable considering what you got. Our server was attentive but the overall service made me nervous. There was one server and one cook and the kitchen was building the salads to order. That really struck me as odd. The cook got behind quickly but she managed it well and never really ended in the weeds. Evidently their customers aren’t in a hurry to get back to work so if you want a warm and leisurely Greek meal consider Nora Plaza and Hellas. I don’t get this way often but if I do I want to try their Dolmades. They build theirs with ground meat which is my preference.

Thai Town 5130 W. 38th St.

There are two Thai Towns on the westside. One on South High School Road and this. The newest. It is a very spacious and good looking joint.

It was a chilly day and Pat and I both ordered Thai Ginger tea. It was served to us with our first course. The first course was an excellent Thom Yum soup and a spring roll. The soup was excellent. Sparse on veggies but abundant in depth of flavor. It had a slight heat to it, which brought a warmth. The spring rolls are made in house and have onion in them so Pat gave me his. I thought they were wonderful. They reminded me of something I used to eat from an A&P Deli many years ago.

I also must add the the tea was delicious. My usual tea samplings have been limited to a more pedestrian variety so the Thai Ginger tea was quite a treat.


I followed Pat with an order of a red curry with medium heat. It was very good. A nice consistence level of heat punctuated with a few veggies. I would have prefered more eggplant and less green beans but it was still a good dish. I couldn’t finish it all after my soup and two spring rolls.

All in all this was a very nice lunch with excellence service.and at a very good price. Our lunches were 8 bucks each. I will be back for the tea, spring rolls and soup. That would be a meal for me.

http://thaitowncuisine.com/

Two Deep Brewing 714 N. Capitol Ave.

https://www.twodeepbrewing.com/

Two Deep has been around since 2014 and I have been there several times. However this was my first time to eat. The previous owners seemed unsure of who they were. They changed their hours and food offerings a few times. It seem that they wanted it to be a club house for beer drinkers and at first encouraged customers to bring in food. When that didn’t work they added food service. At first it was pizza, I think,and then they moved on to something else. Now the new owners are treating the joint like a bar or pub that brews beer not as a brewery taproom with limited food choices. They have an extensive list of appetizers so we started with cheese curds.

They do not make these in house but they were pretty good for $7.45

Pat rationalized that since the cheese curds were considered protein he could order a battered mushroom app for $8.45. These they do in house.

I was leaning toward a brisket sandwich but then Heidi our server told me they buy it already smoked I changed my mind. In most cases “smoked” meat you buy has been enhanced with liquid smoke. They also offer smoked pork and smoked chicken so I guess I can assume they are all purchased ready to go. I eventually decided on a burger. If you look at their menu you will notice that the burgers are pretty pricey. A regular cheese burger for $11.95. I wonder why. The burgers come with a choice of fries or tots, I decided on a burger with Swiss and tots.

The burger was pretty good and the amount ot tots was rediculous. Pat and I both ate on them and I still had a pile to take home.

The piece of lettuce on my sandwich was really green and my first thought was they used the outer most leaf on a head of iceberg. The part that some cooks throw away. It did not influence the taste any it just looked “odd” to me.

Our food did take longer to come out then I think it should have. Also I ordered my burger med rare and that is not how it came out. These are minor issues that will usually work themselves out. The nuts and bolts of this joint are solid. Good beer, good hours and an appropriate menu. Most imprtantly they have good service. Heidi is excellent and the new “trainee” is spot on as well. I will be back I just wish they would start smoking their own meats.

Madera Tex Mex BBQ & Tap 5711 E. 71st St.

Well we are back and at a new brisket joint. This location was G.T. South BBQ a few years back and then they closed rather abruptly. This place may very well fill their void quite nicely. https://maderatexmexbbq.com/

While chatting with our server Betsy I learned that they make their own tortillas. They do not offer a chips and salsa but they do sell a chips and queso for 7 bucks. One thing about their tortillas. They are flour torts not corn. They work well with the cheese sauce just expect them to be “flakey”. That is just the nature of a flour tortilla free floating in hot oil.

Pat didn’t want any bread so he opted for a half pound of pulled pork for $8. He was unable to get slaw because they put onion in theirs.

I had to have brisket since a good sliced brisket sandwich is still difficult to get around here. And I discovered that they have a good one for $10.

These guys may be new to town but they do a great job with their brisket. The smoke was subtle and the meat was tender and moist. The rub they used is unassuming so you can really taste the beef.

Since I currently have no difficulty eating onion I ordered a side of slaw for $3. I usually prefer my slaw to be sweet and creamy; like Grandma’s brand. The slaw that Madera puts up is lightly dressed with a slightly sweet and tangy effect. I really liked it. It had a great mouth feel and would work on top of a pulled pork sandwich very well.

Rarely do I make it back to a joint a second time. It is like that bear and mountain thing. However I have done it before and it looks like it is going to happen again. I am indeed planning on going back to Madera. Welcome to Indy.

Rad Brewing. Formerly know as Flat 12 Brewing 414 Dorman Street.

Another brewery but definitely not a Gastropub. I reviewed this joint not so long ago as Turn 3. Shortly after Books and Brew bought the joint out. https://kosherhamandcheese.com/2019/05/04/turn-3-chicken-and-waffle-flat-12-bierwerks-414-dorman-street/

The first thing I noticed was the pricing. They have downtown pricing for less than downtown sandwiches. They want $7.99 for a quarter pound hamburger which comes with a standard cold set and cheese. All of their sandwiches come with waffle fries. Rather than go with a burger I opted for their chicken. It comes both grilled and breaded. I wanted to see if the breast tasted the same as the chicken I had with my waffle. Well it didn’t. It was a good piece of chicken but the breading was different. So I don’t know what to make of that. Did they change the breading or change to a pre breaded product? My taste buds are old, like me, but I don’t think it is the same chicken. That could be why Rad has to charge $7.99 for a 4 ounce sandwich and Turn 3 charged $7 for the same size breast and a fresh waffle.

Normally waffle fries are treat but these were only average and not as crisp as I think they should be. As I wrote previously all sandwiches come with chose of cheese. I chose Swiss. Well what I got was not Swiss it was that abomination that food providers call Americn Swiss or White American. Cheese food without the annatto coloring.

One final thought about this joints pricing. Some places that sell burgers offer different burgers with different toppings and clever names or a list of available toppings at an upcharge. This joint decided to sell “packaged” upgrades at different price points. I think the price points, at $3.50 to $5 are just too high. Especially when they are in addition to a $7.99 base. I understand they use Smoking Goose bacon and chorizo and their product is expensive but I think I would go a different route. I still want to go back and try their waffle and chicken and maybe a grilled chicken sandwich as well. If for no other resson than to see what I get.

Taxman Brewing Co. 310 S. Delaware St.

When I can’t come up with someplace interesting to go to there is always a bar or tavern to fall back on. Or since the proliferation of Craft Brewerys the Gastropub. I think that word was coined so people would know it isn’t just a common bar that slings common beer but a joint that dispenses Craft Beer. One sign that it is a Gastropub is if they offer Frites instead of fries. Taxman has Frites. Their menu isn’t too convoluted just some basics that beer drinkers would enjoy. https://www.taxmanbrewing.com/home-cityway/

You may not be able to tell from the photo but Pat’s tenderloin is thick. Eight ounces of barely beaten pork thick. It was nearly an inch thick, something you would see served on a plate for dinner. Pat really enjoyed it regardless of how it was prepared.

I had wanted to try one of their waffles but they were out for some reason. So I opted for a double smash burger.

It was an unpretentious sandwich. Two patties from Turchetti smashed on a flat top and covered with American cheese. Like Pat’s sandwich it came with a pile of Frites.

Pat and I both were not overly impressed with the fried potatoes. In our estimation the fries from Upland and Chicago Beef and Dog were better. They were crisper which we both preferred.

The building used to be a stable and it was moved to this location and rehabed. They did a fantastic job. They also added a beer garden for the warmer weather. I think this will be a great place to grab a bite or a beer after work. They also serve spirits and wine and will be open for Brunch and everyone loves Brunch.

Shapiro’s Delicatessen 808 S. Meridian St.

Shapiro is one of my favorite joints. It is always a sure thing for a great sandwich or a hot dinner. This is my first time for breakfast. Pat and I did not meet last week; we both had too many other things going on. We decided on breakfast and I suggested on Shapiro’s. I had a desire for some great corned beef hash and they have the best. You can get it as a side for $3.95 or as an entree with 2 eggs and toast for $5.25. I opted for it with eggs.

My portion was huge and my eggs were poached. The hash was excellent. Big hunks of potato and a bunch of their in house made corned beef. If you like corned beef hash I don’t think you can get any better than this. As for toast when you order breakfast at Shapiros you just have to order rye bread toast.

I don’t usually drink sode in the AM but I can’t resist Dr, Brown’s Cream Soda

Pat ordered scrambled eggs on the side and naturally rye toast. His eggs were wonderfully mixed and appered to be more than 2.

I am sure most of you are familiar with Shapiro’s sandwiches and plate meals but in case you did not know you can get the same quality of food for breakfast. They offer biscuits and gravy I just don’t know what kind of gravy, also they are now serving pancakes. If anyone has had the biscuits and gravy let me know how it is.

Peppy Grill 1004 Virginia Avenue.

Peppy Grill has been around this town since right after World War two. By 1960 there were 10 locations around town. Now the one in Fountain Square is the only one left. When it closed in November 2018 a lot of people doubted that it would ever reopen. Well it did reopen with a new interior and kitchen and fancy red rolled and tucked booths as well.

We started the meal off with some breaded mushrooms for about 4 bucks. They were the standard pre breaded shrums you will find at most bars or diners. Good but not great.

Pat was so intent on reminiscing about times gone by he didn’t even talk about his food. Well as you can see it was a cheese burger. A single one served with chips. He seemed to enjoy it. It appears it was started on a flat top and then transfer to a grill for some marks. It was cheap. Less than 5 bucks.

For some reason I ordered a Pollock sandwich for $7.25. Pollock is an “okay” fish it just doesn’t captured my imagination. But fried fish on a rainy day seemed like a good idea.

You could tell right off that it wasn’t breaded in house. It came in breaded and frozen so all you had to do is drop it in a fryer. Their tenderloin is the same way. Pre breaded cooked right from the freezer.Good but not great.

Maybe this hew Peppy will grow into something close to the old one. In house soups and stews and pies but until that time there is always breakfast foods.

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