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Gina’s Grill 7055 E. 16th Street

This place opened in October and is in a Moose Lodge. That is why the banner has to pass as the facade. I found out about it by searching the internet for any new joints in the Irvington area. I don’t consider this as part of Irvington but obviously Google does. The reason I even mention this is that if you want to find new places to eat sometimes you have to search them out. This little grill definitely makes the search worthwhile.

As you know the purpose of this blog is to cheer lead for the independent restaurant. This restaurant is owned and operated by Gina and her husband and it is housed in a Moose Lodge. Now what is more Mom and Pop than that.

Their menu is pretty standard with the exception of one rather creative side dish.

https://www.ginasgrill.com/

They offer a bit of home cooking, which I like , so I had a tough time deciding what to eat. I opted for a Pollock sandwich. Beer battered white fish seemed like a good idea for a cold December day. Also I spent an extra buck fifty for their creative side dish. Fried onion pearls.

Honestly I was a bit nonplussed when I saw two pieces on a round bun. I had expected one piece on a long roll. My confusion was unwarranted. It was a solid 6 ounces of fish and it was very nicely done. The produce was fresh and overall it was a very good sandwich and those crazy onion pearls were excellent. Very clever idea.

I intend on coming back at least to try cake or cobbler. That is the cool thing about independent joints The menus may be nearly identical but the execution can be very different. Example: Onion Rings. The Mug in Irvington and Greenfield puts mustard in their batter for the rings. Not a fan. Gina’s makes their’s Flamin’ Hot. Have to try those.

One more observation. They have a huge smoker out back that could hold a bunch of pig. Now that is one more thing to get excited about. BBQ. Even without a smoker though this is a joint worth looking into.

 

 

His Place Eatery 6916 E 30th Street (revisit)

About 4 years ago Pat and I had lunch here. We both enjoyed it very much. I haven’t had an occasion to go to that part of town until today. Recently my friend Joey wanted to know if I wanted to join her and the family for Linner. ( her word). I promptly accepted and she asked where we should go. I sent her links to 5 different places and the entire family decided on His Place.

Joey is a turkey Manhattan junkie so that is what she ordered.

Her daughters ordered a pulled pork sandwich with mac and cheese and potato salad and a breaded chicken sandwich with fries.

Jason ( AKA The Mister or Jake ) opted for sliced brisket with 2 sides. For some inexplicable reason I did not take a picture. Luckily for me everyone enjoyed their meals.

Last time I had ribs. This time I tried the rib tips with greens and  Coleslaw. Everything was excellent. The tips were full of flavor and wonderfully tender. They could be the best tips I have eaten.

The portions are lavish. Everyone had food to take home. It was an excellent lunch. I really enjoy sharing a meal with Joey and her family. They are great conversationalist and have a real appreciation for good food. A really nice family.

So His Place is still putting out good food and well worth the trip. The entrees are in the $11 to $12 range and come with 2 sides and bread. The sandwiches are about 8 bucks.

https://hisplaceeatery.com/

If you haven’t been there you really should go.

Virginia Avenue Pizza 619 Virginia Avenue

Once upon a time there was a South of Chicago Pizza in Fletcher Place, on Virginia Avenue. It had one of the best, if not the best, Italian Beef sandwich in the city. they also had a lunchtime buffet. They were so successful they were able to open another joint near Greenwood. Back in July they were told that the new building owners didn’t want to renew their lease. So they are gone and this joint is here.

https://vapizzaco.com/

I enjoy buffets. It is just difficult for me to get any decent pictures of the buffet line.

This is most of the salad bar, in 2 shots. For an inexpensive buffet ($11- drink included) it was well-appointed.

They also offered a plain cheese pie and a meatball dish.

On my first trip I got a slice of both the sausage and bacon pies. Deep dish and a thinner crust. I also tried their meatball dish. I enjoy deep dish sometimes, it depends on the crust. However I consider it more an open-faced Calzone than a pie. I agree with Pat about the sauce it tasted of tomato only. Some people swear that a pizza sauce should be unassuming so that the toppings will stand out. Others contend every element of a dish should stand on its own. In this case I am more a stand by itself sorta guy. This especially is relevant with the meatball dish. The meatballs were huge. One cross-section was about 3 inches. They had a great texture, just no great taste. The overall dish was something I would eat at a buffet but as a primary dish, no.

As I said this was a nice salad bar. This was a very good buffet and from the lunch crowd the folks in the neighborhood agree.

Turchetti Salumeria 1106 Prospect St.

I have wanted to come here for a while now. They have been open for a few months and are primarily a production butcher shop that serves as a deli on Friday and Saturday. They have extended hours just this week so we were fortunate we were able to try them out.

Their menu is small but more than adequate.

https://www.turchettis.com/

Patrick is not too adventurous so he ordered their Pastrami sandwich, without 1000 island dressing, for $14. Their sandwiches come with chips but for a upcharge you can get Tallow fries. Like McDonald’s use to have.

I felt compelled to try as many different things that I could. Rather than try one of their Charcuterie boards I opted for Turchetti’s Tour . That is a sampling of 5 salamis for $10.

Their boards are long so taking a picture was tricky. The selections that day; from back to front; Cacciatorini, Finocchiona, Pepperone, Sopressata and Cotto. Each piece had its own distinct taste and personality and were all excellently prepared. How ever I usually default to a pepperone as my favorite salami. This was the case here. Turchetti’s salami is special. It is softer than most and practically melts in your mouth and would be excellent on a pizza.

Since N’duja was not included in the tour I ordered a plate of N’duja deviled eggs for $5. These were the craziest things I have had in a while. I am looking forward to trying that spicy spreadable salami by itself.

I read that they were now offering a Braunschweiger plate for $6. Now how can anyone pass up a chance to try this Classic German deli spread?

If this isn’t the best I have had it is up at the top. Most Braunschweigers are very assertive, they attack your taste buds. This one slips up on you and you can’t help but want more. I think the word sublime comes to mind. Another thing I discovered was Batch No 2 mustard. It is made locally as well. I have heard of it but have never tried it until today. It has an assertive start, to get your attention, but a more elegant finish with a slight hint of sweetness. A perfect partner to this sausage. Another home run. Overall I think this joint has a definite future in Indy. They are already in the process of re-modeling the space next door. They expect that to be ready by Spring 2019 in which case they are expanding their hours to 7 days per week. That is definitely something to look forward to.

 

 

Shalimar Indian Restaurant 1043 Broad Ripple Avenue.

I am sure that anyone who has been to Broad Ripple know this spot. It is just one slot in a long strip mall loaded with slots offering a plethora of different merchandise. From different ethnicities of food to liquor and alternative smoking equipment.

I enjoy Indian food. It is comforting to me. I believe that the majority of my experience with Indian fare has been at buffets. It also seems that I discover something new most of the time.

In addition to the usual cold salad fixings they offered different chutney and pickles.

One of my go to faves. Lamb meat balls

Another favorite is Tandori Chicken. With few exceptions it has always been well made where ever I got it. Crisp outside and moist inside.

This is my first plate of savouries. Rice and various sauces with both meat and veggies. Each dish was nicely done and fit a chilly afternoon.

I didn’t take a picture of my dessert plate. It was my usual choices of rice and mango pudding and Gulab Jamun. This time I tried Carrot Halwa. That would be grated carrot cooked with sweet milk and nuts and raisin. It was new to me and was pretty good.

So if you want an “exotic” lunch for about $8 I think this would definitely fit.

Liter House 5301 Winthrop Avenue. (revisit)

I visited this place solo about 2 months ago. Pat was out-of-town and he didn’t seem too excited about their menu. He considered it too nouveau or something. I just think it had more embellishments than he would have prefered. That is just the way restaurants conduct their business anymore. It takes a lot of bells and whistles to make someone pay 9 or 10 dollars for a sausage sandwich.

https://literhouse.com/

Their smokehouse is finished so I was looking forward to some smoked meats. They have a few items and they also have the occasional special. The first thing I noticed was “burnt ends” for $8. I think burnt ends are some of the best part of the brisket. It comes from the second cut of the brisket which is also the fatty part. If done correctly, and that includes a proper trim they are delicious. Moist and tender with just enough fat to be flavorful. They are also not too common around here.

They serve theirs with a side of pickles and Crystal hot sauce and they were excellent. It was a nice size portion that I couldn’t finish.

The other thing that jumped out at me was fried smelt. I have a thing for smelts and they are even harder to come by than burnt ends.

Another nice amount well worth the 10 buck price tag. The offered a garlic mayo which was all right but I would have preferred a cocktail sauce or a plain old tartar sauce. Another plate I enjoyed but couldn’t finish. My eyes were bigger than my stomach but I did take home dinner.

Their beer garden isn’t quite finished but I expect it will be hopping once warm weather arrives once more. Imagine a nice Spring day munching on a plate of dry rubbed smoked wings and drinking a Big Lug beer under a warm Hoosier sun. Sounds good doesn’t it.

Imbibe 1105 Shelby Street

More than 7 years ago when we started this Blog we ate at Shelby Street Smokehouse in Fountain Square. At that time it was on one end of a building with End of the Line Public House on the other and a self-described lobby bar in the middle. Imbibe. Now that bar has become a restaurant and the Smokehouse only exists in the form of 2 sandwiches that are on the new joint’s menu. The pulled pork and brisket sandwiches. Since I was not really impressed with my first meeting with the brisket I opted for the pulled pork.

As you can see it is a very healthy portion and the sauce is on the side. This is a very good sandwich. It has a definitely smokiness to it. However I believe a lot of that is enhanced artificially with liquid smoke. No matter it is still a good sandwich. The price is $7.99 side included.

Side Choice: Krinkle Kut Fries, Curly Fries, Beer Battered
Onion Rings, House made Waffle Chips, Creamy Cole
Slaw, House made White Cheddar Mac & Cheese As you can see the side options are many. Also for an extra $1.99 you can get a second side, side salad or cup of soup or chile. Sorry but BBQ is not complete with out cole slaw.

My 2 sides, onion rings and slaw were excellent as well. The slaw was creamy and sweet the rings were crisp. I just wonder if they were truly hand battered in-house. Regardless they were very good.

I believe the pizza is a take away from Side Kicks pizza. A short live pizza joint that occupied the End of the Line space when they vacated.

The  basic price of a 9 inch pie is $7.99 and each topping is $1.29. So all the food pricing seems reasonable. Even their beer prices are inline with most joints in the area. Five to six bucks each. I enjoyed my food very much. It is nice to see potentially empty space occupied. Also Ambrosia is working on a casual Italian restaurant in the area where the Smokehouse was. Now that would be something.

Don Gusto P.J. Cafe 3960 S. Meridian Street

Pat “discovered” this joint some time back and we had planned on coming here last week until Bazbeaux got in the way.

Since they are a bakery I wanted to try a Torta. I opted for their Torta Milanese with steak. It can be prepared many different ways but the main ingredient must be breaded and fried. Their version had lettuce, tomato, mayo, cheese and a fried egg to go with a very generous portion of beef steak.

It was an excellent sandwich. All of the components fit well together but what brought it from very good to excellent was the bun. It had a wonderful texture. Soft and fluffy yet with a slight chew to it and perfectly toasted. I was really impressed that sandwich.

The poor Cannoli we shared certainly didn’t last long. I didn’t even have a chance to take a picture. It was crisper than Cannolis I have had else where but it was still pretty good. Since it is in a part of town I hardly ever go to I am not sure when or if I’ll be back. I sure would like to. Those torta rolls are just that good.

 

Bazbeaux Pizza 333 Massachusetts Ave,

Bazbeaux is probably the first “gourmet” pizza joint in the city. That is to say the first joint to offer toppings other than pepperoni, sausage and mozzarella cheese. They opened about 30 years ago and are still pretty popular. They started in Broad Ripple and then expanded to Carmel and downtown Indy.

Patrick has long insisted that we have already reviewed Bazbeaux. My contention was no, we haven’t. We were on our way to some Mexican restaurant on the South side when Pat commented on an article from Nuvo. The article was about local pizza joints and of course Bazbeaux came up. So we decided to go there instead. We didn’t realize that this location was serving a lunch express only. That is when you stand in line to order a slice, some cheese bread or a side salad.

Definitely NOT a Sahm’s salad

I believe they had 4 pizzas that day. Cheese or Pepperoni for $2.75 or a slice of Greek pizza or a BOT for $3.25. I opted for a slice of BOT; which stands for bacon, onion and tomato.

For some reason they added a chiffonade of basil on the top. Having a fresh herb on the top of a hot pie can be tasty at times but when the pie sits under a heat lamp some of the flavor is lost. The pepperoni was fine. Both slices  were fine. Nothing special. A pizza may stay warm on a heated buffet and under a heat lamp but it certainly does not improve the flavor. From the size of lunch crowd this format has probably increased its business but I think the food may have suffered. Of course one could make the point that if people keep coming in what does it matter.

Should I try this joint again it will be at a location where I can get a pie made especially for me.

 

 

Sahm’s Tavern & Big Lug Tap 435 N. Capitol Ave.

That’s right another Sahm’s. Some might say that reviewing one is like reviewing them all. Well this isn’t Mickey D’s. There may be some commonality in the menu selections, however even these aren’t identical. Since the introduction of Rockstone Pizza; a wood fired pie; you can order pizza at several of their locations.

The base price for a 10 inch pie is $10 with a $1.39 charge for toppings. Pat ordered double mushrooms.

Another thing all the Sahm’s I have been to have in common are outstanding salads. Even the standard side salad is exceptionally well done. I think their secret is they pay attention to each salad they make. They treat them as some thing more than just a side dish. This is quite evident in their entre salads.

This is the Chop Chop Salad. A huge salad loaded with diced bacon, peppadew peppers, capacolla, black olives, blue cheese, pistachios, beets and grape tomatoes. To me the cool thing about this salad is that the greens are tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette and a creamy Italian before the goodies are added. I liked the double dressing and especially liked the greens being dressed in the beginning. That is how salads used to be served. Now this is an epic salad. For an up charge you can gild the Lily by adding steak or chicken. All of their big salads are available as full or half. I got the full for $10. The half is $6.

Another plus for ordering a salad is that you get a slice of their coffee cake. I guess that is your reward for eating your veggies.

It is such a simple confection. A sweet cake with a nut paste in the center and dusted with powdered sugar. So simple yet so good. Another addition to all the Sahm’s is Big Lug Beer. That is the Sahm’s Brewery and has been around 3 or 4 years. I believe they were one of the first beer joints to offer their beer in a glass other than a pint. They still do and it is still a great beer.

 

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