eating indie in indy

  • Jimmy's 001
  • Turf's 006
  • Fire 002
  • Don Juan 002
  • The Mug 001
  • Shapiro's 009
  • SOT 002
  • Rook 001
  • Castleton Grill 001
  • Deli 61516 001

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Jimmy’s Diner 3301 Shelby Street

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About 2 years ago this place was doing business as Ma and Pa’s Diner. It was just sold and re-opened as Jimmy’s on August first. Pat goes by it regularly and told me about it last week. We decided to try it out with our buddy Jimmy, who has lunched with us a couple of times.

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Jimmy's

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I didn’t make a copy of their menu and I honestly can’t remember too much of it. They serve breakfast all day and the menu starts out with JJ’s Special. Two bacon, 2 sausage, 2 eggs and potatoes. With a half order of biscuits and gravy and choice of pancakes,waffles or French toast for $9.75. That I remember. That and a double cheese burger and fries sell for $5.75 and on Fridays they have all you can eat Flounder for $14.

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Pat couldn’t wait to try the B&G.

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The biscuits and gravy were pretty good. A decent tasting gravy ( that could have used more sausage) over a ready-made biscuit. The pancakes were of the usual mix variety. Tasty but nothing to get overly excited about. The hardest thing for me to review are breakfast foods. Most biscuits are pre-made and the pancakes come from a mix. There are a few exceptions but this holds true for most joints. For breakfast the execution is everything. People are as finicky of their eggs as they are of their steaks. Most folks will let it slide over a med rare steak ending up more medium but don’t dare break the yolk on their over easy eggs. For my breakfast the preparation was flawless. The eggs were beautiful and the bacon had the proper crisp. As for the sausage I commented to the owner how I liked it and he told me that when he opened up he was using a fresh sausage but folks complained. They didn’t like the pinkness of the meat;so he went back to the pre-cooked patties the previous owner used.

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As you can see the potatoes are crisp and brown. The other potato option was a home fry. If they are as crisp as these that would be the way to go.

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Don’t expect anything fancy or pretentious here just expect some good cooking.

Jimmy's Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Turf Catering & Kitchen 8155 Castleway Court W. Suite C.

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Usually when I see Suite in an address for a restaurant I figure it is one slot in a big building in a strip mall. Well this place is in a slot, a tiny one at that. However the big building only has 2 businesses. Turf’s on the far end and a big old muffler place. I would guess it is in a quasi industrial use area. Unusual for a restaurant but not so for a caterer. The place is 90 percent kitchen with minimal space for sitting and ordering and the walk in cooler on the outside. Another thing they have is exceptional food.

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I learned of this place from a food blog. The writer was really excited about the grilled cheese and the Crogue as well as the pimento cheese. Everything was very tempting but I opted for the short rib sandwich and a side of pimento cheese. The picture of the menu board isn’t that legible so at the end I am including a scan of the menu. They have a very impressive set of side dishes at a more than respectable price.

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Their pimento cheese was wonderful. Creamy and cheesy. Some of the best I have had,and with their homemade bread it could be a meal all by itself.

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The short rib and cheese sandwich was excellent as well. Super rich and with a sweetness from the red onion jam that would make it an excellent dining companion with an IPA. Alas they only offer soft drinks. I especially liked the char they put on the bread. That always adds a new dimension of flavor.

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Pat was really excited about this place once he was told that he could substitute on their menu.

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As the sign noted they have only been open since 2013. Their main bag is catering so I am glad they decided to serve lunch during the week. Since they are caterers I am sure they have a propensity for fresh product more so than the average restaurant. I am in full agreement with Pat. Anyone planning on a catered affair with these guys, let us know.

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TURF Catering + Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fire by the Monon 6523 Ferguson

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This place has been around a few years. Located North of the Canal in Broad Ripple it doesn’t get the attention joints farther South receive. It also doesn’t have the traffic and noise some of those other places get. It is a pleasant old building with very nice outdoor seating. However with the weather we have had dining out doors was not an option.

I think I have passed this place up because the menu was;for the most part; a bit typical of so many other taverns. The reason I reconsidered was a food blog I read that praised their Grueben sandwich. That would be  flash fried grouper on grilled rye bread with Swiss, slaw and Russian dressing. In other words a Ruben sub fish. As it turned out I didn’t even order that.

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I didn’t order either the dirty Mac and Cheese or the almost famous Fish Tacos. I did order their Blacken Mahi, with side choice for $9.95.

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The fish was a very nice piece. The spice level was low so I really didn’t get the “Cajun” effect but it was flavorful. The fish was a bit overcooked, but with such a firm piece of fish it wasn’t a deal breaker. The onion rings were plentiful and tasty. However the batter was pretty salty for my tastes. Of course I did manage to finish them so I guess they weren’t TOO salty. I think I would order it again just with a different side. The rings were really filling.

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The size of the fish on Pat’s plate reminding me of another place we went to. They offered big chunky pieces and the batter was so thick it didn’t crisp up all the way through and the fish was “steamed”. That wasn’t the case here but the batter was as salty as my onion rings. Also I was able to taste a piece of the cod and I though it was very well done.

I also tried one of the $4 beers. That particular “flavor” of Upland I have wanted to try for a while and this was my first opportunity. I found it to be a very crisp and refreshing beer; perfect for the days of August. I can see my self coming back here. Sitting outside having a beer and a Grouper sandwich. It doesn’t overlook the Canal and it doesn’t have the people watching available South but it looks comfy and shady,and they have a good Draft menu.

Fire by the Monon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Don Juan 3720 E. Raymond St.

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A friend told me about this place a few weeks ago. After contacting them to make sure onion could be left off their sandwiches it was a go. We also had a guest;our friend from Cali who was in for the day;on his way back home. They offer 9 sandwiches and a few appetizers. We all decided to start off with some Yucca fries for about 4 bucks and change.Don Juan 006

All 3 of us enjoyed them. If you have ever eaten fried Yucca you know they are sturdier and more fibrous than potatoes. In many ways I think they are tastier than the usual french fry. They serve them with a mayo based sauce that was so so. The winner was the Peruvian hot sauce. A mixture of chiles, spices and vegetables that give a wonderful “burn” on your throat. I used it on everything. Our buddy David was torn between the Asado; beef pot roast and the Chicharrones; slow cooked pork deep-fried and served with fried sweet potato. So was I. The obvious solution was to order one of each and share. We were both very impressed. Each sandwich had its own taste signature and a wonderful depth of flavor. I am sure it was because of the spice and herb marinade. Also the onion on top brought another layer of flavor as well as bit of crunch. I think the Asado won out over the Chicharrone. Both sell for $8.99.

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This is the Asado. The picture doesn’t do it justice at all.

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The space is bigger than it looks from the outside. The floor is concrete that appears to have been partially cut into squares and then painted black and white. The walls are covered in corrugated sheet metal giving the joint an industrial vibe.

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After we finished lunch our server brought us out a sample of their purple corn “tonic”. They take the corn and boil it down with pineapple and other ingredients to make a dark liquid with a slight medicinal taste but with an overall sweetness that is really pleasant. I really recommend the Asado or beef pot roast. It is a great taste that you don’t always find in a simple sandwich.

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Don Juan Peruvian Sandwiches Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Mug 117 Apple 117 Apple Street Greenfield In. 46140

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Now this place is far from our normal turf but it seemed like it would be a good choice for today. It took over for a Drive In by the name of The Frosty Mug,which opened in 1954 but was forced to close in 2011. The owner of local Tyner Pond Farm bought it at auction in 2013 and started selling the usual drive in fare;with a twist. All of the product is local and the beef and pork all come from his own farm.

Their basic burger is a quarter pounder with cheese,white onion and pickle for $2.75 and grows from there;culminating in a triple patty with triple bacon and cheese for $9.50. I started with the “Two and change Burger” for $2.75.

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It certainly isn’t much to look at but it was just what I wanted,a tasty little piece of meat with white onion and pickle.

 

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I don’t think a shot under the cover helps much;does it?

I also wanted to try one of their dogs. They offer a “Kiply Dog for $3.50. That’s one of their dogs topped with Sloppy Joe meat. They have a Sloppy Joe sandwich for $3.75.

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It was very good. They make the dogs at Tyner Farm and they are excellent tasting more sausage than Ball park dog. The Sloppy Joe meat was a bit sweet; as it should be and made a very nice balance.

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The last item I ordered was the house made onion rings. I was a bit disappointed in these;only because they added mustard to the batter. Not a big fan. Wouldn’t get them again.

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Yes I was slow in eating my lunch;but I had two sandwiches and rings to deal with and Patrick only had one sandwich. Speaking of which he gave me a hunk to try and I was impressed with the quality of the meat. Oh here is a pic of Pat’s naked dog.

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I personally would love to go back and try their Cuban and their pulled pork. And some other stuff but they are so damn far. Luckily they are adding a second place in Irvington; sometime. It was supposed to be open by now I have no idea what the hold up is. They also sell a locally source ice cream. What brand I do not know. I do know they have a sweet corn flavor as well as a maple bacon. Can you image a waffle cone with one scoop of each in it. Ain’t Indiana Grand.

The Mug Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Shapiro’s 808 S. Meridian St.

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Shapiro’s has been a part of Indianapolis since 1905. Everything they serve is made here. From the bread and confections to the soups and smoked tongue. I think the only reason we haven’t reviewed this joint before is we figured most of the folks who eat out already know of Shapiro’s. After last weeks debacle with the “Cajun” I didn’t care. I wanted a joint that I knew was good. Since yesterday when I decided to come here I knew what I was going to get. Chopped liver on rye.

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All of their sandwiches are big;the liver is no exception. As you can see I took a bite before I took the picture. Their chicken liver is excellent. Rich and dense with just the right amount of fat (schmaltz) to make it right. I got a whole sandwich for $8; even though I had to take half home. I love chopped liver and I make a pretty fair one myself. However Shapiro’s has the best. You can even add a Schmear of the liver to any sandwich for $2.55.

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Another thing I was hungry for was some Matzo Ball soup. I thought that Shapiro’s was the only joint in town with Matzo Ball soup but I discovered that the Cafe Patachou on 49th and Penn has it on Fridays. I haven’t tried it yet so I can’t make a comparison.

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To me matzo ball soup is elegant in its simplicity. The balls in their soup are an excellent combination of texture. Dense enough to taste the meal yet light enough to soak up the excellent chicken soup,or broth. You can buy it by a cup or bowl or by the quart or gallon. A bowl costs about $4.30.

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I don’t think a meal at Shapiro’s would be complete without pie or cake. I couldn’t resist a slice of German Chocolate cake for $4.10.

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It was a pretty good cake.  It had a creamy chocolate frosting with coconut pressed into it. Not what I am used to for a German Chocolate but a pretty good cake any way.

They open at 6 AM and serve the usual omelets etc. After 10 they have the hot line up and offer hot meats. So whether  you want a plate lunch or dinner or a sandwich and a pickle they have you covered.

Shapiro's Delicatessen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Some of This…Some of That 2405 N. College

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SOT SOT started as a food truck. After a couple of years the owner decided to build a brick and mortar Cajun Table while keeping his food truck rolling. He picked an old abandoned building in a less than hip part of town and refurbished it. From what I hear he did most of the work himself. The result is a very good looking place with lots of exposed brick and shiny distressed wood flooring.

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Cajun and Creole food are some of my favorites bites; and I have a bit of experience in it as does my bitter/better half. Since she didn’t want to come out to play I thought I would do carry out. They offer the obligatory Po Boy sandwiches as well as your typical entrees. They offer Crawfish and Shrimp Etouffee; Jambalaya; Bourbon Chicken and Vegetarian Red Beans and Rice. They are priced out at $7 to $10 each but you can order a pick two for $11.50 and a Sampler for $14.50. They also have Gumbo; either Seafood or Chicken& Sausage as a cup for $5 or a bowl for $10.

I ordered a pick 2 of Etouffee and Jambalaya and a bowl of Gumbo; all to go. When I got home I did not re-plate for the picture-taking. I took the pics as they are.

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This is the pick two. The Etouffee is in the foreground and the Jam is in the background. Also the garlic bread is on the left. Well to be concise we were both underwhelmed and disappointed. The Etouffee had the best flavor and a nice “Cajun” feel to the veggies however we could only find one shrimp and one Crawdad tail. Lee ( my partner) was the lucky winner and she thought the shrimp was over cooked. The second part of our pick two was the Jam and it was definitely the least enjoyed. The texture was “mushy” and it had an odd taste that neither of us could name.

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Our final dish was the $10 bowl of Gumbo.SOT 007

I probably should have re-plated it but the only rice provided was in the bottom of the 12 ounce go bowl. Needless to say the picture is not very appealing. Apologies. We both thought it was a bit thin but that is probably subjective from what we are accustomed to. We differ on the basic flavor of the gravy. I thought it pretty good; reminiscent of a dark brown roux she did not. Another thing we were in agreement in was the dearth of veggies and meat in the dish. We ordered the chicken and sausage version and we got a few pieces of chicken and a rather mediocre sausage. So I don’t know what happened. Was it a very bad day and I should give this joint another go? I am not sure.

In summation. The Etouffee had the best flavor;just no shrimp or crawfish. The Jambalaya was a dish we could not finish and The Gumbo needs a bit of attention to the Trinity and the type of sausage. It is a nicely renovated building and I wish them the best.

 

 

 

Some of this Some of that - SOT SOT Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Rook 501 Virginia Ave.

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This restaurant was located in a smaller venue just South of here. They made the move in February this year and I have wanted to go here since then. I didn’t want to go alone but since I couldn’t find anyone to go with me I decided that I may as well indulge myself. Their menu has a Southeast Asian flair to it with a touch of the Philippines. I am adding a link so you can see the menu.

http://www.rookindy.com/

This is their second menu. Gone are the dumplings and the Pig Faced Hash. Their dumplings were very good. They will be missed.

As you can see the chef definitely has an affection for the Noble Pig. Actually I think I finally overdosed on pork. My entire lunch was ordered from the Appetizer section of the menu. I started with a Pig Face Taco for $5.

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The meat from the head actually is the most tender on the pig so when they say it is from the face that is what they mean. The meat was rich with just the slightest hint of fat. It was garnished with small bits of cracklings and cured egg yolk. The mix of salty and savory was balanced out with a slightly sweet and sour Ponzu Mayo. It was a definite hit with me. However I was not a big fan of the corn tortilla they chose. I have had better in town.

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My second “course” was a Pork Belly steamed Bun also $5

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This was probably my favorite. A nice tender piece of pork in a soft bun with pickled cucumbers, hoisin sauce and peanuts. It just was simply great. It had all of my taste buds involved and after lunch my mouth and belly thanked me.

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The last dish I ordered was Crispy Pig Ears with a 63 degree egg and Guacamole for $8.

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As you can see the ears are sliced thin and then treated like potatoes. Fried and seasoned like a French Fry. The egg and Guacamole were to serve as a dipping sauces for the “fries”. For the most part that worked out really well. I love eggs prepared that way and to place one on a bed of chiles and avocado is great. However the whites of a sous vide egg are not really appetizing looking. Usually when I have had them they are placed in a bowl of stew, soup or noodles and the egg is mixed in. So it could just be my own peculiarity.

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So I definitely recommend this place. I also highly recommend all the dishes I have had. Especially the pig ears; as a sharable appetizer. As a first course not a last one for a solo diner. They have a whole lot to offer, not just pig.

Rook Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Castleton Grill 6010 E. 82nd Street

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This week is Burger Week in Indy. Several restaurants have agreed to offer select burgers for $5 with a part of the proceeds going to Second Harvest Food Bank. The trouble is we have already been to the Independent joints that are participating. I did find one we haven’t been to that is local and that offered a relatively simple burger. Naturally when we got there Pat decided on a fish sandwich.

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This Grill offers 3 fish. Cod, Faroe Island Salmon and Mahi. You have a choice of how your fish is prepared. Battered and fried, blackened or grilled. A burger is no competition for Faroe Salmon so I ordered blackened Salmon. For sides you can get your typical fries,chips and slaw they also offer an Andouille sausage potato cake.

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Well the both of the fish portions were small; 4 to 5 ounces. The mini hoagie roll was cute but my potato cake side was bigger than my fish. As far as taste goes it was pretty underwhelming. My fish was pretty to look at but was bland; even with Blackening spice. Salmon is a robust fish and should have a taste to match. As for the potato cake it was pretty boring as well. A “mushy” texture with no discernible evidence of sausage in it. I guess the corn relish on top was supposed to offer taste and crunch.

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There is a pretty common saying in the Restaurant biz. “People eat with their eyes” That is just an admonition to make every plate attractive. Well the dining may start with the eyes but eventually the customers will open their mouths. Make sure the statement your food makes is something you want to say.

So Pat’s Cod was $9 and my Salmon was $10. Craft drafts are $6; in other words typical Castleton prices. There are better joints to eat even up in this area.

Castleton Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Keystone Deli 2344 E. 53rd. Street

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I don’t get this joints name. It is right off Keystone Ave. It does offer s few “deli” style sandwiches with its flat top burgers and fries and such but that is a small percentage of its menu. I first discovered the place some years back as a meat plus 2. The have a large steam table loaded up with a good variety of home style eats and put out a nice little lunch for 7 bucks. Today we had to have breakfast because of prior commitments. What we discovered was a great little diner that serves large portions of nicely prepared breakfast foods for a very reasonable price.

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Pat’s plate was $7.95 and came with a choice of toast or 2 biscuits. Now who would opt for toast when they could have 2 fluffy scratch made biscuits? Not Pat. Or me,for that matter.

Now my breakfast was $7.45 and it consisted of biscuits and gravy, and a choice of apples or grits.

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They also give you 2 eggs,your choice, bacon or sausage and potatoes.

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Now that is a breakfast. You know the most important meal of the day. The biscuits were moist and fluffy and the gravy was excellent. This place may have it over Olly’s gravy, as far as taste. The Deli’s gravy has little specks of red pepper in it. However as for the amount of sausage I think Olly wins. The bacon was outstanding as well. Just crisp enough. I agree with Pat about the taters. They could have been a lot crisper and they could have used some seasoning. The grits were what you would expect. Nice and thick and just a tad lumpy. Just waiting for a pat of butter and some hot sauce.

They also have pancakes and waffles. As a matter of fact you can order a pancake to go with your breakfast for an extra buck. So if you are into “home cooked” breakfast food and aren’t too concerned about ambiance then this is a place for you. However if you need a Brunch like atmosphere and a Mimosa then this ain’t for you.

Keystone Deli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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