eating indie in indy

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Daredevil Hall 2721 E. 86th Street Suite 180

Last week it was a small joint run by 3 women and this week it is a well know brewery that started in Speedway and now has expanded to the North side of Indy. The place is spacious and has a great patio for the warm weather. The Brewery Taproom in Speedway offered a small menu but also allowed folks to bring in carry out or order food from other places nearby. That is something a few breweries do. They may not offer food so they let customers bring in their own.

However here I don’t see them letting someone brown bag it. Their menu is predictable. That is not to say it is a bad menu or that the food is bad it is just that it is like so many “gastro pubs”. Some bar faves and others more trendy and hip.

http://daredevilbeer.com/thehall/

We had another fellow with us named Ed. He has an appreciation of food and drink and it is always nice to hear his thoughts. He ordered a steak sandwich for $12. All of their handhelds come with fries or salad.

While we were waiting for Ed Pat ordered some Poutine, because he was hungry and that served as our appetizer. Sadly I didn’t take a picture until after we had started eating.

Normally Poutine is served with a gravy covering the fries and the cheese curds on top of that. Pat wanted the gravy on the side because of possible onion issues. There were a few really burned pieces of potato but those were my favorite bites. A good layer of gravy probably would have prevented that. Now for Ed’s steak sandwich.

Ed thought his steak sandwich was good. The meat tender with no gristle, and the fries were excellent. I agree with him on the fries. They were twice fried so they ended up crisp and hot.

I opted for the Daredevil dog. That is an all beef sausage with pub cheese and a Colorado pork green chile. I wasn’t sure what this was but if it has green chiles in it then I am in. It turned out to be a nice portion of pork simmered in a green chile sauce. I would have been happy with a bowl full with a couple of flour tortillas. As it was I used it as a topping for my dog and a dipper for my fries. I ate most of it with a spoon. Overall it was a good plate. The dog was tasty and the pub cheese was a slightly spicy bridge for the green chile. I would get it again but sub a salad for the fries. Who can eat all the fries they give you?

So this joint has pretty good food and very good beer but the service left a bit to be desired. Our server was nice enough he just seemed a couple of steps behind. If he want’s to work in this industry he might want to develop a sense of urgency.


Paleo Soul 7305 E 96th Street

I found this place on a net search. I thought that such a clever name needed further study.

The Paleo Diet is an eating plan that tries to duplicate the eating habits of our ancestors; 10000 years ago. In other words food a hunter gatherer would consume. That means no grains, legumes or dairy. The owner came up with the idea because members of her own family have some food allergies and she thought Paleo could be an answer. Not all the menu is Paleo but it has a few items and if our lunch is an indication all of it is delicious.

I was tempted to order beans and rice and chicken and noodles two of their non Paleo dishes for $3.95 each. However once I learned that the meatloaf was just out of the oven I could not resist.

I know I said that I would never order mac & cheese out again but I just had to try theirs. I am glad I did. This was creamy and cheesy with a slightly crisp top. A great partner to the meatloaf. As for the meatloaf I thought it was delicious as well. It was seasoned perfectly and I loved that it had a bit of ketchup on the top. When you took a bite you would taste the savory gravy and then a taste of vinegary sweetness from the ketchup.

Both of our entres were $10.99; drink included. After consuming my meatloaf I was beguiled into ordering a piece of cheese cake, for $4.

This wasn’t a cheese cake that you would get at GFS or Sysco this was scratch made by the owner’s cousin. It was thick and rich without being overly sweet. I don’t know that I have had better.

Every thing in this little joint is made from scratch. The food is excellent and the prices are good and the only thing left to comment on is the staff. The folks here are wonderful. They went out of their way to make us truly feel at home. It was like eating at a friend’s house. It is a shame it is so far from me. I will try to get back soon.


Whiskey Business 5220 Southport Road.

Well another tavern. From what I was told by the bartender we had last week this is a joint that scratch makes 90 % of their food. They have 2 locations. This one and one up north on Pendleton Pike.

http://www.whiskeybiz.com/

This spot is clean and nicely done up and offers 25 lunch specials every day for $7.95. They are the same every day so the kitchen doesn’t have to do something new every day. Also for the most part they are regular menu items at a reduced price.

Pat gave me a piece of his tenderloin and it was well seasoned and the meat had a great texture; but it had that unmistakable after taste of old oil in the deep fryer. That is a shame.

When I order I try to get something that I wouldn’t do at home. Because of the time it takes or the mess it would make. In this case it would have been the battered and fried cod sandwich. However I mis-heard Pat and I thought that was what he ordered so I went for the Sloppy Joe with fries.

I have a fondness for Sloppy Joe sandwiches. I know they are hardly a challenging dish but I do enjoy them. What I got yesterday was very good. I can’t say that it did or did not come from a can because I have never knowingly had that canned sauce. I make it from scratch, that is just how I am wired. The only bad thing I can say about my lunch was the fries. They had that same after taste as Pat’s tenderloin.

I am with Pat. I would like to try their $9 steak special but it is too far for me to drive. Overall it was a good lunch but it could have been better.


Monkey Business 5055 S Dearborn Street

Pat picked this place. He learned of it from his cousin, who is a regular. That is one of the interesting things about taverns. Their regulars usually visit more often than a regular at a dinner house. When you go to a dinner house you go to eat. Same can be said for a lunch place. When you visit a tavern you can eat or drink. Taverns also have a bunch more appetizers than a  restaurant. So the occasions to go to a tavern are more numerous. Pat mentioned that this joint was previously named Harry C’s. I have never heard of that place either.

We started out with some fried pepper jack cheese cubes. For some reason I neglected to take a picture. These little things were very good. Lightly breaded and cooked perfectly. I was really surprised that they weren’t hand-made in the kitchen. I have had these before and they weren’t nearly as good.

Pat didn’t write about what he had for lunch. I guess he was still thinking of his prime rib dinner. He had a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon and tomato for $6. I guess he liked it. I mean it is really hard to mess up a grilled cheese sandwich.

They offer a fish and chips platter with a choice of walleye or catfish for $7.50. Either fish will get you fries, coleslaw and tarter sauce. I opted for walleye, because it is a good white fish and you don’t see it around too often.

I liked it. It was a good portion of fish and it had  very tasty breading, Also the coleslaw was house-made and the amount of fries they give you is reasonable. Some places think it is necessary to serve up more french fries than 1 human can eat. I would like to see them offer an extra piece of fish for an up-charge. I could have handled another piece of walleye. On Fridays they offer an all you can eat fish and chips for 12.95. I think that is the price.

I like this little place. Good food and great prices. For the bonus their special that day was $2 Domestic bottles. They offer several draft beers and a  Craft brew cost $5. If I lived closer I would try that Prime Rib dinner myself


Kruger’s Tavern 323 N. Delaware St.

Well this is another import from Cincinnati, courtesy of the Thunder Dome Restaurant Group. This is the group that controls Eagle and Bakersfield which expanded to Indy recently. Bakersfield in 2013 and The Eagle in 2015. I know this joint barely qualifies as an independent but it is owned by 3 people 2 of which are brothers. They are just hugely successful and are expanding their brand.

https://www.kruegerstavern.com/locations/

This place grinds their own meat for the hamburgers and the basic burger is $9.99. They use 2 patties per burger and cook them on a flat top so I was a bit surprise the meat didn’t have crisper edges.

They also make their own sausages. That is what I opted for.

It was their Italian. Sicilian style sausage, polenta cake, braised fennel and olives, Parmigiano Reggiano

This was an outstanding dish. The sausage had a bit of heat from the Calabrian chiles as did the broth the fennel and olives were braised in. This was almost a perfect meal for me. It featured 2 of my favorite non meat items. Fennel and olives. Add in the pig and “corn bread” and I was as happy as a camel on hump day. They offer 2 other styles of sausage all are $12.

I want to come back and try the other two but it will have to be when it is warmer. When I go downtown I use the bus. I don’t even like driving through our downtown. Parking is always an issue when you go downtown to eat. Same with Krueger’s. All I can say is it is worth the trip.


Mom’s Country Kitchen 1313 N. Sherman Drive.

Up until recently this was the Sawmill Saloon. The kind of joint you went to for an uninspired but decent meal or more than a few cheap beers. Now it is a diner, one that serves lunch, dinner and breakfast all day.

Pat and I just thought we were hungry. Pat had their basic breakfast. Two eggs with sausage or bacon, toast and potatoes. He got a pound of potatoes, 4 slices of bacon and what looked like more than 2 scrambled eggs for $7.50. He also decided he needed a half order of biscuits and gravy for $2.99

This is all the food Pat ordered for breakfast.

After all this it is no wonder Pat forgot that we ate here when it was the Sawmill Saloon.

https://kosherhamandcheese.com/2014/07/22/sawmill-saloon-1313-n-sherman-drive/

I had their works platter. Two sausage, 2 biscuits, 2 eggs and potatoes and gravy for $7.99. The amount of food was nearly embarrassing. Not only did we each get a mound of potatoes but they were nicely prepared. A bit under seasoned but still nicely done. The sausage patties were super sized and delicious with a bit of spice. The gravy was pretty good but the biscuits were average.

I don’t think this place is still a destination but if you are hungry for a well prepared breakfast and you are even close by I don’t think you can go wrong with stopping in. I wouldn’t mind trying their lunch just to see how they handle that. They also proudly proclaim steak and eggs for $9.99 all day, every day. Normally I would avoid steaks in a diner but I saw a sign inside announcing that they refuse to cook any steak well done. Now that intrigues me. I just may have to go back for steak and eggs.


The Garrison Sunday Brunch Buffet 6002 N Post Road

I enjoy buffets. It may because they remind me of my time in Vegas or maybe they just appeal to the Glutton in me. In either event here we are at the Garrison. Home to what may be the Mac Daddy of Sunday Brunch Buffets in Indianapolis. They have a smaller buffet at lunch during the week. We reviewed that about 18 months ago. It was because of that trip that we are here today.

I have said before that taking pictures of a buffet can be awkward and this was no exception. I did manage a few shots but for the most part I just took shots of our over stocked plates.

They offered everything you might need for a first or salad course.

And of course a dessert table that would make any casino proud.

The main buffet line is immense, featuring all the protein and veggie options you would ever want. Baked white fish, BBQ ribs, fried chicken and of course sausages and bacon. They also have a separate carving station featuring glazed salmon, ham and roast beef. In the opposite corner is a waffle station and an omelet station.

My first plate of protein was actually a bowl with ribs, bacon and sausage. Underneath was a fried chicken breast. The food was all very good. I discovered their fried chicken on my first visit. It is salty and crisp and the white meat is surprisingly moist; considering that it is warming in a chaffing pan. Some of the ribs were a bit chewy but were still good.

These may be ready-made salads but they were still tasty. The 3 bean and Tortellini salads are not often options on a buffet.

I know the height of gluttony. One piece at a time just would not do for me. I had to shove 3 into my bowl. All of their pies and cakes are done in-house by their pastry chef who spent several years at the “Dutch Oven”.

The buffet is staged in the Blue Heron Ballroom with 2 adjacent dining area for over flow. It is a spacious and beautiful room. One whole wall is nearly all glass with large double doors leading to a grand terrace.

I would also like to comment on the service. I don’t think I have ever seen such an attentive team of servers at a buffet before. Prompt refills and removal of dishes. I also would like to compliment Marsha, our server. Thanks from me as well.

Forgot to mention the price. It is $19.99 per person drink included.

 


Mayfair Taproom 2032 E 10th Street.

For many years this section of 10th street was home to several bars. Small one room bars of varying sophistication and reputation. One of the oldest was the Mayfair Tavern. It was characterized by the upside down sign. It had a very interesting history. This article from NUVO does a good job articulating that history and explaining the origins of the New Mayfair Taproom.

https://www.nuvo.net/beerbuzz/beer-buzz-mayfair-taproom-coming-soon/article_21e19fb0-9e88-11e8-b5aa-3b40a1930233.html

I would add charming to that description. I know the word charming and tavern don’t always go together but those lace curtains in the window just seem so damn charming. The building is old and the restoration/remodel was extensive and very well done.

The menu is quite small but it suits the space. To some degree it follows the BRBP in that it has a few Vegan options. I was intrigued by the Shepherds Pie. In was unique in two ways, The mashed potatoes were on the bottom and on top was arugula and HP sauce.

I must admit that my first impression when presented with my lunch was that it was the wrong dish. I had expected a few stems as garnish but I got a whole salad. I enjoyed my pie very much I just am not sure what the arugula brought to it. The potatoes were delicious and the seasoned ground lamb was on point as well. I like arugula. It is in the same family as mustard greens and its slight peppery flavor is always welcome to me. That taste did indeed bring another layer to the dish as did the HP sauce. I also enjoyed the crispness of the raw green. I have to go back and eat it again. I just can’t decide if the greens are best suited on top or as a side minimally dressed. Of course it is not my call and I am over analyzing. That is what I do. I just can’t help it. This is a great new place and I think the old owners of Mayfair Tavern would approve. They do not have a website but you can view their menu on their Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/mayfairtaproom/menu/

 


Upland Brewing College Ave. 4842 N. College Ave.

Upland is a successful brewery from Bloomington. In the early days of the blog we visited it. About 10 years ago they opened up a tasting room on College. It was a place where you could have a few beers and maybe get a growler refilled. I was only there once or twice because they never seemed open when I wanted to go. A couple of years ago Open Society opened a large space next to Upland’s. When they closed Upland moved in and now they have a real restaurant/bar at a very convenient location.

When I go out to eat I try to get stuff I don’t like to make at home. Either it requires too much time or the ingredients are hard for me to get. On this day I opted for their grilled cheese.

Toasted Sour Dough Bread, Smoking Goose Ham,
Pimento Cheese, Peppadew Peppers

I love each and every one of those ingredients.

It was a messy sandwich but what should you expect? The pimento cheese was very good and the ham had been browned a bit on a flat top so it had a nice crispness. The bread was well toasted and it even had marks that it been but on a char grill. I like that because it brings another layer of flavor. The Peppadews seemed to have gotten lost but it was still a good sandwich. They offer it with fries or chips from the Broad Ripple Chip Co. I got chips. They were okay nothing extraordinary.

We knew the beer was good and now we know that their food on College is on a par as the food they serve in Bloomington and that after all is the Mothership.


Friend’s Diner 989 US 31 Whiteland Indiana

I know I am always complaining about the dearth of meat and threes around here. Well we found one. Shame you have to drive to Whiteland to visit. Actually it is a meat and three for dinner and a meat and two for lunch. In either event it is definitely a place to consider. Drive and all.

I am not sure how long they have been open. Pat came across it more by accident than intent. They do not have much of an electronic presence so don’t look for a menu. However I believe they have a new menu so that may change.

All of their dinners are mostly $9.99 and come with 3 side dishes. The luncheon plates are $6.99 and $7.99 with a choice of 2 sides. They offer a nice variety of sides even including asparagus.

I agree with Pat about the trout. It is not the usual fish you find on a restaurant menu around here. I was impressed with Pat’s plate. The broccoli appeared to be fresh and I tasted Pat’s fish and I found it to be outstanding.

I opted for a more traditional comfort meal. Chicken and dumplings with mashed and coleslaw. The chicken and dumplings were good. They just weren’t made the way I prefer. I like my dumplings to be fluffy pillows. These were rolled and cut. They were good dumplings just not what my mouth was “set for”. It is like biscuits. Rolled and cut or dropped. Both good it is just what you may prefer.

Regardless of the style of dumpling this was an excellent lunch, and for $6.99 I don’t think you could find a better bargain. This joint is farther from me than Pat but I can see myself driving just to try their breakfast. If a place can do a lunch like this I am always curious about their breakfast service. Especially the biscuits and gravy.

This is one of the biscuits we received for lunch. It is of the dropped variety. It was pretty darn good. Now I want a couple of those smothered with sausage gravy; maybe with a side of crisp bacon. Well that will be for another day.