eating indie in indy

down home eats

Garrison 6002 N. Post Road

The Garrison is located at the Old Fort Benjamin Harrison site. Specifically it is the old officer’s club. It overlooks the golf course and is just down the road from the Hotel. The whole thing sits on a State Park but I believe it is privately run. The only reason for that belief is the food is too good. Were it run by the State the food would probably be prepared by some contract corporation that offers a lesser product. If I am wrong I apologize to anyone offended.

The place is open for lunch during the week, brunch on Saturday and Sunday and dinner only on Friday and Saturday nights. In all cases the service is in the form of a buffet. To be frank I was quite surprised by the quality of the food. Impressed even.

The whole buffet is tucked into a corner of a large dining room so it looks small and non consequential. When you get there you realize that they offer all the salad “stuff” you need. There is also a small station in the center that provides 2 hot soup and cobblers.

I probably should have taken a shot when the fried chicken was full, but I was busy eating.

Two of the desserts Pat ate.

I ate 2 desserts as well as a plate of salad. I concentrated more on the hot food. Across the board I was quite pleased with everything. The ribs were fall off the bone tender and the fried fish was both crisp and moist. However I think the 2 main stars were the fried chicken, followed closely by a meat “ragout” with rice. Both were outstanding.

The beans had real bacon in them; which is always a hit with Hoosiers. They even set out fried biscuits with apple butter. A totally splendid spread. I am told that the Brunch Buffet is even better. It is served in a larger room so I can imagine what it must look like. For Sunday a reservation is recommended. For our lunchtime buffet it only cost $10.99, drink included. I find that to be the most incredible thing I have come across this week.
Garrison Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Sunny’s Chicken 1030 US Highway 31 S Greenwood In.

Pat found this joint tucked into a strip mall in Greenwood. In addition to fried chicken and chicken parts it also sells fish. Fried fish; all of their food is fried.

I should have had the chicken.

I love chicken livers. I order them when I find them. They offer them in 3 sizes. One half pound, a full pound and a pound and a half. I opted for a full pound for $6.59. To be blunt they did a lousy job with them. I ate them, cuz they’re livers. To me even bad livers should be eaten. In the first place they didn’t pay close enough attention to the breading of the little things. Some of the breading fell off exposing the flesh to the heat of the fryer. That is bad form. It burns the flesh. The second thing they did wrong was leave them in the oil too long. Chicken livers should have a crisp exterior yet still be moist on the inside. Like a good home fry.

I doubt if I will be back. Just because it is so far from me. If I am in the area I would be happy to try their chicken. Or maybe the fish and shrimp. Just not the livers.


Sunny's Chicken Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Open Society 4850 N. College Ave.

This review is long over due. Open Society has been open for more than a year but I never seemed to have the time to get there. It appears their main bag is coffee. They open at 7 AM serving pastry along with their coffee. They also offer Brunch from 11 to 3. After that it’s dinner time. The front of the place has all the coffee service, the back houses the bar. The picture I took is of the bar area.

Their Brunch/lunch menu has the usual suspects. Featuring egg dishes, hanger steak and fried potatoes. They also have a burger of beef and lamb. I have to get back another time to try that. However for today I wanted their version of eggs Benedict. With a Mimosa.

The first thing that I noticed was the white foamy pieces of egg white on the plate. I know it is a small thing. A petty thing, but I was trained to remove them before serving. Regardless of appearance the eggs were beautifully poached.
I was surprised that the herb salad was at the bottom of the stack. I had expected it to be more of an accompaniment, like the potatoes.
As I said the eggs were poached beautifully and paired with the slightly spicy sauce it was a big hit. It was really hard to tell about the crab cake. There were too many other tastes going on. The potatoes were great. Crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. I believe all home fries should be done that way. I wasn’t too fond of the greens being buried under the crab cake etc. I think I would have preferred them on the side with a bit of vinaigrette; or else not at all.
The shrimp; I almost forgot the shrimp. They were a nice little bonus. Adding shrimp is always nice.
Now that I have “broken the ice” I will probably be back. I go by the joint at least once a week. Next time I will try the burger.

Open Society Public House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


J.E.Light Cafe 1901 E. 86th Street

This is a first for us. The J.E.Light Cafe is a student run cafe associated with North Central High School. We have reviewed Courses; the equivalent outlet for Ivy Tech; but I wasn’t aware Indianapolis High Schools had such programs. North Central isn’t the only one but it was the one with the most up to date media ensuring us they were indeed serving Thursday.

The menu was small yet quite eclectic, with an International flair. From Korean soup to Vietnamese sandwiches and All American cheeseburgers. The prices; as you can imagine are more than reasonable. The entrees were $6.95; soup was $1.50 per cup and desserts were $3 and $1.50.

We both started off with a cup of soup.

The soup was very well done. Chunks of smoked brisket in a rich chile infused broth. An excellent remedy for a rainy day. Prior to the service of the soup we were given a basket of house made chips.

Quite a few “professional” joints make their own chips. I don’t think any place does them better, and most don’t do them as well.

As I mentioned earlier their menu had a distinct International spin. As tempting as the choices were I decided on a lighter offering. Sushi. I was more than a little surprised by that option. Sushi requires a few years to become proficient. However I think that if young cooks are taught the basics of rolling and forming and the ever important knife work then those skills will be beneficial in all cooking. So a tip of the hat to the JEL Cafe staff.

Their Sushi plate was composed of spicy tuna roll, inside out roll, salmon and tuna Nigiri and seasoned edaname. Plus the ever popular wasabi and soy as well as pickled ginger.

Once again I was impressed with the dish. Actually sushi is difficult to critique for me. Most rolls are consistent in the ingredients used. The only difference is the portion of the ingredients. I found this offering most enjoyable. Last but not least I opted for a dish of their Chocolate Gelato.

Another hit. Well made and richly chocolate. A steal at $1.50. It is a shame that their “season” is nearly over. Next week is their last service. Cinco de Mayo. I just might have to go back.

I think North Central has a program they can be proud of. Now is an exciting time to be part of the culinary scene in Indy.

 
Light Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Mayberry Cafe 78 West Danville In.

This is going to be a fun post. Not only does this joint have good food it also has some great photo ops. Even for a bad photographer.

This is parked out front. I couldn’t get the whole car into the pic. I backed up all the way to the wall to get this shot.

This is the view we got when we parked. That is right. We parked right behind Sheriff Taylor’s squad car.

The town of Danville is the home for this Cafe. The cafe is an homage’ to Andy Taylor and the popular TV series featuring Sheriff Taylor and all of his friends and family. In addition to all the kitsch and pictures they also offer an amazing menu of good food.

To start we had to try the mushrooms. They served them in a metal cone, more apt for pomme’ frites;. I thought it was pretty cool for mushrooms.

The mushrooms were pretty good. Not exceptional but good. Worth the 6 buck charge. This place offers beef in many ways, all of which are slow roasted brisket.

I was torn. They offer a very nice salad bar for $7.50. They also offer variations with soup or baked potatoes with the salad bar. I was tempted but their house burger is a combo of  sirloin and brisket ground fresh daily and grilled to order. That was my call. I asked for it rare. I was told they could do that. The burger came out more medium.

In defense of the kitchen Indiana has rules regarding the temperature of ground meat products. If I remember properly all ground meat patties should reach a temp of 165 degrees. So I can see a kitchen dude just agreeing with the server and then cooking the burger to what they consider “legal temp”. Some joints will cook me a med- rare burger with no problem. Some won’t. So it is probably a crap shot. What I can say is this was a very good burger. Had it been cooked to rare or medium rare it would have been fantastic.

So I must say I was quite impressed with the food. I also thought that the decor was wonderful. It is a combo of country kitsch and old-time TV memory.

As an end to our lunch we shared a strawberry shortcake. It was very good. Two thick slices of pound cake smothered in strawberries and covered with whipped cream. Three bucks.

So I think this is a wonderful place to visit. Not only do you have an opportunity to hang in a Mayberry joint you also have a chance to have some excellent food.

Mayberry Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Rebar 20 N. Delaware

Yep; it is a bar. But to be more accurate it is a Rebar. Now what is a Rebar? Well in this case I would say it is a joint that has a wall of serve yourself beer. The concept is great. You get a plastic card. You place it on a sensor and the pour yourself as much beer as you like. You are charged by the ounce and they offer 20 different rotating taps. You can get  2 ounces for a taste or a 12 ounce glass to enjoy with your meal. To me it is a winner for everyone concerned. For the consumer you do not need to worry about an over worked bartender, and for the house the bartender is free to do other things. Plus the place gets paid for the tastes that folks expect to get. I should have taken a picture.

But we were here for the food. From what we sampled I would say that these guys have probably the best “bar” food around. The kitchen staff is composed of young people who went to the Chef’s Academy here in town. So they have a crew of knowledgable and creative folks that are in this business by choice. Which does make a difference.

They make the majority of the food from scratch. The exceptions are the buns, fries and cheese curds. The batter on the curds is reminiscent of what you would find on a corn dog. They were pretty good but there is better out there. It is a shame they don’t have the room to batter their own. I think they would probably hit it out of the park.

The dipping sauce they served with them was a dill Ranch dressing. Too close to tartar sauce for me but it was a decent condiment. They have set lunch specials. Pat opted for the house burger for $8.

Now isn’t that a splendid hunk of meat. Pat gave me a bite and it was as tasty as it looked. I decided on a pair of sliders for $7. You get your choice of an Angus blend burger, house smoked and pulled pork or a spicy sloppy Joe. I ordered the BBQ and the Sloppy Joe. Again I was impressed. I know pulled pork and sloppy Joes are hardly haute cuisine but some preparations are better than others . Even with the simplest of dishes.

Pat and I are in agreement about the chips. They served a whole bunch of them but they were fried too crisp for us.

This place is in a perfect location for me. It is a short block away from the new Transit Center. Since I do not drive downtown, and since it has a patio on a very busy street I can see myself sitting there having lunch and a couple of Adult beverages. Speaking of  beverages they have a Adult milk shakes featuring Graeter’s Ice Cream with various liquors.

https://www.rebarindy.com/

They are changing their menu soon so I am sure I will be back there at least once more when that happens. Actually I will probably be back with some regularity. It is a fun joint to visit.

 

Rebar Indy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Thunderbird 1127 Shelby Street

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The sign is a bit misleading. The Thunderbird opened as a night club in 1950, and “rocked” it old school until 1972. I was never there. I went to old-time “divey” bars and for late night entertainment there was Broad Ripple.

I think this new incarnation opened 2 years ago as a dinner house. They just recently decided to give lunch a go. Here is a link to their website.

http://thunderbirdindy.com/

I suggested this place a couple of weeks ago. I think Pat agreed just to humor me. As he has said many times he is a simple man with simple tastes. Also he has a well know aversion to onion.

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I don’t agree with Pat’s assessment that this place is a bistro. Their food is pretty much comfort foods with a Southern focus and a chef driven spin. Are their prices high? Yep;on some items. A 9 buck grilled cheese is high. On the other hand at $3 my biscuit sliders were quit reasonable. Especially when you realize a McDonald’s bacon, egg and cheese biscuit costs more.

One thing Pat commented on was how oily the chips were. Tasty but oily. Evidently they flash them in the fryer for a bit and then sprinkle them with old bay seasoning.

They have okra fries on their menu. I like fried okra. Finding it around here is difficult. The few places that offer it give you this frozen stuff in a bag . Here they buy it fresh, cut it and fry it to order.

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You get a nice sized bowl for $5. They offer a spicy mayo based dipping sauce I wasn’t really a fan of. I did enjoy the okra though. It is pickled before it is breaded and fried. Which adds a whole new layer of flavor and it also adds a bit of acid to the mix. Now for the biscuit sliders.

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They offer two options. Braised pork belly and fried chicken. I got one of each. The belly was melt in your mouth tender. They topped it with an onion jam, which was pretty sweet. It fit well with the fatty pork but after a few bites it became almost cloying. The next time I get it I will 86 the jam.

You can get your chicken biscuit mild or hot. I chose hot and it had a pleasant burn. The chicken biscuit comes topped with their slaw and house pickles. The slaw was vinegar based and played off the spicy crunch of the chicken nicely. My taste for slaw leans more towards the creamy style but this variety did its job well. I think a side of the slaw might be too “dry” when eaten by itself. The biscuits themselves were nice. Flaky yet substantial enough to hold up to fried chicken. The pickles were unique to my taste buds. They are of the refrigerator variety. You slice ’em; pickle ’em and stick them in the fridge. I enjoyed them.

This place is well-appointed with lots of wood and custom light fixtures. The whole joint has a dimly lit ambiance. Suitable for an evening of cocktails and snacks. I think that would be the best way to enjoy this space. With some friends and a few cocktails and eats. They offer craft draft as well as wine but I think they take their mixed drinks very serious. The bartender has several bottles of syrups that they use to flavor some of their liquors. The bartender is also serious about Bourbon. He likes to keep Bonded bottles around. Nothing says commitment like a few bottles of 100 Proof bottled in bond liquor.

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


Sherwood Cafe 5645 N. Post Rd. D

Well we discovered this place last week. It is in a strip mall at the corner of 56th and Post Road. It is a quiet and unassuming place. The decor is pretty generic but it does have an interesting wall of various reclaimed planks.

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As for the food it bills itself as a Family restaurant so it has a rather extensive menu. It serves breakfast all day since it closes at 4 PM. It also offers grits. Something I enjoy seeing; although the service cutoff for grits is 11 AM.

Pat was leaning towards lunch and I was feeling an urge for pancakes. That is the nice thing about joints like this. I think they even have a hamburger steak breakfast platter. I guess that could be a fusion Hoosier style.

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As I said I had a “hankering” for pancakes. Also I wouldn’t mind a bit of sausage and bacon. So I got both. Pigs in a Blanket and a side of bacon.

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These crazy little things were great. I have never had them before. The pancakes were outstanding. Light and fluffy and the savory bite of sausage made them that much better. I really could have eaten more.

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Overall our meal was very nice. However I think they need a “hook”. Something unique to set them apart from other joints similar to theirs. Cafe Audrey is close by and they are a tough act to compete with. However I think that area is big enough to support 2 such joints. As for prices our total for food was about $20. Which is about standard for this type of food.

 

 

Sherwood Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Dugout Bar 621 Virginia Ave.

On a rainy day there is just something about an old bar that draws me. We decided to do lunch on Monday instead of Wednesday this week. Since it was rainy we came here. Also since it was raining I forgot to take an outside shot. As soon as we walked in we were greeted by both the bartender and 2 guys sitting at the bar. That is always a good sign. We started off with some breaded mushrooms for $7.95. They offer a choice of 3 dippers, which is unique. Marinara as well as cocktail and ranch.

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They tasted pretty good. I have had a few better. I couldn’t place the breading. Had I know that the Head Food Dude was sitting at the bar with us I would have asked. By the time we were introduced the mushrooms were gone and so was the question.

After a long weekend of tryptophan, turkey and carbs Pat and I both craved a burger. We opted for a bacon cheeseburger for $8.75.

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The only difference in our orders was Pat wanted pepperjack cheese and pickle only. I opted for Swiss with pickle and onion. I asked our bartender if they used red or white onion. I can tolerate red onion in a salad but not a burger. Yes I can be finicky. She told me I could have either one. Now that is service.

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The burger was tasty, the pickles were crisp, the onions crunchy and the Brioche bun was beautiful. It was a very nice sandwich and they didn’t scrimp on the bacon; 3 strips.

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As we entered we were informed of the lunch specials. A Cajun seasoned pork tenderloin and a blackened salmon Etouffee. Normally I would have jumped on the fish but as I said I was craving  red meat. As we chatted with the 2 fellows sitting at the bar I discovered that their current chef had worked at Bourbon Distillery around the time Pat and I went there. If that is the case then he was responsible for my blacked trout with Etouffee that I had that day. The dish was excellent. So this just gives me an added incentive to return and try one of his fish dishes.

So we have an old bar with friendly patrons, excellent service and great food. On and the prices are reasonable. They even offer up great beer specials. PBR and Killian Red for $2.50 per pint. I wish I could remember our server/ bartender’s name. She did a terrific job. So I’ll be back with or with the rain.

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


A2Z Cafe 4705 East 96th Street

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This little joint changed hands about 2 years ago. Before the change it was an Italian eatery. The current owners, Gina and her husband were frequent diners and friends with the old owner. Cut to the chase and they ended up as the new owners. New owners with no restaurant experience. We got all of this from our discussion with Gina;one of the new owners. She is a delightful lady with both charm and talent. An artist by trade;  and an I.U grad she and her husband are the guiding lights of a cozy little joint with a fun and slightly quirky menu.

It was a rainy morning and we felt we needed a sweet fix so. we started with an order of fried biscuits with apple butter for $4.

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These were delightful little bites. Bits of fried dough covered with sugar. In an act of lily gilding they serve them up with apple butter. Add a cup of coffee and you have a really tasty start to your day.

They serve breakfast and lunch most of the day. In addition to the traditional cafe items they offer some fun dishes. Such as the Tater Tot Scramble. That is two eggs scrambled with ham, bacon, sausage and tots then covered with sausage gravy and then topped with cheddar cheese. It comes with toast for $8.50.

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This is not haute cuisine. It is a a fun and filling dish featuring all of the basic food groups you would expect for breakfast. From a strict culinary standpoint it has too much stuff in it,but that’s okay. The eggs were very soft and the gravy was very creamy. Actually I was impressed with the overall execution of the dish. The only reason I wouldn’t order it again is because all of the other fun stuff I would like to try.

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For a couple of rookies Gina and her husband are doing a really good job. I am including a link to their menu because I think it is a fun one.

http://a2zcafe.com/menu.html

 

 

A2Z Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato