eating indie in indy

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Gallery Pastry Shop 1101 E. 54th Street G

This shop is a little tricky to find. The address is on 54th. but you can’t see it from the street. It is behind a building. You turn into an entryway and drive to the back of a small business area. Turn right and at the end is the neatest little joint you can imagine.

At the far end you can see what appears to be a Chess set on the ground. That is exactly what it is.

A little whimsy is always appreciated.

Each piece is about 2 feet high and seem to be a lightweight plastic. I say light weight because as we were leaving I saw two little kids moving them off the “board”.

I met my friend Joey, 2 of her teen daughters and her husband Jason today for brunch. The seating is nicely spaced but the acoustics and the loud music made it difficult to talk.

They offer a week day menu and a Brunch menu for Saturday and Sunday.

https://www.gallerypastryshop.com/

Once you are seated you receive small printed sheets with all the menu items listed. You check what you want, add you name and pass it to the server. It sounds pretty efficient but the service was rather choppy. Not bad just not smooth. I ordered 2 crepes, one sweet and one savory. My sweet crepe came out first. Lemon curd folded in and topped with whipped cream.

This was delicious. A tender crepe and a light curd with the proper amount of tartness. Possibly the best I have had.

My savory crepe was chorizo sausage from Smoking Goose, a “mushroom mix” and mozzarella cheese. It was a big hit as well. It held a good amount of meat and the chorizo wasn’t spicy at all. It balance well with the sweet tartness of the lemon curd.

 

I know this is an atrocious picture. I felt hurried for some reason. Each diner in our party had 4 plates and servers were in and out bringing the plates out at different times. I am glad we had a big round table.

This shot is only marginally better, which is a shame. As good as the crepes were this plate was the show stopper. It consisted of a split croissant with a piece of bruleed Trillium Cheese nestled in it. It was placed on a smear of honey with a fresh berry compote next to it.

Trillium cheese is a triple cream cheese similar to Brie and Camembert. This particular cheese comes from a local creamery. Tulip Tree in Zionsville. If you enjoy a warm and gooey cheese you would love this dish. The rind is sugared then torched making a sweet crust. Slice the crust off and put on a piece of the buttery croissant and enjoy the first bite. As you continue eating you get tastes of the cheese, the sweet honey and the slight tartness of the berries. Our table had 4 of them so it wasn’t just me that enjoyed it.

https://www.tuliptreecreamery.com/about-us/

I will be back. Joey and her girls got a dozen Macarons to go, but I was too full. Also on Wednesday they sell them for a buck. Normally they are $2.50. So I will be there at 10 AM this Wednesday.


Crispy Bird 115 E. 49th Street

Well; after more than a year; Crispy Bird has opened. Since it was the latest link in the Patachou chain lots of folks were excited. After all Martha Hoover is the Maven of Hipster Dining in the city and all the Patachou restaurants are successful. The OCD Chef in me was excited. To me a Hoover restaurant is always well run with a well thought out menu and procedure to match. One of her restaurants may be criticised for food choice or decor but no one can ever say that the joint is not well run and that every thing is done by the numbers. Of course the Border Town line cook in me half way wants someone to draw a big old mustache on the picture. That ain’t happening here.

There was 4 of us for lunch. Included in our party was Pat’s wife, Fran and their friend Shae. We ordered like “diners” not “reviewers”, and since the menu is rather small there were repeats.

https://www.crispy-bird.com/

Three legs and thighs, one breast and one “snack” of fried chicken skin. They offer fried skin ( chicken chicharrones) in several dishes.

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The leg and thigh were very nicely done, moist and tender and still hot when I got it. The thing with chicken is it all tastes the same once you get past the skin. In this case the skin was wonderfully crisp just lacking in flavor. The most discernible taste was salt. At 5 bucks a piece I was a bit disappointed. I agree with Pat about the slaw and pickles. Also they have some rocking hot sauces to kick up the chicken. The sauces have the appearance of being house made as well.

These are the chicken skins ( cracklings ). They come with a citrus mayo for dipping and were a hit with everybody.

I thought the chicken was good but I have had better. The Garrison at Fort Ben comes to mind. However their snacks could make a return trip necessary. I believe this place has only been open for a month and they were hammered at lunch ( 20 minute wait) yet they carried it off flawlessly. That is what I mean about a Martha Hoover joint. The folks from Patachou sure know how to do it right.

 

 


ClusterTruck 729 N. Penn. Indianapolis.

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I am sure anyone familiar with the “food scene” in Indy has heard the term ClusterTruck. I think originally it referred to a gathering of food trucks. Two to four trucks would converge on a site and sell their food. It was perfect for a crowd with diverse appetites. It also allowed the individual truck to gain exposure to a different base of eaters.

Now before I go any further I have a few comments about the food scene in Indy. We have a great collection of restaurants in town and the quality and quantity is ever-growing. However the one aspect Indy sucks in is the delivery. Before now all the food delivery was done by a middleman who would pick up the food and then deliver it. That led to slow delivery and cold food. Now this ClusterTruck comes in. I am including a link to a Nuvo article that explains the origin of ClusterTruck better than I.

http://www.nuvo.net/indianapolis/clustertruck-indys-food-delivery-revolution/Content?oid=3995626

So for that reason this review is unique. It is also unique in that we had our lunch delivered to our friend, Jimmy’s office. Being a Realtor he has a tough time meeting us for lunch. Luckily his office is a stone throws away.

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They have an expansive menu. One you can get access to at this link. You can also check out their delivery area.

https://www.clustertruck.com/

This place seems to do a first class job of the delivery. In addition to having “fancy” go boxes they have their boxes and bags personalized.

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Jimmy opted for a burger. Now the menu says it is a Bru Burger. What connection; if any it has to Bru Burger I do not know.

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I believe he had a Bourbon Burger. That is a cheese burger with bacon and a Bourbon sauce. The sauce seems a bit thin for a burger, to me, but Jimmie though it was the best burger he has eaten.

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As for me I wanted something different. They had a whole category of smothered tater tots. I decided on a short rib and kimchi topped order.

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It was actually pretty tasty. It had an abundance of meat ,a slight amount of kimchi, but with kimchi the aroma precedes it and sates the appetite. The only complaint I had with the dish is that the kimchi sauce was thin and the dish was a bit on the dry side. Still it had a good flavor and the short ribs were nicely done. However I wouldn’t get it again unless the sauce was given a leg and maybe the amount was increased beyond a 2 ounce solo.

So Indy I think diners should be happy about this new place. You can actually get food from a place that knows how to prepare it and knows how to deliver it. No more reliance on a second-hand delivery agent. Also the prices include a tip. An actual tip not a hidden delivery charge.

 

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


Rooster’s Kitchen 888 Massachusetts Ave.

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If the address seems familiar that is probably because it is where R Bistro used to be. Now it is a cozy little joint with a great array of comfort food and excellent beer. With a nice porcine centric menu.

With a name like Rooster’s some folks might be expecting fried chicken. However the origin of the name is more personal to the owner. It seems when Ross was a little boy he had a habit of getting up before dawn and waking up the house. His Mother convinced him to stay in bed until dawn. Well he did. Of course he awoke long before dawn so he get wake the house up right at dawn. Naturally that led to the nickname of Rooster. So it was only logical that would be the name of his new restaurant.

Keeping with the pig theme we order a basket of Pork Rinds for $5. They fry them in-house and then dust them with a BBQ seasoning. They were still crackling when they were served. I thought they were great. Pat wasn’t a big fan.

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Pat’s lunch was a Neanderthal plate for $14. Choice of pork shoulder, brisket or roast turkey with 2 sides.

I was more in a sandwich mood so I opted for a Lucy for $12. This was their answer to the Cubano. It was roasted pork shoulder, cured pork loin with,I believe Havarti cheese, pickles and mustard.

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I am with Pat on the pork shoulder and the carrots. So many joints do a good job with pig anymore you can’t really say who has the best. You can say that Rooster’s puts up a very good roasted pork shoulder. The carrots were outstanding as well. They had the right amount of tooth and just a touch of char. I for one would have enjoyed more char. The cured loin set the tone for the sandwich. An excellent curing job on the pork and an excellent sandwich all the way around.

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We sat at the bar so I felt compelled to take a shot of the back bar. Pretty, and they offer some serious beers as well as some serious eats. So I can’t think of any reason why this little place isn’t crowded all the time. Thanks to all of you guys.

Rooster's Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Serendipity at the Post 2210 E 54th Street

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About 3 months ago Pat and I “reviewed” the American Legion Post # 34. Well in actuality we reviewed the food which was put out by a fellow named Pete. I guess Pete has moved on because I got word that a catering company, Serendipity has taken over the management of the kitchen. Here is the link to their webpage. It shows the menus for both their food truck and the Legion.

http://www.serendipitytruck.com/

I was looking forward to the meal because the menu was not your typical bar menu. Sure they have some of the stuff you would expect at a bar but also they offer crab cakes and truffle fries. To start the ball rolling I ordered a side salad.

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The salad was predominately spinach with the traditional onion and grape tomatoes. It was topped with goat cheese and candied walnuts,which brought a bit of sweet and a nice tang to my mouth. The whole dish was rounded out with an excellent Raspberry Vinaigrette. A great salad and bargain at $3

I opted for a Crab Cake sandwich. The chef doesn’t fry the cakes like a lot of people would he puts a sear on it and finishes it off in the oven. So I can tell myself it is Heart Healthy.

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The cake was big with a nice and juicy interior and what I would consider a near perfect texture and consistency. You could actually taste the crab. If I were to order it again I think I would do without the mayo and onion. Both seemed to interfere with the “crabbiness” of the cake.

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Pat ordered a burger, no onion, with a side of slaw. He also ordered a side of steamed broccoli for 3 bucks.

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Well I think the Legion has a winner here. It is going to be a challenge I’m sure. The clientele is more “mature” than other joints so that could be problematic. Some old guys can be stuck in their ways. Also Legions are known for low prices, and Bill;the Chef/owner of Serendipity uses very high quality ingredients so that right there can make the thing difficult. I think that the crew at the Legion is in for some good eating. Also it is open to the public so you don’t have to be a member to dine there. I think they have plans to have certain designated nights for BBQ ribs and Prime Rib. So that ought to be all kinds of fun.

American Legion Post 34 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


The Mug 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


Bittersweet Irvington 5543 E. Washington Street

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This joint just opened up in March. I knew nothing about it until a couple of friends;who live nearby told me about it. Their main bag is baking. Cakes,cupcakes, tarts, and cookies. They expanded their repertoire to include more savory dishes. They offer a nice selection of breakfast and luncheon dishes.

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I did not bring my scanner,but I was fortunate to take some decent pictures with my new camera. Well,not so new. I bought it from Ebay a couple of weeks ago. I figure with my smart phone and my camera I can take some decent pictures. I know. Too much Info. The only reason I mention this is this joint has no electronic footprint. No website. No Facebook. That is my pet peeve. There is a great venue to advertise and it is free. Why not take advantage of it? Okay. I am done.

The place is bright and clean. When you walk in you see the menu up on the wall. That is what I took pictures of. The other thing you see is a merchandising case with all sorts of sweet stuff.

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These are chocolate cookies stuffed with vanilla butter cream. Five inches in diameter and an inch and one half thick. I bought 2 to go. $2.75 each. As of this writing I had not tried them. So I have no thoughts. Yet.

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There you go. What more can be said about that cake. A towering 3 layer cake of chocolate and stout smothered in a glossy, shiny ,glorious ganache. 10 inches of goodness . For 5 bucks!

Lets see it again.

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Well this place is not just about the sweet. They also can do a notable job with savory. Pat’s Tomato Tart was nicely done for $8. I didn’t get a taste, all I can rely on is my own chile relleno tart also $8. Both dishes were modest in size. And with both you get choice of salad or fresh fruit. By modest I mean a reasonable portion.

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So. Yep we dig this new joint in Irvington. I am planning on going back to try one of the sandwiches. The Cuban or Muffuletta more than likely. Also I saw a sour cream Bundt cake sitting on top of the display case. That deserves a look-see.

 

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


Love Handle 2829 E. 10th Street

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Well another new joint has opened in Indy. This one is unique in that the owner/operators Chris and Ally Benedyke are from Indianapolis originally and have just returned from Milwaukee where they owned a similar place by the same name. The new place, like the old one features specialty sandwiches and small plates using local sources. Since they plan on changing the menu weekly they are relying on Facebook and not a web site. Since that was the case I felt compelled to do a bit of reconnaissance, or reconn-oink-ering if you prefer. You know since they do a lot with pig. Well in either event I went in on Tuesday morning for breakfast.

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It is a small place with a counter and a few tables, so it is rather cozy. I was told it used to be a Subway, if that is the case the size makes sense.

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The one item I was most intrigued with was their version of bacon,egg and toast for $7. It was a big slice of pork belly with a jellied egg yolk and toasted french style bread. It was probably one of the most unusual things I have put in my mouth but also one of the tastiest. The pork belly;or bacon is self-explanatory. Salty and unctuous ( I know I use that word a lot but sometimes it just fits) with just the right amount of tooth. The egg was odd in all the right ways. A poached egg yolk encapsulated in an aspic derived from the preparation of hog feet or trotters. Since it was cold it was a shock to my tongue after puncturing the jelly and seeing the yolk flow out but it was as good a mopping egg as any warm poached one. And you had the bonus of pig jelly. Any talk of egg yolk mopping has to lead to bread and their choice of Amelia’s was good but their treatment of it was better. The bread is toasted then spread with a mixture of unsalted butter, apple butter and a hint of seranno chile. It was delicious. The whole plate was a hit.

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I also tried some of their miso and brown butter ice cream for $4. A browned butter is the start of a caramel so if you add that to sugar and cream you get a true decadent caramel. You freeze it you get this. Again a good job. However I didn’t taste much from the miso. But the earthiness of a brown miso can mimick an aspect of caramal I suppose. Regardless it was a great ice cream I would not hesitate to try again.

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I also tried a sweet roll, a Miso- Ovaltine Sweet Roll to be precise, and in full disclosure Ally gave it to me. I guess she thought I wasn’t getting enough to eat. It was an excellent roll and sells for 4 bucks

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So this brings us to Wednesday, the day Pat and I have decided for lunch. I had told Pat about this place and how I was going to check it out beforehand,and he groaned at my oink joke as I am sure most people would. Actually I was surprised that he was willing to give it a try,possibly because it was my turn to buy.

I was pretty sure what I wanted to try from the beginning the Tesa, $7 and the Trotter Croquettes for $6.

Tesa is similar to Prosciutto in that it is slow cured and is eaten without further cooking. Where it differs is the part of the pig it comes from. Prosciutto is from the hind or ham area Tesa is from the belly.

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I received a big old plate of piggy goodness with a bit of cooked beet,sour turnip and jalapeno as accompaniment as well as a bunch of toast. I also got another one of Chris’s eggs as a bonus. Once again everything fit like a glove. Actually I found this more interesting than prosciutto. With the ratio between fat and lean as it is on pork belly it was like getting Lardo as a bonus.

I also had to try the Trotter. Before you freak remember that there is some good meat in a pig’s foot. It just takes a while to get to it,but you do get the added value of the gelatin. Like everything else these croquettes were very good. A crisp exterior and a moist and meaty interior.

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With Pat it wasn’t so easy. I think he just agreed to go just to humor me.

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I was too busy feeding my face so I forgot to take any shots of Pat’s food until the very end.

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Pat's Popcorn

Pat’s Popcorn

They toss the corn in bacon fat and then sprinkle it with Nutritional Yeast, the result is unique and tasty.

The sauces Pat referenced was a soy type reduction and a soda pop mustard both made in-house. They both went well with the Tesa and the trotters,especially the mustard. That was made with Tamarind flavor Jarrito’s soda pop and minimally ground. A very interesting taste.

One last thing. We shared a slice of Lavender and coconut cream tart.

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Great crust,nice and creamy with good coconut flavor. As for the lavender it wasn’t as pronounced as I thought it would be. Good pie regardless. So as you can see I really enjoyed this place and its food. Pat; not so much. But he was a trooper for going there with me. In either event I think it a place worth exploring.

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Repeal Restaurant 630 Virginia Ave.

I have looked forward to this place opening for a while. It is the restaurant part of 12.05 Distillery. The distillery opened several months back;the second one in Indianapolis. The whole facility, distillery,dining room and kitchen is in an old bank building,built-in 1924. The exterior features the original terra-cotta exterior and uses an abundance of old wood in the interior. The name is a dedication to the date when Prohibition ended. December fifth. I think they are trying to capture a 1930’s vibe and the menu reflects that.

The chef did his due diligence in making some dishes reflective of the era. They offer a Mock Turtle soup as well as a Cream Mongole.

http://repealrestaurant.com

I opted for a cup of a cup of Mongole to start. This is a crazy combo of split pea, creamy tomato and various root vegetables. It was very earthy and flavorful. It would be great winter time fare for $4 per cup and $8 for a bowl.

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The only critique I could make is the soup,as good as it was cries for some cracker. A bit of a crunch to balance the creaminess.

For my main dish I was really torn. They offer a Hot Brown, a Monte Christo and a smoked beef Manhattan. Well I decided on the raw Beef “sandwich” for $13. It was a half pound mound of chopped steak on a thick slice of a rye type bread, topped with a raw egg, pickled onion and a neon relish.

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I thought it was a very elegant and tasty bite for lunch, but then I have a thing for tartare and Kibbeh Nayyeh and the like so I jumped at the chance. I think there are only 2 joints in Indy that offer this particular dish. Once again I must pick a nit. I don’t know if serving it on a thick slice of bread is the way to go. I slid the meat off of the bread and ate it with pieces of the bread I tore off. Luckily Pat didn’t eat all of his bread so I had enough to finish. Also I always though naan was a thin flat bread. Hey I may be wrong. In either event I admire the person that put it on the menu.

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Pat, true to form, ordered the smoked pork sandwich, for $9.

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So;this is Repeal. A nice little joint with a few minor details to iron out. We had two menus. One said Brioche bun the other said Cholla bun. I guess Cholla is the new name for Challah. Oy Vey. Still I think it is a great new joint. I want to go back and try the Mock Turtle soup and the Pimento Cheese. And while I am there I might as well have a cocktail.

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