eating indie in indy

Posts tagged “Chinese cuisine

Lucky Lou’s Seafood Restaurant 3623 Commercial Drive

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You enter into an outer lobby where you are greeted by a floral display

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Also their Special board. This one written in Chinese.

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Pat hit the nail on the head with his opening line. This is not your typical Indianapolis Chinese Restaurant. You know the restaurants. They all have the same menu, the one with steamed or fried dumplings for $4.95 and a $7.95 lunch special with egg roll and soup. The only variant being the name on the menu. That is not to say you are going to get the same meal at all the locations. You hand the same recipe and ingredients to 3 chefs you will more than likely end up with 3 different tastes. Chefs are, if nothing else individuals.

This place deals in the “nasty parts”. Lungs and intestines. You know the stuff that is never mentioned in “polite” Restaurant society. They even offer a small plate of Beef Offal with Turnip. However this is not what drew me here. It was Dim Sum. Small plates of different foods, typically dumplings or balls steamed or fried. However before I go into my dumpling lunch I must mention our lunch guest, Bob, a friend from school. He was in for a visit from North Carolina. He likes hot food. Very hot food. He ordered a diced chicken in chiles and ordered it as hot as possible. He ate it without even breaking into a sweat.

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Lou’s menu is a big book loaded with amazing pictures. I scanned their carry out menu,which is very big as well. This will be posted on Zomato for anyone interested. As for the Dim Sum they have their own menu,complete with pictures. The prices range from $3.65 to $4.95 with the most coming in at $3.95. My first dish was a Stuffed Eggplant.

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This was my favorite. Beautifully cooked eggplant stuffed with what tasted like minced shrimp and pork in a nicely textured dressing. It was covered with a sweetened soy sauce. As I said it was my favorite. For some reason it reminded me of Thanksgiving.

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These Shrimp Balls were very interesting. They had the standard saltiness of a shrimp paste yet had the airy texture of a Southern style dumpling. I think I would have enjoyed them more with a dipping sauce of some sort. Something other than soy, hot chile oil or packs of sweet and sour sauce.

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I have had Short Ribs at other Chines Restaurants before. The sauce may differ but they always have one thing in common. They are always chewy. The rib is never cooked long enough to become tender. I believe this is my first time for this type of sauce. It had a decent flavor and a slight pepper bite however it was a bit gelatinous from the corn starch. They served a goodly amount so I took them home and was able to “salvage” them with just a little effort. So the bones were there.

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This was the oddest one for me. I have had shrimp and pork dumplings before but never like this. Other places served them like the twisted sort of ubiquitous dumpling you see at most other joints. As you can see these are far from small and twisted. These are large and dense. The filling is in a cavity inside.When you cut them the minced shrimp and pork is cradled like soup in a bowl it doesn’t come gushing out like jelly in a donut. The walls of the dumpling are about a quarter of an inch thick and the inner most half appears to be only partly cooked. The whole thing is chewy and the inside most of all. The filling was tasty enough but the dumpling had a sweetness to it that I found to be incongruous with the filling.

I enjoyed my dumpling lunch. Any issue I had was with my selections. The House upheld its end I may have just picked the wrong things for me. On weekends they bring in Dim Sum carts; like dessert carts in a fancy French joint. Now that I will definitely try.

Lucky Lou's Chinese Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Tokyo Buffet 8810 S. Emerson Av.

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Looks pretty mundane doesn’t it. After all it sits in the middle of a sprawling strip mall. Surrounded by  a bunch more. Don’t let its appearance fool you. There is a nice little buffet behind those doors. One with an amazing array of Chinese food. It even has freshly prepared sushi. All for $6.95 at lunch and $9.95 for dinner.

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This is the first hot line, with about every Chinese tidbit you would want.

Pat and I were shameless in our gluttony. The Chinese food was very well prepared and everything stayed crisp and hot. They never overloaded any one item, relying on frequent restocking to keep the table intact.

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The sushi was nicely done as well. The selection of rolls were rather average, as they bring out the “fancy” rolls at dinner. However they were very tasty. Of course the use of rice and nori was abundant. I don’t think you can expect yellow tail or salmon for 6 bucks.

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This is the second hot line. Pork and chicken were well represented as well as various veggies, in the form of egg rolls, pot stickers and General Tso’s contribution. I would guess they had more than 30 different items on the steam tables. Plus the sushi and deserts and salads. They even had calamari rings and surimi wrapped in bacon.

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This is the salad station. It also had fresh melon and puddings. They even had ice cream in a little freezer. Of course I didn’t see that until we were leaving.

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This was the desert station. Little petits fours and cookies and macaroons. I know none of these were house made, but they were really pretty tasty. The ones with sprinkles were flavored with coffee.

This was one of the better buffets I have eaten at. The marrying of skillfull cooking and ready made items made it a very memorable lunch. I honestly think it’s phenomenal that it is only $6.95.

#1 Tokyo Buffet on Urbanspoon


Szechwan Garden ( that’s the one at 3649 Lafayette Road )

There are three or four Szechwan Gardens in Indianapolis. That is why I specified the one on Lafayette Road. I cannot imagine any actual foodies, that don’t like Chinese food. I recall watching a television program (on the food network. Naturally) talking about Chinese food restaurants in the United States. The commentator remarked that were more Chinese restaurants in the US than McDonald’s, Burger King and Taco Bell combined. They also showed one of the proprietors who commented. “Americans love Chinese food because they don’t know how to cook it.” Pat and I were discussing this at lunch with our server, and I remarked that I understood the technique of stir fry, etc. it was the sauces that I found mysterious because I didn’t know what was in them. To which our server replied “neither do we.” So, on that note, let’s do lunch.

As you can see from the extensive menu. This joint is the real deal. The sort of place where you go to get your Chinese food freak on. Pat likes it because he can usually find something with no onion. Still, he usually plays it safe. Today he ordered pork with garlic sauce.

Pat's first course; half eaten.

Pat’s first course; half eaten.

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Szechwan Gardens 005 I was like a kid in a candy store with all this new stuff to try. In Spain there are tapas. In China they have  Dim Sum.  Assorted small plates and dumplings meant to share. With dim sum , the pace and order of your dining is determined by the cook time. The dishes are brought out as they are completed. My first small plate was Short rib with Honey Sauce.

Szechwan Gardens 003The pieces they used were small with big bone and as much cartilage as meat. You had to work at it but the slightly sweet sauce made it worthwhile. Besides, I rather enjoyed the slight “tooth” the cartilage offered. Besides, beef cartilage is supposed to be an effective pain reliever for arthritis. My next dish was Baby Cuttlefish in Curry Sauce.

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I have had squid and octopus before, but this is the first time for cuttlefish. Since all three are cephalopods, I figured it would have similar flavor, fitting somewhere in between. I found it to be more assertive than octopus. That could be because of the curry sauce. The dish had a slightly odd flavor I could not quite describe. I am not even sure if I liked or disliked the dish. I would be willing to try the fish again, perhaps in a different sauce. Next one up was Chicken Feet in Special Sauce.

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Admittedly, chicken feet are probably an acquired taste. as you can expect they don’t have a lot of meat, but to me it’s about the skin. If you like the skin on fried chicken you might like chicken feet. This particular chicken didn’t have real crispy feet but the sauce it was in was.. well.. special and good. Moving on to the deep-fried pork dumpling.

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These were exceptional. A light and airy dough filled with shredded pork. It offered a sweetness more than that of  just the pork. I think these dumplings would be right at home with any sort of barbecue sauce or hot sauce. I think they are definitely a must try. Lastly, we come to the Pan-fried Turnip cake.

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Asian turnips have the flavor similar to a daikon radish. I have been eating them regularly, as a snack or raw in salads. So I was curious to see how the heat might change the flavor. these cakes had a slight sweetness; that could be due to the addition of heat or the recipe. Once again, this should really be on your list of things to try. If you go there.

So. I don’t know about the other Szechwan Gardens in town but I’m of the opinion if you want some Chinese food Lafayette Road is where you ought to go.

Szechwan Garden on Urbanspoonhttps://kosherhamandcheese.com/?p=1737&preview=true MENU


Chin Brother’s Restaurant and Grocery

In general, Oriental food is a mystery to me. That’s why I was looking forward to having lunch at Chin’s, a Burmese restaurant. The menu isn’t as large as a Chinese menu, which has hundreds of dishes utilizing a handful of ingredients in skillful and imaginative combinations.I cannot remember the name of the dish I ordered , I couldn’t pronounce it anyway. It was a large portion of fried rice noodles mixed with chicken, veggies, fried egg and ground peanuts. The preparation was similar to a lot of far Eastern dishes I have eaten. You could  taste all of the individual ingredients and yet at the same time the harmonious blending created an additional flavor profile. Definitely a case of the sum being greater than all of its parts; or whatever that adage is. They served a wonderful sauce on the side for both our dishes. It was a small bowl of fish sauce with chopped pieces of tiny green chiles. It was fantastic how something so simple could taste so complex. The fish sauce was slightly sour with a slight smokiness and the chiles brought a wonderful heat to the entire sauce. You could pour as little or as much as you want and you’re good to go. I don’t recommend eating the little green peppers, unless you have a high tolerance for hot food; something I no longer have.

Pat ordered something simpler; a bowl of braised steak and thin sliced fresh ginger.He found the meat tender and tasty. The ginger permeated the stock enough to add a slight heat, distinctly different from the heat of the chile sauce. The cooking of the ginger, subdued some of the heat but little of the fragrance. If you haven’t eaten fresh ginger before it has kind of a “bite” similar to a hot pepper. Pat also got a huge mound of fluffy white rice to go with his meat. Right after we started eating our server brought out a complementary bowl of soup. It was pretty simple, chicken stock and fresh cilantro.Since we were rice rich, we added some to the soup. The soup by itself, with the added rice, and some bread would make a nice lunch; all by itself. Speaking of bread. I believe they have two types of bread they serve. I had wanted to order one, just to check out Burmese baking; but I forgot. If any of you go there, try some bread, and let me know how it is.If you check out their website the menu you will find is a smaller version of the “real” menu. And when you go you can get all of your international shopping done. Right next door they have a grocery featuring all sorts of Asian products. Around the corner is an international market with fresh produce, meat and fish. In the corner of the strip mall there is a Mexican market and bakery. Remember what they say; think globally, but eat locally.And the whole lunch cost less than $13.

After such a great lunch, we needed some time to digest; so we drove to the Three Pints brewery in Plainfield. They offer six house brews plus one guest brew at all times. They don’t offer flights, but they do offer 4 ounce glasses for one buck each. And on Thursday their house pints are only $3.50. That day they offered one oatmeal Stout the rest of their menu leaned more towards the ale variety. I especially liked the Plainfield pale ale and their Retired Red Ale;both have a nice citrus note and a good hoppy finish.Remember what they say; distance is no object when in search of a finely brewed beer.

Chin Brothers Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato