Charming. That is my word for the day. That is the best one word description of this restaurant that I can think of. We have been here before with our friend Jimmie. That is the reason we decided to go back. We had planned on meeting him there but he had some schedule conflict. So it was just me and the other old guy.
It was a blustery sort of fall day. The kind of day that really suggests comfort food. Which is exactly what Pat ordered. I believe the dish was Dad’s Chicken. That is a breaded breast, pan-fried and finished in the oven. It came with 2 sides for $8. He opted for roasted garlic mashed potatoes and steamed snap peas.
As you can see I didn’t post Pat’s usual review. The reason for that is I reworked my browser, and upgraded my version of Windows. And with the changes; when I downloaded my scans of his post it went to a different area than I am not accustomed to. And frankly I can’t locate it. Luckily I managed a taste of his food so I can write about it. Pat’s original post was succinct as usual. All I can do is flesh it out; so to speak
The chicken was very tasty and moist. The portion was 5 oz.,and the sides were nicely portioned as well. The ‘taters were garlicky good and fluffy; and buttery enough that gravy would have been a distraction. As for the peas they were incredibly tender, considering their size.
Regardless of the weather, I had a craving for their salmon wrap. It had both smoked salmon and asparagus. Two of my (many) favorite foods. It also featured cukes, lettuce and wasabi mayo. And it was as good as it sounded. However I think more salmon would have helped. I understand the price of the salmon necessitates the $ 9 price tag, but I think they could get a better product if they smoked their own.
Well look at us. Two weeks in a row we’ve gone to a couple of the “fancier” joints in town. Bluebeard isn’t really fancy they just have a fancy sounding menu. Trust me Pat and I wouldn’t go to a truly fancy schmancy place; even at lunch. We are like a pair of brown shoes in a tuxedo world. To me Bluebeard is a visual delight. Exposed beams and brick work; mis matched bar stools and dining tables. Not enough to be tedious just enough to be hip. Not in the angst driven Sinking Ship way more in an urbane way. But what the hell do I know? I’m just one brown Florsheim.
The menu is geared for foodies. An eclectic array meant to share. Of course not all the plates are sufficient size to share. And you have to be careful. You can run up a sizable lunch tab without too much trouble. They vary the menu daily which can be a bummer. When we found out they make their own lardo we ordered a small bread appetizer. Lardo is like the name implies. Pig fat that has been cured. It takes 30 to 60 days to process properly. That day lardo was something they varied; substituting mortadella spread. It was nice, but no whipped pork fat. But the spreads all took a back seat to the BREAD. They make their own bread on premise and all of their varieties rock. Pat didn’t want to play what’s that food. I don’t blame him. It’s tough enough to find food with no onion of any kind. So he opted for a sandwich.
Much to my surprise they get their oysters and octopus in fresh. Since I haven’t had octopus since the last time I was in Florida that is what I started with. The presentation was rather disappointing. The had toast points on top, obscuring the view. The octopus was tender and very nicely done. The bagna cauda was spot on. Full of olive flavor; since they opted for olive rather than anchovy, I thought it fit the octopus nicely. I did find the fennel flavor lacking. Which is odd. Usually when you low roast veggies in oil the flavor is enhanced.
After the octopus I tried a couple of oysters. Admittedly I am hardly an expert on oyster varieties but this particular sort was on the small side. Small but delicious. And the mignonette was a perfect match. The salty,sweet of the oyster and the slight shudder of the vinegar. But in my gluttonous eagerness I forgot to take a picture of the oysters.
But I wasn’t through yet. Remember my cautionary remark about being careful. I decided I needed a salad. And I figured that if I picked the right one I could forego desert. So I picked the one with mixed greens and asian pear and avocado. Damn if I don’t think that it could be the perfect salad. From the sweetness of the pear to the buttery creaminess of the avocado and with the bitterness of the greens, crunch of the sunflower kernels and the brightness of the citrus in between this was definitely my favorite.
Are we through yet? Oh No. Our über pleasant and efficient bartender, Cali, thought we should try their signature buttermilk bread pudding. So she brought us one to share. Just look at it and think of white chocolate sauce, and coco nibs. So on that note we say good-bye.
Since 1911 whenever you wanted a bowl of home-made stew you went to John’s.To say it is an Indy Icon is an understatement.I haven’t had John’s since they had a place in Irvington;and that was quite a while ago.The stew they serve today is just as tasty;just as delicious as it was 30 years ago.And don’t let anyone tell you that stew is only a cold weather food.A bowl of good stew is appropriate food year round.And from the size of the crowd we’re not the only ones that feel that way.John offers his 3 ways;mild,medium or hot.Pat got a medium I wussed out and opted for the mild.Regardless of which style you order you will receive a big bowl of savory gravy,filled with big chunks of carrot and potato.And sitting right in the middle of this gravy sea was Big Cow Island.A huge chunk of beef about 1/2 the size of a man’s fist.And everything was so tender you could use a spoon;no knife or fork required.Pat offered that the last time he had stew this good was at Nick’s in Bloomington.It was a one time special;and he still remembers it after nearly 40 years.So that should tell you something about John’s stew;or something about Pat;I’m not sure which.They don’t just offer bowls the also can give you burgers smothered with stew.Or mashed potatoes;or stuffed peppers;or cabbage rolls.You might say they are rather stew-centric.But they also offer regular burgers,tenderloin and salads if that is more to your liking.So needless to say if you ever develop a “hankering”for a memorable beef stew, now you know where to go.A bowl of meaty history for only 8 bucks;how can you go wrong?
After lunch we decided to head to West Morris Street and have a beer at Slammin’ Sammies.If you haven’t heard of it don’t feel alone neither have I.This my friends is a true neighborhood dive bar.One thing for sure people are friendly here.As we were walking in from the lot there were 2 gentlemen standing out side sharing a cigarette.One was about age 60 the other 50.The smoke had no filter so my guess was it was a Lucky Strike.The bar serves domestics only;12oz.for $2.50 and quarts for $4.25.So we spent maybe an hour drinking our big and little beers chatting with the home boys.All of them seemed as though they had started fighting sobriety early that day.The joint has a band stand and they offer live music on weekends.That should be a trip.The music played on the juke box was certainly eclectic.From Eminem to Waylon Jennings.From Ludicrous to David Alan Coe;with a few lesser known(to me)Rap and Country artists thrown in as well.As I said;a trip.
Under the category of old beers that are new again,Pat discovered one:Hudepohl;or Hudie for short.I think it was originally brewed in Cincinnati,Ohio.It had some popularity in Hoosier land 30 or so years ago;I don’t recall the last time I saw it in a liquor store or bar.But then I don’t think I ever went out searching for it.If this is a new “crafty”generation I think they done good.It starts out with a hoppy caramel taste,the finish is very hoppy;almost bitter,in a good way.At Dinner Bell on South Shelby you can pick it up for $3.49 for 6 or $12.00 for 24.So a pretty good beer for a good price.Such a deal.