eating indie in indy

Posts tagged “French fries

Fort Ben Pub 5645 N. Post Road

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We have been asked before why we go to so many bars or taverns. Some folks don’t consider such places as “legitimate restaurants”. Well considering the crowd these joints feed at lunch time I would say that is a minority opinion.

We have been to all the bars we lunch at before; for a beer or cocktail. The ones that  offer something unique or special we add to our list. This week we couldn’t really decide on what we wanted to eat. I recalled Fort Ben’s Wednesday Special. A 6 ounce bacon wrapped filet with fries, toast and a salad for $9.25. Now that is a special Special.

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Pat ordered his medium and mine was medium rare. For all practical purposes they were the same temperature. The beef was very tender and had a very nice char quality to it. It was a record for speed that is for sure. I believe it was because the steak was par cooked prior to the order, and the fries were probably fried earlier and stored under a heat lamp. All perfectly reasonable and legitimate “tricks” done to expedite the lunch service. Also you could eat it in record time since you didn’t need to cool anything down. The meat was still tasty and I would do it again were I in the area. However Murphy’s @Flynn’s use to have a similar steak special for $9.99;and the steaks didn’t start cooking until you ordered. They might have raised the price a buck since Pat and I were there. Check their website.

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This particular place has a full repertoire of daily specials; both lunch and dinner. The specials may make this particular spot your destination. So don’t be too quick to overlook lowly bars or taverns for a bite to eat. Remember some of the best scratch type cooking can often be found at these bars.
Fort Ben Pub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Nickel Plate Bar & Grill 8654 E. 116th Street Fishers Indiana

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This is their sign facing 116th Street. I don’t even know if there is a functioning door on the front. The parking is on the side. Where there is definitely a door.

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This is a relief beside the door off the parking lot. It is sculpted from clay and embedded in the brick exterior wall. Worth the trip just to check it out.

As we often do we started with an order of mushrooms for $7.99.

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They give you a bunch. A basket full of hot and crunchy ‘shrums. We consider them as good as that served at the Checkered Flag. Which says a bit.

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I was torn between the brisket and a bison burger. The thought of a bloody hunk of meat won me over and I settled on the bison, mid-rare. As you can see it was a large patty; nearly an inch thick and it was cooked perfectly. Sometimes some joints won’t cook ground meat anything less than 160 degrees; which is a bit more than medium. This was as I wanted it. They use a Brioche bun comes from S. Rosen’s from Chicago. It was wonderful. A shiny soft top and a tender and sweet interior. It was a perfect foil to a mid-rare burger. For sides they give a choice of several different options. Except fries. Fries are a 99 cent up charge. I got the potato salad. It is a brand I am familiar with and like. It was a grand lunch for $10.99/ Pat’s fish was $9.99. pricing you would expect for Fishers.

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This is another member of the R. Lux family of restaurants. We have been to everyone; except for the Meridian. Maybe we’ll do that for the Holidays. The place is very comfortable and the service is as good as the food. Our server/ bar tender, Brenda did a Masterful job. She also makes a wonderful Margarita; which they had on special today for 4 bucks. So I think this joint is worth the trip. Even all the way to 116th Street.

 

 

 

Nickel Plate Bar & Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Burgerhaus 335 West 9th. Street.

This joint is on the Canal walk. Which means it is tough to find the first time. There is a parking garage above the it and they do validate the parking. So it is free to park. Just don’t be confused by the credit card only sign. You can get a ticket and then go ahead to the parking area. Don’t. I repeat don’t back up and go park someplace else.

As for the place itself it is really nice. Oak wood throughout. A charming and cozy little place. With a killer out-door space right on the Canal.

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They have a little bar in the front. We chose to sit in the dining room. We thought it would lessen the temptation for beer drinking. As the name suggests they offer burgers. They have a proprietary blend of local source meat portioned out into 1/2 pound patties. I had a few questions about the source of the beef, and the buns. Also what was in the slaw etc. Unfortunately our server,Suzy had only been there 2 weeks so she did not know.

Now Suzy did a bang up job in service, I just would like to see more knowledge of servers about the stuff they are trying to sell. So maybe the bosses should stress that a bit more.

Well as for the burgers. They really and truly rock.

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Their Haus burger is served on a Brioche bun with butter lettuce , tomato and red onion. Also with a choice of “typical” cheese and fries or coleslaw. All this for $9.50. In some areas that is pricey. Downtown it is, unfortunately typical.

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I ordered my burger mid rare. And that was exactly how it came out.

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It was a delicious piece of meat and bun. Simple food is so wonderful. This was one. I must say this. They offer more exotic cheeses as an option for a $1.50 upcharge. I opted for Brie. Now that was a mistake.

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The Brie was okay. The portion was not. I think that this burger is best served sans cheese. If you feel as though you need a bit of dairy just go for the more typical options.

They have other stuff on the menu. Salads and such. But if they have Burger in its name. What does that tell you. They also have a Burger of the month, and you can sub a portabella cap for any burger for no additional charge. So this is a serious Burger joint. Enjoy.

 

Burgerhaus on Urbanspoon


Sawmill Saloon 1313 N. Sherman Drive

Okay. Normally our lunch day is Thursday. Pat decided that we would go “rogue” today and hit some joint that we would never normally consider. I decided to hit a joint I have noticed on the “net” that is located in Brightwood. This is a working class neighborhood that some folks call the hood. I grew up in that neighborhood. So actually I was rather excited to check out the new Brightwood.

The building has been around for a long time. For years it was called the Bungalow. A joint noted for its catfish dinners and bar service. I had been there a few times 35 years ago. My dad went there on a few occasions. Actually I forgot about it until I saw an entry on Urbanspoon. From what I recently discovered the Sawmill has been opened for quite a while. It was named after the veneer factory across the street. That particular factory has been around since I was a kid.

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The joint has not changed much in the last few years. A long bar, several tables and a rather cool back bar.

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Their menu is unpretentious and very Hoosier. I didn’t bring my scanner so I was not able to present the menu. Now that is a bummer. I always pride myself on the fact that I can usually present a joint’s menu for everyone to see. This time my camera was not up to the task.

They make their own fries, and onion rings. They also hand cut and pound out the pork loins for breading. Normally I try to avoid breaded and fried food. I am supposed to eat a Heart Healthy diet. However, sometimes a man needs some fried meat.

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Their version of the Hoosier staple was a great example of a simply good sandwich. It was not as intricate as some places. It was simply a nice hunk of pork that was hand pounded and breaded and fried. It wasn’t a great BT by any standard. It was a good one. It was tender. The breading was a little light.

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The fries were nice. They cut them in-house. I don’t think they double fry them. Which I think is how it should be. In either event they really should season the bad boys. Their fries are pretty good. They just need some cojones. One thing I enjoyed was that they put the tenderloin on toast. Not the obligatory Texas toast, on a flat top,but white bread toast from a toaster, I liked the crunch.

The previous day the Sawmill had a hog roast. So they ran their pulled pork sandwich as a lunch special.

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I think I agree with Pat’s assessment. If I found myself in the neighborhood I would go again. However Brightwood is hardly a destination;anymore. The food is tasty,the beer is cold and the new owner; Rhonda is a delight. So should you find yourself on Sherman Drive by all means pop in. For two sandwiches and fries the tab came to under 14 bucks. And a domestic bottle will cost you $2.75. So I think it was a good afternoon in the neighborhood.
Sawmill Saloon on Urbanspoon


Bearcats Restaurant

 The old Stutz Bearcat auto plant at 12th St. and Senate Avenue has been converted into the Stutz business center. On the ground floor of that huge building sits the Bearcats restaurant. Pat and I tried to go there last year, but apparently it was a nighttime joint. That must not have worked out for them because now it’s open for breakfast and lunch. They have a website but the menu shown is different from the one you see when you sit down. So I scanned the in-house menu. Hopefully that will eliminate any confusion.

It is a nice looking place full of industrial chic from the big overhead ductwork to the yellow caution tape on the floor. The menu was more than adequate for lunch service. Nothing unique just your typical lunch fare. But the one thing this joint was lacking was a big dose of happy server face. There were two servers working so they might have been shorthanded, which always leads to extra stress. However, it don’t take much energy to smile. At least try not to project the vibe: “why don’t you go away?”. Well enough about atmosphere on to the food.005

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We had wanted to share some mushrooms since they were fresh and hand breaded but they were out.I did notice that they cooked off their own corned beef. That’s not the same as making your own, but it is better than buying it already cooked in Cryovac. So I ordered a Reuben. It was very good. Nicely done with an abundant amount of freshly prepared french fries. I just wish those darn servers had smiled more.

008So you can expect a good lunch here. Fresh and quickly prepared. And hopefully a more cheerful atmosphere. And no I don’t expect a server or bartender to entertain me. I do expect them to fulfill my food and beverage requests. And since I am old school I don’t think pretending to enjoy taking my money is out of line.Bearcats Restaurant at the Stutz Business Center on Urbanspoonhttps://kosherhamandcheese.com/?p=1799&preview=true


The Sinking Ship

I am sure that anyone under the age of 30 who lives anywhere in the vicinity of 49th St. and College Avenue has been to the Sinking ship. After all, I’m told that it is a joint for hipsters. I’m not sure what that means. All I know is that it’s a big bar, a clean bar with really good beer and really good prices. It also has a very unique menu for a tavern. It offers several vegan options. That includes but is not limited to, soy chorizo and soy cheese. They even offer seitan wings. Seitan is also called “wheat meat“. It is created by some mystical process where wheat is reduced to gluten, leaving protein rich, “meat like” product. I have been wanting to try it for quite a while. However it reminds me too much of the movie Solyent Green. But someday, someday.
Pat and I have been there several times for beer. They don’t start serving lunch until noon and, we like to get started around 11-ish. You know old dudes. Last week I made a solo trip to break the ice. So to speak.I didn’t order off the menu. I tried their special. Which was a chili dog with fries for $7.50. The dog was a good all beef wiener but was only a quarter pounder. They make their own chili and it worked great as a Coney sauce. I will have to try it by itself to see how it works as straight up chili.
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When Pat and I went back together I knew exactly what I would order. They offer smoked pork in two different forms. One as a barbecue sandwich; the other as a Cuban sandwich. That is a combo of pork, ham, cheese, dill pickle and mustard. Pressed in a hoagie roll. And they actually smoke their pig in a smoker, outback behind the kitchen. You could actually taste the smoke, faint but definitely there. The ham was decent Deli style, and worked really well with the cheese and everything else. A compact package of good food in a  Gonnella roll. The fries I had were decidedly different from the ones that came with my hotdog. I asked Bartender Ben and he told me that they had indeed changed. They were now making their own french fries. Well, I think Bartender Ben was pulling my leg a little bit. But that’s okay. He did an outstanding job anticipating our refills.

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As I’ve mentioned before Pat is a traveling puzzlement as to what he’s going to eat at any given time. As if to illustrate the point, he ordered fried tofu with peanut sauce and a slice of pepperoni pizza. Pizza was their three dollar lunch special.He enjoy the pizza,telling me he thought the crust was home-made. The only reason I’m writing this much is that Patrick’s review is a little more esoteric than normal. Nicely done just a little, well, esoteric.

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sinking ship-moe-johnnies 010https://kosherhamandcheese.com/?p=1491&preview=trueThe Sinking Ship on Urbanspoon


Brugge…Ponte…Bridge…Puente…

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By any other name it is still a brewery or a Brasserie if you will. The Brugge Brasserie has been in Broad Ripple for a few years and has been doing quite well. So well in fact they are building a new joint just Northwest of Michigan and College. As I understand, it will house all the brewing equipment. So kudos to the small business owner. I have heard good reports about the place but honestly, I have never felt compelled to go there, until now. Pat and I had lunch there Friday before Christmas. As to why it took me this long to finish this post only the ghosts of Christmas past know. Well, in keeping with the old adage better late than never, here goes.

The place is really swanky. A “hip” interior and copper sheathed tables accented with decent artwork on the walls you have an attractive and comfy place to eat. Shucks the tables look like disproportioned  picnic tables; what with the oversized hole in the center to accommodate their signature pomme frites in their paper cones. In case you just came out of a 30 year coma pomme frites are what we colonials call fried taters, or french fries. 

Pat ordered  waterzooi,or fish stew. I decided on one of their mitraillettes. Mitraillettes are a French version of a hoagie or a grinder. My particular “gun” was a meatball and peppers, braised in beer and tomato sauce.  All their “sandwiches” come with fries,and 2 sauces (for the fries).  Lordy the thing was Huge and COVERED with pomme frites.  So much so I nearly went into carb overload just eating my way to the meat.  But when I finally made it ;it was really, really good.  Plump succulent meat balls of beef and veal smothered in a sweet tomato sauce. The fact that they added fennel seed to their mixture didn’t hurt things;since I’m a freak for anything with even a hint of licorice.  As for Pat’s stew it was spot on !  All you must do is imagine a large bowl of potato, cod and mussels  ala nage  in a luscious “soup” of fish stock,white wine,butter and cream. And yes. It is as decadent and tasty as you can imagine. Pat did allow me to taste the soup. He also was generous in sharing his mussels. So I agree with Pat that it was delicious and worth the $14.00 price. As was my $11 hoagie. On the beer tip they offer a flight of 3 for 7 bucks. Since they are in the process of growing their business, they,at this time , didn’t offer all their own brews. However they had a great guest brewery. Victory out of  St. Louis. So whether you come for the food and stay for the beer;or vice versa I don’t think you can go wrong with The Brewery.Brugge Brasserie on Urbanspoon


Pure Food…Pure Thoughts?

Another new joint has opened in Fountain Square;Pure Food Eatery and in this case Pure means simple.It is a lovely little place,not too artsy fartsy or too urban tavern chic;just nice.The menu is Panini Press centered.Sandwiches and wraps in simple and tasty combos.Not a single french fry or chicken wing to be found;no fryers anywhere.They did fall into the aioli trap however.That is where you flavor mayo call it (fill in the blank)mayo and “jazz”up your menu.A good emulsion sauce has its place but sometimes people stick it in the most unlikely places;like grilled cheese.Since I am still dentally challenged that is what I ordered.Actually a half sandwich and a cup of soup.All their Panini are available as 1/2 or whole.The wholes are reasonably priced,in the $7-$8 range;the 1/2’s are not as reasonable;at $6.The 3 cheese Panini was pretty good.A curious combo of Havarti,Swiss and Provolone cheeses with the obligatory slice of tomato.Their addition of Pesto mayo;although not traditional,did bring a nice additional taste to the mild cheeses;also a touch of unctiousness to the toasted sour dough bread.Patrick decided on a BLT.Nothing out of the ordinary except for the avocado spread;which Pat turned down;due to onion content.We both enjoyed our sandwiches;and more than enjoyed the SOD;Chicken and Rice. A delicious home-made stock loaded with fresh Tarragon.The stock alone was worth the 90 cent up-charge,the diced chicken and rice was a bonus.In addition to sour dough they also offer wheat and rye bread,which would go well with some of their other filling options.

The biggest deal of the day was the Thursday beer special.New Belgiums for $2.50.I discovered Shift by New Belgium.They call it a Lager but it has a definite Ale quality.Delicious;and a bargain at $2.50 for a 16 oz can.The thing about good beer is you get nutrition and you can consume regardless of  the condition of your teeth.


Fat Dan’s Deli 5410 N. College Ave.

Well we went to Fat Dan’s Deli in broad Ripple this week.To say we were both disappointed, would be an accurate statement. This joint has been on our list ever since I learned they used a dry rub on their brisket.We would normally order difference dishes. This time we decided we both needed to try the brisket. So we got two identical sandwiches and an order of fries to share. The portions were nice size, the toasted bun was decent. However, approximately 25 to 30% of the sandwich was fat. And I’m not talking about the crisp kind that adds crunch I’m talking about the high cholesterol, flabby kind of fat that damn few people would like. I will say this the rub, the man used is one of the better ones I’ve tried.What meat  there was,was quite tasty.And obviously I must have misread the menu. I thought the brisket was smoked, and yet there was not a trace of the smoke Ring or even the faintest flavor of smoke. It was much like the smokehouse in Fountain Square, more pot roast then smoked brisket.I was going to get into greater detail about how I was taught to smoke and trim and slice brisket in Texas. But I will wait until I get my recipe blog up and running.

Now we come to the french fries. They refer to them as the best fries in the universe. Well they must exist in a smaller universe than I remember; because I would consider them average. Again they were nicely seasoned, a little salty, but it didn’t appear as any attempt was made to drain any of the oil.And another thing. If you’re going to call your fries the best of the universe. You might consider double frying them. A lower temperature at first then at a higher temperature before you sell them, that way they won’t be so limp. I know it’s more work but you get to $2.75 per order.

What is interesting, we decide to go there because of a beer.Last week after lunch we went to the sinking ship for beer and they had Falls City on draft. For you younger folk out there, Falls City was a “working-class” beer from the 60s and 70s. And if I remember correctly it sucked. But Pat goaded me into trying one. And it wasn’t my daddies Falls city. It was a good IPA; naturally I knew it wasn’t the original formula. So when I got home I checked it out on the Internet and sure enough, the formula is different. First off it’s being crafted in Louisville and the formula they are using is supposed to be more reminiscent of the original from the 30s. And according to their website. You can only find it at three places in Indy. The Sinking Ship, Brothers and Fat Dan’s. Irony of ironies Fat Dan’s no longer serves it. So after lunch we decided to walk down to brothers to try it there. And guess what ?They didn’t have it either. So I guess the only place I can get my Falls City fix is at The Sinking Ship on College Ave.

So have I given up on  Dan’s?Will I ever go back?Possibly.Vienna dogs aren’t easy to find.Fat Dan's Chicago-Style Deli on Urbanspoon


Dawson’s on Main

We went way out of our comfort zone to go to Speedway, Indiana, in May. We have talked about going here several times but usually road construction interfered. But it was really worth it. I have not been to Speedway in years and it is really a lovely community. Dawson’s sits on the corner of Main Street and some tree-lined picturesque street that to me has no name. I don’t recall. The joint was rocking at noon, but  we were still able to get seats out of doors. The menu for lunch is rather large. Several appetizers, big salads, a dozen or more sandwiches and wraps and a few lunch entrées.

One of the entrées was a breaded and fried Capensis. To non-fish groupies Capensis, also known as Cape Capensis; or poor man’s Orange Roughy is as delicious as it is hard to find. I have never seen it fried, but there is no reason why it can’t be, obviously. The fish came with french fries and coleslaw for $8.99. Since as   we already know, Pat is a fried fresh freak that is what he ordered.I had to try the pot roast. It was a large portion of tender, moist braised beef smothered with sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions and a mushroom ragout,all sitting on top of two twice baked potato cakes. It also came with steamed broccoli, but since I’m not a big broccoli fan. I traded that for Pat’s coleslaw; and everybody was happy.And that lovely lunch was only $9.99.

At first thought the pot roast dish might seem redundant with sautéed mushrooms and onions and Ragout; which is basically mushrooms and onions in a red wine cream sauce. Redundancy aside. It was a delicious lunch. As an old chef I used to work with told me a long time ago, I would be proud to serve that dish.Pat tried a piece of the pot roast and naturally loved it. I tried a piece of his fish and I can honestly say it was the best fried fish I have had in many years.According to Pat the broccoli was perfect. And according to me the potato cakes were wonderful. They were delightful cakes approximately 3 1/2 inches in diameter consisting of riced potatoes mixed with peppers, one of which had a little heat to it, and then baked, and since they were called twice baked I can assume they were baked originally.Left overs from dinner ? No matter ;left over bakers are the perfect source for baked cakes or home fries and a perfect platform for this meat.

Well I think I have said enough, it would well be worth your effort to go there for lunch or dinner. The food is that good. Just don’t wait too long, the farther May progresses the bigger the crowds will get.Oh as you probably noticed we did it again.we started eating before we took the pictures.Honestly we try not to.Dawson's on Main on Urbanspoon