I enjoy buffets. It may because they remind me of my time in Vegas or maybe they just appeal to the Glutton in me. In either event here we are at the Garrison. Home to what may be the Mac Daddy of Sunday Brunch Buffets in Indianapolis. They have a smaller buffet at lunch during the week. We reviewed that about 18 months ago. It was because of that trip that we are here today.
I have said before that taking pictures of a buffet can be awkward and this was no exception. I did manage a few shots but for the most part I just took shots of our over stocked plates.
They offered everything you might need for a first or salad course.
And of course a dessert table that would make any casino proud.
The main buffet line is immense, featuring all the protein and veggie options you would ever want. Baked white fish, BBQ ribs, fried chicken and of course sausages and bacon. They also have a separate carving station featuring glazed salmon, ham and roast beef. In the opposite corner is a waffle station and an omelet station.
My first plate of protein was actually a bowl with ribs, bacon and sausage. Underneath was a fried chicken breast. The food was all very good. I discovered their fried chicken on my first visit. It is salty and crisp and the white meat is surprisingly moist; considering that it is warming in a chaffing pan. Some of the ribs were a bit chewy but were still good.
These may be ready-made salads but they were still tasty. The 3 bean and Tortellini salads are not often options on a buffet.
I know the height of gluttony. One piece at a time just would not do for me. I had to shove 3 into my bowl. All of their pies and cakes are done in-house by their pastry chef who spent several years at the “Dutch Oven”.
The buffet is staged in the Blue Heron Ballroom with 2 adjacent dining area for over flow. It is a spacious and beautiful room. One whole wall is nearly all glass with large double doors leading to a grand terrace.
I would also like to comment on the service. I don’t think I have ever seen such an attentive team of servers at a buffet before. Prompt refills and removal of dishes. I also would like to compliment Marsha, our server. Thanks from me as well.
Forgot to mention the price. It is $19.99 per person drink included.
MCL has been around since 1950. It started in Indianapolis and now has several locations in Indiana, Ohio and even Illinois. They pride themselves on scratch made comfort food and homemade pies.
The menus vary slightly from place to place but they all have a Blue Plate special and a Mayfield’s Value Plate. That is reduced portion of protein with 2 small sides and bread for $6.99. It used to be called the Jack Benny Plate. That is what we ordered. Fried chicken for Pat and Roast beef for me.
I honestly don’t recall Pat ever suggesting this joint but then he also thinks a lunch of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy with a huge roll is healthy eating. If I did give him some push back I probably had a reason at the time. Maybe I thought they had enough public exposure that they didn’t need our little bit of recognition. They are just as well-known now but we are running low on joints to go to, that is why I thought of MCL for this weeks lunch. So feel free to offer suggestions we are always looking. We don’t do dinner and nothing too “fancy” please as it may scare Pat off.
This was a great little plate of food. The meat was tender the taters were creamy and the beans were soft, the way I like them. I got a couple of Parkerhouse style rolls but no butter.
Pat and I both opted for a third side. For me it was spinach.
I enjoy spinach as much as any green. Our bus person Heather brought me some vinegar for the spinach and some horse-radish for the beef so the service at this cafeteria is as good as what you would expect from a full service restaurant. Better than some.
This is my pecan pie. Thick and sweet with a very good crust. On Thursday they offer a slice of pie for 99 cents. How is that for motivation to visit? I am sure most who read this are familiar with the MCL Brand. They are still doing what they have done for 68 years. Putting out splendid meals and great pies. Pleasant folks to have a meal with.
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.
Three legs and thighs, one breast and one “snack” of fried chicken skin. They offer fried skin ( chicken chicharrones) in several dishes.
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.
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.
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.
I try to start out with a picture of the places facade. This one doesn’t really have a facade of its own. What it does have is a cozy little corner in the John H. Boner Community Center, just east of the Tech High School campus. They have been opened for 3 years and I just learned of it last week. After eating here Pat and I both think that it’s a wonder it isn’t always full of hungry customers.
The menu is basic and the prices are in line with most other restaurants of its kind. When you factor in the quality and the quantity it is a true bargain.
The printing on their carry out menu was light so my copy may be difficult to read for the ocularly challenged.
It is a pretty sweet space. A neat and clean dining room and a spacious kitchen nearly as large as the dining area.
As for the food it was pretty sweet as well. Pat ordered a breaded tenderloin, $7.50 with a side choice. The cool thing about a “meat and 2” joint is you aren’t stuck with fries or onion rings as side options.
Yep. Meatloaf. To me the quintessential comfort food. Here you can get a dinner for $11. In addition to a substantial portion of meatloaf you get 2 sides and cornbread. My 2 sides were collard greens and mashed potatoes and gravy. The meatloaf was done very well. It had an excellent flavor and texture. The density was spot on. The Sisters use oats as the filler. Specifically steel-cut oats. To some that may sound odd but steel-cut oats were probably the original binding agent for the “modern” meatloaf. Starting in the 30’s I believe Quaker and others pushed rolled oats as a more economical alternative. That would be the meatloaf of my childhood. In either event the Sister’s version was excellent. The greens were good as well,however Pat and I thought they were a bit on the salty side. As you can imagine the mashed and gravy were outstanding also. Buttery ‘taters and creamy gravy really rounded out the meal.
So now you know. As they say this place is on point. The real deal. They offer good cooking in a nice environment at more than fair pricing. I might suggest you save some room for dessert as they also offer a variety of baked goods.
Well another new joint; at a familiar location. The Front Page Sports Bar & Grille occupied this site for a few years until late last year. After an amazing make over they opened the last of December for dinner and opened for lunch just this past week.
This is a sister to a place by the same name in Cincinnati so they aren’t rookies. They are noted for their bone in fried chicken. I know people usually associate fried chicken with the deep South but there is a long German tradition of fried chicken as well,and Cincinnati has a solid German heritage. Here is a link to their website
Their menu is unique in that they don’t offer appetizers they offer “snacks”. Snacks that are a bit different from what you usually get. To start out I ordered a snack of their house made corn nuts for $3. I thought they were outstanding,Pat wasn’t as taken with them as I.
One cautionary note on the nuts. If you can’t eat them all and you take them home they do get hard over time. So eat ’em while they’re hot.
I was drawn to their pork sandwich.
PORK pork shoulder, broccoli rabe, sharp Asiago, house made hot peppers ……… $9.00
This was a superb sandwich. It hit all the notes. A large portion of moist pork layered with the pleasant “bitterness” of the rabe,the creamy sharpness of the cheese and finished off with just the right amount of heat from the chiles. Really an excellent job.
We decided on sharing some of their pickled veggies with our sandwiches. Those weren’t as impressive to me. It was a nice assortment but I thought the strength of the pickle was too light and the $4 a bit much. Oh $4 is the price for all of their sides,but they seem big enough for two to share.
Pat ordered a fried chicken breast sandwich for $9.
In keeping with the current “trend” in modern dining they offer half salads and beer pours less than a pint. In this case 10 ounce. Some time back it would have been called a short beer. I really like this development in dining and I really like this particular beer and food hall. I can see a few more visits in my future. Especially when it warms and their patio opens. Also I don’t think I can say enough good things about the staff. They were all very helpful and seem genuinely happy to help.
I never would have thought of Ike & Jonesy’s for lunch until Pat suggested it. Back in the day; as they say; this was a night club. It opened in ’80 or ’81 right on the periphery of the old Union Station,the train station that was revitalized to be a destination for the party goers of Indy. Ike & Jonesy’s was probably the hottest. Out in front over the front door they have a cut out of the iconic pose of Marilyn Monroe with dress all a flutter. You know the one. Over the subway in “Seven Year Itch”. It’s still there as is the general nostalgic motif. From the wall art to the use of old pin ball machines as table tops at the booths.
This greets you as soon as you walk in. Say hello to Ms. Monroe.
I have no idea what this is. I guess it is supposed to be a take off on Marilyn. It can be a bit scary, but it is striking.
The menu is very typical bar or tavern fare. Their execution is better than most. To me their lunch specials are the big draw at lunch time. From roasted pork, prime rib sandwiches to fried chicken all in the 6 to 8 dollar range they seem to have a knack for a business man’s lunch.
Their special this day was a fried chicken breast, mashed potatoes and gravy with coleslaw and cornbread for $7.95. The lighting over the booths cast a red hue over the tables. It wasn’t that noticeable to me,but it shows up in the pictures.
I thought the special was very special. A nice breast fried crisp with a tasty breading. The mashed were probably not house made, as well as the gravy but they both were nicely done. The coleslaw was really terrific, slightly tossed with a creamy dressing. The corn bread came from a mix and wasn’t anything spectacular but it was fluffy and came with real butter. It was a really nice lunch;especially for the money.
On the menu they offer a group of sandwiches utilizing strip steak. All variations on the theme of a Philly, all for $8.95. Pat opted for their Indy. He had his with only steak and mushrooms, leaving off the onion and cheese.
Oh the Dick and Spiro that Pat is talking about are Nixon and Agnew. On the back wall they have a bit of memorabilia from that era. I don’t think they have changed much of the interior design since 1980. I am not too sure though. The times I was there back then I wasn’t that attentive to the decor. They also have a small reasonably priced dinner menu featuring steaks and chicken. So Ike and Jonesy’s. It’s not just for parties any more.
If I had to choose one word to describe Maxine’s when I first walked in, it would be professional. The place was extremely busy and yet everyone appeared to be moving efficiently and professionally. We didn’t want to wait for the fried chicken; because they do it right, they cook it to order and it was going to take 35 min. So Pat opted for a blueberry pancakes breakfast, and I picked salmon cakes and greens.before all that we decided to share some fried green tomatoes. They were excellent, the sauce they served with them was slightly reminiscent of big boy sauce. They also give you complementary corn cakes and home-made peach butter. The corn cakes were pretty good but the peach butter was first-rate . The pancakes are for real, homemade with real blueberries. The salmon cakes were definitely old school, thick and crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. I would not have minded if the potatoes had been fried crisper, but what is not to like about fried potatoes. Oh, I almost forgot about the greens they were probably the best I have had in town, to date. Be forewarned they are spicier than what you would usually expect. All in all this is a place worth going to and worth going back to.When you do go make sure you give yourself enough time to try the fried chicken, I know I will.