There is a new “best” restaurant in Indy. The Cerulean, at the Alexander Hotel on South Delaware Street. It has nothing to do with the Hotel per se, it is independently owned and operated. Frankly I was ambivalent about the joint. The menus are heavy in chef speak. Quite often that speech does not translate into good cooking. The lunch menu offers a choice of entrees which you pair with three side dishes. The whole meal is served in a series of square ceramic boxes in a larger bento box.
I wanted stripped bass. Since bass is an assertive taste and it had the added richness of the gribiche I felt I needed some acidity. I could have over did it with my choices of bib lettuce with blood orange vinaigrette; asparagus and grapes with lemon and rice noodle with vinegar. But every thing fit like the proverbial glove. The fish was crisped in a fry pan, placed on a bed of fresh spinach and topped with the aforementioned gribiche. Every bite was as flawless as the first. As a matter of fact every dish was on point. When ever I eat I automatically try to figure out how the dish was prepared, how I could replicate it and finally how I would change it. With this meal I would not change a thing. I am fighting the urge to write about each and every dish. With this meal I could easily rip off 500 words. I will comment about the economic model for this enterprise. They use all local vendors for their food; and that can be pricey. However as far as the lunch prices go I think the pricing is more than fair. I do have a small confession to make. Deep down inside since there was so much chef speak on the menus I was half way hoping they wouldn’t stand up to their words and I could stick a fork in a sacred cow; so to speak. I know shameful of me. In this case I’m glad to be disappointed.
I had to come back and add something I forgot to mention. The staff. The entire crew was pleasant, healthful and knowledgeable. If I had to choose one phrase to describe my impression of the staff it would be esprit de corps. Everyone seemed excited about working there. That is something an owner operator strives for. That also should tell the diner that the owner does indeed have a clue.
There’s a new café in town,Thyme to Eat it’s located at the corner of S. Meridian St. and Hanna Avenue.the building used to house a dark bar in its previous life,now it’s a bright and airy café with light green interior and a pastel painted brick exterior. It might be a little on the girlie side but men are allowed and you don’t have to take off your shoes to enter.But trappings aside, it’s a serious eatery.
It’s “main bag” is to offer healthier options for lunch,and breakfast.their produce is organic and their bacon is uncured.That means you get all the yummy smokiness of pork belly with out all the residual effects of those pesky nitrites and nitrates.That’s what caught Pat’s eye;their uncured BLT;with avocado.They offer different side options;among them Sweet Potato chips;that I believe they make themselves.Since my culinary roots are from the southwest Pat suggested I get the Southwest Chicken salad.So I suggested he get a side of Sweet Tater chips;but Patrick being deaf as a post couldn’t hear so he opted for a side of sliced tomatoes.Yep,sliced tomatoes with a bacon,lettuce,and TOMATO sandwich;but I digress.The sandwich itself looked great,leaf lettuce,Roma tomatoes and a generous portion of both bacon and avocado.More importantly Pat really enjoyed it.
Before I talk about my salad. I have to say I am very finicky about salads, that’s why I don’t eat them out too often. For most places their salad mix consists of Romain, iceberg lettuce, chopped too big or too small and mixed with red cabbage and carrots for color. Now, you can do that yourself or buy it already done in Cryovac bags.There is another option called spring mix; which is an assortment of various salad greens; none of which are romaine or iceberg. That’s my favorite, and it is also what Thyme to Eat Cafe uses.One last thing about restaurant salads, especially the large “dinner” salads. Since most customers nearly always request dressing on the side that is what most establishments do. However, I believe a large salad should be tossed with the dressing be it vinaigrette or creamy. And this is what this place does. It says we have a specific salad with a specific set of ingredients and a specific dressing; so trust us. We did put some thought into this, so don’t get the dressing on the side.
Now that I’ve got that off my chest on to the review of the Southwest chicken salad. As I mentioned, it was spring mix tossed with a tasty creamy avocado dressing. Mixed in was an assortment of corn,black beans, avocado chunks,sweet and roasted peppers and Monterey jack cheese. Sitting on top was some of the tastiest chicken breast I have had out in quite some time. It appeared to be cooked on a flat griddle, just a little brown on the outside, moist and tender on the inside. It was a top-notch salad.Since Pat and I only go to these restaurants once, and since I live on the north side and no longer drive; the odds of me revisiting, as much as I would like to, are remote. However I did e-mail my sister-in-law who lives in that neck of the woods about this place. Maybe she’ll invite me to go there with her. In which case she could pick me up at the nearest bus stop, which I’m told is about a mile away. But to all you folks who live on the south side you really should try this place. A good independent eatery is as rare and priceless as an honest politician.
- Star Sandwich Shop (kosherhamandcheese.com)