I have known about this place for quite some time, but have been conflicted about eating here. The website was unclear about the source of their roast beef, ham or turkey. Was it purchased already cooked from a vendor or did they buy the meat and cook it off themselves. One blog I read really didn’t clarify the issue for me. So I believed that the only think they cooked themselves was the soups and the meatloaf. Granted, at one time I thought it a good idea to eat a joint’s meatloaf whenever possible. To judge their skill. I quit that after running into too many GFS and Sysco thaw and warm products being used. So I figured it would be meatloaf once again.
The place is attractive and bright. I don’t think I saw a single deuce in the dining room. It seemed it was for the most part 4 top tables.
All the tables are set with cloth napkins and a bottle of water. I have noticed a couple of places doing that. That must be the new “thing” around town. As soon as you sit down your server brings you a bowl of pop corn, giving you instant garnish for your soup.
This is outside the main entry so it gave me an idea how I would start my lunch. Some beer cheese soup. It had been a long while since I had any. Even though it was August it sounded tasty. Beer and cheese.
This was a cup. I thought it would pass for a bowl in a lot of joints. I thought it was pretty good. A light cheese presence with a touch of beer. I added some of the popcorn to it. That is why the spoon is in the bowl.
The meatloaf sandwich is served on sourdough bread. It is topped with provolone cheese, crisp onion and special sauce. I added some bacon to mine. I was quite pleased with their version of an American Classic. The meatloaf had a good amount of thyme added to it as well as grated parmesan. The special sauce is a nice home-made ketchup. My poor bacon got lost in the shuffle. The onions weren’t as crunchy as I hoped. I think me putting some of the kettle chips on it would have given more texture. They aren’t shy about the amount of tater chips they give you.
Today was the first day of a new menu. After lunch I talked with Patrick, the manager. He told me that in addition to getting all of their product from Hoosier sources they cook off all of their beef, ham and turkey. So I think you should expect some superior club and other “deli” sandwiches. As for me when I return I think it will be a Chef salad. Or maybe a Cuban. Or a Club. Or a Roast Beef or…. I don’t know.
I am including a link to their website as well as scans of the new menu. I hope that helps.
This week we didn’t have lunch at just any joint, we had lunch at an Indianapolis Landmark. The Red Key. The Red Key has been an institution on the north side since 1953, when Russ Settle and his wife opened. Mr. Settle was a WW II veteran. A B-17 co-pilot and a POW. So to say he didn’t suffer fools gladly would be an understatement. I think the epitome of his approach to business would be his rules. They are as valid now as they were then.
This joint is as rugged as John Wayne and as authentic as Humphrey Bogart. I don’t think the decor has changed in at least 40 years. But it sure is comfortable. Like a pair of favorite slippers.
Pat suggested this place a few weeks back. Fran, Pat’s wife wanted to go there for her Birthday. She’s not a native Hoosier and she had heard a lot about its history and wanted to see for herself. She enjoyed the charm and simplicity of the place and it got Ol’ Pat thinking. Since we are cheerleaders for the small business owner why not go to a place that is the epitome of Mom and Pop joints. After all Red Key has been around for 60 years. As you can expect the menu is small. During the day there is only one person on duty. Bartender / server / cook.
Pat and I both opted for cheeseburgers. His with BBQ chips and mine with potato salad.
The burgers are simple flat top affairs. Grocery store meat and grocery store buns. No aioli, or special sauces. Beef cooked through, with crispy edges and American cheese. Personally I like the fact that they don’t use red onion. If I get a cold set on a burger it will be white or yellow onion and dill chips. So the burgers 4 thumbs up. I can’t say the same for the potato salad. It was home-made,and of the whipped variety, but it was pretty bland. It seemed to be cold mashed taters, a touch of mayo and some crunchy bits. Not real exciting.
Mr. Russ Settle passed away in 2010, and his son is running the show. After his passing IBJ wrote an article giving a bit of the history of the Red Key. I am including a link to that article to give people a feel for what the Red Key Tavern is.
I think a place like the Red Key is essential for the sanity of a city’s people. A quiet spot where you know what to expect. A place that has open and expressed rules. Unlike so many other joints that seem to have no limits on what goes on. I think that might appeal to a lot of folks. Not just old timers.
Actually the place is called Twenty Tap. But thirty-eight is the number of craft beers they offer on draught. Twenty Tap does sound better than the alternative. They are in SoBro; on N. College;across the street from the former Atlas Market location. They’ve been open for a couple of years but this is our first lunch. We have been in a few times for beer. And tried some fried cheese curds ( good) and another friend and I stopped in one evening and had some brews and the charcuterie platter ( not so good). The menu is definitely not your typical pub & grub.
Since our new ” format ” worked out so well ( for me ) we are doing it again. However Pat wants to write it during lunch. And since I forgot my notebook he wrote it on a napkin.
Deluxe Grilled Cheese- Mushroom, Tomato, Spinach, Beer Mustard (sub Pesto for Beer Mustard) $8 (veg
Oh for the record it was determined; after writing; the mushrooms were not canned. They were steamed.
I needed some meat. And what carnivore could pass up SMOKED BRISKET?
Pressed Brisket- House Smoked, Fischer Farm’s Brisket, Peppadew, Arugula, Onion, Cheddar, Anchovy Butter $9
The sandwich looked as good as it was described. However I though the taste could have used some tweaking. The portion of meat was meager and I could not detect much smoke. It reminded me of the brisket at The Smokehouse in Fountain Square. Or a leaner version of what was offered at Fat Dan’s. More reminiscent of pot roast than anything else. Good pot roast but pot roast none the less. The peppadew peppers were a good call. A nice sweet flavor and a great color; but too many can be too much. Again the arugula; another nice call;but the characteristic bitterness; that people enjoy was hit and miss. The portion might need a “review”. Same with the onion and anchovy butter. ( I couldn’t taste it. ) I know I’m coming across as a total p***k in this review. But I can be very picky regarding an ambitious menu. Seriously guys I think you are doing a good job. Owning and running a restaurant is a tough gig. Cooking for strangers can be daunting. Every patron is judging your performance, and your judgement. That can be some ominous stuff.
Pat and his wife, Fran went to Pure Food over the weekend. There he had a Caprese Panini sandwich;and it so impressed him he “craved” more. Their Caprese is fresh mozzarella; roasted red pepper, arugula and balsamic vinaigrette all on cibatta. Now seriously. What is there not to like ? He did add andouille sausage. Which sounded like a great addition. I didn’t taste the sandwich but I did try a piece of sausage. And I was not real thrilled;neither was Pat. It had little flavor and I thought the texture was a little too coarse. His side choice was green beans and potatoes. He thought it was good, not great ,but good. I went against my first thought and ordered a Roast Beef cibatta. Sliced beef,arugula,red onion and the ever popular lemon basil aioli. Well I hate to say it,but it was a wee bit disappointing. It was well made and it held a copious amount of beef. The trouble was it was Deli style roast beef. Overall it was flat. Average meat, no texture, no crunch, no zest. Maybe thicker onion. Maybe pickle the onions and maybe change the mayo to some sort of mustard. That’s my opinion; something everyone has. I really like this joint. One average taste experience doesn’t make for a bad “review ” Oh I nearly forgot my side. I tried their SOD; creamy potato and leek. And it was top notch.I enjoyed it very much. As for the pictures; again I screwed up. We started eating and then I remembered to take the pictures. Pretty much par;don’t you think?
This past Thursday Pat and I decided to go to the Indiana Historical Society and try the Stardust Terrace Cafe for lunch.The cafe is named in remembrance of Hoagy Carmichael;a famous Hoosier song writer,performer and actor.Among the many tunes he wrote you can include Stardust;hence the name.The place is attractive,neat and well-appointed and has a beautiful terrace overlooking the Downtown Canal.The food is handled by Hoaglin Catering;which has a fine reputation;and I believe they have a place of their own on Mass.Ave.Most of their menu;while extensive;is sandwich assembly.Now don’t get me wrong;I’m a big fan of nicely prepared sandwiches;and their selections were varied as well as interesting;we were just in the mood for some cookin’.And we had it on good authority they make a nice Quiche.And contrary to that old Playboy story;real men DO eat quiche.As you well know Pat CAN NOT eat onion;his body gets all weird ;so he asked about their quiche options and was reassured that the veggie one was onion free.Oops;not quite.He had to pull the thing apart to get out the onions;just to eat.He didn’t make a big deal about it;he is used to it.Lesson time kids;if you work a kitchen, and your kitchen builds something, know what is in it.If you don’t know just say so.I on the other hand can,and will eat damn near anything.My quiche was of the ham and cheddar cheese variety,Pat’s was supposed to be of the roasted red pepper and mozzarella cheese variety.Neither one was teeming with non egg ingredients.As under whelming as the filling was the crust was as exciting as tap water,and as tasty.The only thing that saved the lunch was the large soup cup of fresh fruit that came with the quiche.Fresh melon,strawberries,blueberries and even a little taste of pineapple.Beautiful.Oh and the chocolate brownie we got to share.A moist fudgie square with chocolate chips;delicious.If they made it, good for them,if they didn’t, no matter, they had the good taste to buy it.I wouldn’t discount this place for lunch though, by no means.The selection of sandwiches they offer is really impressive.I know I’ll be back,by myself or maybe with my daughter-in-law;they have ham salad and a good ham salad is a thing of beauty.
05 – Bungle In The Jungle (2001 Digital Remaster) There’s a new place in broad Ripple.it’s the SoBro Cafe, it’s on 52nd St. just around the corner from the Red Key. There were three of us this time when we went, Pat’s, wife Fran joined us.It’s a cute little place, cozy not all pretentious considering it’s locale.Their big deal are pancakes, both savory and sweet. I think it’s a Dutch thing.Fran tried one of their pancakes, I think it was called the Popeye, full of spinach peppers and onions and I can’t remember what else. She thought it was pretty good however she would’ve preferred the peppers and onions to be sautéed. She did try the soup of the day, bean soup; and declared it the best she had ever eaten, that includes her own. Patrick had his usual grilled cheese, pretty exciting. They have a house soup which is a Thai coconut, the broth was delicious. The stuff inside I thought was superfluous. Tiny diced chicken, mushrooms and corn kernels just seems unnecessary. I also think toast fingers would have better suited the soup then fried wonton. I also had a salad, they offered it with chicken, steak or tempeh. I chose tempeh and it was nicely done. The only thing I can add to their salad prep is possibly refreshing the salad mix with cold water and draining it for service; and change your carrots to shredded.They make all their own dressings, I used tahini lemon; it too is pretty tasty however I think adding some lemon zest to the dressing would increase the lemon flavor.Their chef definitely has skill when it comes to vegetarian cooking. Oh I almost forgot one of the most important parts they sell Sun King for four bucks! ***A few weeks back I made a solo trip back to Sobro.I tried Chai for the first time.I have no idea what it is” supposed ” to taste like; but WOW it was like a festival in my mouth.Sweet,then cardamon then cinnamon with a final hit of clove.Very cool.I also ate their Good Burger.I am hardly an expert on veggie fare but this was a GOOD BURGER no matter what was in it.From the mixed greens to the Roma tomatoes to the buttery avocado I think it matches up with any burger around; animal or vegetable.Also the home-made ketchup is great to dip your Lays chips in.I down loaded the pictures right after my visit;tardy me just now got around to write about it.If you haven’t been there why?Oh,back to the Chai.I hear it’s the owner’s own special blend.