I don’t know how long this place has been on Michigan Road but at one time it was over on Keystone Ave. and 34th Street. It was inside a gas station and had carry out only. Their menu is small featuring only the essentials.
As soon as you walk in the first thing that hits you is the wonderful aroma. The scent of all the spices and herbs mixed with a bit of smoke makes you want to eat. All of the menu is cooked in advance and stored on a steam table; so service is quick.
I decided on a quarter chicken white meal.
The breast was very good. Often breast meat has a tendency to be dry if not cooked properly. Which is why I usually go for the dark meat. The thigh is my favorite. This breast was properly done so it was both moist and tender. Under the meat is the red beans and rice. The rice was a bit dry. That is the danger of steam tables. Over time they dry the food out. The flavor was there I just would have enjoyed more red bean “juice”. The meat was rubbed with a subtle and savory blend of herbs and spices prior to cooking. Then a jerk sauce is served on the side. He makes 3 of varying degrees of heat. I opted for the “hot”. It wasn’t very hot at all but complemented the dry rub very well. I think a return trip is in my future.
Mr. Natural ordered the quarter white as well, but he opted for just the meat so he could have a side of cabbage.
So if you need a jerk fix now you know where to go. While you are there may I suggest trying some of this.
Good stuff; and it is hot.
Everyone hopes to find a little “hole in the wall ” place where the food is good while the structure is ho-hum. Well,this could be one of them.
The building is an odd little A-frame type structure with white stucco walls and rust colored tile roof that gives it a distinct Southwestern air. Common in Arizona but distinctive in Indy. Sitting just east of the State Fair Grounds makes it a familiar sight to quite a few people. It has housed several different “restaurants” over the years. The latest being “Great Western”; or some kind of Western. Pat and I reviewed it last year. The closing of that unfortunate joint was definitely an improvement for the dining community of Indianapolis.
The new operator,Julia, is a retired postal worker and self-taught cook. She is a warm and charming woman who made us both feel at home. She definitely has skill in the kitchen and a tremendous passion for cooking and the history of food that shows in her meals. Whether that successfully translates into a viable business, with the fickle and often cranky public remains to be seen.
She has a very nice website. It does not show the daily specials;for that you have to look on Facebook. Although they don’t always show up in a timely fashion. Or you can always roll in and check out the chalkboard.
As you can see the prices are reasonable. June 2 started Chowdown Midtown. That is a promotion for restaurants that aren’t downtown. Joints that elect to participate offer 3 course meals at a special price. Julia’s special was 2 dinners, 2 drinks, and 2 desserts for $25, so you save a couple of bucks. It was Pat’s turn to buy and he had to be cajoled a wee bit. The deciding factor was when he discovered he could get meatloaf without onion.
As you can see I decided on roast chicken with greens and mac and cheese. Since Pat got cornbread I got a homemade roll, that way we could try both. Of course the heathen cut the roll before I could take the picture.
Normally I prefer dark meat but I opted for white meat. All the better to “evaluate” you see. The chicken was very nicely done. Moist, tender and an excellent flavor. Definitely worth repeating. The mac & cheese was very creamy and well seasoned. It may not be the best I have had but it is up there. The greens were of the Collard variety. Unless they are cooked real long they have a tendency to be a wee bit bitter. However that effects the texture. These had a great texture. I cook my greens really long. I am more interested in the complexity of pot liquor and the mellow flavor of the greens. No right or wrong. Just different. The roll was really nice. It’s a shame they don’t have a warming drawer to store them in. A hot roll and unsalted butter. That would rock.
Now for dessert. Julia makes her own custard for the banana pudding. Well, sorry Mr. Cosby but it sure beats Jello pudding. Oh before I forget. I had a glass of their dirty tea. It is ice tea with a secret ingredient. At first taste it had a hint of citrus similar to an Arnold Palmer, but more subtle. I think I know the secret. I’ll never tell. But it is good. Good enough to send you to the moon. Am I right Julia?
One thing that isn’t a secret. That’s the fact that this is nice little joint with good food. A joint that makes you feel welcome.