Johnson’s BBQ started out as a food truck. Then they opened a shack in Bargersville Indiana. We tried them as a food truck on the Northside of Indianapolis. Now they are serving up Q in the old Jonathan Byrd building. Well a piece of it as the building is huge.
I definitely wanted to try their brisket. Several joints sell good pulled pork. Basically the difference between them is the amount of exposure to the smoker, but brisket is still elusive.
The brisket that is sold here is excellent. Tender and moist and all the smokiness you would want and it was only 10 bucks. I can spend more than that for a burger at several joints. I also like that it is sliced. Some joints “chop” their brisket and call it a day. Chopping the point is one thing but the flat really should be sliced. At least for me.
So overall I think this joint is definitely a keeper. The growth of this brand is indicative of the product they sell. This location is in the process of getting a liquor license so folks can get a beer here and not go somewhere else after eating. I mean beer and Q go hand in hand don’t they?
Well we are back and at a new brisket joint. This location was G.T. South BBQ a few years back and then they closed rather abruptly. This place may very well fill their void quite nicely. https://maderatexmexbbq.com/
While chatting with our server Betsy I learned that they make their own tortillas. They do not offer a chips and salsa but they do sell a chips and queso for 7 bucks. One thing about their tortillas. They are flour torts not corn. They work well with the cheese sauce just expect them to be “flakey”. That is just the nature of a flour tortilla free floating in hot oil.
Pat didn’t want any bread so he opted for a half pound of pulled pork for $8. He was unable to get slaw because they put onion in theirs.
I had to have brisket since a good sliced brisket sandwich is still difficult to get around here. And I discovered that they have a good one for $10.
These guys may be new to town but they do a great job with their brisket. The smoke was subtle and the meat was tender and moist. The rub they used is unassuming so you can really taste the beef.
Since I currently have no difficulty eating onion I ordered a side of slaw for $3. I usually prefer my slaw to be sweet and creamy; like Grandma’s brand. The slaw that Madera puts up is lightly dressed with a slightly sweet and tangy effect. I really liked it. It had a great mouth feel and would work on top of a pulled pork sandwich very well.
Rarely do I make it back to a joint a second time. It is like that bear and mountain thing. However I have done it before and it looks like it is going to happen again. I am indeed planning on going back to Madera. Welcome to Indy.
Beach Bum is a well know food truck in Indy. For a while they had a home in Irvington. I believe their idea is to have a brick and mortar presence to make the food for the truck and to sell to the sit down crowd. Currently they are only open Thursday through Sunday. This may change as the weather changes.
The dismal surroundings Pat was referring to is the deteriorated and broken Mall. Washington Square opened in 1974 and it was a quite a place at one time. It had all of the requisite anchor stores and dozens of hip and trendy “boutiques”. Now it can barely keep up with its own maintenance. Of course I am sure the rent is cheap.
Since Pat went with pork I opted for brisket. Actually I probably should have gotten a plain brisket sandwich in order to get the full effect of the meat. However I ordered a Pecos Bill for $12. That is brisket with pico de gallo and jalapenos. Pat’s pork was $8
The portion was very generous so I was able to taste the beef all by itself and it was excellent. It wasn’t pulverized like some joints do when they chop the brisket. It was cut into nice size pieces. Also Pat’s pork appeared to be cut the same way not pulled as you might expect. They offer 3 sauces. A honey mustard, a Sirachi and the Beach Bum which I assume to be a more traditional mild sauce. I tried a bit of the hot Kracken sauce and enjoyed it, and it wasn’t overly hot. I also got a side of slaw and agree with Pat it was spot on and it was only 2 bucks.
So now I know Beach Bum is a truck to be on the look out for. It is also nice to know that if you need a BBQ fix you can get it met on the far east side. If you are old enough to remember the Mall from the 70’s and 80’s try not to be too sad. Remember you have some tasty Q waiting for you.
Wednesday wasn’t a good day. It was terrible weather, hot and humid. The sort of weather that makes you yearn for winter. We had plans to visit Old Gold since last week. The last time we were at Metazoa the bar tender gave us each wooden coins good for a one meat upgrade, so we could pay for 1 meat and get 2. Nothing better than bargain BBQ. Of course when we got there we realized that they had expired. Sad me. Fortunately the lady in charge allowed for us to use them. So I was able to get a two meat plate with 2 sides for $14.
I uncovered my side dishes. Coleslaw and Ranchero beans to take a couple of pictures. Unfortunately I was so busy running my mouth I forgot and started eating. Here is the shot I took after I had eaten half my brisket.
Not very appetizing is it? Well as for the taste the sides definitely could stand some improvement. The beans tasted like canned beans with a bit of meat and a whole lot of cumin. I could not eat them all. The cole slaw was supposed to be a vinegar slaw but it too came up short. The predominant flavor was raw cabbage. The brisket was excellent. Thick slices of some of the most tender brisket I have eaten. It did not have a great smoke flavor but the texture made up for it. The pulled pork was pretty good especially with their mustard style Carolina sauce. It really made the meat stand out. As for their traditional red sauce I wasn’t a fan. Once again, too much cumin. Another thing I did not get was the amount of onion they included in their basic cold set. I don’t think a few half slices is enough.
So should you be at Metazoa and decide to eat I don’t think you can go wrong with the pulled pork or brisket. The ribs and sausage may be good as well, my guess would be they are. These folks just need to work on the accompaniments.
As you can see the building seems to come to a point. Hence the name.
It is hard to see in this pic but that’s Pat pointing at the sign over the door. It’s a Tavern at the Point sign. Yeah that’s funny.
The place has been gentrified since it was the Old Point. They added a second bar. This one seats 5 bodies and, like a sushi bar, gives a nice view of the kitchen operation, and it was a pretty busy kitchen that day. I had a great time watching.
I decided on a Smoked brisket melt. Horseradish Havarti cheese, candied onion, horseradish sauce and of course brisket. All on Sourdough bread. It was a very formidable sandwich. I always like to order any meal the way the chef or cook has planned it. Most times it is done a certain way for a reason. I was a bit wary of the candied onion but I thought the boldness of the horseradish and the fat from the brisket would keep the sweetness in check. Not quite. I first encountered an “onion marmalade” at a joint I worked in California about 30 years ago and have seen it a few times since then. It is still a practical and popular element to a sandwich but it can overwhelm the other ingredients. This was a very good sandwich that wasn’t bullied too much by the candied onion. I personally would have enjoyed it more with a more pungent horseradish.
Pat and I both had the slaw. It was a slightly sweet vinegar affair that had a big old Southwest spin to it. It was garnish with a bit of cilantro. That was a big old kick in the taste buds. I enjoyed it tremendously and I am going to rip the idea off the next time I make slaw. The sandwiches are in the $12 – $ 13 range and beers are $7. It is Downtown after all. The only negative I have is about the bar stools they are bolted to and floor and do not swivel so they are hard to get it. Other than that this joint is a hit and I will be back.
Here is our post for the The Old Point Tavern; FIVE years ago. That is a long time.
This is a new joint that opened in November 2017. As I was told by the owner after they opened they closed for a while to do some re-organization. They did the re-organization well because this is a neat little joint. The menu is intentionally sparse. They also do a nice array of deep-fried appetizers sold by the pound. On the Q menu they only offer ribs and rib tips reserving the smoking of brisket and pork shoulder for specials.
This little guy stands at the counter where you order. The building used to house a KFC so the format is similar.
Pat and I both ordered the special. A pulled pork sandwich with a drink and 2 sides for $9.99. What he didn’t mention was the order of fried mushrooms we shared. The owner was kind enough to split them up for us. The mushrooms were interesting, the batter was tasty just a bit thick. I agree with Pat’s assessment on the pig and the sides 100 percent.
These are our 2 sides. Creamy slaw and Greens. The slaw wore a creamy dressing that coated without drowning the cabbage and the greens were in that perfect range of done but still having some tooth. The man also makes his own sauce which was really good as well. As we ate he told us about the brisket that he had to try as a special in the near future. A slow smoked brisket sounds wonderful, so that will be for my return trip.
This is a rather peculiar building. A big metal thing with the entire outer surface painted in such a way as to suggest it is actually many different shops. I only photographed the 2 functioning doors. It was cold and sleeting that day.
Inside it was cozy and quite utilitarian. You ordered at a counter and then when they called your name you picked it up. Simple and efficient. We got there a few minutes before noon and it was just starting to pick up steam. By 12:15 there was a considerable line.
This is the only smoker I could see; and it wasn’t working that day. I wonder if they have a tough time keeping up.
Did you notice anything odd about Pat’s sides? They offer Jasmine rice. I have never been to a BBQ joint that had rice. Unless it was Korean BBQ.
When I go to a BBQ joint I usually go with brisket. If they have it.
My sides were slaw and baked beans. The beans were pretty good. Not as thick as I would like but pretty good. The slaw was nice but not the best I have had. Which brings us to the beef. It was nice and tender and pretty lean. Just enough fat to add flavor. I could not detect much smoke though. It was pretty good and it went well with the 2 sauces we tried. The sweet and the spicy.
Our lunches were thoroughly legit and reasonably priced. A half pound of meat with 2 sides and 2 rolls for less than $9. I am with Pat though. It is too far to drive with any regularity. I will say this if I lived closer I would be back. They make their own Key Lime pie and peach cobbler.
We had a very pleasant breakfast today. The restaurant is open from 7 AM to 3 PM and serves breakfast all day as well as lunch. We took advantage of that by ordering some of both.
Among their specials for the day were two different Quiche. One had no onion so that is what Pat ordered. I know it had artichoke in it and cheese as well as other stuff; but I don’t recall the other stuff. I also have no idea what it cost. It was Pat’s turn to buy and I neglected to ask.
This is the half order of B&G Pat got for $6.
This is the Quiche Pat ordered, price not known. They give an option of salad or fruit. As you can see he opted for the greenery. A very nice looking salad with lots of Spring mix.
I was intrigued by their hash. It is made with smoked brisket. You can order it as a side for $4.75 or as a Not so Old School breakfast for $8.50; which is what I ordered. They have several bread choices for toasting as well as muffin and all come with house made berry jelly. What berries? Haven’t a clue but it was pretty good.
This was a very respectable hash. Big chunks of beef and potatoes cooked just right. Tender yet with enough texture to give your teeth something to do. The only minor flaw was my eggs were not quite over easy; more over medium. They worked out though. All I wanted was some yolk to mix in.
Since they make their own scratch biscuits I got one for an extra $1.75. It was very light and fluffy. One of the better biscuits I have had around town. In addition to the jelly they also make their own sausage. We thought it was quite good. Lightly spiced and tasty which made for an excellent taste. However there is just something about Ollie’s that makes their B&G; in my opinion; the best in town.
They also have an interesting lunch menu; which you can reach here:
When I get time I am going back to try lunch; hopefully soon. On a “side note” Zomato classifies this joint as a diner. Of course like with a lot of things Zomato does that is debatable.
This joint is located in an old house right on US 136. They have limited seating and parking in the rear. Just in case you aren’t sure where you are this is on the side of the house.
It is small place that is as neat as a pin. All of the food they offer is listed on 2 chalkboards on the wall.
As soon as you park and step outside your car you can smell it. When you walk through the front door you can smell it. A carnivore’s dream. Smoked meat. Pat and I both enjoy BBQ and have eaten at several but I don’t recall that many joints that offer chili; and none that offer Brunswick stew. The stew tempted me but I was there to try the BBQ so I ordered their brisket special with one side and drink for $8.99.
The bun was pretty generic but the brisket was far from being run of the mill. It had a nice smoke ring and an excellent smoke flavor. It was also very tender and lean. The sandwiches come undressed but they offer 4 different sauces at the table. Texas, Memphis, Kansas City and Carolina. The first three are tomato based with varying degrees of sweetness. The Carolina a vinegar based. I liked a combo of Carolina and KC. While the meat was exceptional the mac and cheese was ho-hum. Macaroni with canned cheese sauce. Very cheesy just not what I look for in a Mac and cheese.
Pat is right there are several joints that do a good job with pulled pork. It is just a matter of how good that determines where to go. That and location. Clermont is pretty far for the both of us so I can’t see me hanging out there. However I can see myself going back for the stew. That is not something you see every day.
Big Woods is a brewery AND distillery and originated in Nashville Indiana. They also have a joint in Bloomington Indiana. I believe last year they decided to make the move north to Speedway. The home of America’s Greatest Spectacle in Racing; the 500. It is a big beautiful building with an amazing interior of varnished wood.
Quaff On is the name of the beer they produce. Also each beer has an individual name. So when you order a Quaff On flight you get 5 five ounce pours of beers that are representative of their brewing skills.
I am not going to begin to describe each beer. I will say they were excellent examples of their craft. All for $13.
As soon as we pulled up I could smell their smoker. I love smoked meats. I find pulled chicken boring. Brisket is still hit and miss around here. A good smoked pork butt is getting easier to find and from the aroma of their smoker I figured this one should be pretty good.
It was excellent. A great smokiness and the pickled veggies were a marvelous counterpoint. Of course I would have enjoyed more and a larger variety but carrot and onion are pretty commonplace in most kitchens. The bun was nice and I appreciated the sauce on the side. Their side options were kettle chips with truffle oil and parm, fries or kicked up slaw. For some reason I chose chips. They were okay but I think the truffle and parm bit looked better on paper. I forgot all about the slaw option. That was silly. Next time. My sandwich was $11.25 and Pat’s 2 topping pizza pie was $10.95.
In the beginning I mentioned that Big Woods was a distillery too. Their brand of liquor is called Hard Truth. They offered Vodka, Rum and Gin at first. Now they have a whisky. It is a clear liquor; like moonshine. So in keeping with the spirit of adventure I ordered a Manhattan cocktail.
It was a wonderful beverage. It was incredibly smooth. Too often when all the components of a cocktail are alcoholic the first taste can be a bit astringent. Not here. That is a testimony to the bartender and the liquor. In my opinion.
Pat and I had a swell time. The food is good. The beer is good. The surroundings are good and the service was outstanding. I think Pat and I will both be back;even though it is a drive for both of us. We think it may be worth it.
This a very unique and interesting place. It is a small house in a predominately industrial area, stuck between 2 warehouse type buildings. For years it was just a grocery specializing in Eastern European foods. The place had a commercial kitchen and the owner would occasionally cook up since special meals from the old country. When he decided to retire he needed a special someone to take over. Enter Ernie. He was butcher by trade that had started a catering business that also was active in the competitive BBQ scene. He wanted a commercial kitchen so a deal was made. Ernie could sell his food from the kitchen as long as he maintained the European grocery and deli roots.
These are two of the smokers Ernie uses. He offers ribs, pulled pork and brisket. He also makes sausage. Both sweet and spicy Italian as well as Brats. Which he sells both smoked and raw. Their menu is small with a couple of specials tossed in. This day the specials were burnt end chili for $5.99 and beef and noodles for $4.99. For the beef and noodles he used short rib. He smoked them until they fell off the bone and them added them to broth and noodles.
I wanted the brisket. A decent smoked brisket is still hard to find around here. So that is what I got, for $7.99.
The meat was chopped which isn’t my favorite way of eating brisket. However I couldn’t complain because the amount I was given was more than generous. Also it had a wonderful smoky flavor. They serve the meat dry and you dress it with your choice of 4 different sauces on a cupboard to the side of the dining room. All of the sauces are pre-made. Sweet Baby Ray’s among them. That tells me that this joint puts it attention to the meat. For an extra 2 bucks I bought a side of baked beans. These were great. Thick and sweet; the way I like them. They could well have been the best I have had. We were also given a sample of their brat. It was delicious and practically melted in your mouth.
Grilliant also competes in BBQ competition. Hanging above the fireplace are the ribbons they have won.
So if you have a hankering for some real Q then you can get it on 96th Street. They also have huge breaded tenderloin. Speaking of which they have a challenge plate. One BT, a double order of fries and coleslaw and a full slab of ribs for $40. If you finish in 45 minutes you get your money back. A Fishers fireman tried and failed. I was told that a 119 pound woman body builder is set to try it this weekend. As Pat said it can be tricky to find. As soon as you turn off Michigan Road onto 96th Street start looking. It’s on the north side of the street. That big smoker is right out front.
Like most cities Indianapolis has a growing population of food trucks. These are trucks or trailers that go to different spots around town and sell food that has been prepared in their brick and mortar kitchens. Commissary style. Occasionally more than one gathers and it is a ClusterTruck. This is what converged on an IU Health facility at 250 N. Shadeland Ave. today.
In addition to Johnson’s was Gaucho’s FireAuthentic Brazilian Food and Flying Cupcake. I had envisioned getting a BBQ sandwich, a Brazilian snack and a cupcake for desert. Didn’t happen. After a BBQ sandwich each Pat and I were pretty full. I might have had room for some Coxinhas but they didn’t have them this day.
Pat’s sandwich was 7 bucks. The chips were $2, as were the other 2 sides. Mac & Cheese and Corn Casserole. Considering that each sandwich was one half pound makes this THE best bargain around.
I decided on a brisket sandwich for $8. Boy O Boy. It was one heck of a sandwich. It was tender and juicy. Which is the hallmark of good Q. The juiciness came from the fat that was partially melted into the other flesh. There was a small piece that escaped the heat but that just made the bite that much more sweet. The smoke was pervasive throughout. It was on my hands the rest of the afternoon. We went to Manley’s Irish Mutt afterward and Pat threatened to bite by hand; just because of the aroma of smoke.
I love eating smoked meat as much as I like smoking meat. In the above pic notice the slight evidence of bark. That wasn’t sauce. I did add a touch of their sweet sauce just to wet the bun. So I really think this is one of the best; if not the best; smoked brisket sans I have had in Indy. Hell even if it isn’t it is worth tracking down. If you can’t get to Bargersville by all means hit Twitter for the location of their food trucks. You will not be disappointed.
This is the oldest craft brewery in the state,opening in 1990. It was modeled after an English Pub. It is a series of several connected rooms,wood-paneled and rather dark. Just the right atmosphere for sipping ESB and single malts,not so much for picture-taking.
Pat and I have both been here before. I just never felt compelled to write about it because;frankly I thought the joint was a bit boring. Not bad just not too interesting. Well they have changed their menu and have added a couple of new and exciting brews so I thought today would be a good day to review the Papa of Hoosier brewing. They have always had a good selection of vegetarian dishes and with the new menu they offer even more. The also added a cheese curd appetizer for $8.75.
These were just plain good. A nice size with just the slightest outside crunch to offset the mozzarella cheesiness inside. I think these are possibly the best in town.
Pat ordered a Pub BLT for $7.95. You could get it with Applewood smoked bacon or veggie coconut “bacon”. For 2 bucks you can add Braunschweiger as well.
I was intrigued by the Thai spiced Pork sandwich,for $10.
Marinated in our ESB and slow braised with cumin, Chinese Five Spice and fresh ginger, flat grilled on toasted baguette with shredded carrots, spicy cucumbers, fresh cilantro and mayo. 10.00
Sound really great doesn’t? Unfortunately it reads better than it eats. The bread was hard,the meat was dry and offered little flavor. If they were trying to offer a version of a Bahn mi I can think of a few ways they could have pulled it off better. I also decided on a side of onion rings which were okay. Thin slices of onion simply coated and fried. Nice but nothing to shout about.
The beers were great. The stars of the line were two cask ales. A red and an ESB. Both were very drinkable. Pat tried a mix of the two. Pretty tasty. If you are a beer drinking vegetarian this may be the place for you. They have a nice new menu on their website so one bad sandwich won’t deter me from going back.
Well we wanted to go to a tavern; a bar; a place what sells alcohol in various form and serves food as well.The trouble is most bars in Indy are pretty much the same. There are a few that bring a little something different to the table but we have already hit most of them. In order to find a place that has something unique to offer we rely on word of mouth or the inter net. If folks don’t offer us suggestions or if joints aren’t willing to use electronic media we are pretty much out of luck. This time we got lucky,via free media. I have noticed Moon Dog before but nothing about it sparked my interest. Then I noticed that it was under new ownership and management;and they had changed their menu in July this year. When I looked at the menu I saw a reference to a smoker,that is always a good sign. So off to the Moon Dog we went.
This is their smoker. They have it out back,secured and ready to go.
They offer three items from the smoker. Pulled pork butt,sliced brisket and meatloaf sandwich. I was leaning toward the brisket but Pat nudged me toward the meatloaf. He knows how I like meatloaf. I hesitated until our bartender told me that they cook it totally on the smoker. They also used the same meat blend for the meatloaf as they use for the burgers. A custom blend of Sirloin, Tenderloin and Ribeye from Kincaid Meat Market on Illinois St. After that no further discussion was needed.
It was an excellent sandwich. The meatloaf was moist and succulent and the smoker dude did an excellent job cooking it on the smoker. A beautiful smoke ring, a wonderful aroma of smoke and a delicious texture of good meat cooked just to the point of perfection. And bonus, they offer star tots. I am sure I have covered this before but there is just something about tots.
Funny story. When I was perusing their menu a few of the items and words reminded me of the Sinking Ship. Evidently Pat as well. I was going to ask our bartender but I forgot. Well, don’t you know while we were eating ,the bartender mentioned to another patron that the new owner had another joint in Broad Ripple. As one voice:” Sinking Ship “erupted from all 3 of us. Thankfully it was still early so the shock was minimal. So if you want to grub on some Seitan wings and don’t want to drive to 49th Street trust the Moon Dog. If you are a carnivore these guys can take care of you as well.
Well another new joint has opened in Indy. This one is unique in that the owner/operators Chris and Ally Benedyke are from Indianapolis originally and have just returned from Milwaukee where they owned a similar place by the same name. The new place, like the old one features specialty sandwiches and small plates using local sources. Since they plan on changing the menu weekly they are relying on Facebook and not a web site. Since that was the case I felt compelled to do a bit of reconnaissance, or reconn-oink-ering if you prefer. You know since they do a lot with pig. Well in either event I went in on Tuesday morning for breakfast.
It is a small place with a counter and a few tables, so it is rather cozy. I was told it used to be a Subway, if that is the case the size makes sense.
The one item I was most intrigued with was their version of bacon,egg and toast for $7. It was a big slice of pork belly with a jellied egg yolk and toasted french style bread. It was probably one of the most unusual things I have put in my mouth but also one of the tastiest. The pork belly;or bacon is self-explanatory. Salty and unctuous ( I know I use that word a lot but sometimes it just fits) with just the right amount of tooth. The egg was odd in all the right ways. A poached egg yolk encapsulated in an aspic derived from the preparation of hog feet or trotters. Since it was cold it was a shock to my tongue after puncturing the jelly and seeing the yolk flow out but it was as good a mopping egg as any warm poached one. And you had the bonus of pig jelly. Any talk of egg yolk mopping has to lead to bread and their choice of Amelia’s was good but their treatment of it was better. The bread is toasted then spread with a mixture of unsalted butter, apple butter and a hint of seranno chile. It was delicious. The whole plate was a hit.
I also tried some of their miso and brown butter ice cream for $4. A browned butter is the start of a caramel so if you add that to sugar and cream you get a true decadent caramel. You freeze it you get this. Again a good job. However I didn’t taste much from the miso. But the earthiness of a brown miso can mimick an aspect of caramal I suppose. Regardless it was a great ice cream I would not hesitate to try again.
I also tried a sweet roll, a Miso- Ovaltine Sweet Roll to be precise, and in full disclosure Ally gave it to me. I guess she thought I wasn’t getting enough to eat. It was an excellent roll and sells for 4 bucks
So this brings us to Wednesday, the day Pat and I have decided for lunch. I had told Pat about this place and how I was going to check it out beforehand,and he groaned at my oink joke as I am sure most people would. Actually I was surprised that he was willing to give it a try,possibly because it was my turn to buy.
I was pretty sure what I wanted to try from the beginning the Tesa, $7 and the Trotter Croquettes for $6.
Tesa is similar to Prosciutto in that it is slow cured and is eaten without further cooking. Where it differs is the part of the pig it comes from. Prosciutto is from the hind or ham area Tesa is from the belly.
I received a big old plate of piggy goodness with a bit of cooked beet,sour turnip and jalapeno as accompaniment as well as a bunch of toast. I also got another one of Chris’s eggs as a bonus. Once again everything fit like a glove. Actually I found this more interesting than prosciutto. With the ratio between fat and lean as it is on pork belly it was like getting Lardo as a bonus.
I also had to try the Trotter. Before you freak remember that there is some good meat in a pig’s foot. It just takes a while to get to it,but you do get the added value of the gelatin. Like everything else these croquettes were very good. A crisp exterior and a moist and meaty interior.
With Pat it wasn’t so easy. I think he just agreed to go just to humor me.
I was too busy feeding my face so I forgot to take any shots of Pat’s food until the very end.
They toss the corn in bacon fat and then sprinkle it with Nutritional Yeast, the result is unique and tasty.
The sauces Pat referenced was a soy type reduction and a soda pop mustard both made in-house. They both went well with the Tesa and the trotters,especially the mustard. That was made with Tamarind flavor Jarrito’s soda pop and minimally ground. A very interesting taste.
One last thing. We shared a slice of Lavender and coconut cream tart.
Great crust,nice and creamy with good coconut flavor. As for the lavender it wasn’t as pronounced as I thought it would be. Good pie regardless. So as you can see I really enjoyed this place and its food. Pat; not so much. But he was a trooper for going there with me. In either event I think it a place worth exploring.
Black Diamond is a small place with big BBQ. It doesn’t seat many people inside but it has a beautiful out-door area. We opted to stay inside to avoid the sun. They offer $6.99 lunch specials,which consist of a sandwich, side and drink. We opted for something more substantial with meat on a bun dinners. Pat got his usual pulled pork sandwich with sauce on the side.
Normally I get a taste of whatever Pat is having,but this time I had enough on my plate just to finish. The portions we received were huge. I would guess 8 ounces each. I got the beef on a bun with beans and home made coleslaw. As I said the portion was huge, and since I opted for sweet sauce directly on the sandwich I had to use a fork to eat it.
The size of the sides were more than adequate to complement the meat. Oh the meat. It was moist and tender and it melted in your mouth. Next time I will opt for SOS
. The beans were so so but the slaw was a nice tart and creamy counterpoint to the sweet sauce.
So all in all I can’t think of any reason not to like this joint’s food. They also have pie and cobbler on weekends. They are in a great location too. Right off Binford Blvd. Easy access. And the prices are more than reasonable. We ordered 2 dinners and they were about $ 11 each. Like I said a good place to visit.
Well;here we are on the West side. We don’t seem to get here too often. For some reason we seem to stay in that central corridor of South, Central and North. Well we gonna’ try and fix that.
I am not sure how long this Smoke House has been around,but I first heard of it a few weeks ago, and the reviews I have read have been pretty positive. It’s located in a strip mall,and can be a bit tricky to find,as it is a distance from the street. However once you get close the aroma draws you, literally right to the front door.
This bad boy sits right in front of the joint,and the day we were there it was in service,smoking some pork butts. I was able to chat with the young man working the post and he told me they used a bit of dry rub only on the brisket. This aroma is the best ad I could think of for a BBQ joint.
Once inside we found a neat little space. Bright and clean.
They make their own sauces and keep them in squeeze bottles on the tables. They offer a sassy sweet, a hot and a more east coast mustard style. We started off with an order of fried mushrooms.
I have to say that their mushroom appetizer was average, at best. Small button mushrooms with a rather boring coating and served with a very non descript Ranch dressing. Average price and average taste. Our server gave us a taste of their pulled pork, which sealed the deal for Pat.
I was really tempted by their smoked meatball sandwich. But I thought I would play it safe and go with the brisket sandwich with Lava beans.
Where do I begin? The meat had a really nice smoke flavor and a picture perfect smoke ring, but the overall it missed the mark. The meat was chewy and hard to bite and pretty bland. In order to get some flavor I had to add some sauce. Sauce should be used sparingly to enhance an existing flavor. Not as a substitute for flavor. For what it is worth I think they should use a rub and adjust the cook time. A rub does two things. Adds an extra level of flavor and it also does a Chemistry thing to help tendering the meat. They have their smoker set on 175 degrees, which is a sweet zone for Q. So, again this is just one man’s opinion.
The beans were really good. A nice level of heat and full of meat. A really good accompaniment for cow or pig. The sauces were decent , and the prices were on point as well.
Some bloggers don’t like to say if they like or dis like a joint. I have no problem with that. I rarely dis-like a place. The most I usually do is abstain from like or dis-like. Like a Congressman that votes present. This is the case here.
Now this is a rarity for this spot. I bought a voucher for food for a joint and was able to use it. I purchased a voucher from Amazon Local for G.T.’s. Nine bucks for 15 dollars of food. Good deal. I don’t know why they ran the promotion, because the food is really pretty good.
As soon as you walk in you are seduced by the aroma. BBQ. Smells like a rib joint. The ribs are not available until dinner. However they have a very solid lunch menu.
They have a website but it doesn’t show any prices. I didn’t even try to scan their book like menu. But for what it’s worth their prices are very good.
Pat’s platter was huge. We’re talking 12 inch oval with just enough room for a muffin. The sides were put up in 4 oz. ramekins and had to be placed on the side. A bunch of food for $11.50.
They serve the meat dry, with sauce on the side,which I like. They offer 3 sauces. Hot or medium red and a Carolina pepper, vinegar. I decided on a brisket sandwich. It comes 2 ways. Standard for,I don’t remember and a Jumbo for $8.50. With the sandwiches they provide chips and choice of side.
I expected the brisket to be sliced, as that is what I am told that is how it is done for platters. Oops. It’s shredded on the sandwich. Actually they might have even said that on the menu. I don’t recall. No matter the sandwich was very good. The brisket was both moist and tender,with a nice smokiness. The Carolina sauce I asked for on the side was so-so. As were the greens I ordered to go with it. They were tasty enough but they needed an oomph. Maybe some hock or more cooking time. I was concentrating more on my cow meat. I can say the pot liquor for the greens was pretty flat. No matter. My sandwich was good. And I like ruffled chips served with sandwiches, more joints should do that. In my opinion.
Our server tried to tempt us with desert. We were too full. She did manage to talk Pat into a cookie. And it was gratis. Cool. It was my turn to buy. On the service, it was spot on. Everyone I saw or came in contact with friendly and professional. I saw a busser walk through our dining area at least 3 times during our lunch. Each time he was on point. The last time he asked me if I needed a go box,as I was letting my food “settle” before I commenced eating. Our personal server was wonderful. All in all this joint has a great wait staff. So. In our opinion: Great food + Great service = Go there.
This is without a doubt the fanciest BBQ joint I have ever been to. Everything was new and bright and quite attractive. For a moment I thought we might have stumbled into the wrong place.
The light fixtures were really cool. You can see one in the above picture. You can tell that pros set this joint up. From the table placement to the bar every thing was on point. After we were seated the Hostess let me check out the smokers in the kitchen.
The exhaust fans are located right behind the outside wall. Also it appears as though it has a digital temp readout. Really nice units. Back in the day I thought an Alto Shaam was high tech. Well enough of the HGTV. Our server was Laura. Delightful and very knowledgeable. I ordered a cup of chili; a cup of red to start.
I thought it was very good. A little spicy, no beans and no pasta; which is unusual in the Midwest. They used cubes of smoked brisket and a touch of house bacon. It had the consistency of Texas red; as I remember it. They also threw in a few cubes of fat. I like to think it was done intentionally not accidentally. Fat adds flavor. Of course my Cardiologist might disagree; but I don’t take him to lunch.
As you can see from the menu the food choices are very solid and the prices are quite reasonable.
Pat decided on a brisket entree with a choice of two sides for $12. When he discovered that the slaw had no onion he picked that with cornbread. After we ordered Laura brought out the Sauce caddy, all made in house.
The sauce options are pretty basic. A Kansas City molasses sweet, a Carolina mustard vinegar, a “Standard”, a little sweet and savory and a Texas spicy. Laura suggested a mix of KC and Carolina. Which worked like a charm for me. The other two were a little non descript. I really like a Carolina sauce sometimes and I definitely have a thing for molasses. Well back to Pat.
As you can see Pat’s coleslaw was a side with some assembly required. I guess he didn’t want to assemble. Since he ordered the brisket I ordered the pulled pork with Collards and Mac& cheese for $10.
The pork was straight up good. Nice flavor and good smoke. My first thought was the dry rub wasn’t as assertive as I would like,but upon a bit of reflection I thought with the 4 sauces maybe an assertive rub might not be the best. I am still pondering. One thing for sure Laura hit the pig on the head with her sauce mix suggestion. The KC and the Carolina together was a great taste. As for the sides I had mixed feelings. The greens were quite good not as much pot liquor as I would like but good none the less. Now for the mac & cheese. I believe they used a Cellentani, a spiral pasta that holds sauce well. As for the sauce it was pretty good it just isn’t what I had anticipated.They added a “jam” which I believe is a mix of KC sauce and spices which did add another layer of flavor but I prefer my mac a bit thicker with a cheesy roux and a buttery brown top. No harm no foul I’ll just keep that in mind next time.
Even though I had to get a go box for some of my pig I thought we should share a slice of Sugar Cream pie. It was unlike any other Sugar Cream pies I’ve had. It appeared that the crust was a crumb crust, not a pastry. Also the filling had almost a carmelized top to it. The pie was rather hard to cut; me thinks it was over cooked. No matter, the filling was delicious. I forgot to take a shot until it was almost done. Here is the ravaged result.
So don’t think that this place is too cool for Que. It isn’t. I read one reviewer who thought they took BBQ too seriously. Well it is BBQ. I really don’t know how anyone can be too serious about BBQ. After all it is All American. Seriously if you want some good Q you should give this joint a try. I’m not saying this is the best Q in the city. I am saying it is really good and it is run by pros. Also everyone that works here is really nice and it is a really pretty place.
I wanted to come here so I could sit out side. Today was a pleasant and bright day, without the oppressive humidity ,usually associated with a Hoosier July. Pat said we already ate here, pre blog days. I don’t think so.
Even though they have Distillery in their name they don’t distill any alcohol. They do have a decent cold beer selection and some good food. They aren’t heavy with Cajun fare, as the name would imply. They do offer a nice selection of smoked meats, crawfish etouffee,oysters,catfish and a sprinkling of blackened dishes. Pat has been her more than a few times, so he knew the menu pretty well. They did have 2 new offerings. A French Dip and a house smoked brisket sandwich. Their sandwiches come with a small side of slaw and fries or home-made chips. He opted for the Dip, with chips for $8.50. He also tried a cup of Lobster Bisque for $4,25.
I don’t think the angle of Pat’s picture did the presentation of his French Dip justice. The amount of chips was huge. And they were very well made. They buy them already cut and fry and season them in-house. Good seasoning and great execution.
The Blackened Trout was a lunch special. It came with etouffee, slaw and garlic toast for $8.50. The puppies were an add on for $1.25. The fish was very good. I found their blackening interesting. Different to what I am used to. But in fairness most of my blackened meals have been made with my own spice blend. Not better or worse, just different. This spice mix was light on the front end and little stronger in the middle and with a nice finish. Not at all excessively hot. It fit well with the fish. The etouffee was good as well. Abundant, which is good because a measly cup of etouffee is just a taste. The slaw was so so, but it did bring a nice texture to the party. One thing I am not happy with is my picture. I should have had the idea of rotating my plate so as to good a good shot of the fish. A blackened piece of fish is beautiful. Dark and glistening with a slight sheen from the oil or butter.
They also have a list of Po’ Boys. Now that is next on my list a Blackened Catfish Po’ boy. Seriously I can’t think of any reason not to go there. Good food, good pricing and good service and a nice out-door seating area and an upstairs balcony. What more can you ask for.
We have been aware of this place and its reputation for quite some time. People swear by the quality of Hank’s smoked meat. He only offers carry out so we had to pick a nice day. That is the only reason I can come up as to why we were so tardy in coming here. That, and our horrid memories. Today was a beautiful day so we headed to Hank’s.
They have a menu board on the wall, but I messed up the picture. Their sandwiches range from $6.50 to $8.50. Their sides are all $1.80. The brisket is $16 per pound and the smoked corn beef is $17.50. On Urbanspoon there is an older picture of the menu. The brisket prices have gone up since that was taken. Price increase or not the man sure can smoke some beef. And it is definitely butter my butt and call me bread good.
Pat stopped and bought some buns on the way. We got one pound of brisket, one half pound of smoked corned beef and a side of potato salad and coleslaw. Conveniently there is a Dairy Queen next door, so we picked up a couple of chocolate malts. There is also a nice little park about a block away. So we had an old-fashioned picnic.
In a nutshell I don’t know which we liked better. The brisket or the corned beef. The brisket was delicious and had a beautiful bark. I think it was a wee bit better than Squealers. My previous love. As for the corned beef it was truly a taste to remember. I know this is trite and over used but it really did melt in your mouth. A nice texture, indicative of corned meat and just a hint of fat to leave a little gleam on your mouth. The slaw was good but the potato salad was better, I think. Super creamy. A sweet foil to the home-made BBQ sauce.
What is extraordinary is Hank is a self-taught pit master. As I understand it he spent 10 years perfecting his technique through trial and error. Which is, ultimately, the way all smokers learn. Try different ways until you find the one way that floats your boat. In this case Hank certainly has found his way.
This joint has a rather large fan base and subsequently receives a lot of word of mouth advertising. Which is the best. It is sincere and heartfelt, and free. And it certainly seems warranted. They have won national awards for their pig and their sauce.
The place consists of 3 separate rooms. A large main dining area with 2 smaller adjacent rooms. They also have a full bar. Which was a pleasant surprise, I wasn’t aware they sold beer.
They have an extensive menu, covering all the BBQ bases. Hog, brisket, rib eye, chicken,turkey and sausage. I found out after the fact they purchase their sausage raw and smoke it in-house. My kind of joint.
I was torn between the brisket and the smoked prime rib sandwich. They smoke off the rib, shave it and serve it Philly style with peppers and onions and cheese. Now that sounds good. I felt compelled to go with the brisket sandwich. I really like brisket.
The sandwich comes with choice of 2 sides for $7.99, and you can order it wet or dry. You also get your choice on sauce. Sweet, hot or mix of both. Pat and I both opted for the both. Their Award winning sauce was really outstanding. Nicely sweet with just the right of amount of heat. The beans were tasty with bits of meat in it. They fit really well with smoked meat. I prefer my beans just a tad thicker, but that is merely a personal preference. The coleslaw was delicious. Thick and sweet a perfect complement to BBQ. Now as for the brisket. I can’t recall the last time I had brisket so nicely done. Tasty, tender and check out the smoke ring. Now that is one beautiful sight. I especially liked that they use sweet white onion. I certainly don’t know who issued that memo that says restaurants should use “red” onions, but I wish someone would rescind it. A Vidalia style onion is the best possible choice to eat with meat. Again my personal taste
So seriously folks this is one serious smoke house. They offer the best smoked I have had,to date in Indy. Once again. My personal taste. However I think quite a few folks would agree.
Well Ember has a new menu, and it looks pretty good, so I had to give it a try. Of course I had to go solo. Pat is the only lay about I know, and he had stuff to do. The rest of my friends are all busy with jobs. Lunch out on a beautiful day is special, even when you’re by yourself. And this time I remembered my camera.
I started out with a cup of their Wandering Chili. Yesterday it was sweet BBQ chili with smoked brisket. A chili purist ( Texan ) would undoubtedly throw up their arms in disgust because, not only did it have BBQ sauce in it the meat was in cubes and it had beans. The horror. Classic or not I thought it was pretty tasty. Sweet at the start, earthy chili flavor in the middle and a taste of smokiness from the meat. A great way to start a lunch. Especially paired with a pint of Fountain Square’s Working Man’s Pilsner.
For the main part of my lunch I decided on a Cuban Press. As you can see they added in-house smoked pork to the menu. No Hoosier could pass on smoked pig. For my side I opted on a side salad with a Dijon vinaigrette. The veggies were fresh and the dressing was first-rate. They did make a slight change on the salads. Before they had a Simple Spring Salad as a side option, featuring spring mix and romaine lettuce. Some of the folks wanted more romaine so they added a side salad with all romaine. Go figure.
Their version of the Cuban is really quite good and at $8.75 with a side more than reasonable. The pork was very tender and the smokiness fit very well with the other ingredients. Unlike some joints that use a yellow ball park mustard they use Dijon. Which set the tone for the sandwich from the beginning. Their choice of bread was spot on as well. A slight tooth and a nice density. A sammich is only as good as the bread.
Well ladies and gentlemen the third review of Ember Urban Eatery comes to a close. It’s just going to keep getting better.
Well guys there’s a new joint on Virginia Ave. It’s similar to a lot of new joints, in that it sports a lot of wood, granite and shiny new equipment. I think the Ember , with its use of warm colors, projects a more cozy atmosphere than most.
Their menu is a single sheet of paper which keeps it simple to start and allows them to change it without a huge cost. It also is one heck of a lot easier to peruse than the encyclopedia some joints offer. They have a smoker which they use for wings and brisket. So that separates them from a lot of places around.
Since Thursday was such a miserable, cold and snowy day I decided I needed a cup of hot soup to start. Their SOD didn’t trip my trigger but they did offer chili. Or in this case Wandering Chili. Now that means they change it on whim. One day “traditional” with ground beef, another day chopped brisket or maybe chicken chili. That day it featured ground beef and beans. Maybe more traditional but not quite typical. It was a tasty mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and chile powder. Very good and definitely on point for the weather.
Their burgers are 1/2 pound, hand formed patties of a mixture of brisket, round steak and short rib. They cook them to order and serve them on a toasted brioche bun with choice of side for $8.50. I ordered mine medium rare. Well the kitchen guy goofed and it came out well done. One of the owners, who was also our bartender , was very apologetic and adamant about giving me a recook. Well hard-headed me was just as adamant to keep it. I kept it and the funny thing, as it grew cooler more of the flavor of the beef came out and as the Swiss cheese warmed the tastier it became. Now I am determined to go back and try the burger at a more civilized temperature. Besides, their draft beer system wasn’t up and the owner graciously took the burger off the bill.
So it appears the New Year is off to a good start. A new joint is up and running and appears to definitely be a keeper. And more are on the way. Eating places, breweries and even a distillery. And you can expect Pat and I to keep you all informed. Happy New Year.http://www.emberurbaneatery.com/