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.
Oh Goodie! Just what Indy needs one more hip coffee-house with pressed sandwiches. Now don’t get me wrong I have nothing against coffee houses it’s just that they all try so hard to be hip. In much the same way coffee joints in the 60’s tried to be psychedelic and in the 50’s more bongo and beatnik. And Panini can be a delightful lunch. You just have to be a tad circumspect about the fillings otherwise you might have a “mushy” sandwich. This particular joint is in an excellent location at the corner of 16th St. and Alabama St. An area that seems to have changed over night from semi hood to more metropolitan. For want of a better word. As far as decor I would call it industrial chic or proletarian casual. They left the concrete floor untouched. Chipping paint and all. They also enjoyed the use of gray corrugated metal siding and wood. Whoever owns this place put some bucks into it. It was just not my cup of chai. But they obviously are targeting a young crowd, not old farts like me and Pat.
As far as food options go they offer some breakfast options, including pastries from Circle City Sweets, a local bakery that has a pretty good reputation. They also offer soup from Circle City Soups. As I understand it Sweets and Soups are owned by a husband and wife. And no I have no excuse as to why we have not tried these places before. For lunch they offer 5 pressed sandwiches each with a historic Hoosier name. As far as meat options they have smoked turkey, Mortadella and City Ham. They proudly announce that the ham is from Smoking Goose . A well know local meatery. So from that I guess we can assume the turkey and Mortadella are from the same source. Pat tried a Tarkington. A turkey and provolone sandwich 86 mustard.
I tried the Harrison. I am a sucker for avocado. One thing Pat and I both noticed, at the first bite was that they stuck romaine in the sandwich and then toasted it. Now I really like wilted lettuce but toasted romaine? Not a big fan. To me it had an odd taste that detracted from the flavor of the ham. They have spinach on the menu I think spinach would be a better choice than romaine. To me the biggest deal was the lack of texture. The only crunch was the bread, which had a nice toast to it. Between the melted Swiss and avocado the overall effect was rather bland and mushy. It needed some prominent texture and some distinctive flavor. But I am not going to go through the entire menu and suggest alternatives. This is not my joint and they did what they did for a reason. Best of luck to them.
I almost forgot my soup. Gazpacho. It was the best part of lunch. Ironic that they don’t make it here.
Today is a beautiful Saturday; and, you know you have had a long, hot and hard week. So I think you and the whole family should hop into the car; jump on your bikes or pop into an IndyGo; and go to 25th and Oxford streets and have lunch. Taste Budds is a place you must go to if you like good cooking, think you like good cooking or like a lot of people don’t even know what good cooking is. Depending on your age a meal at Taste Budds is the kind of food your mom or grandma would’ve made for you when you were young.I don’t care who you are or what you prefer to eat; I think you’ll find something to like there.They offer small plates for $8.18, tax included and large plates, for $11.99. Either size comes with two sides and choice of bread; one of which is hot-water cornbread; or some would call it Johnnie cake. They also offer $3.99 lunch specials,that are served with fries and coleslaw.
Normally I don’t order, rib tips ; when I go out. The quality as well as the technique is hit and miss. This time,I asked the young man where they got their meat and how they were cooked. That might sound extreme, but believe me, I’ve been burned before by fatty and/or bony tips. I ordered the small plate of tips with collard greens, mac & cheese, and of course cornbread. When I opened the clamshell I was astounded by the big pile of beautiful pieces of pig inside. The pieces were small enough you could pop one into your mouth and chew around the occasional small bone before discreetly depositing it in a napkin. At the same time the pieces were tender enough to cut with a plastic fork.You could taste the slight smokiness from the grill and the sauce did its job properly;enhancing the flavor of the pork not overpowering it. As any good backup singer should.The greens were as good as you would expect from a kitchen this good. They used smoked turkey to season them;a pleasant alternative to the more usual smoked ham hock. As for the mac & cheese all I can say is, it is hands down,the best I’ve eaten in any restaurant I have been to.
Pat opted for a small plate as well.He chose herb roast chicken, mashed potatoes, greens and cornbread. He enjoyed the greens as much as I did, this being the first time he has had them with smoked turkey. And if the speed at which he ate the mashed potatoes and gravy, he must have liked those too. At the risk of sounding gushy the chicken was beautiful. It was a lemon and herb crusted and roasted airline breast. That is to say it was a breast half with a wing attached. The skin was golden brown and the flesh inside moist and tender. Now that I was able to try since, Pat couldn’t finish his meal either.It always amazes me how something so simple could be so delicious and so hard to do by so many folks.The only thing that Pat and I could not agree on was a cornbread. He thought it was the best we have had and I thought it was a tie between , theirs and Dee’s and Pa and Ma’s.
Since the number five bus stops right in front of the place I’m going back, soon. I have to try their liver and onions. To date, every place I’ve gone to always overcook the meat and undercook the onion’s.So folks this place is the real deal.So to all those folks who “whine” about how the chains are taking over; get off your back sides and get to Brightwood and support this great little independent café. To paraphrase myself in my post about Kountry Kitchen: These guys have the skill of a master carpenter and the soul of a church choir.