This is a first for us. The J.E.Light Cafe is a student run cafe associated with North Central High School. We have reviewed Courses; the equivalent outlet for Ivy Tech; but I wasn’t aware Indianapolis High Schools had such programs. North Central isn’t the only one but it was the one with the most up to date media ensuring us they were indeed serving Thursday.
The menu was small yet quite eclectic, with an International flair. From Korean soup to Vietnamese sandwiches and All American cheeseburgers. The prices; as you can imagine are more than reasonable. The entrees were $6.95; soup was $1.50 per cup and desserts were $3 and $1.50.
We both started off with a cup of soup.
The soup was very well done. Chunks of smoked brisket in a rich chile infused broth. An excellent remedy for a rainy day. Prior to the service of the soup we were given a basket of house made chips.
Quite a few “professional” joints make their own chips. I don’t think any place does them better, and most don’t do them as well.
As I mentioned earlier their menu had a distinct International spin. As tempting as the choices were I decided on a lighter offering. Sushi. I was more than a little surprised by that option. Sushi requires a few years to become proficient. However I think that if young cooks are taught the basics of rolling and forming and the ever important knife work then those skills will be beneficial in all cooking. So a tip of the hat to the JEL Cafe staff.
Their Sushi plate was composed of spicy tuna roll, inside out roll, salmon and tuna Nigiri and seasoned edaname. Plus the ever popular wasabi and soy as well as pickled ginger.
Once again I was impressed with the dish. Actually sushi is difficult to critique for me. Most rolls are consistent in the ingredients used. The only difference is the portion of the ingredients. I found this offering most enjoyable. Last but not least I opted for a dish of their Chocolate Gelato.
Another hit. Well made and richly chocolate. A steal at $1.50. It is a shame that their “season” is nearly over. Next week is their last service. Cinco de Mayo. I just might have to go back.
I think North Central has a program they can be proud of. Now is an exciting time to be part of the culinary scene in Indy.
Well Broad Ripple has one more new joint. This is Hibachi Restaurant. New for the Ripple scene. It is located where the Sabbatical used to be. Curiously that’s right next door to the Triton Taproom and the Sushi Bar. The Hibachi Bar is owned by the same folks who have the Sushi Bar. All they need is one called the Tempura Bar for a true hat trick.
Their dining room is really nice looking.
All of the seating is for Hibachi. So you get a show even if you order from the hot kitchen or the sushi kitchen.
This is their basic dining unit. In the background is the sushi bar. Their menu is an odd Frankenstein affair. Cut and paste with several items marked off. Of course this is only their first week of operation so I am sure they will be making adjustments along the way. Being true to their name they offer a lot of steaks and combos with fish. They also have a few noodle dishes ( from the kitchen) and Teriyaki Chicken as well as salmon.
Funny thing about the sake. The chef had it in a big squeeze bottle. I figured it was just water and the sake bit was a joke. When Pat told me it was indeed sake I was jealous. Hell Pat doesn’t even like sake. Oh well. I ordered Yakisoba. That is a buckwheat noodle dish cooked with veggies and a protein. I opted for chicken.
I thought this dish was excellent. The chicken was not overly abundant but the overall flavor and amount made it an excellent value at $12. I especially liked the tender crisp celery and its crunch.
About the prices. I thought the pricing was reasonable. They feature strip steak and filet mignon as well as ocean-going sea food, which ain’t cheap. Pat’s Teriyaki chicken was only 9 bucks. And in celebration of their Grand Opening they were offering a 15% discount. So I don’t see the pricing as a problem. I can only image things getting better for this place. I think it is a nice addition to Broad Ripple.
Pat called me the other day and we were talking about lunch this week. He informed me that he had just read the last few posts and realized that he had ordered several burgers. He wanted to get out of that rut ; quickly. I told him that I thought that the quickest way to carry out that was to go to a Japanese joint. I think we have gone to one before. That was Sushi Bar in Broad Ripple. Pat ordered a Tempura lunch special and I ;as usual; had a medley of sushi rolls. This time I was determined to change the pattern.
This is a very attractive place. Spacious and nicely decorated. I found it pretty dark though. Nice enough for a date night but so much for a lunch.
Their menu is very nice. They feature actual Bento boxes with Teriyaki, noodle dishes, maki and sashimi and,of course Hibachi. All are in the $7.50 to $10.75 range, and they come with soup or salad.
I wanted some cooked salmon so I ordered Salmon Hibachi for $10.75. The Hibachi dishes come with the soup or salad, fried rice and veggie of the day. I opted for Miso soup. I do so like Miso soup.
This particular version was excellent. A lovely broth with just the right amount of tofu.
The rest of the luncheon was expertly prepared. The Salmon was a thinner cut than I am accustomed to so it was cooked more than I would like. However it was still very tasty, and the fried rice was superb. It was a brown rice with flecks of egg and onion and the veggies were as you would image from a Japanese kitchen. Tender crisp with a hint of soy. They serve each diner with 2 sauces. A mustard sauce and a “ginger” sauce. Or at least that is what our server told us it was. The mustard had no kick and the “ginger” sauce brought nothing to the table. Flat ; no flavor.
So Pat and I both enjoy our lunches. They were well prepared, excellent quality and great service. He won’t go back because he lives too far away. I wouldn’t mind going back;there are some dishes they have I would love to try. However there are several joints that offer similar food. They may be better or worse;but I will not know that until I eat there. I only have so much time left and there are so many places to visit I have to use my time well. So eat and enjoy it.
I have read reviews of this joint on the old Urbanspoon and the “new” Zomato. The ones from last year,and earlier: no bueno. The more current ones were much more complimentary. As a matter of fact I had planned on taking my Granddaughter there for lunch prior to viewing the Force Awakens,in IMAX 3D. Time constraints prevented it,we ended up going to some chain place.
Anyway,Pat and I had lunch here today. The building is huge and the exterior does make a dynamic statement. I always find taking pictures of buffets to be challenging. Especially this one as it covers a great deal of territory. Nevertheless. I tried.
This is part of the salad bar; featuring both fruits and vegetables.
These shots are from the Asian station; featuring Teriyaki clams, spicy fried octopus and a nice bone in baked fish, as well as more stuff than I had a chance to name or sample.
They offer a stir-fry action station. That is where you pick your ingredients and they are cooked to order. They also offer a more Mid Western comfort station where your are served ribs and smoked sausages and help your self to the sides.
They also offered a cook to order Udon noddle station;and pizza. Their sushi was what you would expect. An array of nicely prepared rolls relying more on veggies than fish.
I had a marvelous time. The foods I ate were more than satisfactory. I had at least $15 worth of satisfaction for $8.50; less the senior discount. That comes down to $7.85. Hell a salad bar is worth that. Am I satisfied? Yes. Would I go back again? Yes. The only thing negative I can say is that someone burned a batch of the Chocolate chip cookies. You couldn’t tell until you saw the bottoms. Of course the cook knew. Shame.
Looks pretty mundane doesn’t it. After all it sits in the middle of a sprawling strip mall. Surrounded by a bunch more. Don’t let its appearance fool you. There is a nice little buffet behind those doors. One with an amazing array of Chinese food. It even has freshly prepared sushi. All for $6.95 at lunch and $9.95 for dinner.
This is the first hot line, with about every Chinese tidbit you would want.
Pat and I were shameless in our gluttony. The Chinese food was very well prepared and everything stayed crisp and hot. They never overloaded any one item, relying on frequent restocking to keep the table intact.
The sushi was nicely done as well. The selection of rolls were rather average, as they bring out the “fancy” rolls at dinner. However they were very tasty. Of course the use of rice and nori was abundant. I don’t think you can expect yellow tail or salmon for 6 bucks.
This is the second hot line. Pork and chicken were well represented as well as various veggies, in the form of egg rolls, pot stickers and General Tso’s contribution. I would guess they had more than 30 different items on the steam tables. Plus the sushi and deserts and salads. They even had calamari rings and surimi wrapped in bacon.
This is the salad station. It also had fresh melon and puddings. They even had ice cream in a little freezer. Of course I didn’t see that until we were leaving.
This was the desert station. Little petits fours and cookies and macaroons. I know none of these were house made, but they were really pretty tasty. The ones with sprinkles were flavored with coffee.
This was one of the better buffets I have eaten at. The marrying of skillfull cooking and ready made items made it a very memorable lunch. I honestly think it’s phenomenal that it is only $6.95.
There is something about rainy weather that makes Thai food compelling. Pat and I decided on Thai,again. Indy has a few Thai style restaurants available. For this occasion we decided on one in the “Village”. The address may seem familiar because it is the epicenter of what I call Ripple Food Central. That is a strip mall that houses several different ethnic eating options, as well as a brewery. Pretty convenient.
This particular joint has been around for a while but has changed owners. A few of the reviews have been less than complimentary concerning the owner and the service. I notice reviews, and I take them into consideration, up to a point. Bottom line I need to check out the joint first hand.
The place is compact, nicely appointed and neat and clean. Our first impression of the servers was they were competent and actually looking forward to waiting on us. After we were seated the first thing I noticed was their vaulted ceiling and this part of the decor.
I have no idea what it is. I only hope it lights up at night, and possibly spins. Oh I hope it spins.
The first thing I noticed about this particular Thai restaurant was they offer Sushi. That is rare,in my experience. Oh one thing about this particular mall is that all the restaurants have a menu posted to the outside windows. You can see what to expect before you walk in. As much as I love Sushi I resisted. One of my all time favorite Sushi joints is about one block west. Besides to me Sushi without sake is like pizza without beer.
I really enjoy noodles. I really enjoy bean sprouts and veggies, so I ordered Khauk Swe Kyaw. Like all of their lunch specials they come with soup or salad choice for about 8 or 9 bucks. Pat and I both opted for the soup, lemon grass.
I have never had a Lemon Grass soup as assertive as this. Most often soups of this nature are flat and singularly flavored. A mild chicken broth with a weak citrus taste and a hint of cilantro. To me this cup was an explosion of lemon and chicken flavor and the cilantro was more than a passing herb, it brought its true taste to the forefront. I would venture a guess that this was due to the fat structure of the soup. You could taste it in the soup and fat is not only flavor it transfers flavor. So, yeah I dug the soup.
Now isn’t that a beautiful plate. An amazing abundance of veggies and chicken with a nuance of peanut and topped with fresh carrot and mung sprouts. One of my favorite combos.
So now…Here’s Pat.
Now don’t ask me why the one photo had a green cast to it. I give my camera to Pat to take the shots of his own lunch and I have no idea what happened. I do think it’s sort of cool though.
Well regardless of the photos Pat and I are in agreement of this place. Even though we did have differing opinions of the soup. I think Pat was working on a cold. No matter we both think this joint is a keeper. So add this to your list of joints to eat at in the Ripple.
Pat,Fran and I haven’t gone back yet. However my first-born son,Adam went there with me for his birthday. The food was just as good as the first time. Adam is not too adventurous. He pretty much sticks with Terriyaki and California rolls. For $15.95 he got a platter of chicken strips on a bed of slivered onion, dressed with a copious amount of Terriyaki sauce. The chicken was accompanied by a cup of rice, and both soup and salad. He also ordered a Cali roll for about 4 bucks. I stuck with the more “traditional” Sushi Bar Special # 3. That is a Cali roll,a Tuna roll and 10 pieces Nigiri ( chef’s choice ) plus soup and salad, for $25.95. The soup was as tasty as before and the salad was a bowl of plain iceberg lettuce with a house dressing that tasted a lot like a thin 1000 Island dressing,without the relish. Tossed in with the lettuce was a super thin slice of carrot and 2 equally thin slices of cucumber. I will say this. The cukes tasted like cukes. An oddity here in the winter. Regardless how tasty the soup and adequate the salad next time I am going ala carte. I had trouble cleaning my plate.
Adam really liked his chicken and rice and roll. He too had a tough time finishing everything. As for my dinner it left me fat and sassy and smiling. The rolls were good; as to be expected and the nigiri was nice as well. The rice portion was smaller than I am accustomed to and didn’t have the same sweetly sour taste that some have. I received 5 types of fish. The salmon and tuna I recognized the rest were white and I can only guess as to their identity. One had a dab of fish roe on it, a cool touch. That is the fun about eating at a sushi bar. The rolls with the differing flavors and textures. The sashimi or nigiri with the clean taste of the fish. Altered only by the salty heat of the wasabi and soy. And the whole thing balanced by the hot astrigency of the hot sake. And when you throw in some sticky rice you can’t help but have a party in your belly.
- Sushi Bar-Broad Ripple (kosherhamandcheese.com)
The post I made earlier was actually about our little adventure 2 weeks ago. I’m still a little behind from the Holidays. That post was short because; well… Let’s just say the lunch was not very good. This post will be short as well ,only because I neglected to take any pictures of our food. So Pat and I decided we need to revisit soon; with his better half Fran. They have lunch specials ;a whole board full of different rolls. Pat is not a big fan of sushi or sashimi but he is a fan of fried fish. So he ordered shrimp tempura. Five nice shrimp and veggies with miso soup or salad and a cup of sticky rice( the best rice of all ). All for $7.99. For me sushi,sashimi, nigiri etc are all my favorite. So I got a 2 roll deal. That’s 2 rolls;your choice; miso or salad for $6.99. I decided on the ubiquitous spicy tuna and cucumber& eel. I probably could have made a better selection for texture but I serious thought of a 3 roll combo. Thankfully I stayed with 2; and chose two of my favorite proteins. And what is sushi without sake ? Pat; believe it or not has never had hot sake. He merely had a taste. However he did discover the “allure” of hot wine. I don’t need pictures to describe our total delight at the quality of our lunch. However, since we ARE going back I will wait ’til then to be verbose.