Just the name “bread pudding” brings to mind homey images of gingham tablecloths and grandma’s kitchen. Or, at the very least, Paula Deen. But recently, this down-to-earth dessert (traditionally a means for repurposing stale bread) has made its way from the recipe card to the menus of some of the trendier restaurants in town.
For example, diners know to save room for the smooth and custardy puck of chocolate chip bread pudding at Oh Yumm! Bistro (5615 N. Illinois St., 317-251-5656).
The Bananas Foster Bread Pudding at Sullivan's Steakhouse (3316 E. 86th St., 317-580-1280) packs all of the elements of the classic flambeed dessert into a compact, crispy-edged confection, tops it with vanilla ice cream, and drizzles the entire production with caramel sauce.
The White Chocolate Peach Cobbler Bread Pudding at Bru Burger Bar (410 Massachusetts Ave., 317-635-4278) could use a snappier name, but the warm, silky slab melts in the mouth, helped by a mound of Blue Bell vanilla ice cream.
The individual servings of soft Sticky Bun Bread Pudding at Rusty Bucket (1130 W. 86th St., 317-566-3463) are topped with toasted pecans and a generous drizzle of warmed caramel.
Creme anglaise tops the Chocolate Bing Cherry Bread Pudding at Hoaglin To Go (448 Massachusetts Ave., 317-423-0300), which has the lightness of souffle.
A recent hit on the dessert menu at Black Market (922 Massachusetts Ave. 317-822-6757): passion fruit bread pudding with caramel and bananas.
According to the menu, the dense, whipped-cream–topped version at Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza (5646 E. Washington St., 317-356-6612; 401 Market Plaza, Greenwood, 317-883-8993) is made by Irvington resident and Cordon Bleu student Veronica Burrows. Bites alternate between cinnamon-infused custard and crisped edges.
Miguel's Southern Kitchen
(130 N. Delaware St., 317-955-0001
) takes the classic brick-of-cream-soaked-bread approach, sliced precisely and served with a sensible dollop of whipped cream.
But the saucy mound of bread pudding at Kelties
(110 S. Union St., Westfield, 317-867-3525) is free-form perfection that spans the plate.