No. 2 — Black Market

922 Massachusetts Ave., 317-822-6757, blackmarketindy.net

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With exposed-brick walls, raw wood beams suspended above the bar, and bell-shaped lamps that look like they could be lighting a henhouse, Black Market feels like the most stylish barn you’ll ever dine in. But the black-topped bar and skinny-legged chairs are all uptown, as is the vibe at this clever collaboration by Ed Rudisell and Micah Frank. The owners themselves are a study in contrasts: the gregarious front-of-the-house man already with one smash hit (Fountain Square’s Siam Square) and the quiet, methodical chef who honed his skills at nearby R Bistro. No wonder this Mass Ave eatery, with the chummy communal tables that never seem forced, already feels like it has been here for years.

Frank’s menu hearkens to days of home butchering, when no part of an animal was wasted and pickles were “put up” for winter. His refreshingly whimsical “cocktail” of tender beef tongue dressed with silky cottage cheese, crisp potato chips, and a bracing shower of grated horseradish helped garner Frank a mention as one of Food & Wine’s “People’s Best New Chefs” for the Great Lakes region. Entrees such as fall-off-the-bone rabbit with homey housemade dumplings, apples, and roasted root vegetables demonstrate how Frank is pushing timid, steak-loving Hoosiers toward lesser-known meats sensibly balanced with hearty side dishes—unpretentious fare that rarely panders.

>> SIMILAR TASTES

Regina Mehallick set the standard for elegant locavore cuisine one block over at R Bistro (888 Massachusetts Ave., 423-0312, rbistro.com) > Farm-to-table fans can dine in a funky restored service station mere feet from bins of fruits and veggies at Locally Grown Gardens (1050 E. 54th St., 255-8555, locallygrowngardens.com), or head directly to the farm at The Loft Restaurant at Traders Point Creamery (9101 Moore Rd., 733-1700) > The Local Eatery and Pub (14655 Gray Rd., Westfield, 218-3786, localeateryandpub.com) made local eats accessible and fun with lamb burgers and a killer poutine.

Photos by Eric Lubrick.

This article originally appeared in the May 2012 issue.

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