Rook’s Most Innovative Dishes

A week’s worth of rocking Rook dishes.

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Most chefs run nightly specials from time to time. Few tap into their heritage and love of culinary play as much as chef Carlos Salazar at Rook (501 Virginia Ave., 317-737-2293, rookindy.com). Here, a week’s worth of Salazar’s most innovative, of-the-moment dishes that will have you rushing to Fletcher Place to order them before they’re sold out.

Rook Chef Carlos SalazarFischer Farms Tomahawk Chop

A 24-ounce long-bone ribeye, this one is served with kimchi plums, red onions, shaved foie gras torchon, and a Jägermeister house sauce. “I started with just a couple of these steaks and ran them for $60 when they should have been $98,” Salazar says. “I like running small specials that might run out—so customers will have a reason to come back in.”

Porchetta di Testa

Shaved slices of a whole cured pig’s head with Korean barbecue sauce, this exotic special (pictured) includes pistachios, chow chow, and pea shoots. “I wanted to give Kudzaishe Sitshebo, our intern from Ivy Tech, the experience of boning and curing a whole pig head that you might not get in culinary school,” the chef says. “I love the way this dish captured elements of Italy, Asia, and Indiana.”

Viking Lamb Rack of Lamb

Salazar prepares lamb chops with corn miso, fish sauce, Romesco sauce, and grilled summer tomatoes and zucchini. “I was actually on vacation when this first came available, but I talked with my sous Esteban Rosas, and he went with it,” he says. “I suggested a few things, but almost all of the dish was his.”

Crispy Pata

Starting with a fried pork hock, the chef plates it with rice, pickled green papaya, and spicy chili-vinegar dipping sauce. “When my Filipino customers saw that I was offering this, they would order four or five for the table. Now, they won’t let me take it off the menu.”

Chicks and Hoes

Miller Amish Country Poultry chicken wings pair nicely with hoecakes and miso butter. “Everyone does chicken and waffles, so I wanted to mix it up,” Salazar says. “We slow-fried the wings for ten minutes, froze them, then flash-cooked them to make them extra crispy.”

Snickers Ice Cream Sandwich

A fried bun envelops Snickers ice cream and sweetened condensed milk. “In the Philippines, we use hamburger buns for ice cream sandwiches,” the chef says. “I love these street sweets, so I knew I wanted to make one for Rook.”

Peking Quail

Salazar roasts quail from Meat the Rabbit, then dresses it with housemade mu shu pancakes, scallions, cucumbers, and sesame hoisin. “This was a week-long project where we kept drying and poaching it,” he says. “It was a great twist on the Peking duck you remember from the Chinese restaurants of your childhood.”

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