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Reviews

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Main Attraction: A Review of 10 West

Diners belly up to a gleaming custom-made community table crafted from bark-on slabs of poplar to devour 10-ounce Delmonicos and 14-ounce New York strips freshly cut at the nearby Cicero Market and Harbour Market.

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Dishes of the Year: Autumn Tartare at Bluebeard

The autumn tartare reminded me of why I love watching chefs like John and Abbi Adams evolve—they’ve created unique dishes that are completely their own.

The maxed-out 317 Cheeseburger at 317 Burger
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The Flip Side: A Review of 317 Burger

Customized DIY creations can be adorned with a la carte options that include seven types of bacon, 10 cheeses, and other add-ons as random as apple chutney and chicken gravy.

Eat + Drink, the new lounge next door to Taste Cafe, gets funky with small plates and cocktails.
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Nice Addition: A Review of Eat + Drink

Deep leather club chairs and tufted sofas? You won’t find any of those old cocktail-lounge frills here, Grampa. What surprises is how this snug, graffiti-chic space reimagines the concept of boozy swank.

Shoefly Public House
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Worth the Wait: A Review of Shoefly Public House

Craig Mariutto knew his customers weren’t just going to expect a shoofly pie; they were going to expect a good shoofly pie.

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Rook Report: Banh Mi in Fletcher Place

The Nighthawk is a modified version of the nam sausages from Northern Thailand, where the links ferment as they hang.

Bloomington-based Upland Brewing Company brings a twinkle-lit deck to the northern suburbs.
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Draft Party: A Review of Upland's Carmel Tap House

Whether or not you buy into the marketing, Upland’s award-winning ales, lagers, and sour beers have been around since 1998—part of the original surge of high-quality Indiana craft brews to wash over the enlightened guzzling public.

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Mas Appeal: A Review of Delicia

Prior to ordering, guests are served an amuse bouche of warm, salty sancocho—a slow-cooked beef-and-chicken broth that servers describe as a welcoming stew. The soup is surprisingly addictive, with an intense flavor like that of the stock cooked off of ham-and-bean soup.

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Second Story: Plum's Upper Room

Entrees demonstrated Clarks’ Chef’s Academy training best, and there was a contemporary nod among the desserts at this place with its heart in the past.

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Toast of the Town: A Review of Plat 99

Though the core list of spirits is limited at Plat 99, there is a sweet emphasis on boutique boozes and local hard liquors.

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Are You Game? A Review of Latitude 39

Latitude 39, a rambling family-entertainment center laid out in the gutted multiplex at Clearwater Crossing, contains not only a large dining room built around an open kitchen and a ceramic-tiled pizza hearth, but also a dine-in cinema, a dinner theater, and a sports theater with full food-and-beverage service. Not that you would notice any of these. The fact that you can eat here gets lost somewhere between the row of Skee-ball ramps and the 20-lane luxury bowling alley with disco balls and white leather sofas.

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The Art of the Meal: A Review of Cerulean

I glanced up from my butternut-and-acorn squash salad just as a group of business-dressed women in CityWay hard hats filed past Cerulean’s courtyard windows—on what looked like a guided tour of this $155 million mixed-use complex-in-the-making. When complete, the downtown site will house a boutique hotel, townhomes, shops, a park, a YMCA, and this gorgeous fishbowl of a restaurant where lunch arrives in westernized polished-walnut bento boxes. I wondered, as I plucked bites of balsamic-glazed pork loin, green beans spiked with vinaigrette, and spicy chorizo–crumbled potatoes from their individual compartments, if that tour group was as captivated by the soaring modern floorplan as I was by my lunch. It’s easy to get excited about this much new-urban design and sauce-painted dishware. But should we resist the temptation to fawn over all the pretty plates? Does the style have substance? Or have we fallen under the spell of a very impressive dog-and-pony show?

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Total Knockout: A Review of Punch Burger

With all due respect to the breaded tenderloin, burgers are getting a lot of attention right now. And this meat-patty crush has nothing to do with size or the fripperies of melted cheese and mayo. In the land of exalted greasy spoons and seasoned backyard grills, the virtue of a burger has everything to do with the quality, the flavor, and (at a time when dishes wear their farm-raised/locally sourced origins like designer labels) the provenance of the meat itself. Hence: the love fest that occurred when downtown’s quick-casual Punch Burger opened its doors in October.

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Nouveau Riche: A Review of Indigo Duck

On the other end of the phone line, the server stammered and asked if I could hold for a moment. And then, speaking loudly over the din of background noise … “We might be able to get you a table at 7:15, but it will probably be closer to 7:30 or 7:45.” Or, she said, I could eat at the bar—if I could find a place to sit.

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Class Act: A Review of Eleven at the Pyramids

For local fans of Top Chef, watching episodes can inspire bouts of metropolitan envy. Where, people might wonder, do our own hot culinary upstarts—our Harolds and Hungs—conspire to plate their next great dish? How far would we have to drive to taste them?

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