Restaurant Guide Update: September 2018

A tour of the city’s best dining. New and updated: Beholder, Tlaolli, Sun King Spirits, and Duke’s

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Beholder
A former car-repair shop just outside Woodruff Place sets the stage for a daring piece of performance art featuring pig-skin noodles, granita-topped uni designed to melt on the tongue, grilled cucumbers, and other transfigured meats and veggies. Labor-intensive cocktails are so smart and spot-on that it’s hard to choose just one. Or three. Dinner Mon.–Sat. 1844 E. 10th St., 317-419-3471

Tlaolli
This innovative Latin cantina was a cheery, lighter alternative to the more-typical taquerias of East Washington Street when it opened as a 400-square-foot storefront with al fresco seating in 2013. It recently underwent an extensive renovation that added a vibrant and welcome dining room for customers wanting to eat on site. And while brunch has been eliminated, the kitchen at this hard-to-pronounce but easy-to-love spot still cooks up vegetarian molletes, tortas, and tacos that even a devoted carnivore could love. Soy chorizo, jackfruit, and surprisingly delicious hibiscus flowers top meatless items, while pork carnitas, red mole chicken, and a chicken-and-zucchini stew head up the more traditionally protein-rich offerings. Combos of tacos and tamales, made with olive oil instead of lard, are good for sampling, but hearty soups and entrées showcase the bright, complex flavors of Tlaolli’s menu. Be sure to add a side of salsa or guacamole for an extra punch. Lunch and early dinner Tues.–Sat. 2830 E. Washington St., 317-410-9507

Sun King Spirits
Indy’s Sun King Brewing Company takes over some prime real estate in Carmel with its two-story, open-concept dining (and drinking) hall. Diners claim their first-come, first-served tables and then fan out for food at kiosks operated by local vendors Oca (elevated charcuterie from Goose the Market), Pi Indy Pizza (wood-fired perfection), La Margarita (cantina fare), and FoxGardin Kitchen (modern comfort). The buzzy location is just as inviting to families as it is to those who come for the full bar and cocktail list featuring libations from Sun King’s new distillery line. Lunch and dinner daily. 351 Monon Trail, Carmel, 317-843-6250

Duke’s
BAR AND GRILL Near-southsiders have a soft spot for the dusky joint on the edge of downtown that once housed a local favorite, The Ice House. In April, the building underwent a makeover that endeared it to a different kind of crowd. Along with a new name and new owner, the neon-lit honky-tonk bar took on a menu of smoked meats, a fully dressed fried tenderloin, and no-nonsense bar drinks (save a nightly creation extruded from the slushy machine) befitting its blue-collar backstory. For dinner, the main event is fried chicken, expertly brined and crisped, with a handful of sides like a tater-tot waffle topped with sour cream and hot sauce that will knock your cowboy boots off. Lunch and dinner Mon.–Fri., dinner Sat. 2352 S. West St., 317-643-6403

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