Black Market

Given that it has garnered a faithful clientele of well-fed regulars in the nearly five years since it served its first Welsh rarebit and salted chocolate brickle, this Mass Ave draw could rest comfortably on the laurels of chef Micah Frank’s Brussels sprouts salads and lake-fish spinoffs. But given Frank’s affection for spiffed-up standards and co-owner Ed Rudisell’s travels to the world’s culinary capitals, it’s no surprise that Black Market adds fresh takes. In September, it turned its pergola-topped patio into a luau and invited legendary bartender Martin Cate of San Francisco’s Smuggler’s Cove to mix up tiki drinks. And for the last two Julys and Augusts, when Frank and Rudisell take it (somewhat) easy, they have let their staff devote the menu mostly to barbecue, offering a head-to-tail platter for the table featuring Eli Creek Farms pork. But Black Market is far more than a special-occasions spot. A chalkboard of daily creations means you can refuel after browsing nearby shops with an impromptu plate of rabbit and dumplings or kraut pierogi. This was always part of the plan for Rudisell and Frank: to offer original, sensibly sourced food and spirits to diners either cued up for some culinary fireworks or just dropping by to see what the duo has cooked up.

TIP: Tiki enthusiasts will want to check out Rudisell’s vast selection of English-, Spanish-, and French-style rums.

DON’T MISS: The Black Market Burger, topped with goat cheese and pickled veggies.

PREVIOUS MENTIONS: Best New Restaurants 2012, Best Restaurants 2011, 2013, 2014

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

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A graduate of IU’s Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing, Terry Kirts hails from a town in Illinois so small it didn’t have a restaurant until he was in the 8th grade. Since 2000, he’s more than made up for the dearth of eateries in his childhood, logging hundreds of meals as the dining critic for WHERE Indianapolis, Indianapolis Woman, and NUVO before joining Indianapolis Monthly as a contributing editor in 2007. A senior lecturer in creative writing at IUPUI, Terry has published his poetry and creative nonfiction in a number of literary journals and anthologies, including Gastronomica, Alimentum, and Home Again: Essays and Memoirs from Indiana, and he’s the author of the poetry collection To the Refrigerator Gods, published by Seven Kitchens Press in 2011.