It has been a turbulent year for the Fletcher Place haunt that won our hearts the moment it opened in 2012. But even when saddled with a breakup (of original co–executive chefs John and Abbi Merriss Adams, forcing John out of the kitchen) and a local food blogger’s unflattering review of Bluebeard’s seating policy that brought the hospitality police out of the woodwork, Bluebeard didn’t skip a beat. The scruffy-chic dining room remains packed with bourbon-sipping, radish-crunching patrons. The servers are as gentle and informed as ever. And the revolving menu of complex dishes, such as the thin slivers of lamb tongue fanned out amid dollops of tart ricotta tzatziki, remains the city’s most inspired source for quirky gourmet. For nursing a Vonnegut-themed cocktail like the star anise–garnished So It Goes in a restaurant decorated with vintage typewriters, there’s not a bad seat in the house. 

BUT IF YOU HAVE TO PICK JUST ONE: Belly up to the Bread Bar at the back of the first dining room. It’s never as crowded as the main bar. 

ORDERING TIPS: Menu items are listed in ascending order, size-wise. A table of two will want to order several items from the “Snacks,” “Small,” and “Medium” columns to supplement their “Large” entrees.

PREVIOUS MENTIONS: Best New Restaurants 2012, Best Restaurants 2013

653 Virginia Ave., 317-686-1580,

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This article appeared in the May 2014 issue.