Chef Ricky Hatfield’s sense of adventure puts steak-centric CharBlue (located in the former home of Georgia Reese’s Southern Table) in a whole different class from its downtown red-meat brethren. The Martinsville native grew up hunting in the Hoosier backwoods—developing an appreciation for the rustic flavor of game meat—and finessed his cooking skills at Sullivan’s Steakhouse, Weber Grill, McCormick & Schmick’s, and Peterson’s. That’s why you might see an exotic hunk of confit duck over cauliflower couscous with coconut milk and curry crème fraîche presented alongside a fat $46 ribeye. It’s also how a lovely medium-rare Cervena venison chop is cold-smoked for 20 minutes in the same kitchen that turns out crowd-pleasing lobster bisque and Angus sliders. Burgundy-braised short rib and mushrooms soak into the ruffles of locally made radiatori. Viking Farms lamb from Morristown gets a chimichurri treatment. And cider-brined pork chops from LaGrange’s Gunthorp Farms wearing a bourbon-mustard glaze skew even more luxurious when whisked out by a fleet of servers in crisp jackets. Before you have even taken in the menu, one of them will arrive with a tiny pre-meal mouth amuser. Not an amuse-bouche, but an amuse-booze in the form of a tiny cocktail. Here’s to trying something a little different for a change.
14 E. Washington St., 317-986-7883, charblueindy.com