A string of chef changes can signal trouble for a young restaurant. But the fact that this boisterous yet buttoned-up surf-and-turf hit from the spring of 2014 has had three executive chefs in just under two years hasn’t diminished its innovation or its polish—a sign that proprietors Derek Means and Craig Baker (partners on The Local Eatery & Pub and Bent Rail Brewery as well) have been carefully orchestrating its evolution from behind the scenes. Last October, they promoted pastry chef Matthew Robey to head up the kitchen, and the soft-spoken former cello performance major from Ball State has brought a new level of artistry to the plating, as well as a greater emphasis on seafood offerings that seemed missing from the downtown culinary scene. His red grouper atop a rich lamb Bolognese with tiny sweet clams and a salty shower of bottarga, an Italian cured fish roe, is one of the tastiest, most whimsical seafood creations to have appeared on local menus over the last year. Somewhat lighter yet no less flavorful are a whole roasted loup de mer and a Wisconsin white bass on a bed of lentils served with a colorfully garnished challah crouton and a lake-water broth poured on when served. Those holding onto the restaurant’s splashy opening days can still order the plancha burger, gilded with pasture-rich Jacobs & Brichford Everton cheese.
TIP: Grab a seat at the restaurant’s raw bar for super-fresh oysters or an ever-changing tuna poke.
DON’T MISS: Robey’s sweet little pastries, such as playful, chocolaty s’mores hand pies.
PREVIOUS MENTIONS: Best New Restaurants 2015
43 E. 9th St., 964-0538, plowandanchor.com
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