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Restaurant Guide Updates: January 2020

New and updated from: Baby’s, Plat 99, Taste of Dubai, Verde Flavors of Mexico, and Yujo.

Baby’s

2147 N. Talbott St., 317-600-3559

This playful, family-friendly joint limits its menu to smashburgers, broasted chicken, milkshakes (spiked or not), and cocktails, which means it hits every pulse point for its faithful Herron-Morton clientele. Housed in a former drag show bar, it also has some fun with the building’s artsy legacy—the house burger is called a Strut Burger, and all of the cocktail names come straight from the RuPaul meme factory—sip a Tongue Pop or a Sashay Away as you polish off the last of the Talbott Street Style fries dressed with bacon, cheese sauce, white barbecue sauce, and pickled jalapeño. Lunch and dinner daily. V $$


Plat 99

333 S. Delaware St., 317-624-8200

After redefining the very notion of the hotel bar with mixologist-composed libations and Jorge Pardo’s kaleidoscopic tilework and vibrant pendant lamps, the Alexander’s above-the-street lounge went all-day in mid-2019, offering morning espresso drinks and pastries for elegant laptop-side sipping. Try the daily Donut Latte with steamed “donut milk” for a fun a.m. pick-me-up, or indulge in a cornflake-pretzel cookie crowned with malted banana whipped cream. Day drinkers will love the light, easy-sipping “Spa Day” with gin and cucumber syrup, but nighttime revelers can still select an excellent Old Fashioned with house bitters, as well as a barrel-aged Vieux Carré. And truffle popcorn continues to perfume the air while customers snack on charcuterie plates and kicky beef-and-bacon meatballs. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. V $$


Taste of Dubai Restaurant

4672 W. 38th St., 317-746-6966

For maximum drama at this Middle Eastern strip-mall spot, slip into a curtained booth (choose one with a table and chairs, or velvet floor cushions). After sipping the proffered cardamom-scented coffee from a tiny cup, order a frosty, fragrant mint lemonade, with its tart sweetness that will complement almost any of the delicately spiced entrees on offer. Lamb abounds here, in the form of chops, kofta, shish kebabs, and much more, but it’s most popular in the Mendi dish, seasoned with cumin, slow-roasted, and served atop rice (sub in chicken as the meat if you prefer). Vegetarians will have to look harder to find sustenance—perhaps to the outstanding falafel, its unusually crisp shell giving way to tender chickpea filling. Or they could fill up on divine side dishes like perfectly smoky baba gannouj or hummus Beiruti, a regional take on the chickpea-tahini classic, which comes magically alive with the addition of walnuts. Both dips are unbelievably creamy and taste seconds-fresh. A brief breakfast menu includes the fava-bean staple foul and the traditional favorite egg sahkshokah. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. $$


Verde Flavors of Mexico

2727 E. 86th St., 317-280-7410

The third outpost of this popular northside cantina found a ready-made home in the former B Spot Burgers location in the fall of 2019. And while chimichangas, enchiladas, and quesadillas comprise the more popular offerings, a few less-expected standouts set this stylish Latin draw apart. Elegantly plated ceviche (try a mix of octopus, shrimp, and fish) and empanadas make for solid starters, and well-dressed street tacos ($2 à la carte on Wednesdays) filled with everything from skirt steak to butternut squash are good alternatives to heavier fare. For a more festive dinner, try the “bursting hot” lava rock molcajete with just about every meat on the menu. Churros or tres leches cake make for a traditional sweet finish. Lunch and dinner daily. $$


Yujo

9431 N. Meridian St., 317-669-0315

Chef/owner Paul Yu modeled his restaurant after ramen shops in Japan, where customers make quick work of ordering, eating, and leaving. His menu has riffs on three classic ramen broths: Tokyo-style (soy sauce flavored), Tonkotsu (creamy, pork-bone and chicken-bone broth) and miso-infused. Bowls are served with straight or wavy noodles, and traditional toppings like soft-boiled eggs marinated in soy sauce and chashu (sous vide pork shoulder). Options are plentiful but not overwhelming, and we can’t stop thinking about the black garlic Tonkotsu-style bowl with chashu, egg, nori, scallions, and marinated bamboo, topped with roasted black garlic oil you’ll be dreaming about for days. The Japanese fried chicken is a great small plate for sharing, and don’t leave without some tea. Boba may get all the attention, but we’re partial to the brown-sugar genmaicha, a milky, brown-rice green tea with brown-sugar streaks lining the cup. Lunch and dinner daily. V $$

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