Road Trip: C3 in Bloomington
Renwick Village, a tidy complex of brownstones and upscale homes on Bloomington’s east side, is more reminiscent of Hamilton County’s gated communities than of a crunchy college town. But there, C3 (named for both its plot number and its tag line, “Crafted Cocktails + Cuisine”) offers an elegant departure in its drink selections and a succinct menu of small-plate dishes with Indiana farmstead ingredients.
Local microbrews are available, but the mixologists at the quartz-topped bar are happier to shake up complex cocktails. An early favorite, the Rye Be Bitter, whirled rye gin with aromatic Aperol and orange cream bitters into a restrained, not-too-sweet elixir that paired nicely with crab-and-corn hushpuppies, a standout on the seasonally changing menu of flavorful but sometimes heavy fare.
Lettuce wraps filled with tuna and mango salsa came drizzled with a tangy lime cream sauce that, while tasty, overpowered the lightly seared tuna. Generous sweet-potato skins topped with Gunthorp Farms chicken were anything but finger food and seemed a bit uneven, with too much sweet potato left inside the skin. Lighter and more balanced were quinoa-and-corn cakes garnished with sweet, fresh-picked cherry tomatoes—a refreshing change from standard college-town grub (and served up in a setting as welcoming to the well-heeled alum as to the discerning undergrad). 1505 S. Piazza Dr., Bloomington, 812-287-8027, c3bloomington.com