CLOSED: The Vanguard

Best Restaurant 2018 Winner

The Vanguard

This Broad Ripple makeover may have been the sleeper hit of late 2016, when the old Usual Suspects location was quietly transformed into a subway-tiled supper club offering innovative twists on comfort food classics. And when chef Adam Ditter, formerly of LongBranch, was installed in the kitchen in the summer of 2017, this neighborhood spot with live music nearly every week could really begin to impress. So it did, with such complex and satisfying starters as ham-hock rillettes, salmon pastrami dip, and a ham-and-peach salad that transported diners to warm summer days in the South. Fried chicken, first with a crunchy oat crust and peach butter and later with a Southeast Asian–inspired adobo brine and cauliflower rice scented with lemongrass, has become a palette for Ditter’s creative play. His ever-evolving pork chops and seafood dishes are also rotating standouts, assuring frequent comers that while the menu may change, the finesse will always be the same. Former Marrow bar manager Steve Simon runs an equally inspired spirits program, including vintage tiki drinks and a knockout clarified-milk punch.

“Check out our two-week pop-ups between seasons, with themes like ‘classic steakhouse’ and ‘flavors of Asia.’”— Casey Shirley, general manager

6319 Guilford Ave., 317-254-1147