Now that more than a year has passed since restaurant titan Peter George made his long-awaited comeback to the local food landscape, one might wonder if he and partner Tom Main would step back and let their miniature, meticulously styled bistro fly on autopilot. Not so, as anyone who has lounged on the patio on a warm fall evening or elbowed in for a winter’s-night dinner would know. The two are still there almost every day, welcoming customers by name, making sure everyone has a glass of something sparkling to sip before the small plates arrive. And if anyone doubted a former real-estate office in what was for decades a Herron-Morton food desert could prove an apt home for chef Braedon Kellner’s no-apologies vegetarian fare and smartly dressed carnivorous features, a drive around the block on a weekend—or even a Tuesday—shows just how much street parking has been gobbled up by visitors to the neighborhood. Most impressive has been the restaurant’s easy but spirited vibe, as if seared cauliflower with lemon couscous or swordfish sauced with red curry were just what the regulars ate every night, and a burger (albeit Wagyu with mushroom duxelle and truffle aioli) were a logical co-star to walleye with roasted roots. Kellner’s use of seasonal and indigenous ingredients has also surprised, with sorghum, persimmons, and pawpaw all turning up in his always unexpected “confections,” evidence that in the decade George was out of the business, some of the best food flourished much closer to home.
TIP: Pay no heed to the crowd inside the door or on the patio in warm months. Tinker Street’s well-orchestrated and streamlined service generally means tables become available quickly. Order a glass of a French red and take in the scene at the gleaming wood-slab communal table by the entrance.
DON’T MISS: The rich s’more pot de creme topped with burnt marshmallow fluff and an intriguing stripe of thyme ash.
402 E. 16th St., 925-5000, tinkerstreetindy.com
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