November’s First Bite
New In Town: Pier Review
An entire wall inside downtown’s new seafood spot, Pier 48 (130 S. Pennsylvania St., 317-560-4848), is textured to look like giant fish scales, as if a school bus–sized snapper were circling the dining room. That’s not far from its East Coast sea-to-table concept, built upon owner Fred Knipscheer’s family-run fishery, Osier’s Wharf in South Bristol, Maine. Daily shipments are prepped in the back of the restaurant and served day boat–fresh in dishes like oyster po’ boys, diver scallops with truffle risotto, and Samuel Adams–battered “Fish & Chips from The Tara Lynn II.” Executive chef Chris Nealy, a Louisiana transplant who spent the last few years at McCormick & Schmick’s, says Pier 48’s warm, buttery version of the coveted lobster roll, served in housemade rolls steamed like bao buns, sets the new standard for crustacean sandwiches. “It’s just lobster, brown butter, lemon juice, and salt,” Nealy says.
Two Pier 48 offshoots are already in the works, but they’ll lack the flagship’s across-the-street neighbor: Bankers Life Fieldhouse. “It’s 25 steps to the front door,” Nealy says. “We counted.” With a full bar and patio that open onto the sidewalk and guaranteed game-day crowds, the idea seems like a slam dunk.
Pinch Of Wisdom: Smashburger Secrets
“The key to a great smashburger is the crust around the edges. Heat a cast-iron skillet, then put a 4-ounce ball of meat in the pan, and smash it down all at once in an even layer. Leave it alone until the edges curl up, then flip it over.” —Josh Baker, who cooks up smashburgers, fried bologna, and curly fries at Jailbird
Cheers: Pints Of Interest
If you want to learn the neighborhood nomenclature of Garfield Park, you’d be wise to start with a beer. That’s because the brews at local suds spot Garfield Brewery (2310 Shelby St., 317-602-7270), popular for its shaded patio since its debut in July of 2018, all hearken to points of near-southside history or pride. The brewery’s house lager, Saint Catherine, pays homage to the Catholic church that until the late 1990s stood just up the block on Shelby Street. The Sisters English coffee porter? That’s a reference to all the cups topped off at Sister’s Place restaurant. For true territorial intel, get the Ticklebelly strawberry ale, which recalls the arched bridge in Garfield Park that many claim gives kids’ bellies a tingle when they pass over it.