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Top Five: Indy's Romantic Tables

At one end of Cerulean, an enclosed birchwood hut called “The Nest” makes for a cozy hideaway.

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The Art of the Meal: A Review of Cerulean

I glanced up from my butternut-and-acorn squash salad just as a group of business-dressed women in CityWay hard hats filed past Cerulean’s courtyard windows—on what looked like a guided tour of this $155 million mixed-use complex-in-the-making. When complete, the downtown site will house a boutique hotel, townhomes, shops, a park, a YMCA, and this gorgeous fishbowl of a restaurant where lunch arrives in westernized polished-walnut bento boxes. I wondered, as I plucked bites of balsamic-glazed pork loin, green beans spiked with vinaigrette, and spicy chorizo–crumbled potatoes from their individual compartments, if that tour group was as captivated by the soaring modern floorplan as I was by my lunch. It’s easy to get excited about this much new-urban design and sauce-painted dishware. But should we resist the temptation to fawn over all the pretty plates? Does the style have substance? Or have we fallen under the spell of a very impressive dog-and-pony show?

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Swoon List: 5 Things We Adore Right Now

Meaty grilled octopus, moistened with a creamy, garlicky bagna cauda and served with crusty Amelia’s bread for cleaning off the plate juices, at Bluebeard (653 Virginia Ave., 317-686-1580). The beef short ribs at Cerulean (339 S. Delaware St.,

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Q&A with Caleb France of Cerulean

Construction on the downtown mixed-use complex CityWay is still in its hard-hat–and–yellow-tape phase. But look closely through the jackhammer dust, and you will notice that some of the key components of the eight-block project are starting to take form. Most notably, we can see the outline of the restaurant Cerulean, slated to open as early as November at the corner of South and Delaware streets. The 6,000-square-foot space bears little resemblance to its Winona Lake flagship, a wood-shingled cottage with a surprisingly hip decor—where diners settle into baby-blue Eames chairs to eat locally sourced meals served in lacquered bento boxes. Co-owner Caleb France, who opened the northern-Indiana restaurant six years ago with wife Courtney, gave us a preview of the Indianapolis outpost, which the 30-year-old self-taught chef sees as an extension (but not a duplicate) of the original.