Photos: Best Restaurants Event 2014
See the full tasting-hour and sit-down dinner menus from our April 24 event celebrating many of the city’s top chefs and restaurants.
Seven of Indiana’s top culinary dogs are strutting their stuff as 2013 James Beard Foundation nominees, selected from more than 44,000 online entries in 20 categories. Last week, the foundation unveiled its “long list” (421) of the year’s semifinalists—which will be cut down to the final list of nominees on March 18 during a press brunch in Charleston, SC. (NOTE: nominations will also be announced live via the Foundation’s Twitter feed.)
Last Thursday, the idyllic Joseph Decuis Farm in Roanoke played host to a Celebrity Chef Tour benefiting the James Beard Foundation. The tour travels the United States, replicating the once-in-a-lifetime dining experience at the historic James Beard House in Manhattan. The farm’s gorgeous spread, located six miles from the restaurant, offered the kind of perfect backdrop that made you wonder when the Saveur photo shoot would begin. In fact, before guests were seated at a sprawling white-clothed barn table decked out in vases of fresh flowers, visiting James Beard rep Jeff Black, owner of the series, hailed the Indiana venue as the third most beautiful site the series had ever visited, Number One and Number Two being Hawaii and Napa Valley. According to Pete and Alice Eshelman, the owners of Joseph Decuis (that’s pronounced day-QUEEZ, by the way) and gracious hosts for the evening, the 130 guests came from as far as Texas, Boston, and North Carolina to partake in the festivities.
Ted Miller, beer master behind Brugge Brasserie (1011 E. Westfield Blvd., 317-255-0978), is known for his “mad science” intellect and passion for creating outstanding esoteric beers around the world. He has created beers and built microbreweries in places like Seattle, Hong Kong, the Caribbean, Mainland China, and Taiwan. But because of his Indiana ties, he moved back in the early 2000s and has lent his knowledge to countless students of beer and brewery start-ups since. After generously sharing his talent and experience, Miller decided it was time to expand his own business. So he is changing addresses again. This time, however, he is sticking to Naptown and keeping Brugge as-is.
Those estimated 150,000 Super Bowl visitors will be in dire need of satiation—and hundreds of Indy-area restaurants are getting prepared. Chris Clifford, director of operations for St. Elmo Steakhouse (127 S. Illinois St., 317-635-0636) and Harry & Izzy’s (153 S. Illinois St., 317-635-9594; 4050 E. 82nd St., 317-915-8045) anticipates going through 600 pounds of shrimp and more than 80 pounds of horseradish during the event’s Thursday-to-Sunday crush. “Our supplier, McFarling Foods, will keep an extra 400 pounds [of shrimp] aside ‘just in case,’” says Clifford. Daily deliveries will arrive downtown between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.
Rare is the restaurant under 500 square feet that garners much media buzz. An eatery that petite featuring burgers and tacos would strain to hit the gourmet radar. But when you are a chef who has racked up enough four-star reviews that you already have your own cutting-edge, postmodern “playground” where your culinary vision answers to no one, then just about any food you offer up, in any space, would draw a crowd.