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Indianapolis dining

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Clarification: Kelties Restaurant

In our weekly e-newsletter this past Tuesday, we noted that Kelties in Westfield has closed. That is not the case, though the owner intends to close in September if she does not sell the restaurant. This news means that diners who relish high-quality comfort food should make their way post haste to Westfield.

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Q&A with Layton Roberts of Meridian Restaurant & Bar

Newly appointed as the head chef of Meridian Restaurant & Bar (5694 N. Meridian St., 317-466-1111) Layton Roberts brings some lusty, low-country cooking to Meridian-Kessler. (SPOILER ALERT: That means the return of the fried chicken dinner.) The 30-year-old toque, who started his career in Louisville before arriving in Indianapolis five years ago, headed up the kitchen at 14 West and most recently served as chef de cuisine at Mesh on Mass—an impressive resume in its own right. Using a dog-eared Meridian menu heavily annotated with handwritten notes as his show-and-tell, Roberts gives us a preview of what he has planned for one of Indy’s longest-standing eateries.  

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Swoon List: 5 Things We Adore Right Now

Crisp and browned salmon cake at Room Four (4907 N. College Ave., 317-925-7529), topped with a bright Meyer lemon sauce. The Mixiote at El Sol de Tal

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The Ripple Effect

My brain is a sieve when it comes to details of meals gone by. Was that black or green cardamom? Chive or cilantro?

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NEW IN TOWN: The Night Porter

Licorice-stick red and jet black are the dominant hues at The Night Porter (921 Broad Ripple Ave., 317-253-5252), a new rock bar/restaurant in the former La Jolla space in Broad Ripple. It is the ideal spot for a beer-guzzling, music-loving crowd. Partner Steve Markoff had a vision to open a laid-back, music-centric place like the spots he frequented in his old Los Angeles neighborhood. As the creative director for Tour Design Creative/Live Nation, he has turned the location into a shrine to his favorite musicians. The walls are adorned with 75 framed concert posters. Beneath the bar, large black-and-white screen-printed murals (created by local artist Aaron Scamihorn) showcase the biggest rock stars from the 1950s to now.

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Chef Shuffles

Dan Dunville, the award-winning chef at Meridian Restaurant (5694 N. Meridian St., 317-466-1111), recently left his post after a dispute with owner Rick Lux of LUX Restaurants. After Dunville’s departure, Lux announced to the staff that sous chef Edsel Chad Secrest (who had been with Meridian since the restaurant’s opening) would be the new executive chef. After this staff announcement, and unbeknownst to Edsel, Lux interviewed other chefs in the city for the executive chef position. Through a text message, Edsel learned that Lux had hired Layton Roberts of Mesh (725 Massachusetts Ave., 317-955-9600) as the executive chef. When Lux was asked why the sudden change, he said he was concerned Edsel was too close to Dunville. Roberts begins his new post on February 29 and is expected to bring his kitchen crew.

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NEW IN TOWN: BoomBozz Taphouse

But with all the possible variations, surely there’s room for one more. Last week, Kentucky-based BoomBozz Restaurants opened BoomBozz Taphouse (2430 E. 146th St., Carmel, 317-843-2666) in the former BD’s Mongolian Barbeque space. The brick-and-stone accented restaurant is fitted with around 25 taps, serving up a well-edited selection of imported craft brews, including custom brews made by Flat12 Bierwerks.

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Mac Attack

One of Indy’s newest food trucks, Mac Genie, ambitiously began its mac ‘n’ cheese service during Super Bowl. On the Friday before the big game, it sold over 600 bowls in seven hours. Macaroni and cheese dishes are prepared to order in skillets. The comfort food truck features traditional, or Naked, mac ‘n’ cheese as well as items with a creative twist. Buffalo Chicken Mac comes topped with breaded chicken, creamy buffalo sauce, and a wedge of crunchy Parmesan crostini from Irvington’s Roll With It Bakery. These hearty portions of gooey noodles don’t come cheap. The price during Super Bowl was $8 a serving.

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A Roundup of Super Bowl Roundups

We’ve collected links to several recent local and national stories about dining in Indianapolis during the Super Bowl. Here, a few of our favorites.

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(Massive Amounts of) Food for Thought

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.

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Devour Time

January 9th marks the first day of this winter’s early Devour Downtown (pushed up because of that little event you might have heard about … The Super Bowl), and we’re closely watching restaurants post their menus. Here is what to expect from a few of the 54 restaurants participating in the $30/three-course eating frenzy that runs through Jan 22.

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MINI REVIEW: Meridian

It is difficult to imagine a cozier retreat from the winter chill than Meridian Restaurant & Bar (5694 N. Meridian St., 317-466-1111), a charming log cabin built in the 1800s, with dark wood, a stone hearth, and windows overlooking Meridian-Kessler. To receive the most transcendent culinary experience, though, set the menu aside and allow chef Dan Dunville to choose the evening’s feast for you. As we did. After starters of meaty and succulent quail grilled and served with lemon Parmesan kale risotto, and roasted beets with tarragon, apples, and white pepper (with the perfect amount of acid) came the liquid goodness of Meridian’s smoky, warm corn soup. The puree of roasted corn, parsnips, and bacon is flecked with red pepper and drizzled with oil made from herbs de Provence. Entrees were the house’s go-to dry-rubbed pork tenderloin, with flavors of cumin, chorizo, and red chile, and scallops drizzled with lingonberry, apple, and balsamic sauces. We could not have picked a better and more satisfying rotation of plates ourselves. 

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Owners Shutter Garuda and Reopen as SoBro Cafe

When Garuda, the short-lived Indonesian restaurant around the corner from Taste Café and Marketplace closed last summer, we weren’t planning on the owners reopening its doors just a few months later. We were surprised to hear that original owner Peter Oomkes’ son, Helger Oomkes, recently reopened the spot as SoBro Cafe (653 E 52nd St., 317-920-8121).

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