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Where are all the Indianapolis 'Hounds?

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Restaurants & Bars 13

Where are all the Indianapolis 'Hounds?

Rex Gai | Sep 18, 2003 01:19 PM

Wow, if I can ever get back to this sloooooow-loading 2 meg page (no broadband in my burg, yet).... I can't WAIT to read that major thread on "Subdividing This Board Into More Local Ones" But, to the vittles....

There seems to be a never-ending quest for "best places to eat in Naptown. K, here's one foodie's not-so-humble thots ;-):
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In general, Indy is still choked by chains, as it is one of the nation's premier test markets for concepts. If it flies here.... S, by definition, cookie-cutter franchise food is often born right here.

But that doesn't necessarily mean that all chains are bad.

ALL of our tony, high-ticket steak palaces are top drawer (Sullivan's, Ruth's Chris & Morton's). (Even the locals are astonishingly good in this regard, generally - Peterson's much more than the erstwhile Chops and the inconsistent legend St. Elmo's)

The Cheesecake Factory has remade itself from the dreary insouciant, pedestrian restaurant that was first borne out of Beverly Hills, oddly enough, into a fabulous food destination. It is marred only by that current American peccadillo for Brobdingnagian portion sizes -- when a much more reasonably-sized item (with attendant equally slashed price) would be more practical for every diner.

P.F. Chang's can truly dazzle, if it wants to, depending on the day you go and the location. I find the Northside locale far more consistent than the downtown spot.

Yes, and there are truly stately restaurants out there that I'd give my left nut to lure into town.

- "Islands," a simply transcendental burger joint based in Lahaina, Hawaii and with locations throughout Southern California & Arizona. I have YET to find a burger more sublime

- "McCormick & Schmick's," the KING of chain seafooders with upscale locations all over the US., mostly in the larger cities, they do everything you can imagine to daily catches of THE freshest fish from everywhere, and I'm talking about 30 or 40 different "makes" of fish each day

- "Jamba Juice," the epitome of fresh, fresh, fresh smoothies of every fruit you can dream of with the smell of an orange grove wafting out of the doors to lure you into its bosom from a tired day of mall-walking

- "El Torito Grill," an upscale Southwestern twist on Mexican food that is to be experienced to be relished

- "Armadillo Willy's," the best BBQ that doesn't lay claim to Texas or Carolina

- And finally, "Fresh Choice," a Disneyland of salad bar plus other goodies like soups and desserts.

But I digress. I, like most of y'all DO prefer the local fixin's, not because of some misguided sense of loyalty...frankly, I couldn't give a damn...it ALL keeps the local economy afloat. But because I value originality and helping the small guy win. Pure & simple.

So that's why I love seeing the teeming hordes exulting out of Tony Hanslits' cafe/trattoria tandem in the heart of The Ripple. And my heart is singing to see the influx of REAL ethnically diverse cuisines, almost always in humble little accessible storefronts that won't break the bank. The only challenge is to work through the many, many new language barriers that present themselves before else. I mean before, you'd go into, say, the old Foon Ying in the Triangle Shopping Center behind Preston's and order take-out and pretty much have no problem. Even when Bangkok first alit on East Washington in the late 70s, ordering Padd Thai was a breeze. Now, you walk into a Japanese tatami room or a Mexican taqueria and you just might need a translator. Or lots of patience.

Anyway, these experiences are almost all worthwhile. We've added Turkish, Moroccan & Peruvian nosheries lately. Speaking of the latest info on the ethnic scene, no hype intended, but I was recently made aware of this website, which seems like it might be a complementary tool for us Circle City gastronomes: www.indyethnicfood.com. It lists tons of ethnic eateries, many of which I bet you've never even heard. I certainly never did. The dude musta drove the town all week writing down names and addresses and maybe eating a falafel or three.

I will be opining all over this site from thread to thread, without flinching. Why I think Peter George got what he deserved, what the most overlooked gems are, who are the most egregiously overrated, overpriced for what they serve, general dining trends, etc.

In short, a preview of thoughts you'll see from me here & there (see sig below), I will be, hopefully (knock on cedar plank) short on pretense, devoid of BS, long on immersion in the full dining experience. I am a White Castle meets Spago guy in an Applebee's world, and I'll rail against mediocrity! Or overblown pomposity. If a place sucks, I'll tell it like it is. No punches pulled. Little extras like how clean the premises are (especially the bathrooms, I'm a former restaurant manager and I know a consistently clean john means a tight ship sanitation-wise.

I shall leave y'all with a current overview of what *I* think are the best (& not so best) mess halls in eyeshot of 465.

See ya at the trough!

Slainte!
The Fud Gai
fudgai@earthlink.net
www.fudgai.com - Coming Soon to a mouse dropping near you!, an Indy food review site from a regular joe's POV
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KEY
dirt cheap [$] nuff said, bon apetite on a White Castle budget.
okay [$$] good to great value, depending on time of meal (and sharing larger portions
)moderate [$$$] can go either way based on time of day and entree choice
expensive [$$$$] pricey, but often worth the money
overrated value [$$$$$$$$] a marketing disconnect, coastal metropolitan prices in half the per capita income.

CREAM OF THE CROP:

the ones that get a LOT of attention on this list:

Tavola di Tosa - $$$$ to $$$
Shapiro's - $$$ to $$
H2O - $$$$$$$$
Mikado - $$$$
Five Spice Cafe - $$$$$$$$

the ones that get attention elsewhere (Indianapolis Monthly, Nuvo, Dine Mag, IBJ, etc.):

Snax - $$$$ to $$$
Tosa Euro Cafe - $$$ ($$ - lunch)
Thai Cafe - $$$ ($$ - lunch)
The Bosphorus - $$$
Some Guy's Pizza - $$$
Santorini Greek Kitchen - $$$
The Classic Kitchen - $$$$ ($$$ - lunch)
R Bistro - $$$$ ($$$ - lunch)
Yummy - $$$ to $$
The Pidge - $$$$
Peterson's - $$$$$$$$
Amalfi - $$$$ ($$ - lunch)
Charly Dog's - $$
Loon Lake Lodge - $$$
Cheeseburger in Paradise - $$

the ones that get little to no attention anywhere:

Asaka - $$$$ ($$$ - lunch)
The Claddaugh Irish Pub - $$$
Russia House - $$$
Sichuan - $$
Saigon Majestic - $$$ ($$ - lunch)
Nancy's Pizzeria - $$
Shaffer's - $$$
Barton's - $
The V-Twin Cafe - $$$$ ($$$ - lunch)
King Chef Chinese - $$ ($ - lunch)
Cafe Europa - $$
Alexander's Southern Smokehouse - $
Java Junction - $$
Don Victor's North - $
Persimmon's at Conner Prairie - $$$$ ($$ - lunch)
La Margarita - $$$
Mediterrano Cafe - $$$ ($ - lunch buffet)
Asia 1 Cafe - $$
Handel's - $
La Cabana - $

REALLY GOOD PLACES:

the ones that get a LOT of attention on this list:

Oakley's Bistro - $$$$$$$$
Bazbeaux - $$
Ruth's Chris - $$$$$$$$
Palomino Euro Bistro - $$$$
The Rathskeller - $$$ ($$ - lunch)
Greek Islands
The Jazz Cooker
Agio
Sakura - $$$
Dunaway's Palazzo Ossigeno

the ones that get attention elsewhere (Indianapolis Monthly, Nuvo, Dine Mag, IBJ, etc.):

The Cheesecake Factory - $$$
P. F. Chang's - $$$
Bahama Breeze - $$$
Something Different - $$$$$$$$
Sullivan's - $$$$
The Melting Pot - $$$$$$$$
Oh Yumm Bistro - $$$$$$$$
The Kopper Kettle - $$$
Fletcher's of Atlanta - $$$$
The Midtown Grill - $$$$
The Ram - $$$
Yen Ching - $$
Carnegie's - $$$$ ($$$ - lunch)
Tony Roma's - $$$

the ones that get little to no attention anywhere:

Uki - $$$
Mark & Bill's American Grill - $$$
Patties of Jamaica - $
Corky's Place - $$$
Shalimar - $$ ($ - lunch buffet)
Hall's Castleton Grill - $$
Thai Taste - $$$ ($$ - lunch)
The Roost - $$
The Pub at Nordstrom - $$$
The House Cafe - $$
The Movable Feast - $$$
Shaffer's - $$$
Roly Poly - $

NOT BAD TO DECENT:

the ones that get a LOT of attention on this list:

Gray's - $$
Ichiban - $$$
Kabul - $$$
St. Elmo's - $$$$
Heidelberg Cafe - $$
Lulu's - $$$$

the ones that get attention elsewhere (Indianapolis Monthly, Nuvo, Dine Mag, IBJ, etc.):

BD’s Mongolian Barbecue - $$$ ($$ - lunch)
Ocean World - $$$
Chalkie's - $$$
Famous Betty's - $$
Dick's Bodacious BBQ - $$
Champp's - $$$
Brother Juniper's - $$
El Camino Real - $$
Chancellor's - $$$
Cracker Barrel - $$
Fazoli's Sub Oven - $
Noble Roman's - $
Three Sisters Cafe - $$$
Waffle House - $
Sinclair's Pizza - $

the ones that get little to no attention anywhere:

Jasmine - $$$ ($$ - lunch)
Guido's Pizza - $
Macchu Picchu - $$
Gumbo A Go-Go - $
Sweet Tomato - $
Cio's Pizzaria - $$
Greek's Pizzeria - $$
Longhorn Steakhouse - $$$
C.R. Heroes - $$
Old Mudsock Cafe - $
Barley Island - $$$
Cafe Santa Fe - $$$
Boulder Creek - $$$
Eddy's Bar & Restaurant - $$$
Harold's Steer-In - $
Joe Walsh's - $$
La Charreada - $$
Northwoods Cafe - $

AVERAGE TO OVERRATED:

the ones that get a LOT of attention on this list:

Holly Hock Hill - $$$
Dodd's Town House - $$$
Cafe Patachou - $$$
Bravo! - $$$
Kona Jack's - $$$$
Hella's - $$$
Mug 'n' Bun - $
Banura's - $$

the ones that get attention elsewhere (Indianapolis Monthly, Nuvo, Dine Mag, IBJ, etc.):

Buca di Beppo - $$$
Benihana of Tokyo - $$$
Keystone Grill - $$$$
Puccini's Smiling Teeth - $$
Gisela's Kaffekranzchen - $$$
The Original Pancake House - $$
The Icehouse - $
Schlotzky's Deli - $
Sahm's - $$
Outback - $$
Daddy Jack's - $$$
Deli Jack's - $$
Johnny Rockets - $
Sawasdee - $$$
Wasabi on 82nd - $$$$
McAlister's Deli - $$
Maharaja - $$$
Rock Bottom
The Cooker - $$
The Forbidden City - $$
Sangiovese - $$
The Happy Garden - $$
The Jazz Kitchen - $$$$
Abruzzi's - $$$
Alcapulco Joe's - $$
Alcatraz Brewing Company - $$$
Cancun - $$
Bob Evans - $$
Chi-Chi's - $$$
Chili's - $$
Cici's Pizza - $
Don Pablo's - $$$
Donato's Pizza - $$
El Rodeo - $$
Googie's - $$
Happy Dragon - $$
Jimmy John's - $
Joe's Crab Shack - $$$
Khoury's - $$$
La Jolla - $$$
Le Peep - $$$
Mancino's - $
Lord Ashley's Pub & Eatery - $$
Muldoon's - $$
O'Charley's - $$
Old World Country Buffet - $$
On the Border Mexican Grill - $$$
Panera Bread - $$$
Penn Station - $$
Perkin's - $$
Prime Time Americain Grill - $$$
Qdoba - $
Baja Fresh - $
T.G.I. Friday's - $$$

the ones that get little to no attention anywhere:

The Oriental Inn - $$
Maneki Neko - $$$$
Logan's Roadhouse - $$$
La Hacienda - $$
The Fox and the Hound - $$$
Ralph's Great Divide - $$
Romano's Macaroni Grill - $$$
Smokey Bones BBQ - $$$
Taj of India - $$$
Thai House - $$
3 Corners - $$
Mykynos - $$
Long Thanh - $$
Lin's Garden - $$
George's Place - $$$
Daruma - $$
Ruthellen's - $$$
Side Wok Cafe - $$
Red Habañero - $
El Jinete - $

SIMPLY DREADFUL:

the ones that get a LOT of attention on this list:

Grindstone's Charleys - $$
G.T. South's - $

the ones that get attention elsewhere (Indianapolis Monthly, Nuvo, Dine Mag, IBJ, etc.):

Hot Tuna - $$$$
Arturo's = $$$$
The Old Spaghetti Factory - $$
Sunrise Cafe - $$
Nickel Plate Bar & Grill - $$
The Olive Garden - $$$
Texas Roadhouse - $$$
Charleston's - $$$
Houlihan's - $$$
Applebee's - $$
Thai Garden - $$$
The Parthenon - $$$
Bennigan's - $$$
Mark Pi's China Gate - $$$
Charlie & Barney's - $$
MCL - $$

the ones that get little to no attention anywhere:

The Anchor Inn - $$$
Four Seasons - $$
China Palace - $$
Gibson's Grill - $$$
Turuyama - $$$
El Sombrero - $$
Mi Amigo's - $$

MODERN-DAY RIP:

the ones that get a LOT of attention on this list:

Peter's
Bistro 936

the ones that get attention elsewhere (Indianapolis Monthly, Nuvo, Dine Mag, IBJ, etc.):

Guayacan
Hambones Cafe
Deeter's & Gabe's
Ed & Marge's
Henry Grattan Pub
Dog 'N' Suds
Shell's
Island Cafe
Hops
California Cafe
Renee's
Krispy Kreme
Planet Hollywood
Zorro's
Flakey Jake's

the ones that get little to no attention anywhere:

Herb 'N' Things
Finale Bistro
Original Old West Chili
The Green Bean Cafe
Snow Lion
Chef Rolf's European Cafe
Oriental Health Cuisine
Himalaya Grill
California Pizza Kitchen
Bangkok
Mr. Clyde's Grille Amercain aka Zorro's

HALL OF FAME RIP:

Mon Reve
PoFolks
Fuddruckers
Al Green's
The Teepee
Jack 'n Jill's
Knobby's
Lum's
The Carbob
Autoburger
Burger Chef
Italian Village
Alexander's Wharf
Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips
Pepe's
Jong Mea
The Red Barn
Thee Pizza Barn
The Magic Pan
Swenson's
Lindner's
King Cole
Key West Shrimp House
The Huddle
Orange Julius
The Brown Derby
Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor
Spats
Gringo’s aka Los Tinos Taco House
Shoney's
Satellite Hamburgers
Fisherman's Cove
Brody's
The Loft

Note:

If it is a decent restaurant and not on this list, I prolly haven't tried it (e.g., Restaurant at the Canterbury, Zydeco's 5, Scholar's Inn, Bonge's Tavern, Chez Jean, Yat's)

If a crappyassed restaurant is not on this list, I prolly didn't like it (e.g., Grindstone Charley's, Sunrise Cafe, The Old Spaghetti Factory, The Anchor Inn, Arturo's, Hot Tuna) or it was just okay (e.g., Maneki Neko, Kona Jack's, Puccini's Smiling Teeth, Gisela's Kaffekruncshen, Hollyhock Hill, Hella's)

Ciao, 'Hounds!

Fud
fudgai@earthlink.net
www.fudgai.com - Coming Soon to a mouse dropping near you!, an Indy food review site from a regular joe's POV

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