After reading the good reviews of L'exploratuer in several Indianapolis Monthly editions, my husband and I decided to try it. We left rather disappointed; in fact, we turned down dessert to go finish the evening with drinks and dessert elsewhere.
We had 6:30 reservations on a Saturday night. The place felt deserted. The restaurant is in a former residential home, and is broken up into several smaller room, perhaps explainig why it felt completely emtpy. In retrospect, peraps I should have been concerned about the lack of customers.
For starters, we had the duck confit on goat cheese, which was the highlight of the meal, and the trio of soup. The presentation was nice, but not spectacular. The soup was presented in a bulls-eye fasion with a bisque-like outer ring that was good (not great). The middle ring was a carrot puree and tasted exactly like my daughter's babyfood - totally bland and uninspired. The center ring was a purree of green lentils and was good but still not worthy of ordering again.
For main course, my husband had the bass. It was cooked perfectly and tasted very good; yet was not spectacular. We've had better fish a multiple restaurants in Indy. I had the scallops. Huge dissapointment. First complaint is that there were three medium sized scallops with some sauce...nothing else, no hint of a side, no vegetable, not even a micro-greeen.......nothing. The sauce tasted heavy of molasses and was unappealing. The scallops were topped with pop-rocks, yes, the candy pop-rocks. Here, I appreciated the invetiveness and even enjoyed the surprising first couple of bites. But, after just a couple of bites, the pop-rocks became a huge annoyance. They continued to pop ong-after the bite was gone. This also ruined the glass of wine (short pour, by the way). Even after trying to scape off all the pop-rocks, the scallops were permeated with a very odd, orange flavor reminesent of the candy. For $30, I expect for than 3 scallops, a partial bag of cheap candy, and a couple tablespoons of unappealing sauce.
Compared to the other fine chefs and restaurants in Indy, we felt that L'explorateur fell far short. I would recommend Oakleys, Elements and R Bistro well before L'explorateur. I don't give this place much more than 6 months.....it will be doomed just like all those that have failed at its same location.