Just got back from a weekend-long biz trip out to Indy....driving back to NYC in the pouring rain yesterday was no fun.
Anyways, had a very good time out in Indy. Much better than expected. People are bend-over-backwards nice, at the spots I went to anyways.
By far, the winning restaurant/bar of the trip was Bourbon Street Distillery on Senate Ave (right across the street from where I stayed, the Courtyard Marriott). They've got two big-ass smokers out back, and some of the best BBQ (pulled pork and ribs) I've ever eaten, and I do consider myself a BBQ junkie. Pulled pork was crusty, moist and chopped coursely, with the perfect amount of fat mixed in. Most importantly was the glowing pink meat that I found right under the crusty layer. Ribs were equally as good. Falling off the bone with just the slightest amount of resistance, and again, a crust and pink layer that you really only find with expertly done BBQ. My only gripe (and it's more of a personal thing) is the sauce they put on both the pulled pork sandwich and the ribs. While it did have some nice tangy spice, it was a little too thick and sweet for my tastes. OVerall, this is the real deal folks. Highly recommended....oh and almost forgot about the red beans and rice that came with the ribs! They were nicely spiced and flekked with pork meat/pork fat. It don't get no better! Aside from the food at the Distillery, couldn't have asked for nicer service or better prices. Bartenders and even the kitchen staff treated me like a regular. From what I could gather, this spot is a great locals hang, as I was partying with some guys/girls that were students at IUPUI. Also some older boozehounds hanging out, and they're always good for shooting the shit with. I hit the Distillery twice (Friday and Sunday)out of the three nights I was there. PLEASE do yourselves a favor, and avoid all the boring, tourist trap restaurants/bars downtown and head over to the Distillery and eat and drink like champions.
In between my visits to the Distillery, I managed to head over to St. Elmo's on Saturday night. Got a seat at the bar...service was impeccable. I went around 8 pm, and the place was jumping, but the bartenders didn't miss a beat. I don't think i even had wait to try and get the bartender's attention anytime I needed a drink...they constantly check in to make sure you're OK....exactly what a good barman should do, especially when the place is crazy busy. Gotta say, the setting is beautiful as well. The bar area is HUGE, low-lit, and smokey. Unfortunately, the food didn't fare as well. I had the requisite shrimp cocktail, which was nothing more than oridinary shrimp cocktail smothered in extra-horseradishy cocktail sauce. Big whoop. I much prefered the bread basket. I had the ribeye steak, medium rare, and it was subpar, at best. When I cut into a steak cooked medium rare, I like to see some blood come out of it....i got nothin'. I can't even describe what it was like...almost like the steak was boiled, not grilled, or just cooked under a heating lamp or something. No crust on the outside either. I don't know. maybe the other cuts of meat fare better. The side of onion rings I got were good though. Carrot cake for desert, standard I guess.
Would I go back or recommend for first time visitors? Absolutely....based on the atmoshpere and service alone. Gotta love an upscale restaurant like St. Elmo's that has horse racing and South American soccer playing on the TV at the bar. It was great watching the game and talking sports with not only the bartenders, but the mainly south american bar/kitchen staff as well. Maybe I'll order the NY strip next time, and see how that fares.