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Indianapolis Restaurant: Reviews & Recommendations


Toni10
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I am partial to nigirizushi and zaru soba!!! No one has taken the time to teach me how to eat the zaru soba. I would just mix the fake wasabi and scallions  into the sauce. comments....

"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)

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I am partial to nigirizushi and zaru soba!!! No one has taken the time to teach me how to eat the zaru soba. I would just mix the fake wasabi and scallions  into the sauce. comments....

 

That is it, basically. Add the seasonings to one's taste.

One then simply takes some of the soba with one's chopsticks, dip it into the sauce, and...eat it. :-) The bowl can be taken from the tray and held up closer to the lips when doing so. I often literally dunk the soba into the sauce (releasing it from my chopsticks) before fishing it out, all the better to trap some of the chopped scallions scattered into the sauce; but I also simply dip/dunk it in without releasing the soba. :-) It would be nice if places served sliced negi rather than plain ol' scallions. What I have not seen around here is the offering of the sobayu as well (the water used to cook the soba) alongside the zaru. Traditionally, this still-warm cooking water (presented in a small teapot thingie, say) is poured into the sauce at the end and one then drinks the whole shebang. And yes, the tray is positioned with the dipping bowl on the side closer to you with the soba away from you, as in the picture. The bowl is usually on the left side (if not in the center) because most folks are right-handed (sorry, Southpaws) so the left hand is used to hold/carry the bowl while the soba is picked up with the chopsticks in the right hand. ;-)

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huiray-

    I think I must have been Japanese in a previous life. I have always felt that one should drink leftover sauce of any kind!!!

Do you know of any other times this is done-in Japanese or any other cuisine?

"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)

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Naftal, insofar as I am aware there are various dipping sauces in Japanese cuisine which are commonly (or not infrequently?) drunk – or at least partially so, such as sipping from it.  That dipping shoyu (tentsuyu & etc) for the tempura, for example, is drinkable and I did sip some of it too. Certainly the sauce for agedashidofu is fully drinkable as-is, if prepared in the usual manner, ditto many "dipping sauces" and whatnot which are normally dilute forms of a dashi with one or another soy sauce and/or mirin/sake etc.  Mentsuyu is also drinkable (and are drunk) if not too salty or if diluted further with some sort of broth or liquid - like from the soup of a bowl of noodles one is having alongside.  At least I would do so.  Most Chinese dipping sauces, on the other hand, tend to be more "concentrated" and more salty anyway and I can't think of one off the top of my head that is drunk as-is, if at all.  But I might think of one later.  There is also a fairly broad grey area between "soup/broth" and "sauce" and one bleeds into the other depending on what it is and what is done to it. Even Chinese steamboat (and the Japanese equivalent, shabu-shabu) start out with broths (or even water) and as one keeps cooking stuff in it this "broth"/liquid becomes more and more intense in favor and starts transitioning from broth to dipping sauce, so to speak, especially as the volume goes down as the cooking and eating and heating of the broth goes on. ;-) Depending on how one makes a nabe, I would also think, it might put one in another grey area between broth/soup and sauce. :-D Then in something like Klang-style Bak Kut Teh the dish is prepared and served with a fairly thick liquid (as contrasted with the definitely soupy KL or Teochew or otherwise Canto-Hoklo versions) which could be fairly thought of as a sauce - but this is definitely "eaten", but perhaps more in terms of being spooned over rice. Drinking it is certainly done, but one sips it as opposed to gulping it down – as it is pretty concentrated! As for sauces in various SE Asian curries and related dishes --- of course that is also drunk, again in relatively smaller gulps, as well as eating with the carbohydrate of one's choice. :-) Perhaps I should stop here...

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Thank you for this information. I read it all, and would have read more :smile: . I really find this topic fascinating.

"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Several meals over a period of time at Fat Dan's Deli in SoBro in Indy.

 

 

Italian Beef, hot, wet. At least that was the order.

Half order of wings, BBQ sauce.

Half order of their touted fries.

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The fries tasted burnt and dry. Several smaller/thinner pieces were hard enough and sharp-pointed enough to do harm if used to stab the back of my hand, for example. I ate a little and abandoned the rest.

The wings were also burnt and the meat dry, dry, dry. Ate a few and also ditched the rest.

The "Italian Beef" was tasty in a weird way, kind-of thickly sliced, not very moist, and DROWNED in hot giardiniera, at least the beef was. The bread was NOT "wet" as is understood for a Chicago Italian Beef. I'd call it "Dry". Whatever this was, it wasn't "Italian Beef". Also dumped after several bites.

The beer I had (Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout) was the only saving grace of this meal.

I talked with the people on either side of me (I was sitting at the bar) and they both agreed with me that my "Italian Beef" was not "Italian Beef". Both were from Chicago/spent time in Chicago. (They both also had heaps of fries left uneaten and untouched in front of them)

The bartender asked if I wanted the uneaten stuff "to go". I declined quite firmly.

 

 

Italian Beef another day. Ordered "sweet, wet". Made sure the waitress heard me say WET, WET.

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Well, this was much better. The peppers were a tad vinegary rather than "sweet" but the beef was properly thinly-sliced and tasted moist and sort-of correct in taste. Yes, it was "wet". (I asked if they really had a vat of jus which they dipped the thing into and was told "yes") I assumed "The Stance" (but while seated) in eating this. Ate all of it. Still, does not really match what I'd eat at Portillo's or Al's (for example) in Chicago itself. They also need to stop throwing ripple chips over everything.

 

 

"Fat Dan's Ribs" another day.  A half rack. Stated to be "hickory smoked dry rubbed".

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These were pretty good. Only the thin ribs at the thin end were just so slightly too-burnt. The rest were moist, tasty, good on the inside; some "bark" on the outside. Still had a bit of resistance to them rather than literally-falling-off-the-bone, which was good.

Had them with a basket of (commercial/frozen) tater tots.

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Quite enjoyable.

There was a bit of a kerfuffle over this when they brought out fries instead - I sent them back of course, because I ordered tater tots; the bar manager quickly gave me a plate of ripple chips to eat while waiting for the tater tots.

 

 

"Fat Dan's Brisket". Stated to be "14 hour hickory-smoked-sliced-dry-rubbed". Came out as a sandwich, i.e. meat between buns. (Many of their menu items come out between buns as the default)

Plus a half order of fries.

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Pretty decent and enjoyable. Decently moist and tasty, "smoke ring" present, although I am not enough of a BBQ expert to judge if there was any hanky-panky in achieving this.

The fries this time were fairly good. I wouldn't call them the world's best fries (as they blather about it) but at least they weren't burnt. Tasty enough, not all that crispy some semi-limp, but better than the other batch I had, shown at the top of this post.

 

 

So --- hits and misses at this place, consistency also an issue.

 

 

Pic of the outside street-side seating from a table just inside the door.

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Shot of thr inside of the place, from a barstool at the "corner" of the bar.

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Location on Google Maps, you can see images of the front of the place there too.

Edited by huiray
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  • 2 weeks later...

Lunch at Sakura in Indianapolis today.

 

It's supposed to be the "oldest" Japanese restaurant in town; also run by Japanese. I go here off-and-on. Much of the regular clientele are caucasian-type USAmerican diners, so a lot of the menu is geared towards that demographic – but there is a significant E Asian clientele nevertheless and parts of the menu (and on request) can approximate sort-of traditional Japanese food.  The place is dim - so the following pictures are not the best. :-) 

 

What I had today:

 

Agedashidofu.

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Nice. I enjoyed it. Crunchy, appropriate thickness coating, dense cool smooth tofu inside. The white stuff is grated daikon. 

 

Yosenabe.

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With rice, dipping sauce, and tsukemono. I asked for the pickles instead of the "standard salad or soup" that accompanies most items (in the usual Americanized manner) The dipping sauce was a shoyu mixture w/ scallions and katsuobushi in it.

 

The bowl of yosenabe halfway-through eating.

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Stuff in it included broad bean threads/noodles, hakusai (Napa cabbage), onions, nira (chives), scallions, soft tofu, chicken pieces, shrimp, salmon, a white fish (seemed like yellowtail) and kani-kamaboko. Both of the fish pieces (several) were nicely unctuous in fat content and perfectly cooked. All in a light dashi-type broth. Decent, although not earth-shattering.

 

Plus a mug of green tea.

 

Location on Google maps.

 

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Chicken wings (takeout) from Keystone Sports Review late last night (Sunday).  :-) 

I previously reported on this place in this post.

 

10 pcs BBQ wings, 10 pcs Cajun Dry Rub wings.  House-made bleu cheese dip, w/ the standard celery & carrots. Quick dash home.  Yum.

Half of each batch on a plate:

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Juicy wings, nice dressings.  I liked the Cajun dry rub better.  The dip was not bad at all. Not at all.

 

This place has one of the later-night-closing kitchens in the area, with really quite decent bar-type and diner-type food.

 

Location on Google maps.

 

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An update for interested folks...SICHUAN Restaurant, one of the best Chinese restaurants in Indy (insofar as Chinese places go, here in Indy) is permanently closed.  Somewhat of a loss for Indy.  This place had pretty decent Sichuanese food from its "Chinese menu" and a nice fairly authentic Sichuanese-type-food-dominant Sunday brunch buffet.

 

I've reported on this place in the dinner topics before.

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So...instead of brunch at Sichuan, I crossed over 116th Street to a place I have not been back to for a few years, and also after they relocated down a few doors from the corner of the strip mall where they were previously.
 

Sunday buffet lunch at Mandarin House in Carmel.

 

Pretty large spread. The usual American-Chinese suspects were on the buffet, but quite a number of Chinese-style dishes/offerings too - especially on the ends and on the "back table", heh. More Chinese clientele than non-Chinese folks there. Busy. I took a selection of maybe 1/4 of the stuff on offer there, maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of the "Chinese-y stuff".

 

What I had:

 

Selection of their dim-sum-type things:

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On the larger plate: Small pork bun, siu-mai, phoenix claws (chicken feet), beef tripe w/ ginger.

On the smaller plate: Pot stickers, fried turnip cake; a sort of chili sauce, a sweet soy dip.

The turnip cake and potstickers were nice. The chicken feet were decent. The tripe was just OK. The pork bun and siu-mai were humdrum to barely passable.

Tea: the house oolong (completely unremarkable).

 

Selection of cold cuts and stuff:

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Cold tofu slices w/ a mildly spicy grated ginger dressing w/ scallions and pei-tan (century egg) chunks; chillied pork maw slices; slices of a sort of beef brisket-like and tendon jellied "roll"; slices of a cured duck marinated w/ a rice-liquor based sauce.

All were pretty decent and tasty.

 

Sweet & Sour Fish.

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With a few chunks of stir-fried baby bok choy which were fine.

The fish was a mixed bag. One piece was very dried out, unpleasant in texture and taste. The other (tail-end) piece (on the left) was fine. But the sauce needed to be more sour and less sweet, more tanginess needed. Less gloopiness needed too. 

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Sort-of "stir-fried" clams (flower clams type) in a savory thickened sauce:

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Also w/ some of the stir-fried baby bok choy.

The clams were juicy and fine but it could be more "clammy" in taste. A bit bland tasting but reasonably enjoyable.

 

Orange slices, pineapple slice, a sweet red bean paste sesame fried dough ball. Being eaten. :-) 

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Shot of the entrance from the outside:

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Overall – lots of food, some nice things, some completely forgettable things. General quasi-Cantonese style in the cooking for the dishes on the buffet, but not the best example of the genre – but then, it was a buffet.

Eh, edible. Not at the top of the list of places I can't wait to return to.

 

Location on Google maps.

 

Edited by huiray (log)
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  • 1 month later...

A nice Wine Dinner at Petite Chou Bistro last night, 2016-0203.

 

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No pics, sorry. Not an event/gathering conducive to photo-taking. Chatting with other folks and the wine people and drinking and eating were more the order of the night.

 

The food was nice. Could have done with more of each, though.

Alain Brumont/Château Montus + Bouscassé has become known for promoting the continuing resuscitation and growth/use of an old grape varietal - Tannat.

I liked the rosé - it was pleasant yet had character. Went well with the duck fat frites. I thought the Gascogne Blanc was pleasant enough but somewhat non-descript - to me, anyway. Salad was decent (they need to rip up those leaves, though). I enjoyed the Torus Madiran - I found it not too tannic, well balanced, good nose, tasted as described in the blurb. The foie gras torchon was good, but went well with either the raspberry sauce or the wine but not both at the same time for me, for some reason. The Château Montus was good too, but what sprang into my mind was that it reminded me of a less tannic version of a Hendry pinot noir I have...hmm. The Boeuf Borguignon entrée was fine but nothing that was earth-shattering. (but see cauliflower comment below) The Château Bouscassé was very good. Not cloying at all, and sweet dessert wines are not my favorite wines in the first place. Lovely aroma, complex, and balanced acid-sugar in it, for my taste. The pear tarte tatin was also excellent. They went swimmingly together. I haven't enjoyed a dessert (which I rarely eat) as much as I did here for quite a while.

The couple across from me at the table had asked for and gotten a vegetarian menu instead, and their roasted cauliflower & lentils entrée some of which they shared with me was *quite* good. We all "demanded" of the staff that it be put on the regular menu. :-) 

 

I put in an order for some of the rosé, the Torus Madiran and the Château Bouscassé Petit Manseng.

 

I had not been back to Petite Chou since they remodelled after the not-too-severe flooding in the immediate neighborhood a year or so ago (IIRC). I think I preferred the more-airy feel of the place before.

 

The bistro is part of the Café Patachou empire, which all started with the original small place at 49th & N Pennsylvania not *that* long ago!  I still remember eating some of their omelets and stuff at that original, sole, location and although it was good I did wonder why some folks (the local yuppies, mainly) thought it was GGTTW. NOTE: the original location was 2 shops up from the current location (now at the very corner) in that strip mall block on the NE corner of 49th & Penn.; and there was a florist shop next to it then too.

 

21st Amendment is a local chain of liquor & wine stores - pretty good places with wide selections varying in breadth and depth depending on the specific location. I usually get my alcohol from one or other of their locations.

 

Location of Petite Chou on Google maps.

 

P.s. GGTTW = God's gift to the world

Edited by huiray (log)
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Lunch at Lucky Lou today. This served as my 開年餐. ("Opening the Year Meal")

 

Peanuts, "kook-pou" tea (po lei + chrysanthemum flowers).

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"Choy Kon Tong", 菜幹湯. Dehydrated Cole (bok choy) with pork in a very porky and rich/gelatin-thick broth. Different from how I do it myself.

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"Keong Chung Loong Har", 薑蔥龍蝦.  (ginger-scallion lobster)

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"Hou Yau Kai Lan", 蠔油芥蘭. (kai-lan w/ oyster sauce).

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Overview.

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"Syun Yung Sang Hou", 蒜蓉生蠔.  (minced garlic oysters)  Had two first, then got a half dozen more.

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I enjoyed it.

 

Location on Google maps.

Edited by huiray (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/20/2016 at 7:13 PM, IndyRob said:

Thank you bon appetit ( and, um, Hipsters, I guess :wink:)...

 

http://www.bonappetit.com/entertaining-style/pop-culture/article/brooklyn-is-everywhere

 

I have mixed feelings about this article. I am glad that it points out that there is good food to be had in Indy, but am concerned that it concentrates on Hipsterdom and Brooklynomism, from the viewpoint of a Noo Yawker, so to speak. (Full disclosure: I did live in the Greater NY region for many years)  It does not mention nor consider the other facets of dining in Indy, although it made passing references to A FEW places OUTSIDE of Fountain Square. (I've resisted posting about "American Dining" places in Fountain Square, on the whole, because of this Hipsterdomness thang that I might contribute to if I did, although I've bought stuff from places there too on a regular basis; plus, the "ethnic" options available there aren't addressed anyway - Peruvian, Thai, etc) But hey, it isn't as if it is a verboten subject so --- have at it.

 

By the same token, thanks for posting this, IndyRob. It is a useful and nice article to read notwithstanding my caveats above.

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On 2/20/2016 at 7:13 PM, IndyRob said:

Thank you bon appetit ( and, um, Hipsters, I guess :wink:)...

 

http://www.bonappetit.com/entertaining-style/pop-culture/article/brooklyn-is-everywhere

 

A rejoinder to the above article:

http://chicago.eater.com/2016/2/25/11100774/midwest-chefs-respond-to-bon-appetits-how-every-city-became-brooklyn 

in which the arrogance and tone-deafness of the bon appetit writer (and of the magazine editors) is criticized.

 

Quote from the SUBJECT of the article, Jonathan Brooks of Milktooth in Indy:

Quote

"I get it, I understand why buzzwords and shit like that sell magazines and get people to read articles," Brooks says to Eater. "But Brooklyn doesn't have anything to do with Indianapolis."

 

Other stinging comments from Mid-West chefs are included.  The commentators on the eater article also are worthwhile reading.

 

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On ‎2‎/‎24‎/‎2016 at 1:03 PM, huiray said:

 

I have mixed feelings about this article. I am glad that it points out that there is good food to be had in Indy, but am concerned that it concentrates on Hipsterdom and Brooklynomism, from the viewpoint of a Noo Yawker, so to speak. (Full disclosure: I did live in the Greater NY region for many years)  It does not mention nor consider the other facets of dining in Indy, although it made passing references to A FEW places OUTSIDE of Fountain Square. (I've resisted posting about "American Dining" places in Fountain Square, on the whole, because of this Hipsterdomness thang that I might contribute to if I did, although I've bought stuff from places there too on a regular basis; plus, the "ethnic" options available there aren't addressed anyway - Peruvian, Thai, etc) But hey, it isn't as if it is a verboten subject so --- have at it.

 

By the same token, thanks for posting this, IndyRob. It is a useful and nice article to read notwithstanding my caveats above.

 

 

40 minutes ago, IndyRob said:

It's funny.  Here's an argument where I agree with all sides.

 

It's just one writer who made a comparison to what they knew.  Literally nothing is said about product - only perception.

 

I read both articles. And I agree with everything they said in the eater article.

"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)

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  • 1 month later...

Brunch at Love Handle in Indianapolis.

 

"Smoked Pork Belly, Trotter Brawn Egg, Toast".

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Miso butter on the toast. Tinker coffee (Colombian).

 

Eating.

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Their sign, propped against the window inside.

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Very enjoyable, as has usually been the case here. Nicely smoked savory pork belly, tasty without being too salty. Utterly runny egg yolk, definite texture to the gelatin and cartilaginous bits around it. Lovely toast, well-judged miso content in the butter. Smooth & satisfying coffee.

 

See here for a previous report on a meal at this place.

 

Location on Google Maps.

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Back to Lucky Lou for dim sum.

 

Sat at a dimly-lit inner booth.

 

Shrimp rice noodle rolls (鮮蝦腸粉).

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Bean curd roll w/ oyster sauce (their current name for this; 蠔皇鮮竹卷), a.k.a. "Fu Pei Guen"

Beef tripe w/ ginger & scallions (薑蔥牛百葉).

Beef short ribs w/ black pepper (黑椒牛仔骨).

Steamed chicken feet (醬汁蒸鳳爪).

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Durian puffs (榴蓮酥).

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They were all generally alright. Not superlative but reasonably decent. The beef ribs could have been cooked a little longer; the durian puff filling was a little "mealy" to me although it tasted OK. 

 

See here for the previous post on the place and its location.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

A return visit to Szechwan Garden for dim sum. (See here for a previous report)

 

Oyster sauce kai-lan, glutinous rice w/ smoked meats, fried shrimp balls.

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The kai-lan was OK (cf the last time). The glutinous rice dish was dried out and at other times would not be acceptable – but I did eat much of it because I was hungry and this was in the group of stuff first placed on the table). The shrimp balls, however, were quite good and I enjoyed them.

 

One of the shrimp balls being consumed.

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Beef "short ribs" w/ black bean sauce; "phoenix claws" a.k.a. chicken feet in "special sauce"; egg tarts in flaky pastry; siu-mai a.k.a. pork meat dumplings.

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The beef ribs were less satisfactory than the last time - these were fairly chewy and didn't taste that great.

The chicken feet were...OK. Not particularly noteworthy.

The egg tarts were quite decent - this was one of only two dishes I polished off, in fact.

The siu-mai was OK-to-nice...can't complain, except to note they were not the "lightest" in texture.

 

Har-gow.

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Entirely edible. (But sloppily made)

 

Bean curd dumplings. Supposedly "fu pei quen".

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Not good. I questioned them on what this was supposed to be - and one of the people responding did allow that it did not have bamboo shoots/slivers in it. That was a fatal mistake, because without the bamboo shoots the meat filling became a leaden block of hard pork, let alone if they could have made it "lighter" by either manipulating it suitably or, perhaps, not leaving it around so long, because it was also semi-dried out. I abandoned this.

 

View of the place from my table. Quite full this day, but that may also have had something to do with it being Mother's Day.

DSCN9164a_600.jpg

 

So – hits and misses, like the last time. Inconsistent, in my view, and not especially great dim-sum anyway, but Indy does not have great Chinese-Chinese food anyway. IMO.

 

Location of the place on Google maps.

 

ETA: I'll add that at the end of the meal I commented quietly to one of the apparent supervisory staff about the dissatisfactory nature of some of the dishes. He simply murmured "sorry about that" but made no motion or attempt to rectify the situation and just walked away. Oh, I paid for the whole thing in full and gave them a tip anyway (US$56, for a less-than-thrilling meal) - but customer satisfaction might not be fully realized with their approach to things.

 

ETA2: It is interesting to compare the appearance of the chicken feet, the bean curd dumplings/rolls and the beef short ribs from this meal against the ones I was served on the previous visit (see link above).  Yes, their appearance tallied with how they tasted, how they were when eaten – all three were better the previous time.

Edited by huiray (log)
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  • 3 weeks later...

Sapporo style ramen at Ramen Ray in Indianapolis.

 

The husband-wife owners hail from Sapporo, Hokkaido; they had been working in the corporate world for some years but hankered for ramen like they grew up with. Finally they quit their jobs and went on to open up this place after some travails with the bureaucracy, what else.

 

Miso ramen, on one day.

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Not bad, not bad at all. Good ramen, good taste.

 

Shoyu ramen another day, with extra chashu & eggs.

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A bit on the overly salty side. The braised pork & eggs were fine.

 

Shio ramen another day.

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I think I liked this the best of the three. Good complex broth (the miso was pretty good too, mind you), excellent ramen, saltiness was in check, especially relative to what I remembered about the shoyu ramen, ingredients in harmony (but no pork?) - would have liked another egg or two though. Next time.

 

They also have a spicy miso ramen, and they aim to add more items to their menu. I didn't go for the Japanese style sweets. I had their slightly-curiously-flavored tea each time, though. (gratis)

 

NOT CHEAP.  The basic bowl is just over US$13.  Unfortunately they don't sell their ramen (alone) at the present time.  They bring it in fresh from Hokkaido and "age" it appropriately in-house. Their stocks and tare are all made daily (I believe) in-house.

 

View of the inside one day.

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On another day.

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The outside.

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Location on Google maps.

 

 

Edited by huiray (log)
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23 minutes ago, IndyRob said:

Tomorrow is the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.  So how 'bout a 14 year, 149 page pork tenderloin sandwich thread....

 

http://www.trackforum.com/forums/showthread.php/25668-OT-Tenderloins

 

Take that, Iowa.

 

Heh.

I *might* grab a tenderloin from the Pawn Shop Pub or KSR, and maybe watch some of the race, but we'll see... :-)

 

But, yes, a good Indy Tenderloin Sandwich is a thing of beauty. :-) 

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