For New Year’s Eve 2011, hubby and I were frantically trying to figure out some last minute plans that didn’t involve driving too far & still allowed us to get to our festivities in a timely manner. Thankfully, The Ripple Inn made space for us and we headed over for our last meal of 2010. This was my first visit since the establishment opened, though I had dined there when it was formerly the Broad Ripple Steakhouse. We had met two of the chefs at a beer tasting a few months prior, so we knew we had to try it.
When we stepped out of the misty rain, the two hostesses were not very welcoming. They simply asked our name and ushered us away to the dining room. When previously there, I had never been on that side of the restaurant – I had always walked past the bar and dined in that small area or upstairs – so this was new. It was a good space, clean and simply decorated in darker colors. A small area was setup for a two person band, and we were seated directly in front of them. They did end up playing about 30 minutes into our meal, but the volume didn’t make conversation unbearable.
The Ripple Inn was offering a prix fixed menu, as well as a paired down sample of their regular menu. I quickly decided on the prix fixe, while hubs decided on a duo of duck from the menu. After the server (who was Chef’s brother) informed us that we had to both order from the menu or both order the prix fixe, I sadly turned to the menu to take another look. However, with great customer service, our server checked with the Chef and he said since we were a small table, they would make an exception. This was fantastic news and we sipped our wine and beer while waiting for our first course.
Part of the prix fixe, the first course was a polenta fried oyster. Once again, the service stepped it up a notch by not only providing me with it, but also served hubs his own as well though not ordered. Plus, the Chef expedited the meal himself giving the presentation a personal touch (I noticed he did this for all the tables.) We both greedily devoured the appetizer. The oyster was fantastic, crisp with the fried polenta encasing and covered in a creamy Parmesan spinach mix, topped with a bacon-shallot jam. Perfect level of salt due to the bacon and the caviar that also graced the top. A bit of hollandaise and chives finished the dish - perfect way to begin the evening.
I enjoyed an artichoke & parsnip salad next. With green beans, grape tomatoes and winter radish, the flavors all went perfectly with the artichokes and parsnip. Roasted beets and pearl onions also lent great flavor, while the Parmesan shavings provided the salty base for all the vegetables. In addition, a truffle vinaigrette was the perfect dressing for the variety of vegetables. Plus, the presentation was beautiful. Hubs enjoyed the chorizo-chicken streudel, which was a large sized appetizer that could have easily been a meal by itself . Spicy chorizo and chicken were blended together, wrapped in flaky crust and served on a bed of peppery arugula. Though a little heavy for me (as I was enjoying my light salad), hubs loved every bite of it as the lemon-coriander vinaigrette complimented the streudel.
With the prix fixe, I essentially had two meals. The first was a butter poached Maine lobster tail. The dish was a good dish, just not my favorite of the evening. The lobster was a little overdone for me, just a little tough. The fingerling potato hash mixed with the spinach-arugula mix was a little salty for my taste, but when eaten with the lobster, the two played well for seasoning. A Granny Smith apple nage, which was something entirely new to me, was the basis (from my understanding) of the broth mixture that the lobster and hash soaked up in taste.
My other dish was the pan roasted filet mignon. I’m not one to order steaks out too often, but I would hands down order this again. It was perfectly cooked (I had ordered it medium rare) and extremely tender with a crisp sear on the edges. Subtly seasoned, the meat spoke for itself, but it was served with a fantastic aged sherry-Cabernet glace. The leek-mushroom baked risotto was also good – creamy in texture and light in flavor – though I would have liked to see more mushrooms. Brussels sprouts were caramelized with bacon, giving them a hearty and smoky flavor.
Hubs ordered the duo of Indiana duck . I was able to try a few bites and both presentations were great in their own way. One was a confit, with the subtle sharpness of shallots and sweetness of maple. The other, which was my favorite on that plate, was salt cured breast. It was cooked perfectly with the duck fat really shining through in flavor as it melted through the cut of the meat. Wilted spinach and arugula were great accompaniments for the dish and there was this blueberry-orange zest sauce that really brought the duck to a tasteful level.
At this point, we were both very full, but I still had one more course to go – dessert. And little did we know, the service would once again shine when they brought hubs his own dessert that we didn’t order. Mine was a molten chocolate cake – one of my favorite desserts. It was rich and served warm with sweet powdered sugar. But honestly, I could have had a bowl of the coconut foam and blueberry basil sauce that were served with the cake. The sauce was amazing, sweet but savory, light and delicious for a heavy counterpart. I was happy to eat it all, despite my stomach protesting. Hubs, though full, also enjoyed his own variation of a molten cake. To be honest, I didn’t remember too much of his because I was too busy indulging in my own.
Overall, it was a great menu with good service in a warm and inviting atmosphere. The culinary team is doing extraordinary things and I look forward to returning. I hope to see the polenta oyster and steak again in the future.
The Ripple Inn * 929 East Westfield Blvd. * Indianapolis 46220 * 317.252.2600