Ralph’s Great Divide

19 Jul

You could easily miss Ralph’s Great Divide as you drive east on New York St. in the Lockerbie Square area of Indy.  From the outside, it doesn’t look like much.  On the inside, it still doesn’t look like much; merely better with beer signs and interesting ‘art’ (ie. the Wicked Witch’s feet dangling from the ceiling) that adore the walls.  A ‘dive’ some would call it.  And when I hear dive, that normally means some great food.  Ralph’s didn’t disappoint.

We met up with a group of friends, so we made a reservation around 7pm on a Friday.  Note – this place isn’t big, so reservations are needed if you have a large group or want a certain time to sit down and dine (yup, this bar/dive takes reso’s, so make them!)  I had no idea what to expect when we walked in but I heard such great things about the food, I was happy to grab a menu with my can of Sun King Cream Ale (for the first round, I did switch over to bottles of PBR) and read on.  Though no beer is served on draft, there are enough bottles and cans available, both local and domestic – be sure you read over the list.

The table began with a few orders of the bacon horseradish dip.  I had heard great things about a creamy dip served with Ruffles chips.  Yes, Ruffles – the classic straight out of the bag chip.  I couldn’t have asked for a better salty vehicle for the creamy bacon dip.  The horseradish left a slight bite, but nothing to overwhelm any palate (and even those who don’t like horseradish may not be turned off) while bits of bacon gave the perfect smokey edge it needed.  Parsley and paprika (I assume) sprinkled onto the creamy, cool dip gave it a bit of color.  Sure, nothing too much in presentation, but the flavors were spot on.

For dinner, hubs ordered steak tips and they were tender and delicious.  I had the opportunity to take a little nibble; it was grilled to perfection, just how he ordered it.  I began with a salad.  Yes, we are (once again) at a dive bar.  One may question, ‘who orders a salad?’  Well, this girl does when the menu reads homemade bleu cheese dressing.  I’m a fan, so I had to try.  The salad wasn’t what I expected – some iceberg lettuce, maybe a tomato or two and dressing.  Instead, I received a slight mix of romaine and iceberg, carrots, tomatoes, cabbage and a healthy dose of bleu cheese dressing.  Creamy with a slight tang, it had the sharpness of bleu all stacked in the crumbles.  It was delicious – perfect accompaniment for french fries I’m sure (or the salad I was served of course).

My main course was the cheeseburger club with a side Hot Pot Pig.  The club was good as it slightly reminded me of a burger from a national chain restaurant, but better.  The reason it reminded me of a chain – thousand island.  Though I think it could have also been tartar sauce at the chain, this dressing just gives the burger an extra something.  I love the tang and slight onion crunch.  The burger, which was well done but still incredibly juicy, was served on three slices of toasted wheat toast (loved this versus white – just a more ‘wholesome’ bite to it) with tomatoes and lettuce.  And don’t let me forget about the Hot Pot Pig.  A cup of potato cream soup with chunks of bacon and broiled cheddar cheese on top.  It was a great cup of soup, though I would have liked it to be a bit more creamy and thick.  The soup was awfully thin.  Though this would have really bothered me normally, I didn’t mind so much this time around.  I think the broiled cheese crust on top and abundant bacon crumbles took any thoughts of ‘thin soup’ away – I gobbled it all up without a care.  Though it advertises a splash of hot sauce, I didn’t get any essence of that, but I didn’t miss it either which lets me know it was the perfect amount needed.

With a full stomach, I still ordered a piece of the coconut pie to share among the table.  I don’t even like coconut really, but I heard so much about it I just had to try.  It was one of the best pies I’ve ever had.  Intensely creamy, the flavors of toasted coconut were there, but not overwhelming (I don’t like to think I just put suntan lotion in my mouth) in the least bit.  It wasn’t too rich, but not too light – the perfect level of a cream pie.  And the crust was fantastic as well, holding it all together without crumbling or being over baked.   They sell these pies whole too – who knew there was a delicious bakery selling homemade goodness in the bar.  I’d go back for a beer and piece of pie alone it was that good.

Service was friendly and personable, not to mention our food was quick and hot.  Our total bill was right around $50, which was spot on in quality versus price to me.  We had ordered 5 drinks, an appetizer, salad and two entrees.  And we walked out with a happy stomach.  All I know is that I’m upset it took me so long to get my hands on that pie – I’ll definitely be back with a fork in hand.

Ralph’s Great Divide * 743 E. New York Street * Indy, 46202 * 317.637.2192

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