Tag Archives: Seafood

Grille 39

19 Apr

Located in the Renaissance Indianapolis hotel on North Meridian, Grille 39 may be ignored because it is a hotel restaurant. Usually, if you live in the area, you don’t visit hotels thus ignoring the restaurants within. As someone who travels for work, I have no problem with many hotel restaurants. In this case, I was looking forward to the atmosphere that blended well with the Renaissance feel of earthly elements. Together, the two fit nicely, and I was impressed with the overall experience of the restaurant that evening.

We had Easter brunch at the hotel the previous weekend and had been invited to return for the Grille 39 experience. We dined at the restaurant on a Friday evening, around 7 p.m., and I wasn’t surprised to see many open tables due to it being a hotel restaurant. However, once you are seated you may even forget you were in a hotel lobby. The decor is rich in colors: burnt orange, dark yet brilliant blues. The seating was comfortable as we were sat near the fire for the evening. We were quickly seated and met by our server who was pleasant and informative throughout the evening. She explained the weekly specials and a few of her favorites after we placed our drink orders. With a smile, she delivered our drinks and we relaxed with images of a delicious meal in our heads.

Our appetizer were the bleu cheese potato chips. We had been looking at few other items but I just couldn’t resist a bleu cheese fondue and crispy, homemade potato chips. They were quick to be delivered and we immediately started crunching away. The potato chips were crisp with a heavier weight and flavorful with each bite as they were seasoned with something more than your typical salt and pepper. They were great on their own, but I really did enjoy the creamy and decadent bleu cheese fondue all over the chips. It wasn’t sharp like I imagined it to be, but still rich in flavor. Bleu cheese crumbles gave it the subtle sharpness that I was expecting. I liked the contrast of creamy and crunchy. It was also quite a large portion as we didn’t finish knowing we had a good meal ahead. But even with that being said, we also were given a basket of their breads. I had a nibble (okay, a whole slice) of their toasted cinnamon bread. It may have had some raisin components, but it was dried and delicious. Imagine taking a loaf of cinnamon bread and slicing it incredibly thin and drying it out. That’s what you got, but the flavor is so intense that it was a sweet treat for the beginning of the meal.

Hubs had ordered the sea bass for his dinner, grilled in cooking style. This 10 oz. piece of fish looked much bigger than we both imagined (and it warmed up great the next day for the two of us to split I might add). It doesn’t look like the classically grilled piece of fish we both imagined. We believe it was cooked in their infra-red broiler like their steaks. Despite this dish being bland in presentation color (that was due to the side items hubs selected), the fish wasn’t even close to being bland in flavor. It was cooked perfectly and had such moisture locked in the slightly crunch crust. It was a really great piece of fish, leaving us both wondering when the last time was that we had fish that great. He had also ordered it Oscar style. The subtle sweetness of the lump crab was great with the creamy richness of the hollandaise. The best bite included the fish, crab, risotto and hollandaise. His two sides were a potato au gratin (will explain later) and a Parmesan risotto. The risotto was a little too creamy for me (I know, it’s cheese risotto) and monotone in flavor. But hubs really enjoyed it and thought I was crazy for thinking that. I personally think I just wasn’t in the mood for risotto, because the next day it tasted pretty good as leftovers.

I enjoyed a steak dinner – something I normally never order out. But our server informed us that they sell more steaks than anything else so I couldn’t resist to see why. I ordered the ribeye (once again, completely out of character for me) to see how their infra-red broiler would work with the marble of fat and meat. I ordered it medium rare and what I got was spot on. One of the best cooked steaks I have ever ordered out, it had a beautiful sear locking in all the juices and resting to the perfect temperature that I had ordered. The crust was created through high heat and a house bast wad used to create a great flavor component. Olive oil, soy sauce, garlic, and black olives created a tapenade type of topping for the steak. A steak purist might baulk at this, but I thought it added such a great and unique flavor to every bite. Like the fish, the steak also came with a sauce on the side. I ordered the bernaise, a classic egg and butter sauce, but didn’t really eat it as the steak was so flavorful on it’s own. But I do have to mention the bearnaise was made very well. My sides were grilled asparagus, delightfully crisp and tender at the same time, and the potato au gratin. The au gratin looked great, loaded with four different types of cheese, but when eating it I was left wanting something else. I couldn’t help but see it prepared in a large pan and refrigerated, cooked and then cut into portions before being reheated. I’m sure that wasn’t the case (though I didn’t ask how it was prepared) but there was nothing to rave about. The flavors of four cheeses was underwhelming as cheddar was the main taste. It didn’t seem like it was cooked all the way through either, too dense in texture. The steak was clearly the winner of my meal as it was absolutely delicious.

I left surprised. I couldn’t help it. Even as one who isn’t against hotel restaurants, I wasn’t expecting the really great meal that hubs and I had. The prices seemed a little high (steak was mid-$30′s, as was the fish) but a few other items seemed standard. There was an ahi tuna burger that I was tempted to try and would have if it had been lunch. I could easily see having a drink and some appetizers and progressing into a casual dinner. I liked the environment, I really enjoyed the food, and with company like I had, you can’t go wrong on a Friday night date.

Note: the meal was compliments of Grille 39, but the opinions are honest and entirely my own.

Grille 39 * 11925 north meridian (renaissance hotel) * carmel, 46032 * 317.814.2550

Grille 39 (Marriott) on Urbanspoon

10-01 Food & Drink

22 Dec

This past weekend, a close friend of mine was celebrating a birthday. For her celebration, she selected 10-01 in Broad Ripple for dinner. I was excited with her selection as I’ve been wanting to try it for a while now and it just hadn’t happened. We made some reservations for seven of us at 6:00pm and made our way there on a Friday evening.

Upon arrival, we found a parking lot attendant. As anyone who dines in Broad Ripple knows, this is fantastic. Hunting down a spot sometimes can be a challenge, so being presented with a free parking option that was available is great. We quickly parked and met up with the group inside. There is a bar downstairs, the restaurant on the main level, and I believe a pilates studio upstairs. A modern and clean looking restaurant, we were quickly seated under a gorgeous chandelier of plastic art (really, I wish I took a photo of it) in the corner of the restaurant overlooking the main street.

Our server quickly took our drink order as we reviewed the menu. I had a late lunch so I wasn’t entirely hungry, but I still wanted to try many items. I was slightly disappointed with the menu though; I guess I had expected more from it. It seemed limited for some reason; maybe I just wasn’t craving much of what the ‘Midwest comfort food with a unique twist.” I settled on a dish that I had read much about, the jalapeno corn bread, and a small wedge salad with salmon. Hubs ordered a cup of soup and cod fingers. Completely out of our norm for a restaurant like this, but I expected good things out of what we ordered.

The dining room was extremely dark – they had dimmed the lights but they first completely shut off. We sat in the dark for about a minute only to be given a little light for 30 minutes before they turned on a few more. I say this because the first few photos are absolutely horrible, but I think I can still make my point in regards to my appetizer: roasted jalapeno cornbread.

I was so excited as I heard great things about it, but unfortunately, I can’t say anything but how disappointed I was. What I was served was a severely burned cornbread and fried brie bites that tasted like fair food. The cornbread was a good texture once the top and bottom layers were peeled off, but the burnt flavor carried through the interior of the bread. Subtle tastes of spicy jalapenos and a slightly gritty texture of corn flour were barely recognizable. Now, I should have sent it back. They shouldn’t have even let this pass the hot plate. But for whatever reason, I didn’t send it back. And as an avid cheese lover, I hoped the brie would save me, but all I got was a stale fried taste. I’m sure this dish is phenomenal, but I didn’t get it at all.

My disappointment only continued with my main course: a wedge salad with salmon. Our server raved about it so I thought it had to be good. But as he continued his explanation, I learned it was farm raised and Atlantic. I gave him a confused look but also the benefit of the doubt regarding farm raised salmon. What I got was a plate about the size of my hand covered with food. The plating was awful and look like an afterthought as a piece of salmon, skin side up, was thrown on top of my deconstructed wedge salad. The salad would have been absolutely fine by itself with the blue affine cheese crumbles (I believe affine is a preparation style of small crumble – anyone else know more about this?) and the Nueske bacon. This Wisconsin girl likes her Nueske, and I appreciated the large chewy pork bites. The bleu cheese dressing was creamy and sharp and the tomatoes were ripe. It was a good salad that unfortunately had a large portion of salmon dumped on top. The salmon, which I ordered medium rare, was border medium well/well done. It wasn’t dry though, but it wasn’t anything I would rave about.

Hubs dishes were beyond better than mine though. His soup, a tomato bisque, was thick and creamy. Luscious with rich tomato flavor, he was too nice to share a spoonful with me. And his catfish fries were really good as well. A house made batter as it was light but had a great crunch to it. And the catfish was delicious as well, especially with the srirachi tarter sauce it was served with. A slight spice really made all the difference with the tarter sauce. He had two great dishes, so I know that my dishes couldn’t be the norm.

Our server was good, attentive when needed but definitely gave us enough space to enjoy our evening with friends. I’m still slightly baffled by his salmon recommendation though. The restaurant is kid friendly (we were by two large groups of 15-20 people, and one was almost all children under 12) and smoke-free. Pricing was a little more than I wanted to pay for what I got as we paid (prior to tip) around $60 for the appetizers and two drinks. The added salmon to the petite salad was $11 by itself.

Has anyone else dined here? What were your impressions? Would you go back? I know I should have sent back the cornbread (I still don’t know why I didn’t), but what else is something I should have ordered? I really wanted to like this place, but alas, I’m not sure I would head back.

10-01 Food & Drink * 1001 Broad Ripple Avenue * Broad Ripple, 46220 * 317-253-1001

10-01 Food & Drink on Urbanspoon

Kathy’s Breakfast & Chowder House (Maine)

26 Nov

Leaving Bar Harbor and making our way to Bangor for the flight home, our stomachs grumbled. Yes, the party was hungry, so me and three of my Maine trip friends stopped at a little restaurant on the side of the road. First off, this place doesn’t look like much from the outside by any means, but they can be jewels. Plus, chowder was in the name (with breakfast); I was intrigued.

The menu was all over the place, some items listed without any explanation (i.e. The West sandwich…) I did ask a few questions here and there and got a strange look from our server. She was nice, but clearly knew we weren’t local by any means and was just there to take our order. I settled on a lobster combo – once again, lobster mission on hand.

The combo consisted of a lobster roll and lobster stew. I was really pleased with the roll. Chunks of lobster mixed up with your basic mayo. A few crisp finely chopped pickles were mixed in – one of the women didn’t even notice it they were that finely chopped. Then again, maybe it was celery, because it didn’t impact the flavor by any means. It was sweet like I expected, and the buttery bun was the perfect vehicle. The stew was a bit different. It was lackluster, needing salt and other seasoning desperately bad. It was basically a thin, almost milk like base with chunks of lobster. Paprika adorned that (and the sandwich) to give it color I assume. I was disappointed with the stew, and it was expensive at $10 a cup.

My meal, including half a drink (they only sell soda in bottles, so a friend and I split it), was around $25 without tip. An expensive lobster lunch considering all the other lobster commodities in the area. Though the roll was good, I wish I would have ordered breakfast, which seems to be the reason many people stop here.

Decor matched the outside of the restaurant (honestly, the restaurant slightly resembled a beat up lighthouse). Not much to look at by any means, but sufficient and clean from what the customer eye could see. Would I go back? Eh, probably not. There seemed to be too many other places I would want to try that could deliver a more seasoned meal.

Kathy’s Breakfast & Chowder * 952 Bar Harbor Road * Trenton, ME

Kathy's Breakfast & Chowder on Urbanspoon

Gayln’s (Bar Harbor, ME)

23 Nov

I don’t think I would ever want to escape seafood. I love the stuff.  While in Maine, I was on a mission to only eat lobster. As much lobster as I could to be exact. So when our server at Gayln’s informed us ‘this is where the locals go for meat’, I was a little surprised. I guess every town, even coastal Bar Harbor, has to have a steakhouse. But on this trip, I was continuing with my lobster mission. I was determined to eat lobster in as many ways as possible and Gayln’s provided me an opportunity like no other.  Lobster enchiladas.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but when I was served this entree, I instantly started to drool. Flour tortillas encased chunks of sweet lobster meat, covered in a cilantro-lime cream sauce. I loved the freshness of the cilantro and how it played with the sweetness of the lobster. A slight touch of lime really freshened the dish, making the heavy cream sauce a bit lighter on the palate. Everything tasted quite fresh, and the sprinkling of parsley and tomatoes on top added to the freshness. The texture was slightly crunchy from being baked, but all the flavors definitely made everything soft as they worked together.

I could have done without the ‘signature’ potatoes, but it sounds like I was the only one. They weren’t plain mashed potatoes, either sweetened with sweet potatoes or another vegetable (does this sound familiar?).  They were just a little too sweet for my liking, a little lumpy as well. Then again, maybe I just wasn’t craving potatoes with my enchiladas. But the vegetables were a great (and surprising) accompaniment. Lightly seasoned and sauteed, I enjoyed the lightness that they gave the dish.

We had several appetizers while we were there too – all delicious – including baked brie and stuffed mushrooms.  I also had a simple salad with my entree, basic romaine with shredded carrot and their house celery seed dressing (which was really great).

The service was a little slow, but we were a large group of 30 for dinner, so I won’t hold that against them by any means. My overall impression is Gayln’s may be one of the more upscale restaurants in the area, though attire and attitude is still casual and comfortable. The food matched the decor – rich in detail and cozy in comfort. I could easily see dining there anytime during the year as I really enjoyed the experience and meal.  I wonder if the locals would agree…

Gayln’s * 17 Main Street * Bar Harbor, ME * 207.288.9706

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