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