I love the atmosphere of this place. It is casual but with a rustic elegance. Mason jars for water, but fresh pressed linens and flowers for the table. It is a good level of balance here at The Loft Restaurant. We always enter from the small shop that sells local cheese and milk – and by local, I mean from the cows in the barn next to you. You wouldn’t know from entering there that up those stairs is a dairy bar and organic food. But once up the stairs, we were greeted with a smile and an option of any table that was available.
We had dined here before, but for brunch. Hubs knew how much I loved the ambiance and food, so he made reservations for us to go back for our date. We were seated quickly by a friendly staff member. Before I even opened the menu, I knew I wanted a cheese plate. Hubs agreed and ordered a cheese plate and bottle of wine (they are half off on Thursdays – every bottle I might add). The cheese had quite a variety. From their creamy (and award winning) Fromage Blanc to a smooth swiss, my palate loved it all. The Fromage Blanc, which is a spreadable cheese similar to cream cheese, had three varieties: plain, herbed, and spicy. I am not quite sure what the spicy blend was, but it definitely had a good kick to it that I wasn’t anticipating. There was also a Monterey Jack type of cheese that I was pleasantly surprised with. I normally don’t enjoy the peppery type cheese, but I owned up to my fair share of it. Between cheese, I liked the variety of nuts, fruit, and toasted peppery bread to cleanse the palate. Great first course knowing most of the cheese was from their cheese maker on site.
For dinner, hubs ordered the Carpet Bagger. I knew he ordered some sort of tenderloin, but I was surprised when it was brought to the table. For one thing, it was quite a large portion. Secondly, there seemed to be a lot going on. But as he worked his was through (and me taking a few bites), we both confirmed how delicious it was. The tenderloin was done to his liking of medium, cooked well and still tender. Caramelized Bermuda onions were sweet, a great compliment to the shrimp (that seemed just a tad overdone, but still delish.) The mushrooms gave the dish an earthy edge, while the bacon wrapped everything up in one comfort dish. For me, it was too much sauce, but for hubs, he soaked everything up in it. We were both mesmerized by the mashed potatoes though. At first, we thought they may be sweet potatoes, but as the chef walked by, he said it was basic russet, salt, pepper and butter. It didn’t explain the color or taste though – there had to be something else to make them subtly sweet. Our server let us know they use the Fromage Blanc in the potatoes. Mystery solved on the sweetness, though I’m still curious to why they were absolutely fantastic. No complaints, just curious.
I had ordered a special of the evening; a mixed grill of seafood. I know, I’m on a farm. I should be eating meat. But alas, I couldn’t help but order it when our server presented and recommended it. I ended up with an extremely heavy dish. I wasn’t anticipating that at all, which was my bad, because I clearly missed that all the seafood would be covered in a rich lobster cream sauce. The sauce was fantastic, creamy and rich in lobster flavor with a whole lot of butter. But, I was looking for something lighter. It clearly didn’t ruin my dish as I easily ate my way through the shrimp (once again, a tad bit over done) and scallop. Both had great grilled flavor, the scallop being just a bit better. It was cooked perfectly, having a little pull as I cut into it and slightly caramelized from the grill. In addition, there was swordfish and salmon. Two healthy portions also strong in grilled flavors. The swordfish was subtly sweet, while the salmon was mild in flavor. All of this was served with the mashed potatoes, though I had ordered vegetables. I pointed out the mistake and they quickly brought out my vegetables (and let me keep the potatoes, which I learned was a good thing.) Stir fried vegetables complete with broccoli, zucchini, sprouts and squash. It was a great item to be able to select. I ate all the veggies, but had to leave some of the fish and potatoes due to the portion being so large. I could have easily split the dish with someone and still be full.
But alas, despite being full, I had to try dessert. We ordered a blueberry pie a la mode. The crust was flaky and buttery, everything a pie crust should be. The blueberries were tart but sweet at the same time, warm and gooey in texture. And the ice cream wasn’t heavy, a perfect accompaniment to the pie. And of course, the perfect way to end a fantastic (but slightly heavy) meal.
Our service throughout the meal was great too. Attentive, but not overwhelming. We did have runners for our food that were not our server, but he seemed to have a demanding table near us. But it didn’t hurt our service by any means. And once the chef caught me taking photos, he came over to see how we were enjoying our meal. From the hostess (who could have been either the manager or maybe owner) to the chef, all were friendly. I’d definitely head back again, for brunch or dinner.
The Loft Restaurant * 9101 Moore Road * Zionsville, 46077 * 317.713.1700