After a morning fundraising event, hubs and I were driving back to the northside looking for a quick bite to eat before I worked a wedding that evening. As always, I say “I want to try something new!” and hubs stares at me while replying “okay, where do you want to try?” which is when I respond with the standard, “Not sure, just something new!”
Honestly, not sure how he handles me sometimes with responses like that. (Anyone else have a hard time deciding sometimes? Always a challenge…)
Hubs navigated us towards 96th street knowing there were some back-up plans in place that we could dine at if nothing caught my eye. Then I saw Moon Dog Tavern and thought, “Well, I’ve been wanting to try that every time we drive by. Why not this time?” It was barely 11am, so we were the only patrons as we entered the establisment. We sat at the bar and while hubs reviewed the drafts (both local and domestic brews were part of the mix), I looked around. It appeared to be a standard and clean bar/restaurant atmosphere; industrial like in decor, it was quite simple with a large bar and plenty of tables. Outdoor dining is also available, and from a conversation with the bartender, bands play outside or in a room off to the side during scheduled times.
With a Madhatter in hand (hubs ordered a Sun King Osiris), we opted to share a few sides and pizza. We didn’t realize how hungry we were until we really started to review the menu and all the options that were available. As always, I want nachos, but instead, we settled on chili con queso and an order of the Portabella fries. The queso had a subtle spice to it, enough that it would make both non-spicy lovers happy and spicy lovers content. It was creamy and was a slight step up from your standard queso while still being on the fine line. As for the fries, I loved these. I mean, fried mushrooms are always good in my book. The breading was light and crispy, a perfect crunch to the portabella. I believe it was one cap that was battered and fried (happy to report – they tasted freshly fried, so it was probably new oil rather than leftover from the previous night) and I could have had a few more. They were served with a creamy chipotle ranch, more ranch than chipotle though. I would have liked a little more of a bite, but it was still a great appetizer.
As for our pizza that we split, there was much debate over what to order. We settled on the Mexacali Rose (maybe I was craving Mexican – there is a Mexican restaurant next door I also now want to try) t0 satisfy our tastebuds. It took a little bit to get our pizza, but we didn’t notice it because of our beer and appetizers. The wait wasn’t excessive or anything; just left me wondering if they make their own dough in house. The crust was not tortilla thin, but a perfect level of thickness to handle all the toppings but not be overbearing. I loved the crispness of the crust, especially the edge which had a mix of cheese baked on. We opted for a chicken topping, which was also baked with the cheddar and Monterrey Jack (and maybe others?) cheese blend. The chicken wasn’t just grilled, but soaked in a salsa base. It wasn’t messy or too heavy that it soaked through the crust which I really enjoyed. Lettuce, tomatoes, black olives and jalapenos adorned the pizza, making it quite a tasty treat. Nothing was wilted, all crisp and delicious. And for only $8.95, it was a perfectly sized pizza to split for the two of us (of course, we did have the apps too) that left us full.
Our total bill, with the two beers, was under $33 (sans gratuity) which I thought was pretty good/standard. Besides the music (see their website for a full list of bands), they also offer 1/2 off pizza on Sundays. There are many tv’s, ready for any sports loving fan to take in the game while enjoying some great bar food. I’m keeping this in mind when I want to get out of the house to watch a game…
Moon Dog Tavern * 4825 East 96th St * Indy, 46240 * 317. 575.6364