Monday, January 30, 2012

Super Eats in Indianapolis

Eating like a local:
Regional food specialties

-Indy: Where the locals eat

Super Bowl 46 is set, a rematch of one of the all time classic Super Sundays should be a fun watch for those of us with no rooting interest. Personally I don't really care for any of the sports teams from both NYC and Bean Town. Have you ever talked sports with someone from Boston? They'll say with a straight face and honestly believe stuff like Larry Bird was better than Mike and of course anyone who knows people from New York knows its the center of any and everything...how 'bout them Knickerbockers?


Downtown Indy

I'll be down in Indy during the game and have been down there a couple times leading up to it. Here are some food stops for those that may be headed to Indy for SB XLVI or for others thinking about heading down there this week with the family to the NFL experience and those that may find themselves here someday. We'll start out at the place your most likely not getting into the weekend of the game.

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St. Elmo Steakhouse in Downtown Indianapolis

I would venture to guess this is the city's most well known and popular place to eat at by visitors, especially those in town to play the Colts. It's a classic American Steakhouse that was founded in 1902 and has been there ever since. The original tiger oak back bar which was purchased here in Chicago is still on display and I recommend taking a seat there for dinner and drinks. It's got the classic Chicago steakhouse saloon feel going for it. Reservations are accepted. The bar and the small tables behind it are first come first serve. Even though this is a steakhouse the star of the show seems to be their world famous shrimp cocktail.


St. Elmo's Shrimp Cocktail

I went to St. Elmo on both visits and enjoyed each time. The first time around we went the whole nine yards. I made reservations which were for later around 9 but when we got there we just took a seat at the bar since there were spots available and Da Bulls were playing on ESPN. Even if your not big on meat or don't want to eat all that much the bar is still a great option for a snack and a martini, of which they make a mean one. The shrimp cocktail come five to an order with some saltines but if theres two of you they'll ask if you want six. It lived up to it's hype as one of the greatest to play. I love horseradish and if you use enough of the sauce on top of these, it'll have you making weirder faces than Jim Mora did during his famous postgame press conference rant.


PLAYOFFS?!?!?!?!?!?!

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Quite the pair they are...

The menu at Elmo is pretty simple standard steakhouse fare with steaks, chops, chicken, salad and seafood selections available. My go to order at a fancy steakhouse like this is always the ribeye and it better be bone-in (Cowboy style). That's the case here where they're 20 ounces of nice tasting beef came cooked to perfect medium rare. The loaded baked potato only made it bigger and better as a whole. To old plastic face Jerry's dismay this will be the only superstar Cowboy on display during the big weekend.


St. Elmo's Bone In Cowboy Style Ribeye

The Indiana Pork Chops come glazed with bbq sauce and a side of apples and I actually liked these better. The steaks are wet aged there so I cant say they're the best I have had and the nostalgia and a few martinis play a factor too but these are really nice with the sauce. I got a bone in filet with the mashed red potatoes to go for someone else. I didn't try it but they said they liked it.


Indiana Pork Chops


Bone-In Filet

St. Elmo has a sister, much bigger, restaurant next door called Harry & Izzy's which is partially owned by Peyton Manning who looks like he's on his way out of Indy. We stopped in here for a late lunch and I enjoyed the atmosphere.


Downtown Indy

This place is huge, like big enough that Fox will be renting the entire place out for their Super Bowl party the Saturday before the game. They'll be open to public all other days. Despite the fact they're owned by the St. Elmo folks and Peyton it's still different as far as the menu. The shrimp cocktail looked different as I saw it pass by and they have a much bigger menu here with both lunch and dinner. I had another stop (St. Elmo) later that night so I just went what I call light. An order of their "signature" appetizer mini bone in filet chops brushed with herb butter for the table to start and a mini filet slider for me.



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Filet related appetizers

Both of the app's were satisfying but some people may not be for the price ($20) of those four little finger foods. But your out of town, live a little. I got a Indiana state tourist brochure when we first arrived the first trip from a nice lady at a place coming up. She showed us how her burgers were featured in the lead cover story which was "46 Super Sandwiches to try" in and around Indianapolis. The list is impressive, lots of nice pics and I got to as many as I could including H&I's which was featured for their St. Elmo Prime Rib Sandwich.


As seen in the Indiana 2012 Travel Guide "Super 46"

Served sliced with white cheddar, au jus and creamy horseradish sauce alongside fresh cut fries this was a very good lunch but the tourist brochure had the price wrong at $7.95, it's just about $15 but I'd get this again next time so it was worth it to me. This other Guy got the filet which I tried and it was very good but as I told him, I would got the Izzy Style N.Y. Strip which comes rolled in cracked peppercorn, pan-seared and served on orange brandy butter sauce.


Filet Mignon

On the first trip we stopped in at Maxine's Chicken & Waffles which was found on the iPhone as being near to where we were at the downtown La Quinta. So we went in for some eats before heading over to the real spot I wanted to stop. It was pretty good but nothing special. They serve no pork products so the sausage is beef and bacon turkey. Wings were just ok as was the waffle.


Downtown Indy

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Fried Eggs and Potatoes with Turkey Bacon & Wings and Waffles

If the fans of both teams participating get a taste for something from back home, Indianapolis has them covered. First up is a deli that most New Yorkers shouldn't have too many complaints about. But when compared to their spots, we all know they always have at least something to say. But there's a reason this place has been around and well known since 1905.


Shapiro's Deli, over 100 years in Indy

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Views Inside

Shapiro's has been visited by plenty of people and comes with high praise from most people that have been there. Since were in the Midwest, corned beef is best and so I've been told, that's the case at Shapiro's. I haven't tried the pastrami because the corned beef is too damn good.


Shapiro's Corned Beef Sandwich

However if your a Reuben man like I am, that's where its at. Shapiro's corned beef is as silky smooth as it gets credit for but what I went in not expecting to be some of the best I ever had was their rye bread. So the Reuben takes it to another level with the bread getting toasted and everything coming together perfectly like they always do in a good one. I cant say whether this or Jake's in Milwaukee (stay tuned) is a better Reuben but I can say that this might be the best sandwich in the entire state of Indiana (I got years to go to find out). It earned it's place on the cover of the 2012 Indiana Travel Guide just like Eli did on SI when they beat the then undefeated Patriot's back in '08.


Shapiro's Reuben Sandwich...lets take a peak inside


Ms. February (and March, April, May, June, July...)

So speaking of the Pat's who will try to exact revenge in Indy, there's a great Nantucket style cafe in the Meridian-Kessler neighborhood which is a trendy very nice neighborhood. Some of those homes on North Meridian drive which this little neighborhood is off of are ridiculous. Were talking Irsay money. I never knew some parts of Indy were so nice. In fact I'll say it now, I never knew Indy was so nice. I like it there and most of the people living there too. Some pretty ladies if I may say. I'm not the biggest fan of Indiana but I don't hate it. I feel like I gotta target on me whenever I roll thru NW Indiana with my Illinois plate and Chicago city sticker on my vehicle. However I am much better behaved in my old age. Oh and I despise Notre Dame, but lucky for them, Penn State sprinted past 'em and never looked back. So about that New England style place in Indy...


The Barking Dog Cafe


Guess who's been here? Aww not this Guy...

I sat down and snapped the picture seen above as I waited for the lady, who I believe was the owner to bring me a iced tea. It was very nice inside and you could feel the East Coast vacation town vibe with all the good looking couples and forever happy old time husband and wives with their grandkids eating lunch and chatting it up. They did a really nice job with the atmosphere and I had a good feeling from the go about the food I was seeing and smelling as it passed by for tables at my side. Clam chowder was one my favorite foods in my early youth and I fell in love with it from family trips to New England over summer and have loved it ever since. So their homemade chowder was a must.


Clam Chowda

I actually took that back and had it a little later in the night before going out and it was excellent. In fact really good, better than anything from around here. Not too thick but also not soupy. Nice consistency, full of flavor with a crapload of clams made me wish I got a bowl instead of a cup. I found Barking Dog thru the "Super 46" and along with other Guy they rec 'Buddys Shrimp Roll' although other menu items (some of which rotate) like the fried clams sounded great. The shrimp roll was a really good call especially since at this point I needed something lighter. They do the New England style rolls very well and again I got a little feel like I was in New England as I ate.


Buddy's Shrimp Roll

Before I stopped into eat at Barking Dog I stopped by for a sandwich to go from 'Goose the Market' which I had to have when I saw it in the travel guide. I also remember mentions of it in this very informative Indianapolis thread.


A new Indy favorite

The owners of Goose state on their website state "Our market is built around the love of phenomenal food, the people who passionately produce it, and the rest of us who can’t wait to get our hands on it. The Goose is chef–owned and –operated, and our vision is to share our passion for excellence in food and service. If you really love food then you will love the Goose." In fact the owners moved back to Indianapolis from Chicago and realized it was the neighborhood markets they would miss most about the city so they started the Goose. What a great place, I'm not sure there's anything like it within city limits. Aside from sandwiches, gelato and coffee served on site and a wine store downstairs this place is a real deal market with an amazing display case. Lets take a peak.





"Now by fresh we don’t mean raised in Kansas, butchered in Nebraska, trucked to Chicago, shrink wrapped on a Styrofoam plate, rolled down a hill and into your meat case. We are talking Indiana, all natural, delivered by the farmer, slaughtered just hours or days before (except our luscious dry-aged beef which takes 21 days to reach perfection) you indulge. If you want it fresher than this, you’ll have to raise it yourself."




See what else is inside

This is Tom Brady's type of place. Very classy with some attractive ladies stopping in to both stock their fridge and wine rack all while getting a snack. It was packed and I had to wait for my sandwich which I saw on, you guessed it, the "Super 46". The 'Batali' is named after not Mario but his father, who is to salami making what guys like Gale Sayers are to game breaking, legendary. Goose is also a salumeria and they "...start by buying the best swine Indiana has to offer. That means no junk, just the good stuff. That is the easy part. It starts with delicate blend of spices, all natural meats and an obsession for quality. The craft of salting, smoking and curing takes patience and more of the “L” word." Can you feel the passion? I sure as hell could taste it in this beauty.


The Batali

There's also quite a few good classic locally loved places you should try and check out. All of which have their own threads over at LTH. One last shout out to the "Super 46" Sandwiches of Indiana article in the states 2012 Travel Guide which led me to the Steer In. Coincidentally enough it just got it's own LTH thread HERE.


A longtime Eastside Indianapolis favorite

The place has had a few owners since the 50's but whoever is there now seems to be nailing it as the place was packed on the Sunday we came in, all locals too. It's a pretty large operation and I liked the menu which I saw after seeing one of their sandwiches make the list. Guess who also rec'd it on his show? I never watch it despite the fact I do like many places I've seen him in. But even so he's everywhere and I'm guessing he'll be down in Indy for the biggie. Stay away dude, I need a break and I don't even watch the show.


The counter...how many Guy's can you spy?

This is my view from where I sat, Fieri looking right at me. All I could think in my head was "man your staring is starting to make me more uncomfortable than that Dolinsky dude does when I'm in Chicago" I mean on top of that his bleached spiked 'Just for Men' head is next to each menu item he really liked. However if these places make more money off of it, and they do, then good for them. Just don't start slacking, like coach always said "remember what got you here" The menu is enormous, we stopped in on the way out of town so I said screw it and went for it all on fourth down. Started off with a must get menu item when I see it, homemade corned beef hash. Then went with an Indiana classic which they cut and bread in house, the tenderloin served alongside some onion rings also breaded in back.


Homemade Corned Beef Hash


Housemade Indiana Tenderloin Sandwich

Both of these (and the rings) were excellent versions of the classics they are. The hash was simple with lots of corned beef and served my style which is cooked until crispy. The tenderloin was juicy and I liked the black pepper laced batter. But for me the real star of the show, the reason Guy went gaga was the "Super 46" rec'd Meatball Sandwich. I loved the looks of it in the picture and the description was dead on. Served on a locally baked crusty baguette, the 'Fat Meatball' comes with three big homemade hunks of beef, veal and pork topped with house marinara and mozzarella and asiago, then browned and served. Another Hall of Famer, this one played meatball.


Hi I'm Guy Fieri...BRO! that's crazy kool wild style bonkers brophlicious YO!

Next stop John's Famous Stew has been around since 1911. Its a classic Indianapolis old school tavern that happens to sell stew. As a lover of bowls of mixed meat I've been wanting to try this place since it got the Roadfood stamp of approval. Check out this places own LTH thread HERE. Pulling on up into the parking lot it already had that classic Midwest tavern feel going on.


John's Famous Stew

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No kids allowed...21 and up

We sat at the bar and ordered some beers before deciding on what to get. Although there never was a question was there? It was lunchtime so there were a couple groups maybe on break and that was it but I saw three different people come in for large take out orders of stew. They left with boxes like they were leaving the Restaurant Depot. I went with what sounded best as far as stew which was the "Hot Minced Pit" which is the hottest of the pots of the Macedonian Beef stew they do topped with butter beans and banana peppers. I agree with the many who praise this place. You gotta love that they have lived off their age old recipe. It's a super bowl indeed.


John's Hot Minced Pit Bowl of beef stew.

Upon arrival on our second visit we headed straight for the Workingman's Friend which is also featured in another Rene G rec'd LTH thread seen HERE.

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Old School Indiana

The original thread linked too up there ,was from over five years ago, of course this place still hasn't changed a lick. I don't think it has since 1918 when they first opened up. Its opposite corner of a huge factory or manufacturing plant and part of a neighborhood that has the feel of Northwest Indiana. A real workingman's neighborhood that needs a place like this. Bill Belichick's type of spot.

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B&H 100's, ahh, the memories for the old timers...

Indiana still allows smoking in bars and this place was smokier than, well as smoky as a NW Indiana casino gets during senior special hours. No one on their scooters with oxygen tanks pumping air into them here however. This was my type of place and I was excited to try the burger. From the pictures I'd seen it looked to be similar to Schoop's found throughout Northwest Indiana. If you've never been, they do the griddled smashed style, loved by many myself included. The way to go is a double cheese and in fact it's just like Schoop's as far as toppings which include lettuce, tomato, mayo, raw onion, pickles, ketchup and mustard. They also put an extra bun in between each patty. I got mine with onion rings and placed one in there for good measure.

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Another excellent example of an American classic. The patties are smaller than Schoop's but the burger was $5 and well worth it. I liked it a whole lot. The owner came by and started chatting us up. Her grandpa found the place when he came over from Macedonia. We talked Super Bowl and how the city should be ready. Then she showed me the 2012 Indiana Travel Guide with the 'Super 46' Sandwiches to try which this burger is featured in. That's what then got me going and this Super Post here is what became of it. Here's to Da Bears making it down to NOLA for Super Bowl 47 and cheers to Indianapolis. I expect a great game to be played and also to be back soon after Super Bowl weekend. The Pacers seem to want to make the Bulls their rivals again, yeah that went real well the last time around. See ya next time @chibbqking.


Get in me belly

St Elmo Steak House
127 South Illinois Street
Indianapolis, IN 46225
(317) 635-0636

Harry & Izzy's
153 South Illinois Street
Indianapolis, IN 46225
(317) 635-9594

Maxine's Chicken & Waffles
132 North East Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204
(317) 423-3300

Shapiro's Delicatessen
808 South Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46225
(317) 631-4041

The Barking Dog Cafe
115 East 49th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46205
(317) 924-2233

Goose the Market
2503 North Delaware Street
Indianapolis, IN 46205
(317) 924-4944

The Steer-In
5130 East 10th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46219
(317) 356-0996

John's Famous Stew
1146 Kentucky Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46221
(317) 636-6212

The Working Man's Friend
234 N Belmont Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46222
(317) 636-2067

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