Wednesday, June 28, 2006

L'Explorateur Does Have a Liquor License

Had heard a few foodie rumors flying around last week that L'Explorateur had been having problems with its liquor license. We popped in for dinner last night (get the seared tuna nouvelle -- incredible!) and yes, they have a liquor license. According to Chef Neal Brown, there was a little juggling last week as they switched from the old license on the previous restaurant to the new L'Explorateur license, but all is well and the wine is flowing freely.

We had another great meal. They're still dialing in some issues but it's coming together. Desserts are still a weak spot and will remain so until they have a pastry chef. (The obvious solution could be to partner with the fabulous Rene's Bakery across the parking lot.) Otherwise, the food has been different, innovative, and consistently good. It's hard to compare Neal's cooking to some other chefs in town such as Steven Oakley or Greg Hardesty, since Neal is really pushing the envelope with some techniques not often seen in the midwest. (When was the last time you had a foam in Indianapolis?) But it's adventurous and interesting which for now has me heading in once every couple of weeks. Plus, the Broad Ripple location is a bonus. The biggest drawbacks for me are the overly minimalistic decor and the service, which is getting better but still formal and a bit nervous. (We've really enjoyed the outdoor dining lately and there's a great deck.) Neal's been very smart to soft launch the way he has and by all reports, business has been good. Great job, Chef Brown!

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