Friday, February 16, 2007

A Clever Winter Substitution and a Two-Minute Warning

Hey, folks. Something about this winter weather makes me think about the sheer joys of sustenance, whether it be good or bad. In this week's "good" category, I'll submit The Bosphorus, which had been a little inconsistent of late but which delivered a great meal on the eve of the big storm Monday night. Particularly good was its appetizer plate, which included a great thick tahini-rich hummus, a garlicky eggplant spread, a great stuffed grape leaf, and excellent winter-savvy tabouli. You'd think that here in Indiana, a state known for its tomatoes, we'd be smarter than to use the flavorless, caustic ones that are in the grocery stores now. But, as I've eaten a lot of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine lately, I've suffered through some pretty awful tabouli made with tomatoes that set my teeth on edge. At the Bosphorus, they're making theirs now with a thick, slightly spicy tomato puree that packs much more tomato-y flavor. Delish! The lamb and beef kebabs wrapped in lavash, also in a spicy tomato sauce, were quite tasty as well.

Two-Minute Warning: Vicoli's

In a galaxy far, far away from innovative and tasty, I recently dined--with a very kind, intrepid dining companion--at Vicoli's, the new Italian eatery in the Murphy Building in Fountain Square. I love the old Murphy Building and its nostalgic, mid-century charm. The idea of a department store lunch counter nearly makes me swoon with thoughts of blue plate specials and club sandwiches. I didn't know what to expect with Vicoli's, but, even after being open a month, it appears not to know what we're supposed to expect either. Pastry cases are empty, clutter abounds, and almost no other d├ęcor elements make you aware that it's a restaurant. Service is almost entirely from the counter, and everything is brought to you in plastic or foil: soggy pizza, pasta with metallic canned sauce. I love the quirky, sprawling nature of the Murphy Building, now home to 20-some artists spaces and galleries. Vicoli's is just not what such a funky building deserves.

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