Friday, March 23, 2007

Three Latest and Best

And now, in case you're getting a little sick of hearing about foie gras, we return you to your regularly scheduled snark-a-licious restaurant programming. And while I may have been grossing out some of you vegetarians -- and flexitarians -- here are a few notes for you eaters of sea creatures. Three Latest and Best -- The All-Crustacean Edition!

Shrimp-tastic Burgers at Alcatraz: Wednesday, we attended the launch of a new menu at Alcatraz Brewing Company downtown at Circle Center Mall. Alcatraz has been in Indianapolis for nearly 10 years, once part of a chain but now with only two remaining locations. While I was all excited that we might have a good chef coming to town to run the operation, we found that Tavistock, the corporation that owns Alcatraz as well as quite a few other decent eateries around the US, has a new corporate chef, Bobby Varua, who will be based in Chicago. He's redone the menu at Alcatraz but won't be on site day-to-day. So, while the bad news is that we have yet another absentee landlord for a not-quite-a-chain restaurant trying to make it, the good news is that the menu is really pretty good. My favorite? The Shrimp Burgers -- think crab-cakes-with-shrimp, think deep-fried, think sweet sauce on a soft bun. Also good were the flatbreads, oh, and the cocktails.

I Love Shrimp Tempura Rolls: While one doesn't always associate Fishers with good sushi, their new little place, I Love Sushi! is getting good press. Right on 116th across from the Nickle Plate, look for decent lunch specials with an assortment of nigiri, maki, miso soup, and salad. My favorite? What they called "white fish" and a shrimp tempura roll even though it was garnished with eel sauce. But on a cool and rainy day? The miso soup hit the spot.

Shrimp, Lobster, They all Have Tails: Check out the winning soup from the Indianapolis Dine magazine Best Soup in Indy competition. Sure, it's been a Karl Benko love fest around here lately, but I can't miss a mention of his superb lobster bisque with his housemade infused oils and perfectly cooked lobster. The soup from Peterson's was the clear winner in two days of tasting nearly 70 entries. My favorites were also the two winners from Brix (the coconut curry and BLT) and the tomato bisque from Ripple Bagel and Deli. (What I won't do for the craft. Just order me the ba-donk-a-donk-butt, extra flabby, with the side of thunder thighs.)

Two-Minute Warning: Oh, where to begin, dearest Vitesse. Before, while your food was found lacking, you were a warm hotel lobby bar, a beacon in the night, never crowded until you had loud "jazz" music. Now you are but a hotel coffee shop. Gone are the cushy chairs. Gone are the comfortable couches grouped around the faux fire. Gone are the lengthy wine lists and considerate waiters. Oh, wait. You didn't have that before. But, still, gone are the dishes that at least *tried* to pretend they belonged in a swanky-wanna-be downtown bar. Vitesse, we hardly knew you. OK, we knew you and didn't like you very much, but we liked you better then.

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