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Carey Tavern, Westfield, Indiana

The Carey Tavern is a place we must have driven by dozens of times, but never at meal time.  We did have the opportunity to be there a few weeks ago for a Karaoke contest, but it was 10 PM and that’s pretty much past my bedtime, let alone meal time.  But I liked the atmosphere so we decided to go up for supper.

This review kind of came by accident…we were headed to Westfield to do a review on another pub, only to find out it’s gone out of business, and since the Carey Tavern is just down the road, we decided to give it a try.

Unlike a few of the other pubs I’ve reviewed in the past, the Carey tavern is smaller than it looks from the outside.  There’s a dining area, a medium sized bar, a couple of pool tables and game machines, and that’s about it.

Their menu is not as extensive as some of the sports bars/pubs in the area, but they have number of selections to fit most any appetite.    While perusing the sandwiches, I saw a tenderloin, offered either “hand breaded” or grilled.  Of course, it was a no brainer…a hand breaded tenderloin it was!

The sandwich is certainly hand breaded, and I’d say hand cut, also.  The breading is really outstanding!  It’s got a taste in it that I couldn’t quite define, but it adds a very nice punch to the breading.  Holly suggested it might be seasoned salt, and it very well might be, but whatever it is, it’s fantastic.  Among the best I’ve had.

Although this doesn’t LOOK like a large sandwich, it’s VERY thick.  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but in this instance it might have been just a bit TOO thick.  The meat was nice and moist, but it was just a wee bit tough.  A bit of pounding would’ve put this sandwich over the top.  Also, we encountered a very small bit of gristle in the sandwich.  Not much, but enough to throw the score off.

The bun was nicely toasted, and the sandwich was served dressed exactly as I requested it.  I’m going to give the Carey tavern’s breaded tenderloin sandwich a  4 out of 5, certainly above average.  With just a bit of tweaking, it’d be right up there with the best in town.

The sandwich comes with your choice of sides, and I chose the onion rings.  I’m VERY glad I did, they were AWESOME.   If you’re an onion ring fan, don’t miss these.

For her dinner, Holly chose the grilled tilapia sandwich with a side of fries.  She reported the fries to be average, but the sandwich was stellar!  It was dressed just as she requested, and was one of the best grilled tilapia sandwiches she’d ever had.

There are a couple of things that detracted from our experience as a whole, though.  First of all, the music was loud.  I don’t mean a little high, I mean one can barely hear oneself think and it made it a bit difficult to carry on a conversation.

Secondly, it’s a smoking restaurant.  I’ve got no problem with smoking restaurants, as long as they have a decent ventilation system, but between cigarette and cigar smoke, there was a cloud that just hung in the room.  Although the food was very good, the loud music and the extremely smoky conditions made for a less than optimal dining experience.
The Carey tavern is located at 17419 Carey Road in Westfield, Indiana.  I was unable to find a web page for them, but they do have a page on Facebook.

March 27, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Barbee Hotel and Restaurant, Warsaw, Indiana

I’m always looking for a good tenderloin when I’m traveling, as most of you know, and I’m also always looking for a good, locally owned restaurant, preferring to get local taste instead of a chain when I’m on the road.

We were up in Warsaw, Indiana, playing a St Patrick’s day gig, and one of Holly’s friends lives up in that area, (Hi Erin!  Hi Reyna!!) and they had heard good things about the Barbee Hotel and Restaurant, just off of Lake Barbee, so we decided to give it a try.

The Barbee Hotel is famous for 3 reasons…it was the reputed hideout of Al Capone during his heyday, the Gable and Lombard suite…where they stayed when they were married, and its reputation of being haunted.

We didn’t see any ghosts while we were there, as some folks say they have  (but not for lack of trying!!) nor did we smell Al Capone’s cigar smoke wafting through the building, as some say they have, but we did enjoy a VERY good meal and enjoyed the after dinner ghost hunt.

Although the Barbee Hotel doesn’t look like much from the outside, the restaurant itself is VERY nice -   textured tin ceiling, nice bar, comfortable seating, and an attentive waitress.  We were off to a good start.

The menu is quite varied, with everything from sandwiches and salads to steaks, seafood, and quite a number of Italian dishes, with daily specials.

I saw they had a breaded tenderloin, and asked our waitress if they were done in house, and she honestly didn’t know.  However, they also offered a grilled tenderloin, so that told me they probably DO make them in house, and I decided to take a chance.

As you can see from the photo, it does appear to be hand breaded and cut…it’s not a pre-processed pork fritter, of that, I’m certain.  It’s neither uniform in shape or thickness, so I suspect they are, indeed, made in house.

So, how was it?  It wasn’t bad.  However, in all fairness, it wasn’t that good, either.  It certainly was a bit above average, but far short of outstanding.  The breading was..pretty bland.  And the meat was just a bit dry for my tastes.  But, again, it wasn’t bad.  There was just nothing to set it apart from the others.  Since it did appear to be fresh and made in house, I’m going to give it a 3 out of 5, just above average.

I got fries as my side, and they were nothing special, but the salad I ordered was VERY good….one of the better side salads I’ve had in a while.

For her meal, Holly chose one of the house specials for the evening:  parmesan encrusted whitefish.  She reported it to be outstanding – very flavorful, with a nice balance between the fish and the seasoning of the breading.  The dinner special came with a choice of soup or salad, vegetable du jour, and your choice of potato – so there were several combinations available from which to choose.

Even though the tenderloin wasn’t stellar, the experience as a whole was great.  The service was tops, LOVE the atmosphere, and the rest of the food looks to be FAR above average.  I’m sure we’ll be back up that way this year, and this will be a must stop for us.
The Barbee Hotel and Restaurant is located at 3620 N Barbee Road in Warsaw, Indiana.  Reservations are accepted on the weekends, and are highly recommended.  You can find them online at http://www.barbeehotel.com

March 19, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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