The Aristocrat Pub is an Indianapolis legend. Located in south Broad Ripple, it has a very dedicated customer base from all over Marion County and beyond.I had done a previous review of the Aristocrat, and included them in my 100th special edition of The Tenderloin Connoisseur, naming them one of the top 3 tenderloins in Indianapolis.
August 25th, 2011, the Aristocrat suffered a devastating fire, closing the restaurant for over a year.
To the owner’s credit, instead of abandoning the property, they chose to rebuild and reopen this landmark in October of 2012.Fast forward to March of 2013. Although I had wanted to get back to the Aristocrat since they opened, this was our first chance to get there.
The remodeling is fantastic. The Aristocrat still features the same warm wood tones as before, but the interior seems to be a little more open and airy than before. I’ve always felt that the Aristocrat had a fine balance of being a neighborhood bar and welcoming newcomers, and I think that is even more apparent now with the remodel.
There appears to have been a few tweaks to the menu since their closing, but I was there for one reason and for one reason only: the tenderloin.
I’m happy to report that the Aristocrat tenderloin is still one of the very best in Indiana. Obviously hand breaded and pounded, it’s not pounded out TOO thin. There’s a nice heft to the sandwich, and the breading stays crisp throughout the life of the sandwich. The meat is tasty and moist, and the crunch of the breading is the perfect complement to the meat.
This being St Patrick’s Day weekend, they had a corned beef and cabbage special. That’s what Holly chose for her meal. The corned beef was less than desirable – too much fat and zero flavor, as well as being over-cooked. But the cabbage…the cabbage was the best she’s ever tasted! The seasoning was nothing short of spectacular! It was cooked to al dente and was not oily, as some corned beef and cabbage can tend to be. The special also came with boiled potatoes and a soda bread muffin. The potatoes were spot on – cooked to perfection. And although the muffin was not her personal favorite, it was authentic.
I’m certainly going to give the Aristocrat tenderloin a 5 out of 5 bites. This one is as good as it gets, folks.
I am going to make a note. Maybe our server was having a bad day, or maybe she was new, but our service was not up to the normal Aristocrat standards. I got the wrong side with my sandwich (I ordered fries, I got slaw instead) and my drink wasn’t refilled for a long time. It also took a lengthy wait to get our check after the meal was finished. Hopefully this is an isolated incident, as I’ve always found their service to be stellar.
The Aristocrat is located at 52nd and College in Indianapolis. You can find them online at www.aristocratpub.com, and they also have a Facebook pa
Every year, one of our local TV stations hosts an “A-list” competition, with quite a number of different categories. This year, one of the categories is the Hoosier Pork Tenderloin Showdown!
Looking at the list of tenderloins that are in the running, I see that 2 absolutely stellar tenderloins are on the list….the Gaslight Inn and the Aristocrat. I was disappointed to see some of the best tenderloins in the state didn’t even make the cut.
I was even MORE disappointed to see that a couple of pre processed fritters made the cut…the Mug n Bun and Nick’s Kitchen.
Nevertheless, you should go check it out…and vote! You can do it here….
A musician buddy of mine (Thanks, Jason!!) found a Yelp! review of The Bush restaurant in Terre Haute, and the review said they had a “terrific” tenderloin, so I decided to give them a try.
The Bush is located near the ISU campus, but I saw nary a student in the restaurant. The clientele was older folks, who appeared to be regulars…many of them were greeted by name by the server.
I must give a shout out to our server. She was the only one working, and she was SLAMMED. She did a GREAT job of taking care of all the tables, getting orders and food out in a timely manner. She did an outstanding job, and if service is always this good at the Bush, they’ve got a great staff.
I, of course, ordered the breaded tenderloin. On the menu, it said “hand cut and prepared in our own kitchen”.
I really, really wish I could give this tenderloin a great review – that is how much I liked the restaurant. But, I’ve got to be honest. It was one of, if not THE, most disappointing tenderloin I’ve ever had in my life. Bland, tasteless, tough, and chewy…it was just awful. How bad was it? I didn’t even finish it….it was that bad. The fries that came with it were very tasty, though, as was the cole slaw. I’ll give this tenderloin a 0 out of 5 bites.
But all was not lost. Holly chose the diet plate, which consisted of baked cod, green beans and peaches. The restaurant’s menu goes on and on about their fried cod – and as delicious as it looked and smelled, Holly opted for the baked cod. She reported it to be excellent – it had a light, flaky and buttery texture with an outstanding flavor – perfectly seasoned. The sides were pretty standard for a diet plate – no extra seasonings or condiments – and that is what she expected, so she was not disappointed! Holly added that she would order that meal again in a heartbeat, and looks forward to trying the fried cod someday.
I liked the Bush. I liked it quite a lot. Next time in Terre Haute, I’ll certainly go back. I just won’t order their cardboard tenderloin.
Housed in what appears to be an old Waffle House, this place is about as far from a Waffle House as one can get. Part neighborhood bar, part restaurant, it all works and works together well.
The walls are nicely decorated with art from local artists, which is a nice touch, and the color combinations in the restaurant….something I seldom notice…are warm and pleasing. I felt right at home from the moment I stepped foot into JT’s.
The menu has a nice selection of burgers, sandwiches, and full meals. They apparently do a booming breakfast business, also, but I didn’t get a chance to check the breakfast menu.
When I saw their hand breaded tenderloin on the menu, I knew what I was going to order!
Often, bigger is not better, but that’s not the case here. Let me tell you, folks, this is one stellar tenderloin, one of the best in town. The breading is light and crispy, and stayed very crispy through the life of the sandwich. The meat? I can’t say enough about it. Nice, moist and tender, this is certainly tenderloin hall of fame material.
The sandwich was served dressed exactly as I requested, the bun was nicely toasted, the whole sandwich was certainly a 5 out of 5 bites.
For her dinner, Holly chose a grilled pork chop, which came highly recommended by the server – and for good reason: it’s simply fantastic! Moist and flavorful, you can’t go wrong if you order this as your entrée! This particular offering includes soup or salad and choice of side for $10.95. She got a side salad before the meal and went with JT’s special white cheddar and caramelized onion mashed potatoes! As good as it sounds (if you like that kind of thing…and Holly does!) she says that this side left a lot to be desired. The potatoes were neither cheesy nor oniony…they were actually quite plain. She indicated that she would definitely order the pork chop again, but she would choose a different side next time.
JT’s Grille is located at 2210 E 54th Street in Indianapolis, just off of Keystone. You can find them online at www.jtsgrille.com, and they also have a Facebook page.
OK, maybe the Rusty Bucket tenderloin story isn’t fateful, but I do find it interesting. Holly and I had dined at the Rusty Bucket a year or so ago, and, while I liked what I had, I was disappointed that there wasn’t a tenderloin on their menu. I’m disappointed ANY time I’m in a pub and there’s not a tenderloin
on the menu. So we didn’t make it back for a while. Recently, we made a return trip, and I was all set for a good burger, when lo and behold, there was a tenderloin on the menu.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
The Rusty Bucket is part of a small chain based, I believe, in Ohio. The layout reminds me somewhat of an Applebee’s, but it is miles ahead of that chain in food, décor, and service.
The menu is quite extensive, with a nice selection of burgers, steaks, pizza, sandwiches, and more. They all seem to have some sort of unique bend to them. Although I had stepped in craving a burger, when I saw a hand cut, hand breaded tenderloin, I knew that I had to have one.
I’m glad I ordered it. This is one darn fine tenderloin. The meat is extremely tasty, tender, and moist,\and most certainly qualifies as a 5 out of 5. The breading is nearly as good…it lacks just a little something in the seasoning department, but still well above average. The sandwich was served exactly as I ordered it, the bun was nicely toasted, and all was in order.
Except for the onions. First, they were diced. I abhor diced onions on a sandwich. Give me the real thing. Secondly, on both mine and Holly’s sandwich, the onions had a slight taste of charcoal lighter fluid. I’m not sure if they were contaminated by a knife or what, but it certainly detracted from the taste of the sandwich.
I’m torn on exactly how to rate this sandwich, for it WAS very, very good indeed. But that taste on the onions really detracted from the experience. So, I’m NOT going to rate this one. I’m going to revisit and see if I get the same experience again.
The Rusty Bucket is located at 1130 W 86th Street in Indianapolis. You can find them online at www.myrustybucket.com
We were in New Palestine for an animal rescue event, and took advantage of the schedule to meet our dear friend Judie for lunch. She’d visited the Hideout before, and recommended it as a good place to eat. I’m glad to say that her recommendation was spot on.
B&C’s is decorated in a Bonnie and Clyde theme, and they’ve done a good job of not OVER doing it. If it’s possible to have a tasteful Bonnie and Clyde theme, they’ve succeeded.
The menu is very extensive, and do yourself a favor and read the names of the dishes, very creatively done. They have everything from sandwiches to pizza to steaks, ribs, and much more.
They offer their tenderloin either grilled or breaded, and that’s a very good sign indeed. The Hideout talks about their breading in the menu, but, honestly, I was so hungry I didn’t take much time to read it…I just took the recommendations of my friends that it was worth getting and ordered it.
And, again, my friends were spot on. This is a darn fine tenderloin. The breading is wonderfully crunchy and has a VERY nice flavor. The sandwich isn’t greasy as all, and the breading stays crispy through the life of the sandwich. The meat is nice and moist, and the sandwich was served exactly as I requested…with mayo and onion only (I prefer to add my own ketchup), and the bun was nicely toasted. I’m going to give this sandwich a 5 out of 5 bites….as good as it gets, and well worth the drive to New Palestine.
For my side, I ordered onion rings, and they were nothing short of heavenly. If you’re a fan of onion rings…and who isn’t??…..do yourself a favor and get an order.
B&C’s hideout is located at 7242 W US 52, in New Palestine, Indiana. I was unable to find a website for them.
Those of you who know me personally know that I’m a HUGE fan of the Andy Griffith Show. My office has Andy Griffith art on the walls, I watch the show nearly every day, and can talk right along with the dialogue.
We’re fortunate to have The Mayberry Café about 45 minutes away from home, in the town of Danville, Indiana. Holly had a music gig in Danville, and it gave us the perfect chance to visit The Mayberry Café for dinner.
Of course, the place is Mayberry themed, complete with a Mayberry squad car parked outside. The walls are lined with photos and posters of The Andy Griffith Show, and multiple TVs show episodes of the show while they’re open.
The service is very friendly and down home, and, to us, it seemed very genuine. It appeared the servers truly enjoyed their job, and did a fine job of interacting with the customers without being intrusive.
The menu features what I call “down home” cooking…meatloaf, fried chicken, and so on. There also are several burgers on the menu, as well as a few Italian dishes…perhaps in homage to the “Dinner at 8″ episode.
I saw the breaded tenderloin on the menu, and asked the server, “Is it a REAL breaded tenderloin, or a fritter”, and she replied “We get that question a lot, and it IS a real tenderloin”.
Well, that was enough for me. I ordered it…and I’m glad I did.
The taste and texture were fantastic. Fresh pork, and the breading is wonderful. Nice and crispy, and it stayed crisp throughout the life of the sandwich. I ordered my sandwich, as always, with ketchup, mayo, and onion, and they didn’t skimp on the onion, a big plus in my book. The bun was nicely toasted, although there was nothing special about the bun itself.
The ONLY downside to this sandwich is that it was pounded out just a bit thinner than my preference. The taste and texture were perfect, only it being just a bit too thin for my personal taste kept it from being a 5 out of 5. I’m going to give it a 4.5…VERY good, and well worth the drive.
Holly chose Aunt Bea’s fried chicken. She was surprised to learn that the chicken was *not* bone-in! Not a minus, just not expected. The breading was wonderful and although it was all white meat, it was tender and juicy. Home-style mashed potatoes and gravy with green beans were her sides – both reported to be comfort food at its finest.
The Mayberry Cafe is located at 78 W Main Street in Danville, Indiana. I was unable to locate a web page for them, but they do have a Facebook page.
One of the great challenges of reviewing food is to be completely fair, all the time. It shouldn’t matter if I like the place, or the people that work there, or the atmosphere…what should matter is the food. It should stand on its own merits.
Such is the case with this review. If I was in a crowd of thousands of people, and someone said “raise your hand if you like Waffle House”, mine would probably be the first hand up. I love, love, LOVE the Waffle House. Whether it’s late at night, after a music gig, or early in the morning on the road, or even dinner…it’s my “go to” place when I want comfort food and a slice of Americana.
However, there’s a caveat there. There are some things that Waffle House does very, very well. And, there are some things that, if you try them, you’ll be sorely disappointed. And, in my mind, the breaded tenderloin was one of those.
Our business took us to the west side of Indy recently, and I was craving Waffle House. We arrived at the restaurant, and when I checked in on Foursquare, there was a tip….”One of the best tenderloins ANYWHERE”. I took it with a grain of salt, but asked our capable waitress “Is this a REAL tenderloin, or a fritter?”, and she replied “Trust me…it’s a REAL tenderloin”. So I decided to give it a try.
All I can say is, “trust me…it’s a REAL tenderloin”. No pre processed, frozen patty, this is the real deal. It’s pounded out just a bit thinner than I prefer, but that’s a matter of personal preference. The breading is really, really good. Nice and crunchy, and the balance of the texture of the breading to the texture of the meat is very good. The meat is quite tasty, and, obviously, fresh. I was very, very surprised at the quality of this tenderloin.
The sandwich was served dressed exactly as I asked, and there was only 1 (minor) detail. Being a bit too thin for my taste, it didn’t give the right texture. Not terrible, but not quite right. Had it been a bit thicker, there would’ve been the nice crunch of the breading, and the nice moist tender meat, but, pounded so thin, it all came out at once, and that’s not my preference. And, since it’s MY blog, it’s my call. I’m going to give it 4 out of 5 bites. It’s not the best I’ve ever had, but it’s well above average and worth a stop when you’re on the West side.
Just one note: I’m not sure if ALL Waffle House breaded tenderloins are like this…so I’m basing my review ONLY on the West Washington street location.
The West Washington Street Waffle House is located at 3815 W Washington in Indianapolis. Oddly enough, this location doesn’t show up on the www.wafflehouse.com website.
We were headed towards Noblesville for a rehearsal, and were looking for a place to have a good, yet quick, meal. We spied Mudsock’s on the road, and decided to stop in there for a sandwich. Having never been there before, we were not quite sure what to expect, but were willing to give it a try.
Upon entering, we were greeted by a friendly hostess, and immediately seated. At dinner hour on a mid week night, there were a few customers in there, but not nearly as many as I anticipated.
The décor is pleasant…lots of dark wood, some TVs tuned to sports (thankfully, with the sound turned down so it was easy to carry on a conversation), and I was surprised by how spacious it was. This is a much larger restaurant than it appears on the outside. It’s divided into two separate areas, a family dining area, and a bar/lounge. It does appear to be all non-smoking.
Our waitress came and brought our menus and took our drink orders, and we were off to a good start.
Upon reading our menus, we both mentioned that it seemed a bit pricey for sandwiches and such. Still, if the food is outstanding, we don’t mind paying a bit more for it.
The menu is varied and interesting, with a nice selection of salads, sandwiches, and entrees. When I saw that they ordered a “beer battered, hand breaded tenderloin” I knew that was what I was going to order…even if it was $10.00 with chips.
We ordered our meals, and, as usual, I ordered my sandwich with ketchup, mayo, and onion only…and I always put emphasis on the “only”. I opted for the onion strings instead of the chips for a slight upcharge.
So we waited for our meals. And waited. And then we waited some more. So much for a quick meal! Finally our waitress came out and told us our onion strings didn’t “look right” so she told the kitchen to re-make them. (Holly had ordered the same side).
Finally our meals came, and I was disappointed to find my sandwich dressed with lettuce and tomato. As is my custom, I cut a corner off the tenderloin and tried it without the bun. The meat was good…probably a little above average, as was the breading.
The problem was…this is one GREASY sandwich. Not a little greasy…but dripping, leaving a puddle of grease on the plate greasy. The taste was pretty good…but I just can’t get over how greasy this sandwich was.
And it was the same with the onion strings. It looked like they hadn’t even been drained after taking them out of the deep fryer. Grease dripping off of them, leaving a puddle of grease on the plate. Yes, it was that greasy.
I’m torn on what to rate this sandwich…maybe they were having a bad night and I should cut them a break. But, this is the sandwich I was served, so this is the sandwich I have to rate. I’m going to give it a 2/5…below average. With the service issues, I’ll give the experience a 1/5….pretty poor.
For her meal, Holly ordered a Mudsocks Chicken Portabella Wrap. The menu says that it is “an herb-marinated grilled Portabella mushroom with roasted red peppers, grilled chicken, spicy garlic pesto sauce, fresh baby spinach, and Mozzarella cheese wrapped in a roasted red tomato tortilla.” If you’re into this sort of thing, it sounds pretty good, right? Holly indicated that it was a very disappointing wrap. According to her…it, too, was greasy. A greasy wrap! Disgusting! The most prominent flavor on the sandwich was the roasted red peppers, which were also overly oily, the spicy garlic pesto was neither spicy nor garlicky, and there was hardly any baby spinach or Mozzarella. And the marinated Portabella had no flavor whatsoever. And even though the waitress told us that she sent back the onion strings and had the kitchen make us fresh ones, Holly reports that hers came out barely warm. Her meal was a major letdown. No wonder she left the half of the wrap she didn’t eat in the fridge of the band rehearsal’s hostess and didn’t return to get it!
Mudsocks Grill is located at 14741 Hazel Dell Crossing in Noblesville, Indiana. You can find them online at http://www.mudsocksgrill.com
Being a food reviewer is always a gamble. You walk into a place that you think will be stellar experience, and you walk out disappointed, and sometimes think a place will be average, and you’ll walk out saying to yourself, “WOW”.
That’s what happened to us earlier this week. We had some business to attend to with the American Legion Post in Greenfield, so we decided to eat in the café, which is located in the same building as the Legion.
The Great American Grill is a small, home town diner, nicely decorated with photos and memorabilia of our veterans, with a TV tuned to a local channel in the corner. There’s a jukebox, and the place is absolutely squeaky clean. That was my first impression…just how nice, neat, and clean this place was.
When we arrived, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to get for dinner….frankly, my experience in places like this was that tenderloins are often premade, frozen fritters. But when I saw they offered their tenderloin in breaded OR grilled, (which is always a good sign) I decided to take a chance.
And, boy howdy, I am glad I did. Let me tell you, folks, this is one outstanding sandwich. As I learned later, it’s hand cut daily and hand breaded. This is a nice sized sandwich without being overwhelming. The meat is nice and thick (actually…it’s not uniform…due to the hand pounding and hand cut…and that’s a BIG plus for me) and it’s moist and tasty. The breading is simply fantastic! I neglected to ask what their breading consists of, but it’s among the best I’ve ever had. Nice and crunchy, but it’s not so thick as to detract from the taste and texture of the meat.
There’s nice attention to detail here, the sandwich was served EXACTLY as I ordered, which isn’t always the case. The service was attentive and friendly, and the price was right – sandwich and chips for $6.95. This sandwich is 5 out of 5 bites, no doubt about it.
For her meal, Holly chose the pulled pork bbq sandwich – also served with chips for $4.95. This is an ample sandwich. For the money, if you’re hungry, you can’t beat the price. She felt they kind of skimped on the chips, and the meat was absolutely swimming in sauce…not her preference, but again, for the bottom line value of this meal, it was a winner.
The American Legion is located at 275 Center Street in Greenfield, Indiana. The entire building is non-smoking, and the café is open from 11AM-7PM, Monday through Saturday.