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Dear John’s Pub, Indianapolis

Dear John’s is a neighborhood pub located on the East side of Indianapolis. It’s nestled in an older, small, strip mall and appears pretty generic from the outside.

 Inside, it’s a long, narrow building that looks just like, well, a neighborhood bar. It’s got Colts and Pacers posters on the wall, some Purdue and IU items, a jukebox and a few video games.

 As you enter, the first thing you’ll see is the carry out area, which looks kind of like a liquor store. Then you enter the bar area, and then a somewhat separate dining area.

 The menu is pretty much standard bar fare; sandwiches, burgers, pizza, and on Saturday nights, a steak special. When I saw that they offered their tenderloin either breaded or grilled, I assumed it would be hand breaded and chose that.

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And, indeed, it appears to be hand breaded. The breading is nice and crispy and doesn’t get soggy. The breading not only has a good texture, it was quite tasty also! The sandwich isn’t greasy at all, and was cooked perfectly.

 The meat was pounded out a little thinner than I prefer, but not TOO much…just a little. I can live with that. However, the meat was pretty dry and bland. This COULD have been a VERY good tenderloin if a better piece of meat was used. The way it stands right now, I’d give it 3 out of 5 bites….a little above average. The sandwich was served dressed exactly as I requested, and the service was very good indeed.

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I MUST say a word about the onion rings. I’m even going to include a photo! They’re different than any other onion rings I’ve ever had, and they were quite tasty. I’d certainly order them again. If you order them, you’d better be very hungry or prepared to share them. There is a LOT of food here.

For her meal, Holly chose a basic grilled chicken sandwich with tomato and onion. She chose a garden salad with fat free Italian dressing for her side. The sandwich came dressed as requested. The chicken was well seasoned and flavorful. There was nothing outstanding here, just good, basic bar food.

 Dean John’s Pub is located at 7941 E 30 but they do have a Facebook page.

 

 

 

street in Indianapolis. I was unable to find a website for them,

June 4, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Mulligan’s, Muncie, Indiana

ImageI’d heard of Mulligan’s restaurant, at the Crestview Golf Course in Muncie, for many years but never had the opportunity to stop in there.  That all changed this week!

I was meeting with 4 other tenderloin connoisseurs to chat about tenderloins, and also an upcoming exhibit at the Minnetrista Cultural Center in Muncie that highlights the things that make East Central Indiana unique.

I must admit that I had some pre-conceived notions about Mulligans.  If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a pretentious restaurant.  And, honestly, that was what I assumed about Mulligan’s.

I was quite pleasantly surprised.  It wasn’t pretentious at all.  As a matter of fact, I’d call it warm and cozy.  It’s nicely decorated and quite inviting.  We were off to a good start.

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All 5 of us ordered the breaded tenderloin sandwich.  It was interesting to see how different folks dress their tenderloins.  I, of course take mayo, ketchup and onion.  Some like everything on it, some like it more plain.  But….to all of us, there’s no WRONG way to eat a tenderloin.

The sandwich was pretty darn good.  The meat was tender and moist; however, I will say that it was pounded out a little thinner than is my personal preference.  But the taste was very good indeed.

The breading was good, but not great.  I think it could’ve stood a little additional seasoning.  The texture of the breading was fine, but the taste wasn’t there for me.  Instead of complimenting the taste of the meat, it was just kind of “there”.  With just a little work on the breading, this could be a very good sandwich.

The sandwich was served dressed as I requested.  The bun was pretty much standard, nothing special about it.

I’m going to give Mulligan’s breaded tenderloin a 3.5 out of 5 bites.  It’s above average, but not top of the line.  With just a little work on the breading, it could be a VERY good sandwich.

I MUST say word about our server, whose name, sadly, I neglected to get.  Here were 5 guys gathered around the table, taking notes, talking, sharing, and laughing….and she did a GREAT job of making sure that our drinks were topped off, our food was promptly served, and our bill was delivered promptly without being intrusive.  We were able to carry on our conversation and business without interruption…a job well done!

Mulligan’s is located at 3325 S Walnut in Muncie.  They’re on the web at http://www.mulligansclubhousegrill.com/.

May 16, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Aristocrat, Indianapolis (post fire visit)

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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.

 

ImageI’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

April 12, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The Hoosier Pork Tenderloin Showdown is on!!

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….

http://theindyalist.cityvoter.com/bracket/hoosier-pork-tenderloin-showdown/181

March 29, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 3 Comments

The Bush Restaurant, Terre Haute, Indiana

ImageWe found ourselves making a last minute trip to Terre Haute, Indiana, and did a frantic search for a good tenderloin in the area.

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”.

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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.

February 28, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 3 Comments

JT’s Grille, Indianapolis

JT’s Grille is a place we had heard about, but had never had a chance to visit before now.

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!

 

 

 

As you can see from the photo, this thing is HUGE.  I was stunned at how large it was for the price ($8.95 with a side), and that doesn’t happen to me very often.

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.

November 2, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Rusty Bucket, Indianapolis

Come sit right down and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip….

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

October 4, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

B&C’s Hideout, New Palestine, Indiana

 

We’ve driven by B&C’s Hideout in New Palestine several times, always thinking “We need to try this place”, but our schedule never allowed us to until Saturday.

 

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.

September 24, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Mayberry Cafe, Danville, Indiana

 

One of the hardest parts about doing a blog about this is being fair.  No matter how much I like  (or dislike) a particular restaurant, my job is to give as unbiased an opinion as is humanly possible.

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.

August 27, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Waffle House, Indianapolis (West Washington Street)

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.

 

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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.

 

 

 

August 17, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

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