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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

The Old Trail, Pendleton, Indiana

The Old Trail restaurant and Taproom is located in Pendleton, Indiana, just off of Interstate 69.

It’s part family restaurant and part bar.  I’m generally not a fan of those restaurants that can’t seem to make up their mind what they want to be, but in this case, it works pretty well.  The family side is non smoking, but the bar side is smoker friendly, so be aware of that if you’re sensitive to smoke.

The decor is warm and friendly,  although has a “home interior party” feel to it.  There are a few nice local touches, but nothing outstanding.

I would call the service warm and friendly also.  Our server, although quite busy, did a fine job of taking care of us.

The menu has a nice mix of pub fare….burgers, pizza, and so on, as well as a lot of comfort food…chicken and noodles, broasted chicken, meatloaf, and other items that are traditional in the midwest.

I had heard that they had a pretty good tenderloin, so decided to give them a try on a Friday night.

 

The tenderloin was nice sized, and although it has the appearance of a frozen fritter, that’s not the case.  They are handmade here at the restaurant.

I had really high hopes for the breading….as I was told they use potato chips as a base…but, once again,  those hopes were dashed against the rocks of mediocrity.  The breading was not outstanding  as I had expected.  It wasn’t bad….it just wasn’t especially good.

The meat, too, suffered the same fate.  It was pounded out a little thinner than I prefer, but the taste just wasn’t there.  It was a bit  dry, and although the flavor wasn’t bad, it wasn’t terribly good either.  Just so-so.  I’m going to give the sandwich a 3 out o 5…just average.

The onion rings that I chose to go with my meal were above average, but fell short of outstanding.

Holly chose a grilled chicken salad, and it was, again, OK, but nothing to write home about.

That all said, we WILL return based on the service and prices.  We have it on good authority that the broasted chicken is nothing short of spectacular, and also the chicken and noodle dinner is what dreams are made of…..by all reports, if you want that, you should go for lunch, as they often run out by the time dinner hour rolls around.

The Old Trail Restaurant is located on State Road 38, just East of Highway 69, in Pendleton, Indiana. I was unable to find a web site for them.

October 3, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Trojan Horse, Bloomington Indiana


I was on a quest to find an outstanding breaded tenderloin sandwich in Southern Indiana, and someone recommended the Trojan Horse in Bloomington, so we decided to stop in and give it a try.

My first thought upon walking in was “Wow!  This place is big!!!”, and, indeed, it is.  It’s long and narrow, with an upstairs and a downstairs dining area that is all ages,as  well as a bar upstairs where you have to be 21 to enter.

It’s nicely decorated in what I could call a classy, funky style, perfect for a college town.

We were greeted promptly by our pleasant waitress, and started perusing the menus.  The menu is heavy on Greek food, with some American favorites thrown in.

I asked our waitress about the breaded tenderloin, and she said “we do it in-house” and that certainly was good enough for me.

As you can see by the photo, it’s a nice size without being overwhelming.  It’s not pounded out to paper thin like so many tenderloins, it has a nice thickness. The breading is nice and crunchy, but both the breading and the meat suffered from the same problem….they were just not very flavorful.

And, I don’t quite know how else to put that.  They weren’t bad….they just weren’t good.  There appeared to be no seasoning, and the one word that I can use to describe this sandwich is “bland”. Not terrible, not great…it was just an “ok” sandwich.

I chose the sandwich meal deal for $9.95, which included fries (where were nothing short of outstanding!) and a drink.

Holly also chose the sandwich meal deal, instead of fries she opted for the greek salad, and for her sandwich she chose a Gyro.  She proclaimed both of those as well above average.

The service was very good and the atmosphere is great.  It was pleasantly busy, but we were still able to carry on a conversation without yelling. I’m going to give the Trojan Horse’s breaded tenderloin 3 bites…just average, but I will give the experience a 5…which means we’ll be back.  I’ll  just order something else off of the menu.

The Trojan Horse is located at 100 E Kirkwood in Bloomington, Indiana.  You can find them online at http://www.thetrojanhorse.com

September 20, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Metro, Indianapolis. (Mass Ave)

The Metro Restaurant and Nightclub is located on Mass Ave, near downtown Indianapolis, a wonderfully artsy/quirky strip of restaurants, clubs, shops, and more. We enjoy visiting Mass Ave – it’s a nice place to spend an evening wandering around, grabbing a bite to eat, doing a little shopping, and maybe catching a show.The area has been revitalized over the past few years and I consider it to be one of the gems of Indianapolis.

The Metro does a hopping business, as evidenced by our visit at about 6PM on a weeknight.  The bar area was crowded with folks visiting and chatting.The dining room was pleasantly busy without being overly crowded.  The decor is friendly and inviting, if a bit quirky in places.

The menu is quite varied….a number of different salads, sandwiches and entrees.  Prices are reasonable and there’s a nice mix of down home favorites, and more exotic fare.

I had heard about their breaded tenderloin, and we had to be down in that area for a meeting, so we decided to have our dinner there.
The Metro’s tenderloin is offered breaded or grilled, and, of course, I chose the former.

 

I had really high hopes for this sandwich.  When they brought it out, it certainly looked outstanding. I liked the size…nice and thick, not pounded out to the size of a hubcap…and the breading looked amazing.

Oh, but looks can sometimes be deceiving, can’t they?  From the first bite….I could tell this sandwich was just average. Let me be clear that there was nothing really wrong with it…there was just nothing that makes it stand out of the crowd, either. Breading, flavor, texture, all of it, just average. It was a breaded tenderloin…and that’s about all I can say about it.

I’m going to give the Metro breaded tenderloin a 3 out of 5, just average.  It sells for 8.95 and that includes your choice of chips, pub chips, or onion straws.

That said, Holly had the Black and Bleu Steak Salad, and that steak was nothing short of sublime-really outstanding. That’s at the top of my list to order when we go back.  Yes…we liked the overall experience and will certainly go back, but I’ll try something else off of the menu.

The Metro is located at 707 Mass Ave in Indianapolis.  It’s an 21 and over smoking restaurant, and you can find them online at:  http://www.metro-indy.com/

July 21, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Cabana Room, Brownsburg, Indiana

The Cabana Room is an upscale sports restaurant located in Brownsburg, Indiana.  I’ve had the opportunity to visit here a few times, and it’s always been a good exeperience.

It’s an interesting place.  Although they’re called “elegant and sophisticated” on their website, they do that without being pretentious.  If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a prententious restaurant.  I’m happy to report that the Cabana Room IS sophisticated, but still retains a small town atmosphere and we’ve never encountered anything but a warm and friendly staff when we’re there.

The atmosphere is part cigar bar, part sports bar.  The bar area has a fully stocked humidor, if you prefer non smoking, there’s a seperate dining room.  Outside dining is also available, weather permitting.

The have a complete menu, with a nice selection of appetizers and salads, sandwiches, steaks, pasta, and desserts.

Of course, I was there to try the breaded tenderloin.  Their tenderloin is advertised as beer battered, and it’s obviously hand breaded with great care.  The meat itself is nice and tender, and the breading is really nice and flaky with a good flavor.  The meat and breading are certainly up among the best around.

They serve their tenderloin with “Island Barbeque Sauce”, which I asked them to hold.  It’s also served on Ciabatta Bread.  Now, mind you, I like Ciabatta Bread, but, for me, it doesn’t work on the tenderloin.  I really enjoy the traditional texture of a nice, soft bun on a crisp breaded tenderloin, but the Ciabatta Bread was just too much.  I liked the flavor combination, the texture, not so much.

There are a number of sides available.  I chose waffle fries, and they’re very, very good.  I highly recommend them.

I’ve been struggling with how to rate this sandwich.  I’ll say this.  If you’re looking for a twist on a breaded tenderloin…something different….you’re going to REALLY enjoy it.

That said, I’m a traditional guy.  I like traditional Hoosier Breaded Tenderloins.  If this meat and breading were on a traditional bun, I’d give it a very high rating.  As it stands, I’m going to give it a 3.  It’s above average and worth a try.

I like Cabana Room a lot.  I’ll certainly be back and sample more of their menu.  The Cabana Room is located at 36 E Main Street in Brownsburg, Indiana.  You can find them online at http://cabanaroom.net/

September 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

   

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