Fountain Square is one of our favorite neighborhoods in Indy. Over the last few years, it’s has undergone an amazing transformation, and is now a bustling area with restaurants, pubs, duckpin bowling, swing dancing, live music, and much more.
It’s always a good place to take friends who are visiting from out of town, which was the case for us Friday night. We choose the Smokehouse on Shelby partly because we’d been there before and enjoyed the food, and party because it’s in the same building as Duckpin Bowling, one of the unique things in Indy that we wanted to introduce to our friends.
Smokehouse on Shelby is a BBQ restaurant, but they have a few other things on the menu. They advertised a hand breaded tenderloin, but, frankly, I was skeptical. I’ve been to a few restaurants where they advertise a hand breaded tenderloin, and end up with a fritter. I asked our waitress about it, and she told me they do all the breading and pounding in house, so I decided to give it a try.
This is a pretty darn good sandwich! It’s decent sized without being overwhelming, and the breading is tasty and crisp. The meat is tasty, but it wasn’t as tender as some tenderloins I’ve had. And, the price is right…you get a sandwich and TWO sides (I chose fries and cole slaw) for 7.99. That’s a bargain! I’m going to give it 3.5 out of 5 bites. It’s above average but falls short of stellar.
For her dinner, Holly chose the pulled pork sandwich, also served with two sides plus fried biscuits and apple butter. For her sides, she chose the steamed vegetable du jour and seasoned & roasted Fuji apples, which are customer favorite. I kid you not; there was enough food for three meals on the plate they brought out to her! We had plenty of leftovers to take back home! And for the price of $10.99, you can’t go wrong with this smokehouse classic. Holly highly recommends the raspberry chipotle barbecue sauce. This one may be a bit too spicy for some, so a close second would be the horseradish barbecue sauce – all of the flavor with not as much heat.
I want to give a shout out to the staff at Smokehouse on Shelby. Holly made reservations because we had a larger group, and from the reservation process to the service before, during, and after the meal, everything was stellar. We’ll certainly return soon!
Smokehouse on Shelby is located right on the fountain in Fountain Square. You can also find them online at http://www.fountainsquareindy.com/smokehouse/.
Corkey’s Fabulous 50’s Restaurant
When it comes to my dining experiences, there are few things I enjoy more than the playing of 50’s music in the background and, I’ll admit it, a good ole’ fashioned waitress who calls me “honey” and sounds like she means it.
I received both in abundance during a recent visit to Corkey’s Fabulous 50’s Restaurant, a 50’s themed casual diner in Danville, Indiana located at 745 E. Main Street right next to Pence Automotive. Located within a few blocks of both downtown Danville and the nearby Hendricks Regional Health, Corkey’s Fabulous 50’s Restaurant opened up about a year ago in one of those non-descript buildings where you struggle to remember what it used to be but think to yourself “This is perfect for an old diner.”
I’d also been looking for the perfect opportunity to write a guest column for my good buddy Rick Garrett’s “Tenderloin Connoisseur” blog, and as I was driving up to visit a relative in the nearby Hendricks Regional Health it occurred to me that this would be the perfect opportunity to relax a bit before a hospital visit, check out Corkey’s, and finally snag that long desired guest column.
When you enter Corkey’s, it’s exactly what you’d expect from a 50’s themed restaurant with checkboard linoleum flooring, the obligatory jukebox, a life-sized Marilyn Monroe figurine and constantly playing 50’s music at an easy to the ears volume that allows you to appreciate the music while still having conversations.
The waitresses, at least on this occasion, weren’t quite decked out in your traditional 50’s garb but definitely had a retro vibe with blue jeans and plaid tops and a 50’s style “come on in” attitude that instantly made me feel welcome even as a city boy in this small town just to the west of Indianapolis.
Of course, I was really here to sample the tenderloin sandwich and, much to my delight, it just so happened to be on special during my visit. The “juicy, pork tenderloin” comes standard with tomatoes, lettuce, and onion on a fresh bun with a pickle spear on the side. The special includes either french fries, a side salad or the soup of the day for $6.99. While I certainly don’t fancy myself a tenderloin expert like Rick Garrett, I had no problem choosing breaded over grilled and had no problem determining that this abundant specimen of a sandwich was “really” hand-breaded.
I’m a bit of a purist and opted to order my sandwich plain and with fries on the side along with my customary unsweetened iced tea. My iced tea arrived quickly and I settled in to enjoy the ambience and my newspaper until my food arrived.
When the sandwich arrived, I looked at it and went “WOW!” It was a far more substantial sandwich than expected with the tenderloin clearly overwhelming what is best described as a fairly basic poppy seed styled sandwich bun.
Unfortunately, this is where the “WOW!” factor really ended. While the sandwich is a better than average sandwich, the taste doesn’t quite match up to the presentation. The meat was thick but not, in fact, particularly juicy and the breading, which had a kind of southern style cornmeal taste to it, lacked the zesty flavor that I value from a truly fantastic tenderloin sandwich. The best word that I can think of to describe the sandwich is “bland.” The meat was surprisingly bland and the run-of-the-mill bun only added to the blandness.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the sandwich, but not nearly as much as I was hoping as it arrived at my table and I looked at its beautiful presentation. I’d easily give it 3 out of 5 bites. The french fries on the side were lightly seasoned and tasty. As a meal combo, the tenderloin sandwich and fries was more than enough for this hearty appetite and I found myself completely unable to even contemplate dessert options that include everything from hand dipped ice cream (at only $.99 a scoop!) to shakes, floats and your expected 50’s diner fare.
The service was for the most part stellar, attentive without being invasive. It was a joy to look around and see that the waitresses clearly took time to talk “to” their customers and not “at” them. It was clear that more than a few diners were Corkey’s regulars, and the rapport between the servers and the customers appeared to be quite genuine, light-hearted and caring. The only slight “glitch” came in needing to ask for an iced tea refill, something that should never have to happen when a restaurant advertises free refills and the server has visited my table multiple times.
Fortunately, the server was readily available and offered me a “to go” cup so I could have an icedtea with me as I readied myself for another hospital visit.
As a consumer in a wheelchair, I do always consider the “accessibility” issue when choosing my dining establishments. While Corkey’s has marked off a couple of parking spots that are clearly designed to be “accessible,” it is worth noting that they are not appropriately marked as disabledvparking and I could easily see them being taken by customers without disabilities. Entering thevrestaurant is a breeze, however, with two easy to maneuver front entry doors and a wide openvconcept restaurant that easily allows for adapting a dining experience when needed. Because thevservers were so incredibly friendly, I can easily see them offering assistance should a diner with avdisability require it.
The big questions I always ask myself as I leave a restaurant is “Will I go back?” and “Will Ivhave this meal again?”
Yes and no.
I will definitely go back to Corkey’s Fabulous 50’s Restaurant. For less than $10, I enjoyedvgood food, terrific service and a fun and casual atmosphere. Corkey’s is easily worth a trip out of Indianapolis to enjoy the day in the delightful community of Danville, Indiana. If you’re there all day, you can enjoy Corkey’s for lunch then head into downtown Danville to enjoy the beloved Mayberry Cafe for dinner. That’s what I would call the absolutely perfect day.
Corkey’s offers a rather delightful menu ranging from your usual 50’s diner fare to such southern comfort favorites as country fried steak, beef manhattan, meatloaf and more. The next time around, I’ll probably try myself a burger or I may even go all out and check out the meatloaf.
We’d heard for years about The Friendly Tavern in Zionsville, and how legendary their tenderloins were, but our schedule hadn’t permitted us to stop in, until this past weekend.
We were playing at the Zionsville Farmers Market (a very fine market, worth the drive up there), and decided to take advantage of being in the area and have lunch at the Friendly.
The Friendly is on the main shopping street of downtown Zionsville, and, from the outside, looks rather small, like a neighborhood tavern.
Upon entering, however, this place is huge! Two separate dining areas, lots of nice, dark wood, and very homey feeling.
We got there just as they opened, and there was only one or two other parties dining. However, by the time we finished with our lunch, the place was hopping.
Of course, I ordered their hand breaded tenderloin, and, as everyone else has said….it was just fantastic! The breading was nice, light, and crunchy. The meat itself tasted fresh, was moist, and seasoned just right. The bun was nicely toasted, and the sandwich was served dressed as I requested. This one is certainly a 5 out of 5 bites.
I chose fries as my side, and they were good. Not the best I’ve ever had, but I’d say better than average.
For her meal, Holly chose a side salad with raspberry vinaigrette dressing, and an order of their Apple BBQ chicken wings. Now, don’t let the price scare you off. An order will set you back $10.99. BUT…she got enough wings in her order to have a satisfying lunch and take leftovers home for BOTH of us to have dinner that night, along with some fresh grilled sweet corn we scored from the farmers market! Holly says she typically doesn’t care for breaded wings because it tends to distract from the meat. But these were very fine indeed!
The Friendly Tavern is located at 290 S Main Street in Zionsville, Indiana. I was unable to locate a website for them; however, they do have a Facebook page.
Wolfies Grill is a locally owned bar/grill/restaurant with 3 locations: Noblesville, Fishers, and Carmel. The Carmel location opened a couple of years ago, and it’s pretty close to where we live, and we’ve been wanting to try it ever since, We finally had the chance last week.
Located in one of the several strip mall type buildings near 116th and Keystone, it’s very attractive from the outside…and it’s MUCH larger on the inside than it looks from the outside. It’s another restaurant that’s done in an outdoorsy motif. Very tastefully done, it’s warm and welcoming from the moment you step through the door.
We visited at 5:30 PM on a Thursday night, so we were prepared to wait…..but Wolfies was virtually empty. No other parties seated in the dining room, and 2 or 3 folks at the bar, that was it.
The hostess greeted us warmly and showed us to our seat, and the waitress took our drink order and left our menus with us. Upon perusing the menu, I saw they offer a hand breaded tenderloin, so I decided to give it a chance.
However, I wish it had tasted as good as it looked. Don’t get me wrong…this wasn’t a BAD sandwich…it just wasn’t a terribly GOOD sandwich. The breading was crispy, yes, but it had no seasoning or flavor to speak of. The same can be said about the meat. It appeared to be fresh, but very bland.
The sandwich was served as I requested, and I appreciated the server’s attention to detail on that.
I’ll give Wolfies breaded tenderloin sandwich a 2.5 out of 5 bites….just average.
For my side, I chose the hand-made chips, and I’ll say those were simply outstanding! Seasoned will with a nice kick to them, I wouldn’t hesitate to order them again.
For her meal, Holly ordered the Fiesta Fish Wrap – cooked tilapia filets wrapped in a wheat tortilla with tortilla strips, chipotle mayo, corn salsa, tomatoes, and shredded lettuce. The wrap comes with a side of tortilla chips and salsa, which she opted to keep as her side. There are different sides available for an upcharge, but since “Fiesta” was the theme, the chips and salsa seemed fitting. Holly is sorry to report that her meal was simply average as well. The most disappointing part was that there didn’t seem to be much fish on the wrap. It tasted okay, but it wasn’t outstanding. And the chips and salsa were simply average. In fact, the salsa obviously came from a jar or can, which, in Holly’s opinion is simply a notch below average.
We opted for dessert when the waitress mentioned they had blackberry cobbler. It was….like both of our meals, just average. At 6 bucks for what we perceived to be a VERY small portion, we won’t be ordering that again.
Generally, the service was good, but, after our meal, when the server dropped off our check, she just disappeared. It took her what seemed like forever to return. Not a very good end to a just average experience.
All that said, since Wolfies is a locally owned restaurant, we are willing to give them one more chance and see if things improve.
Wolfies is located at 116th and Keystone, in the Merchant’s Square area. You can find them online at http://www.wolfiesgrill.com
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.
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/.
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.
Recently, the Tenderloin Connoisseur put a call out to his friends to visit one of their local restaurants and try its version of a tenderloin and report back. I meant to take up this challenge earlier, but other events in our life seemed to get in the way. However, this past week my wife, Wendi, and I decided to have an evening out and visited The Mill House in Jasper, IN.
The Green Street pub in Brownsburg has been recommended to me several times, and I’ve been meaning to try it for quite some time. This weekend was the first time we’ve been in the area with free time to do a review, so we decided to take advantage of the opportunity.
We were in Brownsburg for the 1st annual Brownsburg Hamfest (a gathering of ham radio operators), and I asked the locals their opinion of the restaurant, and the recommendations were high indeed.
The Green Street pub is located in a strip mall amid a grocery store, Mexican restaurant, and some other shops. The first thing I noticed upon entering was that it was MUCH larger than your typical strip mall restaurant. Pleasantly decorated, the hostess was friendly and personable and showed us promptly to our seat.
Unfortunately, getting to our seat was not as pleasant as it should be. When you first walk in to Green Street, the bar is off to your right. There were some ball games going on, and there was a lot of smoking going on in the bar. And, it was drifting out into the area one has to walk through to get to the family section.
I’m not going to get into the whole smoking/non smoking debate, I’ll simply say that I don’t understand the logic of having your non smoking customers walk through a cloud of smoke to get to the non smoking section. That makes NO sense to me. But, hey, what do I know. I’m only a customer who decides where to spend my money.
Once getting to our table, the non smoking area is wonderfully decorated, and there are two very large fish tanks that provide a nice distraction for the kids. There were several families having lunch when we were there, and the kids were very much enjoying watching the fish.
The lunch menu was nice, but, it wasn’t as large as I anticipated. A few sandwiches, a few salads, and that was about it. I’m not sure about their dinner menu, but the lunch menu was a bit disappointing in variety.
I was there on a mission, to try the breaded tenderloin. It’s offered in 3 varieties….grilled, lightly breaded, or beer battered. I chose the beer battered.
The sandwich is large, but not overwhelming. It’s obviously hand breaded, and the breading was…average. Actually, it was rather bland. As much as I was looking forward to this sandwich, I couldn’t get over the fact of how average the breading was.
The meat was the same. It was a little dry, and not as tender as some. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a “bad” sandwich…it just wasn’t especially good, either. It was served promptly and dressed exactly as I requested, so the service was well above average.
For her meal, Holly chose French onion soup and a garden salad. A bonus at Green Street: they serve poppy seed dressing, which Holly chose. As far as her meal goes, it was average. She said it wasn’t bad; it just didn’t stand out in her mind as a stellar meal.
I’m rating the Green Street Pub breaded tenderloin a 2.5 out of 5. It’s average. And, if I were to return, I’d order something else off of the menu.
The Green Street Pub is located at 911 Green Street in Brownsburg, Indiana. I was unable to locate a website for them, but they do have a Facebook page. The bar is 21 and over only, the restaurant is all ages.
Upon walking in, the first word that came to mind was “cozy”. It’s a very warm atmosphere, and even though at lunch time there were a lot of regulars, the waitress greeted me like an old friend, even though we had never met before.
I have seen what I consider to be a disturbing trend in restaurants these days…where the wait staff wants to be your best friend. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate friendly service. However, I think I’m a pretty perceptive guy, and I can tell when it’s put on. Be genuine, be yourself, and you’ll get a good tip and I’ll come back to see you. Give me false familiarity, and I’ll likely not be back.
That’s what made my visit at the Gaslight so enjoyable….from the waitress to the owner, who I had the chance to visit with for a bit, I was made to feel welcome, and I could tell it was sincere. They were glad I was there, and, observing the dining room, they treated everyone in there the same way. Hoosier Hospitality at its finest.
The Gaslight’s menu has pretty standard pub fare…from sandwiches too full meals, with about everything in between. Of course, I chose the breaded tenderloin.
The Gaslight makes their own breading, and, let me tell you, it’s fabulous. Light, crunchy and flaky, and it retains the crunch throughout the life of the sandwich. The breading is a 5/5. No question. The meat? I’m happy to report, it’s just as good. Not pounded out paper thin, it’s tender, moist and flavorful. The sandwich was served dressed just as I requested. This sandwich, folks, is a winner. A 5/5, no doubt about it. I’ll go out on a limb and say it’s one of the best tenderloins I’ve ever had. Yes, it was THAT good.
As my side, I ordered onion rings. With the same homemade beer batter, these were simply stellar. You’ll pay extra for onion rings if you choose them as a side over fries or one of the other sides, but, trust me, they’re WELL worth it.
While I was there, I had the opportunity to sample their catfish, which was on special. If you’re a catfish lover…you’ll be very pleased.
I did neglect to get the price of the breaded tenderloin, but it was in line with others in central Indiana.
While you’re at the Gaslight, do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to just wander around. It’s a historic building that is reputed to be haunted. If you’ve got a few extra minutes, ask a few questions. You’ll be rewarded with some very interesting stories.
The Gaslight Inn is located at 2280 S Meridian in Indianapolis. You can find them on the web at http://thegaslightinnindy.com
George’s Neighborhood Grill is a place I’d never heard of until a few weeks ago, when we came upon a coupon for them, and decided to give them a try. The first night we were there, I wasn’t in the mood for a tenderloin (I must have been ill!) and opted for a steak instead. The experience was very good, so we decided to return and give the breaded tenderloin a try.
George’s is in on of those seemingly thousands of identical strip malls that dot the north side of Indy. It appears they have patio seating during warm weather. Upon entering, we were greeted by a friendly hostess, and shown to our table. We were meeting a friend…who also does reviews….for a dual review. He had already arrived and had his iced tea, so we sat and visited a bit before ordering our meal.
Right off the bat, George’s gets very high marks for their service. Since we were visiting with a dear friend, we sat and chatted for a bit before actually starting to peruse the menu. Our waitress did a fine job of balancing the line between attentive and hovering. Never did we feel rushed, but when we wanted to order, she was there promptly.
George’s has a wonderful menu, and, although it looks a bit fancy, they have a wide range of prices…from a couple of sandwiches in the 6-9 dollar range with a side, to steaks and seafood in the 20 dollar per meal range.
I, of course, chose the tenderloin, which is hand breaded on site. It looked really outstanding! It’s large without being overwhelming, and it’s not pounded out paper thin, leaving the meat thick enough to really get the flavor of it. I’ve touched on this before, but so many breaded tenderloins are pounded SO thin that one can’t distinguish between the taste of the breading and the taste of the meat. That’s certainly not the case here.
First bite, the flavor of the meat was outstanding. Nice, tender, and moist, just like it should be. The breading was very good, yet fell short of remarkable. It had a decent flavor, but could have benefited from some seasoning.
However, there was a bit of a problem with this sandwich. Within the first 3 or 4 bites, the sandwich and breading became soggy. One of the signs of a truly great tenderloin is that the breading retains its crunch throughout the life of the sandwich, and this one certainly didn’t.
Still, it was a good tenderloin. I’m going to give it 3.5 out of 5 bites…above average but not great.
Holly chose the grilled fish tacos, and she reported that they were exceptional. They are served with modest toppings and nice sized, flaky pieces of fish, along with a dollop of fresh salsa on the side. You get your choice of side with this entree and she chose the green beans. Cooked al dente with a light, garlicky flavor, they were a nice compliment to the piquant tacos.
As an appetizer, we chose breaded mushrooms. As a general rule, we’ve found that you just never know what you’re going to get with breaded mushrooms unless you ask first, but since everything else we’d had here was above average, we decided to take a chance. These are some of the most outstanding breaded mushrooms we’ve ever tasted! For starters, they are made with whole, FRESH mushrooms. Not jarred…not marinated in a salty brine…FRESH. And they didn’t pick the tiniest mushrooms either. Our order contained premium medium to extra large ‘shrooms! The breading was tender, flaky and crispy – and they were served nice and hot with not one, but two dipping sauces…a horseradish cocktail sauce and ranch dressing. We would make a return trip in a heartbeat JUST for the breaded mushrooms!
Overall, George’s was a very, very good experience. The service, atmosphere, and food are well worth returning for, and often.
For a review of their burger…and other insights, please visit my co-reviewer’s blog at www.thegimpgoesshopping.wordpress.com
George’s Neighborhood Grill is located at 6935 Lake Plaza Drive in Indianapolis. You can visit them on the web at:www.georgesneighborhoodgrill.com.