Hamilton County, Indiana is home to The Tenderloin Trail, a well promoted tour of tenderloins in North Central Indiana.
In conjunction with this, they’re launching Tenderloin Tuesdays, where select restaurants are partnering with the Hamilton County Convention and Visitors Bureau to promote tenderloins in said county.
I am truly honored to have been asked to review some of the restaurants that are participating in The Tenderloin Trail! One of my responsibilities will include reviewing restaurants…some of which know I’m coming to review them in advance of my arrival. This presents some interesting challenges. Even though I’m asked to do the review, I still have to be fair and impartial, no matter who asks me to do that review.
That said, the next few reviews will be in conjunction with the Tenderloin Trail. I won’t be rating on my normal 1-5 bite scale, instead, I’ll be giving a fair, unbiased review and letting you make your own decision.
Our first stop was Lutz’s Steakhouse, on State Road 32, between 31 and Noblesville. My wife and I have passed Lutz’s countless times, and always commented that we’d like to try it, but our schedule never permitted it. Last Friday, we stopped for a late lunch/early dinner.
I have a pet peeve. I can’t stand restaurants that try to be retro. They always fail in my book. Lutz’s doesn’t TRY to be retro, it IS retro. I meant that as a very high compliment. I liked the decor quite a bit. Yes, some might find it dated…but to me, it was appealing. It took me back to a simpler time, and I immediately felt at home.
We were greeted promptly at the door in a friendly and professional manner, and shown to our table. We arrived kind of at the changeover from lunch to dinner (more about this later), and we were the only customers in the place, so we had our choice of tables.
Our waitress, Sandy, came out promptly, got our drink orders, and we talked about the tenderloin. They cut, pound, and bread it in house, so it’s a true breaded tenderloin. It’s only available on the lunch menu, but I suspect if you wanted it for dinner they’d fix it for you.
Now, there are two distinct schools of thought on breaded tenderloins. Some folks like their tenderloins pounded out very thin, some like a thicker piece of meat. Neither way is “right”, in my opinion, it’s a matter of personal preference.
Lutz’s tenderloin is the pounded out very thin type, as you can see by the photo. The meat is fresh, and the breading is nice and crispy, but, personally, I thought both could have stood to be seasoned a little more. That said, however, it’s obvious that Lutz’s caters to a mostly older clientele, so heavily seasoned food isn’t the preference for many of us older folks. Lutz’s does an outstanding job of catering to their customer base.
The sandwich was served dressed as I ordered it, and I chose fries as the side, and was pleased to see that they serve krinkle cut fries…my favorite!
So, how was it? It’s no secret that my preference is for the thicker tenderloin. That said, if you’re a fan of your tenderloin pounded out thinner, you’ll like this one. It’s the very traditional, thin tenderloin.
For her dinner, Holly chose Lemon Crusted Tilapia. At both lunch and dinner, it comes with salad and choice of potato. Their house dressing is Hot Bacon – which was a no brainer! It is quite good – on the thin side with a very vinegary base. The potato was cooked perfectly. The fish was a little over-cooked (soft), but very flavorful. And the fresh lemon wedges served with it was a very nice touch.
As I indicated before, there was potential issue due to the lunch/dinner changeover. We had a little mix up on our bill due to the transition of one dining hour to another. Our server spoke to the manager, and they fixed it immediately – with a smile. It’s that kind of customer service that keeps folks coming back.
Lutz’s steakhouse is located at 3100 Westfield Road in Noblesville. You can find them online at http://lutzs-steakhouse.com/.
If you’re interested in The Tenderloin Trail and Tenderloin Tuesdays, you can find more information at http://www.visithamiltoncounty.com/tenderloin-trail/.
Copper Still is a combination pub/sports bar/family dining restaurant on the Northeast corner of the Noblesville town square.
I’m a fan of this business model. It’s a good place to go if you’ve got family or friends who are under 21 to gather and watch a ball game or just socialize in a warm, inviting atmosphere. As an added bonus, they have live music on weekend nights.
Although many of the items on the menu are pretty typical bar food, nearly all of them have a twist of some kind, bringing them up a notch. That’s a nice touch.
Of course, I was there to sample their hand breaded tenderloin, and that’s what I ordered.
This was a pretty good sandwich….but it wasn’t outstanding. It certainly was hand-breaded, as advertised, but the breading seemed to lack any seasoning at all. If I could sum up the breading in one word, it would be “bland”. The meat was good, but, again, not outstanding. The sandwich was served dressed exactly as requested. Overall, I’ll give it 3 out of 5 bites…average.
I had a side order of onion rings, and these were VERY good. I’d not hesitate to order these again.
For her meal, my wife chose the veggie burger. It was well seasoned and tasty, but pretty average as far as veggie burgers go.
Our friend Barrie and her husband Wes who were dining with us that evening chose the wings, and Holly and I both agree that they were simply outstanding. The wings are not breaded, but instead coated with a crust of spices. Not just dry rub…there is a little bit of oil in the mix to keep the spices intact. But the flavor and texture was amazing. I’ve never had wings quite like that before.
All in all, it was a positive experience, and we’ll certainly be back. Conner Station is located at 917 Conner Street in Noblesville, Indiana. I was unable to locate a website for them, but they do have a Facebook page.
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