Lou’s Diner, Cloverdale, Indiana

Lou's outside

We were in West Central Indiana, doing a 5k benefit walk for the Exotic Feline Rescue Center, and figured right after a 5k was a great time to eat a breaded tenderloin!

Before we dig into the review, let me mention the EFRC in Center Point, Indiana.  It’s one of our favorite places in the state, and we love to spread the news about this spot that gives homes to big cats that are unable to be released into the wild.  Former circus animals, rescues, pets, and others, it’s an amazing place to visit and we highly recommend it! You can read more about them at www.exoticfelinerescuecenter.org

We’d heard about Lou’s Diner in Cloverdale…right on our route home, so decided that would be our stop.

Lou’s wasn’t exactly easy to spot…there was some road construction in the area, and it’s located in what appears to be a largely industrial area.  We found it, parked, and walked in.

It’s an unassuming place…pretty typical small town diner.  There are a few pictures on the walls, mostly of covered bridges and local history, and not much else.  It truly appears to be a place where folks gather for good food and conversation, as opposed to decor or watching sports on TV.  A nice change of pace from many of the places around!

I’ll be honest and say I didn’t give the menu more than a passing glance, as the tenderloin had already come highly recommended.  I asked our waitress “How’s your tenderloin” and she answered with my pet peeve. “It’s HUGE”.

I’ll probably come off as cranky here, but that wasn’t what I asked.  I’m really not concerned with the size, I want to know if it’s good or not.  The only think worse than a small mediocre sandwich is a large mediocre sandwich, right?  I questioned her further, and she told me that they get their meat fresh and make them fresh daily.  I was sold.

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This is an outstanding sandwich!  The meat itself is tender and moist, and the breading was perfectly seasoned to compliment the taste of the meat.  With the bun and requested condiments (I eat mine with ketchup, mayo, and onion) it was as good a tenderloin as I’ve had in a while.  It certainly stacks up with any of the best in the state and I’ll give it a 5 out of 5 bites.

For my side, I splurged and got onion rings.  They were fantastic as well! Nicely breaded, fried just right, and the bistro sauce recommended by our waitress set them off perfectly.

For her lunch, Holly had the grilled chicken salad.  The grilled chicken was moist and flavorful. But what really shines on this salad is their low calorie dressing option – blueberry pomegranate!  More than anything, this tasted like a fruit purée. It was not heavy or oily at all…the perfect light dressing for my ultra-healthy lunch!

Lou’s Diner is located at 3 Stardust Way, Cloverdale, Indiana.  I was unable to locate a website for them, but they do have a Facebook page.

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Redemption Aleworks, Indianapolis

 

Redemption

 

With last week being Indy Tenderloin Week, we thought it was a good idea to try some tenderloins we’d not had yet.

Friday night, we chose Redemption Aleworks on the north side of Indy.  We’d heard good things about this place, but had not had the opportunity to check it out.

Redemption Aleworks is located in a strip center on the north side of 96th street, almost across from Metro airport.  There’s a small, dog friendly patio, and the inside has an all ages area as well as a 21 and over bar area.

The decor is rather what I’d call “industrial”….I liked it!  To me, it doesn’t look like your typical strip mall pub.

The menu has some interesting choices on it, with some nice variations on typical pub fare.  To be sure, beer is their forte’, as it should be, but I was impressed with the menu.

Of course, I was there to try the tenderloin, with it being Indy Tenderloin Week.  They offered 2 choices–a traditional breaded tenderloin, as well as a mushroom bordelaise tenderloin.  Although I’m a traditionalist, I decided to give the latter a try.

It’s your typical breaded tenderloin, served on brioche, with a mushroom bordelaise sauce on it.  Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I’d like it or not, but I decided to chance it.

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I’m glad I did!  The tenderloin itself was stellar–the meat was moist and tender, and the breading was darn near perfect.  The bordelaise sauce, combined with the mushrooms and brioche instead of a traditional hamburger bun made a REALLY nice combination of textures.  Not only was the texture very good, but the taste was also! It was a nice, savory combination of flavors that worked really well. Although I was unsure how it would work, I was sold after the first bite.

Instead of rating this on my normal 1-5 scale, since it’s not a traditional breaded tenderloin sandwich, I’ll just say I’d order it again without hesitation.  Outstanding!

Holly, for her dinner, ordered the chicken bacon chipotle wrap with a side salad featuring their in house made basil vinaigrette.  Everything tasted great, except that she didn’t notice any bacon on the wrap.

For our sides, we chose salads and they, as well, were outstanding!  Not an out of the bag salad, but a healthy portion of real salad. Much appreciated.

I want to give a shout out to our server, Matt!  A personable young man, he was the perfect mix of friendly and professional and was quite capable when we were asking questions about the menu.


Redemption Aleworks is located at 7035 E 96th street in Indy.  You can find them online at www.redemptionaleworks.com and also on Facebook and Twitter.

Broad Ripple Brew Pub, Indianapolis

 

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One of the toughest parts about writing reviews is remaining unbiased, even when I WANT to like a place.  But, I’ve come to realize, perhaps the kindest thing I can do for a restaurant is to be accurate and impartial in a review, so the owners/management can realize they might have a problem and take whatever steps are necessary to fix them, should they so desire.

Broad Ripple Brew Pub has a rich history, and was the first brew pub in Indiana.  Located right across from the Monon Trail, the patio is a great place to sit and watch folks going up and down the Monon.

There’s ample dining inside, spread about several different rooms.

We were meeting friends for dinner, and none of us had ever been here, so thought since it was Indy Tenderloin Week, it’d be a good choice for us.

We had planned to meet at 6:15.  When we arrived shortly after 6PM we were promptly seated.

Then the wait began.  After being seated for 30 minutes, my wife went to the host stand and told them we’d not seen a server, and was told they’d send someone over.

15 more minutes, still no server, another member of our party went to the host stand to tell them we still didn’t have a server.  We were assured someone would be right over.

15 MORE minutes and still no server, another trip to the host stand, and finally, after an hour(!), our server showed up, and said “I’m sorry, I didn’t know this was my table”.

Service was an interesting experience.  We saw other diners arrive after us, order, get their food, finish and leave before we got our food.  We also saw one other table come in, sit, finally get up and leave after not seeing a server. There didn’t seem to be any pattern to what servers were waiting on what tables.

We weren’t off to a good start, but I understand that off nights do happen.  We all ordered our food, got our drinks, and then another wait began. After having been in the restaurant nearly 2 hours, our food arrived.

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The first thing I noticed was that one of my dining partner’s tenderloin was burnt.  Not just dark, but black and crispy around the edges. Mine wasn’t exactly burnt, but certainly well overcooked.  Then I realized it was cold. Not lukewarm, but cold. The meat, the bun, everything, cold. I then did something that I NEVER do–I sent it back.  (I’ve long said I will not send a reviewed sandwich back, I’ll eat it as it’s served, but after waiting 2 hours, by golly, I wanted at least a HOT sandwich.)

They brought my replacement sandwich out, and it was–cold.  At this point, I decided it was best to cut my losses and just eat it so we could leave.  We’d already spent far more time here than anticipated.

The first thing I had to do was cut a significant portion of fat/gristle out of the sandwich.  The sandwich itself–in an attempt to be accurate, the meat was tender and tasty, although a bit on the dry side, and pounded out a bit thin for my liking.  To be fair, it WAS a true tenderloin, not a fritter. The breading was bland and, as mentioned before, far overcooked and burnt around the edges.

Attention to detail was certainly lacking, as the sandwich wasn’t served dressed as I requested.  I requested mayo, ketchup, and onion, and I got lettuce and pickle. However, I WILL say the pub chips I chose as my side order were outstanding.

For her dinner, Holly chose the lemon tahini chicken wrap.  When our order finally arrived and was served to us, Holly’s dish was not what she had ordered.  The person dolling out the food kept saying “Who ordered the chimichurri wrap?” When no one spoke up, the server who took our order asked Holly if she had ordered the chimichurri wrap.  Holly said no – then the server, after a moment of realization, said, “Did you order the lemon tahini chicken wrap?” And Holly answered “Yes I did.” So they quickly swept Holly’s plate back to the kitchen.  A few minutes later, they brought her wrap, and it was basically grilled chicken with romaine, chopped tomato and some kind of red wine vinaigrette dressing. Still not what she ordered, but at this point, after two hours and everyone else eating, she kept it and ate it.

I’m torn on how to rate this sandwich, for it was technically edible–barely.  Based on the sandwich, the service, and the 2 hour wait, I’m going to rate this a 0 out of 5 bites.  It certainly doesn’t merit a return visit, nor a recommendation.


Broad Ripple Brew Pub is located at 842 E 65th street in Indianapolis.  You can find them online at www.broadripplebrewpub.com

 

Update—a response from Broad Ripple Brew Pub

Rick, somebody shared your review of the Broad Ripple Brewpub on Twitter and I just felt the need to reach out to you. My name is Billy Hannan and I’m the GM at the Brewpub and the one who ran your food. Let me apologize for the poor service you got. It was caused by a number of factors including one of the few warm days this year, a lack of available staff, the fact that we were running a Dine to Donate event for Girls Rock and not least of all Tenderloin Week itself. But the biggest problem was an already extremely busy server mishearing your table number and everyone else being too busy to notice at first that you weren’t getting service. In other words, it was probably the worst possible night for anyone to write a review of our restaurant. Had you come in any other evening that we’ve been running the tenderloins as a special – we started on Wednesday, you’d have had a much better experience. I was forced to stop seating customers a one point and finally ended up closing the kitchen two hours early to allow them to catch up. I’ve been running shifts at the Brewpub for over fifteen years and I’ve never had to do that before. I don’t offer this as an excuse, but to let you know that your opinion of the Brewpub is not based on the usual level of service you’re going to get. After all, if we were as terrible as we came across to your group, we wouldn’t have been as full as we were nor would we have survived as a popular destination for the past 28 years. I’ll close by saying I’m truly sorry that you saw us at our worst. Billy Hannan GM

 

O’Reilly’s Irish Bar, Speedway (Indianapolis)

Oreillys

I think I keep up pretty well on the restaurant scene in Indy, but every once in a while I find something I’ve missed and wonder how in the heck I missed it!  O’Reilly’s Irish Bar is such a place.

We had picked another place out for dinner, but pulled up and found they are closed on Mondays, so we went down the street to O’Reilly’s.  

I’m glad we did…I was taken from the start.  It was like stepping into old Ireland. Nicely decorated, pleasant colors, friendly staff, I felt at home from the moment we walked in the door.  A nice mix of music playing…real, traditional Irish jigs and reels with some more modern Irish music thrown in, it was warm and comfortable from the start.

The menu has a nice mix of Irish fare and more traditional Pub fare.  Of course, being in Indiana, a breaded tenderloin features prominently on their menu, as it should.  I was a bit skeptical…the menu says “potato crisp breading” and I wasn’t quite sure how I might like that.

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Turns out…it was absolutely fantastic.  The breading was nice, crispy, and flaky…but not SO flaky it broke off of the sandwich.  Wonderfully seasoned, and the meat was just as good…moist and tender. It had that great combination of textures…the softness of the bun, the crunch of the breading, and the firmness of the meat…that made for a perfect sandwich.  It’s a big, hearty, sandwich that will satisfy the biggest appetites. I give it a 5 out of 5 bites…it stacks up against any in town.

The sandwich comes with a side of fries.  I’d call them good, but not the best I’ve ever had.  I neglected to record the price of the sandwich, but it wasn’t noticeably more or less expensive than any others in town.

For her dinner, Holly chose Peter’s Fish Stew and reports it to be outstanding!  It was chock full of a variety of fish, shrimp, and mussels in a wonderfully flavored broth with fresh spinach and tomatoes.

O’Reilly’s Irish Bar is located at 1552 Main Street in Speedway.  They also have locations in Indianapolis, Greenwood, and Ft Wayne.  You can find them online at https://www.oreillysirishbar.com/  and they also are active on Twitter and Instagram.

1911 Grill, Speedway, Indiana (Indianapolis)

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Recently, we knew we were going to be in Speedway and asked for recommendations on a good tenderloin in town, and were referred to the 1911 Grill.

Honestly, I’m not sure if I’d even heard of this place before, but it came highly recommended so we decided to give it a try.

Located in the recently redeveloped downtown area of Speedway, the 1911 Grill is part of a VERY large complex that includes indoor go carting, banquet rooms and more.

The description on their website says “having an atmosphere much like a warm and welcoming Irish Pub”, and I’d say that’s certainly accurate.  It IS warm and welcoming and we felt comfortable from the moment we stepped in the place.

Our server, Chrystal, was knowledgeable about the menu, and she had a great sense of humor!  She struck a great balance of being friendly yet professional. We perused the menu, and it’s a nice mix of what I would call upscale bar food.

I chose the breaded tenderloin, of course, locally sourced meat and hand made on the premises.  One thing that struck me right off the bat…the sandwich was $10.00 and that included a choice of multiple sides.  Onion Rings are typically my side of choice, and there was no upcharge for that, as there usually is.

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The sandwich itself was quite good!  The meat was nice and moist. The breading had a very nice texture, although, for my personal taste, could have used a bit more seasoning. I’ll readily admit that I like a bit more seasoning than a lot of folks might, so that’s a matter of personal taste.  The sandwich was served dressed as I requested, and the bun was nicely toasted. It struck that balance of being a nice, hearty sandwich but not one so large it left me feeling bloated after. While I wouldn’t call it the best in town, it’s well above average and I’d not hesitate to order it again.  The onion rings were also very good!

For her dinner, Holly decided to take advantage of their Taco Tuesday special – which included three tacos (chicken or beef…hard or soft shell – customer’s choice) with a side of chips, sour cream and salsa for $7.99.  Her original intent was to eat a taco, have a few chips and salsa, and save the rest for later. What she didn’t know until the order arrived is that they are miniature tacos – not full sized ones. This would have been nice to know before placing her order, but certainly not a deal breaker.  The other thing was that the amount of salsa they served compared to the amount of chips. The serving of salsa was about 2 tablespoons of salsa to probably 2 ½ servings of chips. For a lover of salsa like Holly is, this was a disappointment.

The 1911 Grill is located at 1067 Main Street in Speedway, Indiana.  You can find them online at http://www.sikarting.com/restaurant

Barbecue and Bourbon, Speedway, Indiana

Bourbon and BBQ

Barbeque and Bourbon is a family owned restaurant in Speedway, Indiana.    It was founded by Dave Huff, who started catering in 2006 and, quite quickly, became known for his Memphis style, wood smoked BBQ.


Upon entering, it just “looks” like a BBQ joint to me.  Rustic, with lots of wood, it’s a nice combination of looking like it’s thrown together and nicely decorated.  I felt right at home right away.


Service was great!  Our server (Who’s name I neglected to get) was friendly and capable and knew the menu well.  Of course, my mind was made up, I ordered the breaded tenderloin, which I thought was fairly priced at 8.50 with a side of chips and habanero onions.

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This was a fantastic tenderloin!  The meat is moist and tasty, and the breading is wonderfully crispy/crunchy.  The breading itself is nicely seasoned, with just enough seasoning to compliment, instead of overwhelm the taste of the meat.  It was served dressed as I requested.  I believe this one stacks up against any of the best tenderloins in the state, and it’s certainly a 5 out of 5 bites in my book.  Just a word about the habanero onions.  I was unsure of that at first…and considered telling them just to leave them off (they’re a side item) but they’re absolutely fantastic.  I’ll get them again in a heartbeat.

For her lunch, Holly chose a pulled pork sandwich. For Holly, the pulled pork in a restaurant is a good barometer to see how well the restaurant does all of their food.  She’ll often order it if she can’t make a decision on what she wants to get, and then explore other offerings on return visits.  The pulled pork at BBQ and Bourbon is reported to be tender and flavorful, not mushy like some pulled pork can tend to be.  Her favorite part was trying all of the different sauces available.

 

Barbeque and Bourbon is located at 1414 Main Street in Speedway, Indiana.  You can find them online at www.barbecueandbourbon.com

The Coachman, Plainfield, Indiana

Coachman-Waterfront

The Coachman is a place I was familiar with, but had never visited. It’s in Plainfield, which, even though I’d consider it the Indy larger metro area, it’s a LONG way from home for us.

Plainfield was hosting the Indiana Optimist Club South District 1st quarter convention, and our Friday night fellowship dinner was there, and we were fortunate enough to be able to attend.

It’s a big, sprawling restaurant with a number of different dining rooms. It’s conveniently located right off of Interstate 70 and State Road 267, so it’s fairly easy to get to. It’s locally owned, by Plainfield residents, a huge plus in our book.

We had a group of 25 or so folks, but our server, Rhonda, and a couple of helpers did a GREAT job of serving a fairly large group that pretty much all showed up at once. (And, yes, we did let the restaurant know that we were coming).

The menu is quite large, and no matter what your taste, I’m pretty sure you’ll find something you’ll like there.

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We don’t do appetizers real often, but we thought we’d start off with an order of fried Calamari. It was very good! The breading was light and crispy, and the flavor wasn’t overwhelming. For 7.99, I thought it was a very generous serving and certainly enough for the both of us.

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For my dinner, I chose the center cut tenderloin. I was a little suspect when I saw the price…7.99…that it might be a tiny sandwich. As you can see, this isn’t the case! Hand breaded, it’s a nice, hearty sandwich that’s not so big to be overwhelming. The breading is light and flaky, and not coated on so thickly as to overwhelm the texture of the meat. The meat was tender and moist. The lightly seasoned breading and the superior meat made it a great combination. This was one of the best tenderloin I’ve had in a LONG time. It’s certainly 5 out of 5 bites. It stacks up against any of the best in Indy.

For my side, I chose onion rings, for the modest upcharge of 99 cents. They were good onion rings, but fell short of being GREAT onion rings.

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For her dinner, Holly chose the light portion hand breaded cod dinner, which came with salad and one side. The breading on the cod was thin and crunchy, and complemented the fish nicely. The salad included house made croutons, which was a nice touch.

All in all, this was an absolutely stellar experience. The food and service were fantastic, and even though it’s a long way from home, we’ll certainly return!


The coachman is located at 6112 Cambridge Way in Plainfield, Indiana. You can find them online at http://www.thecoachmanrestaurant.com