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

 

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Drake’s, Indianapolis

drakes

Drakes is a bar/lounge/restaurant on the north side of Indianapolis, in the Keystone at the Crossing area.

It’s a fairly upscale place, located in a strip mall that’s a mix of other restaurants and retail stores.  They actually have a dress code after a certain time. (9PM if I recall correctly)

We’d been on the road pretty much all day, playing 2 gigs in 2 separate towns, and were tired and hungry, and were looking for a place to relax and have dinner before heading home.

Perusing their menu, the have quite a few sushi choices on their menu (Which we didn’t recall from our first visit there), traditional pub fare, and a few surprises.

I mentioned to our waitress that I was disappointed there wasn’t a breaded tenderloin on the menu, and she told me it was on their special Oktoberfest menu and got that menu for me.

Being Oktoberfest, this is a German influenced tenderloin…and not quite traditional.  The menu description says “Fresh, never frozen pork, hand breaded and golden fried, on a toasted pretzel roll with caramelized onions, iceberg slaw, parmesan-garlic mayo and pickle chips”.

Regular readers will know that I’m a traditionalist…I like traditional, Indiana tenderloins without a lot of fancy fixings, but…this looked intriguing, so I decided to give it a try.

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The breading is quite good…and quite peppery.  Personally, I liked that a lot.  I believe the abundance of pepper is part of the German influence.  In SE Indiana, every tenderloin I’ve had in a German restaurant has been very peppery.  If you’re a fan of pepper, you’ll likely like It, too.  If pepper is not your thing…you might want to pass on this one.  The caramelized onions were a nice twist on traditional onion slices.  The iceberg slaw and parmesan-garlic mayo gave yet another layer of texture and flavor.

Since this is a non-traditional sandwich, I’m not going to rate it on my standard 1-5 scale.  Instead, I’m going to say it was very good.  Would I order it again?  If I were looking for something a little different, absolutely, I would.  I wouldn’t want one every day, still…it was a really nice change of pace.  If you’re a bit more adventurous about your tenderloins, I believe you’ll be quite happy, indeed, with this sandwich.

This sandwich is priced at 13.00 and that includes your choice of sides.  I chose the house made, crinkle cut fries and they were simply outstanding.

For her dinner, Holly chose the Sushi of the Month special, which was a Spicy Tuna Poke Bowl.  Having never tried this before, neither one of us knew much about it.  But after a little bit of research and information from our waitress, Holly thought she would give it a try…and boy, was she glad she did!  A poke (pronounced PO-kay) bowl can be accurately described as deconstructed sushi.  Take all the components of your favorite sushi roll, unwrap it, put it in a bowl, and you’ve got poke.  This particular offering had fresh (flown in the same day) yellowfin tuna tossed with citrus ponzu sauce, sushi rice, pickled radish and carrot, avocado, wasabi mayo, Sriracha, fresh jalapeno, wakame and toasted macadamia nuts. It was incredibly fresh and flavorful, and Holly reports that she would not hesitate to order it again!


Drakes is located at 3740 E 82nd Street in Indianapolis.  You can find them online at http://drakescomeplay.com/category/drakes-indianapolis/

Scotty’s Brewhouse, Southport. (Indianapolis)

Scottys South

Scotty’s Brewhouse is a Central Indiana institution.  Scott Wise opened his first restaurant in 1996, when he was just 22 years old.  His story is certainly worth reading on their website, http://www.scottysbrewhouse.com.  I’ll just say I’m fond of his business model, community involvement, and his commitment to hiring folks with disabilities.  There are several of his brand around, and we always enjoy the chance to visit.

They menu is fairly typical bar/gastropub fare…burgers, sandwiches, and the like, with more than a few surprises thrown in.  I’m a HUGE fan of their burgers, but a visit to their northside location a several years ago left with a less than stellar impression of their breaded tenderloin, so I decided to concentrate on their burgers from there on out.

However, we were meeting a friend (and fellow geocacher) for dinner in Southport last week, and I saw a hand breaded tenderloin on the menu.  I thought to myself “This looks promising”, and when I questioned our server, she affirmed that it was, indeed, hand breaded in house.  With that piece of info, I opted to give it a try.

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As you can see, it is indeed hand breaded!  The seasoning has just a touch of a kick to it…enough to give it a very good flavor, but not enough to overwhelm the flavor of the meat.  The meat itself was tender and moist.  While not the absolute BEST tenderloin piece of meat I’ve ever had, combined with the tasty breading, it is certainly well above average.  On my scale of 1-5 bites, I’ll give the Southport Scotty’s Brewhouse a 4 out of 5 bites…very good indeed, and one of the better tenderloins on the south side of Indy.

The sandwich was served as I requested, although I’d have preferred a bit more onion…but that’s a minor detail.  the waffle fries were very tasty indeed, and I’d recommend them as a side dish.
Scotty’s Brewhouse can be found online at http://www.scottysbrewhouse.com  and also on Facebook and Twitter.

Foxgardin Family, Fishers, Indiana

FoxGardin Outside

Foxgardin Family is a fairly new restaurant/family pub in the Geist area of Indianapolis. This is the 2nd Foxgardin restaurant  (that I’m aware of, anyway) , the first being in Holly’s hometown of Fortville, Indiana.

The decor is kind of industrial looking to me…some open metal, hard floors, and chrome/steel.  It’s appealing, but it’s also VERY loud.  For me…I found it a bit distracting. It was tough to carry on a conversation with sound bouncing all over every hard surface.

Our server was prompt and friendly, and service was quite good.  The menu has some interesting choices…from a pork ribeye to a fried bologna sandwich.  Something tells me this isn’t your grandma’s fried balogna, but I’d give it a try.

We chose some appetizers this evening, and went with the fried calamari.  It was simply OUTSTANDING.  We’d not hesitate to order this again!

Of, course, for my dinner I chose the Midwest Tenderloin.  I think it’s a bit pricey, at $9.00 without any sides.  Fries, which I opted not to order, will set you back another $2.00.

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Honestly?  I was pretty disappointed in the sandwich.  As you can see, it’s not very large.  Those who know  me know that I believe bigger is NOT always better, but it didn’t appear that this had been pounded at all.  To me it seemed more like a breaded pork chop than a breaded tenderloin….and there IS a difference.  The meat was tasty, and the breading was fine,  although could have used some more seasoning.  I did have an issue with the bun…it was absolutely burnt.  Were it my restaurant, I’d have been livid if something like that came out of my kitchen.

All said….I’ll give the sandwich a 2 out of 5 stars.  It was edible, but I wouldn’t order it again.

For her dinner, Holly chose the fish tacos, and was very pleased with them.  The roasted salsa and chimichurri sauce made them extra special.

All in all, even though the tenderloin was less than stellar, it was a very positive experience.  We’ll certainly return…and I can’t wait to try the fried balogna sandwich!
FoxGardin Family is located at 10410 Olio Road.  You can find them online at Foxgardinfam.com

 

 

Big Daddy’s Bar and Grill, Indianapolis

Big Daddy's

I’ve heard of Big Daddy’s a few times, but had never had a chance to visit.  It’s not close t home  (I’m on the far north side, and it’s on the south side), but on this particular day, I was meeting my good friend  (and fellow musician) Larry Wayt to visit Ping’s Music on the south side of Indy  (BTW…if you’re looking for a music store, I HIGHLY recommend Ping’s Music) so it was the perfect place for us to meet for lunch.

Big Daddy’s is HUGE.  I was kind of amazed just how big it was on the inside.  And it was PACKED.  Even though it was hopping…there was hardly an empty seat in the house…our service was prompt and friendly.

Big Daddy’s has a very full menu, of pretty typical bar food…sandwiches, burgers, pizza, a steak or two, and a few salads.  Pretty much everything is made fresh in house, and it shows.

I chose, of course, the breaded tenderloin.

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I’m not really sure you can tell by the picture, but this sandwich is HUGE.  Honestly, I was suspect, because I’m from the school of thought that bigger isn’t always better.  I’m always suspect when I ask a server how their tenderloin is, and they reply with “It’s big!!”.  I didn’t ask how big it was…I asked how was it.

But I digress.  This is one fantastic tenderloin.  Hand cut and breaded, the meat is tender and moist, and it had the perfect amount of breading.  Just enough to compliment the flavor of the meat without overwhelming it.  In addition, the breading had a nice seasoning to it, which only added to an already outstanding sandwich.

So, how big was it?  I couldn’t finish it…and that, my friends, is a REAL rarity.  How do I rate it?  It’s a 5 out of 5, no doubt about it.

I was unable to find a website for Big Daddy’s, but they do have a Facebook page.  They’re located at 2536 S Meridian Street in Indianapolis.

 

Four Day Ray Brewing, Fishers, Indiana

 

FDRI’d heard a lot about Four Day Ray, but had not had the opportunity to visit.  When my friend  (and fellow comedian) Jim Burrows suggested we meet for lunch in Fishers, I chose this place, and I’m glad I did!

Many of you know I’m a railroad buff, and the name Four Day Ray comes from the nickname of a railroad worker who called off work one day a week.  Located in the Nickel Plate district, it has a bit of an industrial feel, without being overwhelming.  It’s a fun place, and it brings to mind the saying “Work hard, play hard”.  It’s a great place to escape the world for a while, unwind, enjoy a meal and/or drink.

The staff is friendly and helpful, as well as professional.  Our server, who’s name I neglected to get, was helpful and answered our questions, proving he was knowledgeable about the menu.

Speaking of the menu, it’s huge!  there’s something for everyone’s taste here.  Burgers, tacos,  steaks and more.

I’d heard good things about their tenderloin, and I had already made up my mind.  Hand breaded and prepared in house, I gave it a try.  I wasn’t disappointed.

Ray tenderloin

As you can see from the picture, this is a large sandwich!  But it’s not all about size…honestly, this is one of the very best tenderloins I’ve ever had.  It was done to perfection.  The breading is light and crispy, and holds it’s crispness throughout the life of the sandwich.  The meat is tender and moist, and there are those distinct layers of texture that are the bun, breading, and meat that make the difference between a good sandwich and a GREAT sandwich.  At 12 bucks  (with fries) it’s a tad more expensive than some others in the area, but, trust me on this…it’s worth it.  This one is a 5 out of 5 bites, and I’m putting it in my personal tenderloin hall of fame.

Four Day Ray is located at 11671 Lantern Road in Fishers, Indiana.  You can find them online at http://www.fourdayray.com  and also on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Smee’s Place, Indianapolis

 

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Smee’s Place is a pub/restaurant at 86th and Ditch in Indy that I’d heard about, but not visited.  

It’s located in a strip mall that isn’t real visible from 86th street, so it’s not a place one is likely to stumble upon…I suspect the vast majority of their business comes from word of mouth, as opposed to folks seeing it and dropping in.

We were meeting our friend Richard for supper to talk about an upcoming project, and he was actually the one who suggested it, otherwise, I’m not sure we would’ve stopped there.  It’s in a part of town we don’t frequent much (even though it’s pretty close to home).

I really liked the vibe from the minute I stepped in the door.  Lots and lots of woodwork, nice lighting level, and even though it got crowded as the evening went on, the noise level was perfect for carrying on a conversation without feeling like I was straining to hear.

The menu is what I would call “upscale pub”…many of their sandwiches and dishes have a bit of a twist to them.   On their website, they proclaim “Fresh food and a friendly atmosphere” and that is spot on.  From the hostess to the server, everyone was friendly and professional.

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I chose the hand breaded tenderloin.  It’s served on a brioche bun, and although I’m not a huge fan of “fancy” buns, I’ll say this one was really good and complimented the sandwich perfectly.

From the first bite, I was impressed with this sandwich.  The meat was nice and tender, and the breading was, again, the perfect complement to the meat.  Nice and crisp, it was appropriately seasoned, and didn’t overwhelm the taste of the meat.

In addition, I really liked the size of this sandwich.  It was enough for a hearty meal, but not so huge as to be overwhelming.  I’m giving this sandwich a 5 out of 5 bites, no question about it.  The price is right, also – $8.95 with a side of fries.

For her dinner, Holly chose the fish tacos.  They are served with a generous serving of Basa, shredded lettuce, and diced tomato.  The fish is grilled, not fried – which is exactly what she wanted.  Fish tacos are often Holly’s “go-to” dish on any menu and for the price of $14.95, she was anticipating the best fish tacos she’d ever tasted.  She reports them to be good, and filling – but not stellar.  When we go back to Smee’s, she will definitely try something else on the menu.  That being said, she HIGHLY RECOMMENDS the lemon rum cake!

Smee’s Place is located at 86th and Ditch.  You can find them online at www.smeesplace.com