Stepping into the Red Key is like stepping back in history for more than a few years. Rules are posted on the side of the beer cooler…no tipping your chairs back, the backs of your chairs are NOT to hang your coat on…that is what the coat rack is for. (I had to learn this the hard way…twice!!!!)
But the staff is friendly and cordial, the atmosphere is casual, the service is extraordinary, and the prices are reasonable.
The Red Key is famed for it’s cheesburgers, which is what Holly ordered, but I was there to sample their breaded tenderloin.
This is not a paper thin, pounded out piece of meat. This is an ample portion of firm, fresh, tenderloin, with a light breading, tasty and non-greasy. The buns are toasted and the sandwich is served fresh and hot, so one might consider waiting a minute or two to take a bite.
This sandwich has one of the lightest coats of breading that I’ve ever seen, which is a good thing. The flavor of the meat really shines through, and the breading is only a compliment to that taste. This is the way a breaded tenderloin SHOULD be…the breading complimenting the taste of the meat, not the other way around. The bun was toasted to perfection, and all condiments are served on the side, so you can add them as heavy or as light as you wish.
Don’t expect to get fries or onion rings at the Red Key…they serve neither. For sides, you get homemade potato salad (while it lasts), cottage cheese, or chips. That’s it, don’t ask for anything else.
The tenderloin was tasty and filling. Light, not greasy, and it didn’t get soggy through the course of the meal. On my rating system of 5 bites being perfect, I’m giving the Red Key breaded tenderloin a 4 out of 5 bites.
The Red Key is located on College Avenue, just south of 52nd street, in Indianapolis.