The top 3 out of the first 100!

Recently, a commenter on here suggested, that, since I’ve completed my first 100 reviews, I post my top 5 of the first 100.  I’m going to cut it down even further, and post my top three.

I’m going to qualify this a bit.  I believe these are the top 3 tenderloins in Indy (out of those I’ve tried, anyway).  These all have 5/5 ratings, but they’re all a bit different.  In addition to the tenderloins being different, all three venues are different, so I’m going to talk a bit about each specific venue.

Please note that I am putting these in alphabetical order.  They’re ALL outstanding and I really can’t rate one over the other.

The Aristocrat.  For those who don’t know, the Aristocrat recently suffered a devastating fire, but they are rebuilding and are slated to re-open in the spring of 2012.

The Aristocrat has long been one of my favorite restaurants in Indy.  It’s a nice, non smoking pub that features live music on an irregular basis.  There is bar and dining room seating, as well as a delightful atmosphere.  Service has always been outstanding, and I can honestly say I’ve never even been the slight bit disappointed there.  These folks have been around for years, and they know what they’re doing.  If you’re not a tenderloin fan, there are plenty of other options on the menu, from burgers to steaks to salads and just about everything in between.  They also have a Sunday Brunch that folks rave about, but I’ve not tried it myself.

You can see the original Aristocrat review at:

C. R. Heroe’s Family Pub.  I’m not sure, but I believe C R Heroe’s was one of the first to bring the “family pub” concept to the area, and it’s served them well.  No matter what age you are, you can have fun and a great meal here.  The restaurant is nicely decorated, the staff is friendly, and the portions are ample.  A couple of things to try:  the garlic mayo…I wasn’t so sure about it, but, WOW…that is some good stuff.  Also, the Italian Beef sandwich is, according to those in the know, the best around.  It’s also a very good place to watch a ball game, and they always have something special going on there.
You can see the original C. R. Heroe’s review at:

Jimmy B’s.  Jimmy B’s is the place where it all started.  If you’re looking for classy dining, let me tell you right off…this isn’t the place for you.  But if you’re looking for the quintessential neighborhood bar…with good food….you won’t go wrong here.  It’s 21 and over, and smoker friendly, but if you go during off peak hours you’ll be OK.  The tenderloin has to be eaten to be believed, the burgers are quite good, and Holly raves about the chicken quesadillas.  The waffle fries are perfect, and it’s one of the best places in town to people watch.
You can see the latest original Jimmy B’s review at:

And, there you have it – my top 3 out of my first 100 reviews.  Stay tuned for number 101!


Review #100! Nick’s Kitchen, Huntington, Indiana

Well, here it is.  Review number 100.  100 tenderloins since I started this journey.

It’s been a great 100.  I’ve been interviewed by some podcasts, magazines, radio stations, and more, and have enjoyed every minute of it.  And I look forward to the next 100!

When I was approaching number 100, there really was no question as to where I wanted to go.  Nick’s Kitchen in Huntington, Indiana, is the generally accepted home of the breaded tenderloin (although a couple of other places argue that claim), so off to Huntington we went.

If you want to read a bit about the restaurant and history, you can go to

Nick’s is your typical small town diner.  I was struck upon entering just how sparkling clean it was…it looked like everything had been freshly scrubbed and clean. The walls have dozens, if not more, pictures of local history.  This being Dan Quayle’s hometown, there are many photos of him, including a couple of him at Nick’s, where he announced his candidacy. While we were there we heard someone ask the waitress “Do you remember when Danny Quayle was here??”…

One thing I’ve found out about tenderloins in doing these reviews is how loyal folks are to them.  I’ve had views from all over the world, both from transplanted Hoosiers and from folks who have either had a tenderloin while passing through, or who have heard about them from relatives or friends here.  Nick’s menu says the same…and they SHIP their tenderloins, all over the world!  Yes, we tenderloin lovers are passionate.

Nick’s menu has pretty much standard diner fare, with a few exceptions.  Goulash was the lunch special yesterday, and Holly had something I’m not sure I’ve ever seen on a diner menu, but more about that later.


Of course, I chose the breaded tenderloin.  This was what I had driven 90 minutes for, to have the one that “started it all”, as the menu says.

Well…as you can tell by the picture…it might as well have been a pre-processed fritter.  Matter of fact, I’m not sure it wasn’t! But, to be fair, I’m not sure it was, either.  We’ll just stick with it looked and tasted like a fritter and let you all make your own judgement. Being a devoted tenderloin connoisseur….about all I can say about it is that it was edible.  The bun WAS nicely toasted and it was dressed as I requested…but that’s pretty much it.  I’m going to give Nick’s breaded tenderloin a 1 out of 5 bites.  Just edible.

The onion rings were OUTSTANDING and I wouldn’t hesitate to get them again.

Holly had a Portabella Po’ Boy.  Gotta love fried mushrooms!  These were big strips of portabella fried to a golden brown and served on a toasted bun.  That much alone sounded delicious. Although it was advertised to have “roasted red peppers, lettuce, and Italian dressing”, it arrived differently. She requested no lettuce and the dressing on the side, which they got right.  But the red peppers were not roasted – they were raw.  And the mushrooms were covered with shredded cheese. The menu said nothing about shredded cheese on the sandwich.  Had she known that it came with cheese she would have ordered that on the side as well. She said that even though it was not quite what she expected, it was still tasty.  However, she observed freshly formed hamburger patties being constructed in the kitchen (which is fully visible from the dining room), and decided that when they visit Nick’s again, she would definitely order one of those!

If you go to Nick’s and Sugar Cream Pie is on the menu for the day, do NOT hesitate to order it.
I would turn around right now and drive and hour and a half for another piece of that truly WAS that good, and they’re made in house.

All in all…Nick’s was a good experience.  We’d certainly go back, I just wouldn’t order the tenderloin again. 🙂

Nick’s is located at 506 N Jefferson in Huntington, Indiana

The Sinking Ship, Indianapolis

The Sinking Ship is a place I’ve heard a quite a bit about for a few months now, and I figured the only way to find out if they were the real deal or just so much hype was to go find out for myself!

I gotta say, it takes guts to name your establishment after a lost cause…so kudos to the owners for doing this!

The decor is what I would call “funky”.  All kinds of art on the walls, exposed pipes and vents in the ceiling, it made me feel like I was stepping back into the 70’s….and I liked it.  And the owner gets even more kudos because it’s LOCAL art.

The menu was VERY eclectic and diverse.  If you go and aren’t sure what you want, plan on spending a few minutes perusing the menu, for there’s some for just about every taste.

We chose an appetizer, a Korean noodle dish called dukboki.  I have to admit I was skeptical when Holly ordered these….I said “I’ll try one” but in my mind I thought “I’m not going to like these”.  Folks, these were over the top outstanding.  They had the PERFECT mix of heat and flavor…without one overpowering the other.  I HIGHLY recommend these.

Of course, I chose the breaded tenderloin for my meal.  It’s billed as “Indy’s Worst Tenderloin”…again, a move that is either crazy or a sign of genius…and, in this case, a little bit of both.

The breading, while not quite traditional, is very, very good.  Nice and crispy, flavorful, and, most importantly, it holds its crunch throughout the life of the sandwich…not a hint of sogginess here!  The breading is certainly a 5/5.

The meat itself is quite flavorful, however, I WILL say it was just a touch on the dry side.  Not a lot, but enough to fall short of perfect.  The taste was outstanding and it was nice and tender, though…so not a MAJOR shortcoming.  When I took my first bite, the meat was a bit thinner than I prefer, but it was thicker on the other side of the sandwich.  That, my friends, is the true mark of a hand-pounded, hand breaded sandwich…not something pressed in a factory.

The bun, again, was OUTSTANDING.  Perfectly toasted, and the perfect complement to an already fine sandwich.  I’m going to give The Sinking Ship’s breaded tenderloin a 4.5 out of 5 bites…only the dryness of the meat made if fall short of perfection.

For my side, I had tater tots and they were perfectly crisp and tasty.  I don’t know why more restaurants don’t offer this option as a side!

For her meal, Holly chose a half sandwich and soup combo – ½ grilled provolone on rye and a cup of homemade vegan chili.  She said they were quite tasty.  Along with her meal, she had a Founders Holiday Stout, which she also enjoyed.

The Sinking Ship is located at 4923 N College in Indianapolis, and you can find them online at  It is a 21 and over, smoker friendly venue.