Recently, the Tenderloin Connoisseur put a call out to his friends to visit one of their local restaurants and try its version of a tenderloin and report back. I meant to take up this challenge earlier, but other events in our life seemed to get in the way. However, this past week my wife, Wendi, and I decided to have an evening out and visited The Mill House in Jasper, IN.
The Carey Tavern is a place we must have driven by dozens of times, but never at meal time. We did have the opportunity to be there a few weeks ago for a Karaoke contest, but it was 10 PM and that’s pretty much past my bedtime, let alone meal time. But I liked the atmosphere so we decided to go up for supper.
This review kind of came by accident…we were headed to Westfield to do a review on another pub, only to find out it’s gone out of business, and since the Carey Tavern is just down the road, we decided to give it a try.
Unlike a few of the other pubs I’ve reviewed in the past, the Carey tavern is smaller than it looks from the outside. There’s a dining area, a medium sized bar, a couple of pool tables and game machines, and that’s about it.
Their menu is not as extensive as some of the sports bars/pubs in the area, but they have number of selections to fit most any appetite. While perusing the sandwiches, I saw a tenderloin, offered either “hand breaded” or grilled. Of course, it was a no brainer…a hand breaded tenderloin it was!
The sandwich is certainly hand breaded, and I’d say hand cut, also. The breading is really outstanding! It’s got a taste in it that I couldn’t quite define, but it adds a very nice punch to the breading. Holly suggested it might be seasoned salt, and it very well might be, but whatever it is, it’s fantastic. Among the best I’ve had.
Although this doesn’t LOOK like a large sandwich, it’s VERY thick. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but in this instance it might have been just a bit TOO thick. The meat was nice and moist, but it was just a wee bit tough. A bit of pounding would’ve put this sandwich over the top. Also, we encountered a very small bit of gristle in the sandwich. Not much, but enough to throw the score off.
The bun was nicely toasted, and the sandwich was served dressed exactly as I requested it. I’m going to give the Carey tavern’s breaded tenderloin sandwich a 4 out of 5, certainly above average. With just a bit of tweaking, it’d be right up there with the best in town.
The sandwich comes with your choice of sides, and I chose the onion rings. I’m VERY glad I did, they were AWESOME. If you’re an onion ring fan, don’t miss these.
For her dinner, Holly chose the grilled tilapia sandwich with a side of fries. She reported the fries to be average, but the sandwich was stellar! It was dressed just as she requested, and was one of the best grilled tilapia sandwiches she’d ever had.
There are a couple of things that detracted from our experience as a whole, though. First of all, the music was loud. I don’t mean a little high, I mean one can barely hear oneself think and it made it a bit difficult to carry on a conversation.
Secondly, it’s a smoking restaurant. I’ve got no problem with smoking restaurants, as long as they have a decent ventilation system, but between cigarette and cigar smoke, there was a cloud that just hung in the room. Although the food was very good, the loud music and the extremely smoky conditions made for a less than optimal dining experience.
The Carey tavern is located at 17419 Carey Road in Westfield, Indiana. I was unable to find a web page for them, but they do have a page on Facebook.
The Oaken Barrel in Greenwood is a place I’ve been aware of for quite some time now. It seems to be quite popular, but it seems we rarely find ourselves in Greenwood with any time to spare. This week gave us the opportunity to stop and enjoy a relaxing dinner before taking care of some business in the area.
The restaurant is nicely decorated with posters, prints, and I would call it “pleasantly busy”. There is plenty of stuff to look it, yet not so much that it’s distracting.
It’s the same with TVs. There are a few scattered around, but there are ample places to sit and enjoy a conversation without being in sight of a TV. I appreciate this!
The menu is quite varied, with everything from burgers to pizza to steak and much more. And, if you are a beer fan, there are a number of different options available for you.
I wasn’t sure if they even offered a breaded tenderloin, but since they were on the way to where we were going, I decided to give them a try. I saw one on the menu, and asked the waitress “how is your breaded tenderloin” and…this is the FIRST time this has happened….she said “It’s NOT a fritter”. So…of course, this is what I ordered!
The meat itself is VERY good! Tender and moist, with a very nice flavor. Perhaps not the VERY best I’ve tasted, but it certainly ranks up there with the top.
The breading, although very good, leaves a little something to be desired. Yes, it’s good, VERY good. But it is lacking that little extra “oomph” that takes it over the top.
That said, it’s a VERY good sandwich, that falls just shy of the 5/5 rating that is breaded heaven. The bun is nicely toasted, it was served dressed exactly as I requested, and it’s well above average. I’m going to give it a 4 out of 5 bites, which means that it’s well above average, and I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to order it again on my next stop…and we will certainly be back!
The french fries were among the best I’ve ever had. Beer battered and done perfectly, you won’t go wrong with them. Holly chose the broiled seafood platter,which consisted of tilapia, shrimp,and scallops, and raved about how good that was.
Our dinner at the Oaken Barrel was a great experience. It’s one of those restaurants that we’ll make a point to go to again. Oaken Barrel is located at 50 N Airport Parkway in Greenwood, or you can find them online at http://www.oakenbarrel.com
I’ve been vaguely aware of Bubbaz Bar and Grill in the past, having driven by it a time our two.
This week, we had the chance to meet our friend Richard Propes for dinner, and this seemed like a good choice, as it was near his office, and we wanted an early dinner so we’d have some time to prepare for a weekend trip.
Bubbaz has a few locations around town, we chose the one on North Shadeland avenue. Upon walking in, I thought “this is bigger than it looks like!!”. There are 3 somewhat distinct areas…the bar, a small dining area, and then in the back an area with pool tables and dart boards. There are TVs turned to sports channels all around, but the volume was turned down fairly low, so carrying on a normal conversation wasn’t a problem at all.
I’m going to say, right off, I was surprised at how pleasant the atmosphere was here. Fancy? no. Elite? Oh, HECK no. Run down and a dive? Not exactly. For me, it hit the perfect blend of dive bar and pleasant. There were folks at the bar having a drink and chatting, and a few folks shooting pool, and we were able to sit and visit with a dear friend in a friendly, neighborhood atmosphere.
I saw on the menu that their tenderloins were served either grilled or breaded, a good sign, so I asked our waitress “Is it a frozen pork fritter, or a REAL tenderloin?”, and she replied…”It IS frozen, but it’s NOT a fritter”.
So I ordered it, not holding out much hope. I full expected to get a pre-made fritter. As you can see, this looks like a hand breaded, fresh tenderloin.
Let’s face it…nothing beats a fresh tenderloin, pounded and breaded on the spot. But I was pleasantly surprised at just how good this frozen tenderloin was. The breading was nice and crunchy, the meat, while not what I would call outstanding, was pretty darn good. The bun was nicely toasted, and they weren’t selfish with their condiments… I got plenty of onions, as is my preference. I’m probably a bit generous here, but I’m going to give this a 4 out of 5 bites. It’s not the best in town, but it’s far better than what many restaurants pass off as a breaded tenderloin. It’s above average and I wouldn’t hesitate to get it again. I did neglect to get the price, but it was around $8.00 with fries (although I chose onion rings), pretty much in line with the rest of the tenderloins in town.
Holly chose the wings, and they were VERY good, and the french fries were WAY above average.
However, we did have a bit of a disappointment in our visit. After we finished our meal, we sat and visited for a bit…not a long time, but we did linger. Our drinks sat empty. When our waitress finally asked if we were ready for our check she brought it, and we waited. And waited. And waited…and finally gave up and went up to the bar to pay. The service before and during the meal was very good…but after the meal it was substandard. Hopefully it’ll be better next time.
Speaking of our friend Richard Propes, he is also a blogger and reviewer. Please take a moment and check out his site…and reviews..at http://thegimpgoesshopping.wordpress.com.
Bubbaz is located at 7526 N Shadeland in Indianapolis.
We had some errands to run, and were looking for some place for supper, and drove right by it..and decided to turn in.
Part sports bar, part family restaurant, Casler’s has the potential to try to do too many things at once, ultimately failing at all of them…but kudos to Casler’s…they do it and they do it well.
It’s a very comfortable atmosphere, and whether you’re a sports fan, live music fan, or want a nice dinner with your family, you’ll feel welcome here.
I honestly wasn’t sure if they had a breaded tenderloin or not…..but they advertise a hand cut tenderloin on their menu, offering it either breaded or grilled. I chose the breaded…of course. :)
It’s a nice sized sandwich, pounded just a little thinner than I prefer, but not paper thin. The meat, while not outstanding in flavor, is certainly above average.
The breading is really good…the texture is a little different than what I’m used to, but I liked it quite a lot. I’m not sure exactly what’s IN the breading, but it works and works well.
They brought the sandwich dressed just as I requested, however….they skimped on the onion. Two little rings. When we say we want onions, we want onions! :)
The sandwich is served on an egg bun that is really, really good! It’s a different taste/texture than the standard bun, and with this sandwich, it worked very, very well.
I’m giving Casler’s breaded tenderloin a 4 out of 5 bites. It’s not perfect, but it’s well above average and I’ll certainly order it again when I’m there.
As a nice change of pace, they offer tater tots as a side…and, oh my, they were VERY good!
Holly had the steak dinner special…a sirloin steak, grilled veggies, and mashed potatoes for $8.99. She pronounced that dinner “Fantastic”.
Casler’s is located at 11501 Geist Pavilion Drive in Fishers, Indiana. You can find them online at http://www.caslers.com
John’s Famous Stew is famous for…yes, you guessed it, stew. It’s one of those largely undiscovered treasures in Indianapolis that thrives in spite of a less than ideal location, and seemingly no advertising except for word of mouth. They do a thriving lunch and dinner business, and you simply can’t go wrong with a visit there.
Even though they’re famous for stew, they have several other options on the menu as well…one of them being a hand breaded tenderloin. I’ve been meaning to get down and try one for quite some time now, but haven’t had the chance. On this particular day, I was meeting my dear friend Dean Phelps for a long delayed lunch, and picked John’s partly because I wanted to try the tenderloin, and partly because Dean had never been there.
The lunchtime crowd was a nice mix of business people and blue collar workers, kind of like the great melting pot of near downtown Indy. That’s what their menu is like also…although it prominently features stew, there’s a little bit of everything else on the menu.
I only perused the rest of the menu, as I was there for the tenderloin.
And it’s a pretty darn fine tenderloin indeed. The meat is tasty, tender, and moist, and the breading is nice and crunchy. One of the signs of a really good tenderloin is whether the breading gets soggy during the end of the sandwich. I took longer to eat this sandwich than most, due to the fact that when Dean and I start conversing, we usually talk a long time…and I’m happy to report that the breading stayed nice and crispy to the very end.
The bun was very nicely toasted….I prefer my buns toasted perhaps a bit more than a lot of folks, and this one certainly fit the bill…and our friendly waitress paid attention to how I wanted my sandwich dressed…a big tip ‘o the hat to her for being attentive!!
I’d really, really, really like to give this tenderloin a 5 out of 5, but I can’t. Why? Because it was simply pounded out too thin for my tastes. As I’ve said before, when a sandwich is too thin, it makes it hard to distinguish between the textures of the breading and the meat, and, for me, that was the case here. However, that’s the ONLY thing that keeps it from being a 5 start tenderloin.
That said…it still was a VERY good sandwich. I’m going to give it a 4 out of 5, which means that I certainly would drive all the way down there for it…and it’s no short trip from my house. And the entire experience….waitress, atmosphere, everything else on the menu…makes John’s Famous Stew a must visit, whether you’re a local or a visitor to town.
John’s Famous Stew is located at 1146 Kentucky Avenue in Indianapolis. You can visit their website at http://www.indysfamousstew.com