K’s Restaurant, Brookville Ohio

We’ve found ourselves in Brookville, Ohio a couple of times recently.  We’d already dined at Rob’s, the other local institution in town, so we decided to give K’s a try on this trip through.

K’s is in an old bank, and their slogan is “food you can bank on”.   They’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday through Friday, and Breakfast and lunch only on Saturday and Sunday.

Knowing they were known for home cooking, I was looking for something like meatloaf.  But when I saw a breaded tenderloin featured prominently on the front page of their menu, I knew I had it to try it.

The menu says they are hand cut, dipped in milk then breaded in cracker meal.

Upon receiving my sandwich, it certainly looked tasty, and hand breaded.

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Although it’s not a bad sandwich, it’s not a true breaded tenderloin.  It appears to be a breaded pork chop, and there is a bit of a difference.  The meat was firm  (because it’d not been pounded), a little too firm for my liking.  It was nice and thick, but not TOO thick, but I’d preferred it to have been pounded out just a bit.  The meat had a good flavor, but the breading was quite bland.  I liked the texture, but some seasoning would’ve made it a good, instead of just an average sandwich.  I’ll give it 2.5 out of 5 bites.

The fries–fresh cut–were simply outstanding.  Some of the best fries I’ve ever had.

For her meal, Holly had the chopped steak dinner.  She reports the meal to be very plain and simple – if you are looking for a truly down home comfort food meal, this will fit the bill perfectly.

In the interest of healthy eating, we seldom splurge these days, but because they claim to be famous for their pies, we decided to have a piece of sugar cream pie.  The pie was simply amazing–we’d certainly not hesitate to order it again.

K’s restaurant is located at 485 Arlington Road in Brookville, Ohio.  I couldn’t locate a web site for them, but they do have a Facebook page.

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Tried and True Alehouse, Indianapolis (North)

Tried and True Alehouse is located in a strip center on the north side of Indy.  It’s their second location, with the first being in Greenwood.  For those familar in the location, it formerly housed the Moon Dog Tavern, and a couple of other businesses.

It’s a pretty massive place, divided into a bar side, and a family side.  We opted for the bar side, and were seated promptly.

Perusing the menu, I chose the hand breaded tenderloin, with fries and a side salad as an add on.

The side salad was fantastic!  A hearty serving with blue cheese dressing made in house, I’d not hesitate to order it again.

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The tenderloin was—disappointing, actually.  When they brought it out, it looked amazing.  Certainly hand breaded, the meat had a really good flavor and was nice and tender.

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The breading, however, was pretty much devoid of any flavor or seasoning.  The only word I can think of to describe it is “bland”.  In addition, the breading started to get soggy pretty quickly.  Perhaps it needs to be fried at a higher temperature, but it turned into a pretty disappointing sandwich.  The bun, I will say, was outstanding and nicely toasted. Overall, I’m going to give it a 2.5 out of 5.  There are certainly better choices out there.

For her dinner, Holly had the margherita flatbread and a side salad, both reportedly very good.  The flatbread had a lot going on, and she thought something a little simpler might be even better.  But she said she wouldn’t mind getting it again – although there are some other interesting items on the menu she wouldn’t mind trying either.

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The service was a bit sub par.  Holly was going to order a glass of wine to go with her flatbread, but our server never returned until it was time to deliver a check.  We attempted to flag another server down, but they were all clustered in a corner and not paying attention to what was going on in the dining room.

Although our experience was a mixed bag, the high points of our visit merit a return trip at some point.

Tried and True is located at 4825 E 96th street in Indianapolis.  You can find them online at https://www.triedandtruealehouse.com/

 

Fresh Seasons Cafe’, Indianapolis

Fresh Seasons Cafe at the Indiana Government Center – Indianapolis, IN

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If you’re a true Hoosier foodie, then you’re also likely a fan of a genuine hand-breaded tenderloin. While there’s certainly more than one food item that could qualify as “distinctly Hoosier,” there’s something about a true hand-breaded tenderloin that actually feels Hoosier. Think about it. It’s a fairly traditional, even conservative item yet it sort of flirts with being adventurous depending upon seasoning and spices and texture. Somehow, the hand-breaded tenderloin is both basic comfort food and culinary extravaganza all in one.

When you have a good friend who also happens to write a seriously popular blog on the beloved tenderloin, it’s easy to feel inadequate in offering any opinions on the subject. However, Tenderloin Connoisseur Rick Garrett has previously offered me the chance to write a guest review for his blog and on this occasion today he does so again.

 

The occasion? As an employee of the State of Indiana, I’ve spent several years of my life dining inside the walls of our beloved Fresh Seasons Cafe, the official cafeteria of the Indiana Government Center. In my case, I utilize the South building. It’s that 4-story behemoth of a building that sits at 402 W. Washington Street. The North building, which also has its own cafeteria, is the much taller building. Fresh Seasons is run by Taher, Inc. a contract food service management company that provides a wide variety of dining and catering services to clients in 10 states. Started in 1981, they serve over 34 million meals per year and employs or supervises over 2,000 employees.

 

Fresh Seasons Cafe is located in the basement, a multi-station area offering items ranging from your usual grilled items to deli style delights, featured entrée items, quick to-go items, and fresh salads among others. Largely patronized by State of Indiana employees and those visiting the complex, the cafeteria is open to the public and, in fact, State employees do not get a discount. The dining area is your typical corporate cafeteria set-up, mostly a wide range of tables set throughout a large building with floor-to-ceiling windows offering a view of the courtyard that divides the Indiana Government Center’s West and East sides. Having previously reviewed the cafeteria itself on Yelp with a fairly gracious 3-star rating, I’d long spied this thing called hand-breaded tenderloin and upon seeing it as a special item to be offered this week dropped Rick a note and said “Hey, you interested in a review?”

 

I’m fairly sure he chuckled as he said “Yes!”

 

Now, on to the tenderloin.

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The hand-breaded tenderloin, and it is genuinely hand-breaded, is not a regular cafeteria item but is offered every 3 months or so as a specialty item on the grill. It’s typically offered as an ala carte item, though the grill certainly offers fries, tots, onion rings, chips and other items that would add a buck or two to your bill. After years of avoiding it, on behalf of Tenderloin Connoisseur I offered myself as a sacrifice today and forked over the $4.99 for the sandwich not entirely sure I would even survive the ordeal.

 

Served on an ordinary, lightly toasted bun, the State of Indiana’s version of a hand-breaded tenderloin sandwich is the kind of sandwich that teasingly offers you hope right up until that first bite snatches that hope away from your grubby little fingers. Served plain with a small bar area to the side of the grill, it’s a decent-sized sandwich that is approximately 20% larger than the bun. It’s a thick slab o’ meat with a strong seasoning involving pepper, more pepper, and probably Salt n’ Pepa. It actually “looks” fairly decent.

 

Looks are deceiving.

 

From the first bite, I thought to myself “There’s potential here!” Unfortunately, the sandwich never lives up to this potential. It saddens me to think that some poor pig gave his life for this sandwich.

 

“This little piggie went to the Government Center.”

 

Quite honestly, the seasoning is out of balance and inconsistent. The drab, lifeless bun offers nothing other than a sense of culinary hopelessness. While the thickness is promising, the overall tenderloin is cooked rather unevenly, the demands of cooking quickly for hungry government employees likely sabotaging any hope at all of a decent dining experience. It’s chunky in spots, but those chunks are weird and occasionally slightly burnt. It was sort of like eating Pop Rocks, but without the pop.

 

In case you’ve never had Pop Rocks, the pop is what makes it all worthwhile.

 

Occasionally, there’s a brief taste of what seems like fresh meat but it quickly gets overwhelmed and eventually beaten to death by those dastardly Pop Rocks.

 

Seriously, though, this isn’t the worst hand-breaded tenderloin I’ve ever had. It’s not. I think that honor goes to a Jim Dandy location I visited where I’m pretty sure they took the tenderloin from a 2,000 year old zombie and beat it into submission. However, there’s no denying that even at the modest price of $5 this is a mighty disappointing sandwich that I can easily say I will never eat again.

 

In case you’re keeping score – it’s truly hand-breaded, it is a tenderloin, the thickness is halfway decent, and there’s at least an effort to season it with some originality. However, all that only adds up to a 2 star review for me. Not only is this not a destination tenderloin, it’s barely worth getting out of your cubicle even if you work in the same building.

 

Fresh Seasons Cafe at the Indiana Government Center is located at 402 West Washington Street in the basement. The cafeteria is open from 6:30am – 2pm, Monday through Friday with lunch served between 11am – 1:30pm. While you’re welcome to come in off the street, you’ll want to use the public entrance into the building and, yes, there’s a security checkpoint including metal detector you will have to go through. You actually can check out their menu before visiting at http://www.freshseasonscafe.com/dining/IGC/

Britton Tavern, Fishers (Indianapolis)

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Britton Tavern is a large restaurant/bar/tavern located on Highway 37 in Fishers, Indiana.

 
Located in a large strip mall that includes a pet shop, nail salon, ethnic grocery, and more, Britton Tavern is a HUGE place with lots going on. From live music to trivia to who knows what else, it seems there’s an event here just about every night of the week.

 

The menu is pretty standard bar food—sandwiches, pizza, burgers, salads, and a steak or two. I’d probably not quite call it a gastropub (a term I really don’t care for!!) but I think most of the food is a cut above basic bar food.

 
For my dinner, of course, I chose the breaded tenderloin.

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Hand breaded, this is a large sandwich and it’s got a lot of things going for it. The breading is nice and crisp, and the meat just tastes “fresh”. It is tender and has a nice flavor. It’s big enough to satisfy even the biggest appetite.

 

n my opinion, the breading was lacking in the seasoning department. While the sandwich was good, it thought it was just a tad bland. Just a little seasoning and it’d stack up against any sandwich in the area. Even with that caveat, I’ll give it a 4 out of 5. It’s nice and thick, hearty, and the breading is above average. I’d certainly order it again.

 
For my side, I chose onion rings, and those were amazing! As you can see–these are BIG onion rings. I don’t think that bigger is always better, but in this case, the rings have size AND flavor. I highly recommend them.

 
For her dinner, Holly chose the Cobb salad. This is a BIG salad – enough to make two meals. This is her go-to choice at Britton.

 

Britton Tavern is located at 14005 Mundy Drive in Fishers, IN. They’re online at http://www.brittontavern.co (and, yes, it *IS* co, not com) plus you can also find them on Twitter and Facebook.

The Breakfast Company, Crawfordsville, Indiana

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My wife, Holly and I had been hiking at Shades State Park, and were looking for a place to have lunch before we headed back to Indy for the day.

Based on Yelp reviews, we chose a Japanese restaurant in Crawfordsville.  We got there, and found they were closed on Tuesdays  (which seems like an odd day to be closed to me) so off we went to search for something else.

We found The Breakfast Company also through a Yelp search, and since we were in a bit of a time crunch to get back to Indy, we decided to give it a try.  I’m glad we did.

The Breakfast Company is a breakfast and lunch place located in a busy strip center in Crawfordsville.  Upon entering, I was struck by how HUGE this place is…it’s long and narrow, but it’s MUCH larger than I anticipated.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted breakfast for lunch, or lunch for lunch, then I saw a breaded tenderloin on the menu.  I was a little suspect, so I asked our server if it was a real tenderloin or a fritter, and he heartily said “It’s a REAL tenderloin” so I was sold.

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I’m glad I ordered it.  First off, as you can see, it’s a bit thinner than I typically prefer.  That said, the flavor was VERY good.  The breading was a bit peppery, which I like quite a bit.  The meat was a solid piece of meat and was nice and tender, and the breading was nice and crisp.  The combination of textures was great.  While I’m not sure it quite reaches 5 star range, I’m going to give it a solid 4 star review.  Certainly above average, and I wouldn’t hesitate to order it again.  For my side I chose fries, and they were crinkle cut, my favorite.  Good fries, but not done in house.  All in all, a satisfying meal.

For her lunch, Holly chose an Avocado Chicken Wrap, which they gladly modified to accomodate her food allergies.  They grill the wrap, which added a nice touch on a cool fall day.

We’ll certainly return when we go back to Shades for some more hiking.  I think I’ll try breakfast next time, because their breakfast menu is massive and has some interesting choices on it.

The Breakfast Company is located at 1630 Crawfordsville Square Dr in Crawfordsville, Indiana.  You can find them online at http://www.thebreakfastco.net/

Choo Choo McGoo’s, Kokomo, Indiana

I had a hankerin’ for a good tenderloin AND a road trip, so this Monday we drove up to Kokomo, Indiana, to try a new tenderloin, grab a geocache, and go for a nice walk on the Nickel Plate Trail.

I’d heard about Choo Choo McGoo’s from a couple of folks, and decide this was going to be our destination of choice today.  It was a good chance to try a new tenderloin, and meet our good friends Doug and Val for lunch.
Choo Choo McGoo’s is located in the building that formerly housed Ducky’s restaurant, which was feature on The Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible, and subsequently closed in 2013.

After sitting vacant for a while, the current owners opened with a loosely train themed restaurant. If you know anything at all about me, you know they had me at trains.

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Inside is a nice mixture of old toys, trains, pictures of local history.  It fairly screams “small town”.  It seems everyone knows everyone else in there.  It’s not an especially large restaurant, to me, the word “cozy” comes to mind.  That’s just fine, I like cozy.

Our server was prompt and friendly, and throughout the meal did a great job of allowing us to visit with friends while checking on us to see if we needed anything.

The menu is actually quite a bit larger than I anticipated.  Quite a few sandwiches, a nice selection of appetizers,  and entree options.

Of course, I had my mind set on a tenderloin.  Even though I’d already decided before walking through the door, when the meny read “hand breaded to order” I had especially high hopes.

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This, my friends, is an outstanding tenderloin.  It stacks up against any I’ve had.  The size was perfect—a nice, hearty sandwich without being overwhelming.  It wasn’t pounded out to a hubcap, it had a nice thickness to it.  The breading was as close to perfect as I’ve seen.  Nice and crisp, it complimented the taste of the meat.  The meat itself had an outstanding flavor, and was nice and moist.  It was served as I requested, with a healthy slice of onion.  There’s no doubt about it, this is a 5 out of 5 tenderloin.  If I ever make a tenderloin hall of fame, this will certainly qualify.

For my side, I chose onion rings, and they, too were simply outstanding.

For her lunch, Holly chose the grilled salmon.  Customers have the option of having it grilled plain or with a glaze.  Holly chose to have hers grilled plain, and she reported it to be outstanding – moist, tender and flavorful – no glaze was needed!  The entrees come with two sides, and they have several from which to choose.

Choo Choo McGoo’s is located at 816 E Markland Ave in Kokomo, Indiana.  You can find them online at www.choochoomcgoos.com  and they also have a Facebook page.

Murphy’s Bar and Grill, Riverside, Iowa

On our pilgramage to Iowa, to visit the world’s largest truckstop and the future birthplace of James T. Kirk, we knew we had to visit the place were James Tiberius Kirk will be conceived in the future.  It must be true, because there’s a plaque on the wall that marks the very spot.

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Murphy’s is a pretty standard small town pub.  a bar in the middle, and some booths and tables around the outside.  Located on the main street of Riverside, you can walk here from pretty much anywhere in town (it’s a very small town).  It’s larger than it appears from the outside by far.  We were having an early lunch, as we were headed back to Indianapolis that afternoon.  There was a local gentleman eating lunch at the bar, and while we where there a party of out of town folks came in and immediately started looking for the plaque I mentioned earlier.  This place is a  bit of a legend in Star Trek history.

The menu is pretty standard pub fare—sandwiches, burgers, a steak or two.  Of course, I was there to try the breaded tenderloin.

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As in Indiana, tenderloin styles in Iowa vary widely.  This one was pounded out thinner, yet not paper thin.  The breading was nice and crunchy, and, although it was thin,  there was enough heft to the tenderloin that I enjoyed the texture quite a lot.  The meat was flavorful, and the breading was nicely seasoned.  As I mentioned, it was just a tad thin for my liking, still, it was a very good sandwich.  I’ll give it a 4 out of 5 bites.  Next time I’m in Riverside  (next year for TrekFest, actually!)  I’ll certainly eat here again.

For her dinner, Holly had blackened salmon.  She said it was pretty tasty, albeit a bit dry.

Murphy’s is located at 71 E 1st Street in Riverside, Iowa.  I was unable to located a website for them, but they do have a Facebook page.