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.
A new restaurant, Big Mike’s Americana Cafe’, has opened close to home, and I had heard through the grapevine that they have a pretty darn good tenderloin. I always take things I hear through the grapevine with a grain of salt…everyone’s opinion is different, after all. But, I was looking for somewhere to have dinner last night, so decided to give them a try.
Mike’s is in the location that formerly housed Tomato Pie, an Italian restaurant. Holly and I had had lunch there one time, and the experience was……less than stellar. Since they’re now out of business, I suspect that was the same experience others had.
One problem I had with the former restaurant was that it was, in my eyes, pretentious. If there’s one thing I can NOT stand, it’s pretentiousness.
Mike’s is anything but pretentious. The door and windows have posters and flyers of local events, and it has the feel of a small town diner, even though it’s just outside of Indianapolis proper, and located in a very business corridor. We were greeted by who I assume was Big Mike himself (I never reveal my identity when I’m doing a review) in a prompt and friendly manner, who took a minute to explain the menu to us.
A nice selection of sandwiches, pizza, and full meals, with what I consider to be very reasonable prices appear on the menu. Just like a small town diner, the descriptions are brief and to the point, it’s obvious that the emphasis is on the food, not the verbiage.
For the breaded tenderloin, it simply says “Breaded Tenderlion…a Hoosier favorite”. Nothing else. And, when I saw the price…..$6.99, including a very generous helping of fries…I became immediately skeptical. I full expected a frozen fritter for that price.
Then they brought the sandwich, and it was obvious that it was no run of the mill tenderloin. I learned later that they’re hand pounded and hand breaded, and it shows. Pounded thin, but not TOO thin, with a perfect coating of batter….this looked REALLY good. I took a bite of the meat..and…WOW. Fresh, tasty, moist…really fantastic. That’s about the only way I can put it. The breading was tasty without being overwhelming. They’ve done their homework and done this one right.
However, when they brought the sandwich, it was served on a pretzel roll. I, again, was skeptical, but, folks, this works, and it works well. No run of the mill pretzel roll, these are locally made by Cornerstone Bakery and are over the top good. I also found out that Mike uses all the locally made ingredients he can…a HUGE plus in my book.
I got all the condiments I requested, and there were plenty of them. The fries were tasty, the food was hot, the service was excellent…the whole experience rates a 5 out of 5 bites.
Holly had a blackened tilapia sandwich, served on the same pretzel roll, and, it too, was outstanding. For the same price of $6.99, it’s quite the bargain.
Big Mike is working hard to make this restaurant a success, and with food like this, I don’t see how he can miss. We’ll return, and we’ll return soon.
Big Mike’s is all ages and non smoking, and does serve beer for those who desire it. Big Mike’s is located at 9611 N College Avenue in Indianapolis.
I was vaguely familiar with The Stutz Building, located at 10th and Senate in Indianapolis. A lovely old building that now houses apartments, art studios, first Friday events, and Bearcats restaurant.
I knew that there was a restaurant here, but had no idea what it was called, nor did I have any idea what was on their menu. I was attending an event at Bearcats and it was an overwhelmingly positive experience.
Since I had no idea what kind of food they had, and I couldn’t find a menu online, I was totally unprepared to do a review. However, upon arriving, I saw that someone else had a breaded tenderloin, so I knew I had to do a review.
The owner of the restaurant gets major points for jumping right in and waiting tables and taking care of a large group. Other restaurant owners should take a hint from this kind of service.
The menu advertises that their tenderloins are cut fresh every day and hand breaded, and this was certainly the case. The meat was tender, moist, and juicy, and was a more than ample serving. More than that, they’re not pounded paper thin…it’s rather like a nice pork chop.
The breading was top notch. Was it the best breading I’ve ever had? No, not quite. But it was still very, very good. Crunchy and crisp and it stayed that way throughout the life of the sandwich.
I asked for my normal condiments, (Ketchup, Mayo, Onion) and the server advised me that all condiments are served on the side, which is fine with me.
The bun was nice and fresh, and well toasted…actually, toasted just a bit more than is my preference. It wasn’t objectionable by ANY means…just a bit more toasted than I’m used to.
The price? This sandwich is a bargain. $7.99, and that includes fries (my favorite kind of fries…shoestring!) AND cole slaw, which was quite tasty, if just a tad bland.
I’ve had a few hours to think about this sandwich, and I’m going to give it a 4.5 out of 5 bites. It falls just short of the hall of fame, but it is worth driving across town for.
Bearcats is located at 1055 N Senate in Indianapolis. I found out after the fact that they DO have a website, and that is http://www.bearcatsindy.net.
We’ve driven by the Wagon Wheel Eatery several times, and often commented on what a cool place it looks like, but never had a chance to stop until last night. We were headed over to visit Holly’s Father in Ingalls, Indiana, and decided to stop and have a bite to eat on the way.
The Wagon Wheel is a typical small town restaurant, and may well have the friendliest staff we’ve ever encountered. And, this is sincere friendly, not some big city attempt at being small town. Holly commented that being in the restaurant felt like being in someone’s living room, and, indeed, that’s the case. We felt comfortable and at home from the moment we stepped through the door.
The menu has quite a number of items without being overwhelming. Sandwiches, a steak or two, wings, and heavy on the comfort food. The waitress took time to go through the menu with us. Of course, I was only interested in one thing..the breaded tenderloin, which she told us was hand pounded and hand breaded. That sealed the deal for me.
Well….it didn’t taste as good as it looked…it tasted BETTER. This tenderloin is right up at the top….I’ll cut right to the chase and tell you it’s a 5 out of 5 bites. No question about it. The meat is tender and moist, and the breading is wonderfully crisp..the perfect combination of textures.
But, texture is wasted if the taste is not there. The taste was simply fantastic. The meat is sweet and fresh, and the breading is perfect. I can not think of a single thing to say to detract from this sandwich. Even the price is a bargain…$6.95 for the sandwich, and that includes hand cut, home made french fries.
Holly ordered grilled cod and it was very, very good. As one of her sides, she ordered onion rings. Take a tip from me…do NOT miss these onion rings. They are battered, sweet, rings of heaven.
Everything about this experience was tops in our book. The service, food, and atmosphere all make us anxious for our next visit!
The Wagon Wheel Eatery is located at 6833 W Broadway, McCordsville, Indiana. I was unable to find a web page for them, but if you’re on Facebook, they do have a Facebook page.
Sahm’s is a small group of family owned restaurants in Indianapolis, Indiana. Their logo/slogan is simple and direct…”Fresh. Local”. They have a VERY loyal following, and I must say it’s well deserved.
Their menu includes everything from salads to sandwiches to seafood and steaks…and just about everything imaginable in between.
I’d been to Sahm’s before, and had even had their tenderloin, but that was well before I started reviewing them, so a return visit was in order. I remembered it being very good…but wasn’t sure how it would stand up to a more critical eye.
The meat is fantastic…tender, moist, and full of flavor. The breading is over the top good…nice and crispy, that gives a nice, satisfying crunch when you bite into it. It took me a bit to eat this sandwich, and I’m happy to report that down to the final bite, the cruch was still there, no bit of sogginess to be found. The bun is expertly toasted, and the sandwich was served dressed as I requested it.
The sandwich sells for $8.95, and that includes your choice of one side. I chose onion rings, and they were tops. There are a couple of places that have onion rings by which all others are judged, and this one rates right up there.
This one is easily a 5 out of 5 bites. The sandwich, service, and the entire experience was over the top good.
Sahm’s has several locations around town. You can find the listed…and read more about their history on their website here.
Riley House is a small family restaurant located in Greenfield, Indiana.
Like many small town, non chain restaurants, the staff at Riley House treats you like family the minute you walk into the door, and many of the customers know each other. The very friendly waitress was the granddaughter of the original owner of the restaurant, which opened 60 years ago, and is still owned by a family member.
She asked us if we had ever been there before, and when we said no, she told us they were famous for their broasted chicken, pork chops, and breaded tenderloins.
While Holly perused the menu to make her choice, I took a bit of time and looked at the VERY extensive menu. Had I not already made my mind up to try the tenderloin, it would’ve likely taken me quite a bit of time to decided what I wanted. The menu is several pages long with just about every type of food imaginable, and heavy on the typical Hoosier comfort food.
Of course, I had already decided to try the breaded tenderloin, so my choice was easy.
As you can see, this thing is HUGE. And, that’s part of my problem with this sandwich. It’s pounded out so thin that one really can’t tell where the breading ends and the meat begins. I’d like to be able to tell you how the meat tastes, but, I really can’t….it was so thin I really couldn’t get a good taste of it.
And, there was something terribly wrong with this sandwich. Between the breading and the meat was a layer of…..soggy mush. That’s really the only way I can describe it. One bite into the sandwich, and I got a nice crunch from the breading, then a layer of sogginess. About the only way I can describe it is: disgusting. This is one of the few sandwiches that I didn’t finish, it was so bad.
It’s VERY possible they were having a bad day, or perhaps a new cook, because I’ve a couple of friends who have had them and proclaimed them excellent, and I trust their judgement. But this one was next to inedible.
That said, the bun was toasted nicely and the sandwich was dressed exactly as ordered. It sells for $6.99 and that includes fries.
That said, it might have been the worst tenderloin I’ve had so far. I’m going to have to give it a 0 out of 5 bites.
Everything else we had was excellent…Holly chose the broasted pork chops, and they might have been the best pork chops I’ve ever had. The service was excellent, the restaurant is clean and tidy, and I’d go back again, however, I’d stay as far away from the tenderloin as possible.
The Riley House is located at 1020 W Main Street in Greenfield, Indiana.
Jim Dandy used to be known for home cooked meals for a reasonable price, and that’s still partly the case, although they seem to be pushing patrons more towards their hot bar these days…a shift of emphasis from what I remember in the past. However, they still feature a full menu with a number of specials, and the prices are very reasonable for the food you receive.
Nevertheless, I opted for the breaded tenderloin, urged, in part, by the claim on their menu is the tenderloin is “what we’re famous for”.
Since their advertising boldy advertises their famous tenderloin (the term “World Famous” is even used on the table placard) I was sure that I would receive a hand breaded, hand trimmed piece of breaded goodness.
Maybe, someday, I’ll learn not to take advertising at face value.
What I got appeared to be a pre-frozen piece of breaded meat. No, it didn’t appear to be the run of the mill frozen pork patty, but it was HIGHLY disappointing. The breading was bland and tasteless…and the meat was pretty much the same way. If this is what they’re famous for, then their customer base is far less than discriminating.
I always try to find something good to say, and about this sandwich, the bun was toasted nicely and the sandwich came dressed exactly how I requested it. The fries were hot and tasty, and the price was reasonable….$6.95 including fries.
Still, it pales to what I was expecting from a “world famous” tenderloin. I’m going to give the Jim Dandy breaded tenderloin a 2 out of 5..below average.
Once again, the other things we ordered were very good to outstanding. Holly ordered a black angus mushroom swiss burger that was served on Texas toast, and it was over the top good. We shared a piece of strawberry pie for dessert, and it was a slice of heaven on a cloud of crust.
In short, everything was excellent….except the tenderloin.
The Noblesville location of Jim Dandy is located at 2301 Conner Street (State Road 32) in Noblesville, Indiana.