The Bush Restaurant, Terre Haute, Indiana

ImageWe found ourselves making a last minute trip to Terre Haute, Indiana, and did a frantic search for a good tenderloin in the area.

A musician buddy of mine (Thanks, Jason!!) found a Yelp!  review of The Bush restaurant in Terre Haute, and the review said they had a “terrific” tenderloin, so I decided to give them a try.

The Bush is located near the ISU campus, but I saw nary a student in the restaurant.  The clientele was older folks, who appeared to be regulars…many of them were greeted by name by the server.

I must give a shout out to our server.  She was the only one working, and she was SLAMMED.  She did a GREAT job of taking care of all the tables, getting orders and food out in a timely manner.  She did an outstanding job, and if service is always this good at the Bush, they’ve got a great staff.

I, of course, ordered the breaded tenderloin.  On the menu, it said “hand cut and prepared in our own kitchen”.

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I really, really wish I could give this tenderloin a great review – that is how much I liked the restaurant.  But, I’ve got to be honest.  It was one of, if not THE, most disappointing tenderloin I’ve ever had in my life.  Bland, tasteless, tough, and chewy…it was just awful.  How bad was it?  I didn’t even finish it….it was that bad.  The fries that came with it were very tasty, though, as was the cole slaw.  I’ll give this tenderloin a 0 out of 5 bites.

But all was not lost.  Holly chose the diet plate, which consisted of baked cod, green beans and peaches.  The restaurant’s menu goes on and on about their fried cod – and as delicious as it looked and smelled, Holly opted for the baked cod.  She reported it to be excellent – it had a light, flaky and buttery texture with an outstanding flavor – perfectly seasoned.  The sides were pretty standard for a diet plate – no extra seasonings or condiments – and that is what she expected, so she was not disappointed!  Holly added that she would order that meal again in a heartbeat, and looks forward to trying the fried cod someday.

I liked the Bush.  I liked it quite a lot.  Next time in Terre Haute, I’ll certainly go back.  I just won’t order their cardboard tenderloin.

Barbee Hotel and Restaurant, Warsaw, Indiana

I’m always looking for a good tenderloin when I’m traveling, as most of you know, and I’m also always looking for a good, locally owned restaurant, preferring to get local taste instead of a chain when I’m on the road.

We were up in Warsaw, Indiana, playing a St Patrick’s day gig, and one of Holly’s friends lives up in that area, (Hi Erin!  Hi Reyna!!) and they had heard good things about the Barbee Hotel and Restaurant, just off of Lake Barbee, so we decided to give it a try.

The Barbee Hotel is famous for 3 reasons…it was the reputed hideout of Al Capone during his heyday, the Gable and Lombard suite…where they stayed when they were married, and its reputation of being haunted.

We didn’t see any ghosts while we were there, as some folks say they have  (but not for lack of trying!!) nor did we smell Al Capone’s cigar smoke wafting through the building, as some say they have, but we did enjoy a VERY good meal and enjoyed the after dinner ghost hunt.

Although the Barbee Hotel doesn’t look like much from the outside, the restaurant itself is VERY nice –   textured tin ceiling, nice bar, comfortable seating, and an attentive waitress.  We were off to a good start.

The menu is quite varied, with everything from sandwiches and salads to steaks, seafood, and quite a number of Italian dishes, with daily specials.

I saw they had a breaded tenderloin, and asked our waitress if they were done in house, and she honestly didn’t know.  However, they also offered a grilled tenderloin, so that told me they probably DO make them in house, and I decided to take a chance.

As you can see from the photo, it does appear to be hand breaded and cut…it’s not a pre-processed pork fritter, of that, I’m certain.  It’s neither uniform in shape or thickness, so I suspect they are, indeed, made in house.

So, how was it?  It wasn’t bad.  However, in all fairness, it wasn’t that good, either.  It certainly was a bit above average, but far short of outstanding.  The breading was..pretty bland.  And the meat was just a bit dry for my tastes.  But, again, it wasn’t bad.  There was just nothing to set it apart from the others.  Since it did appear to be fresh and made in house, I’m going to give it a 3 out of 5, just above average.

I got fries as my side, and they were nothing special, but the salad I ordered was VERY good….one of the better side salads I’ve had in a while.

For her meal, Holly chose one of the house specials for the evening:  parmesan encrusted whitefish.  She reported it to be outstanding – very flavorful, with a nice balance between the fish and the seasoning of the breading.  The dinner special came with a choice of soup or salad, vegetable du jour, and your choice of potato – so there were several combinations available from which to choose.

Even though the tenderloin wasn’t stellar, the experience as a whole was great.  The service was tops, LOVE the atmosphere, and the rest of the food looks to be FAR above average.  I’m sure we’ll be back up that way this year, and this will be a must stop for us.
The Barbee Hotel and Restaurant is located at 3620 N Barbee Road in Warsaw, Indiana.  Reservations are accepted on the weekends, and are highly recommended.  You can find them online at http://www.barbeehotel.com

Hella’s Greek Cafe’, Indianapolis

Hella’s Greek Cafe’ is a place I’ve been aware of for quite some time, but only recently stopped in there for lunch for the first time.  The first time we were there, I noticed that they had a breaded tenderloin on their menu…one of only a couple of American dishes…and it’s been on my list to try ever since.  The problem is, their Greek food is so good, I couldn’t tear myself away from it.

I’m no authority on Greek food, but I do know what I like, and I like Hella’s a lot.  Their Greek food is always tasty and service is always outstanding, and that keeps me coming back.

 

 

Recently, we stopped in for lunch, and, purely in the name of research, I decided to give their breaded tenderloin a try.

I’ll say up front that this isn’t a traditional breaded tenderloin sandwich, so I’m not going to rate it on my traditional 1-5 bite scale.

The tenderloin is hand breaded in house, and the breading is very light…much lighter than most other tenderloins I’ve experienced.  It’s crisp and tasty, and it certainly is a nice compliment to the taste of the meat…it’s not heavy like some breading can be.  I liked this light breading quite a lot!

The meat itself is very good also.  It might fall a bit short of outstanding, but it’s certainly well above average.  It’s tender and moist with a very good flavor.

The sandwich is served on a Pita.  Generally, Pitas are a bit more hard and chewy than a standard bun, but with the very light breading and the tender meat, it worked quite well.  The sandwich was served dressed as I requested and service was prompt and friendly.

Since it’s not quite traditional, I’m going to rate this on the “would I buy it again” scale, and the answer is, yes, I certainly would order this sandwich again.  However, their Greek food is SO good….I’d have to be craving a tenderloin while I was there.

Holly recommends the chicken or pork slouvakia with Greek potatoes.  You can’t go wrong with this classic Greek kabob.  The meat is consistently moist and tender with just the right amount of seasonings.

Hella’s Greek Café’ is located on Westfield Boulevard, just south of 82nd street.  You can find them online at http://hellascafe.net

Shooters, Madison, Indiana

Madison, Indiana is a quaint little town on the banks of the Ohio River that has a great reputation as an arts and music community.

We were in town for a late lunch/early dinner.  Being an arts community, as we wandered around town looking for some place to eat, we saw French, Italian, and other ethnic restaurants…but that wasn’t what we were looking for.  Then we stumbled upon Shooters pub…and I’m awfully glad we did.

Although it’s themed as a sports bar….it’s not overwhelmingly sports.  It seemed more to me like a neighborhood pub.  We were greeted by a friendly server, and the menu had typical pub fare..burgers, nachos, fried cheese….and a few items with a twist..which we’ll get to later.

I saw they had grilled or breaded tenderloins, always a good sign.   When I asked our server  “How’s your breaded tenderloin?”, she smiled and said “REALLY good”.  So I ordered it.

Folks, really good is an understatement.  This is one fine sandwich.  The meat was tender and tasty, the bun was outstanding, the breading was very light and crispy and stayed crisp throughout the entire life of the sandwich.  There are lots of words I could use to describe this sandwich, but the sandwich simply speaks for itself…a 5 out of 5…no questions asked.  We are going to be back in Madison this summer, and there is no doubt we’ll be back at Shooters.

For the rest of the menu, there were a couple of nice surprises in the Po’ Boy selection.  Holly had a fried clam Po’ Boy, and Nick, who joined us, had a fried shrimp Po’ Boy and both of the proclaimed them excellent.  Sweet Potato Fries are also featured on the menu.

Shooters is a non smoking pub…a big plus in my book…with a friendly, casual atmosphere and great food and service.  I don’t see how you could go wrong with a visit!

Shooters is located at 122 E Main Street, in Madison, Indiana.  I was unable to locate a web site for them.

Grindstone Charley’s, Lafayette, Indiana

I know what you’re thinking, “you’ve already reviewed Grindstone Charley’s”.

Yes, you’re right, I have.  I reviewed the Speedway location a year or so ago.  But, I’ve found that restaurants that have more than one location aren’t necessarily consistent.  Since we stopped in Lafayette on the way to Racine, Wisconsin, I decided to give this Grindstone Charley’s a try.

The decor is almost the same as the Speedway location, and we were greeted and seated promptly and in a friendly manner, just like in Speedway.

An added bonus was that they had Fried Green Tomatos on the menu.  I’m not sure if this was a regional item, or seasonal, whichever the case may be, they were outstanding and I highly recommend them.

Honestly…I considered getting a burger here this time, as I’d already had a Grindstone breaded tenderloin.  But I remembered just how good it was, and I couldn’t help but order it again, all the while wondering if it would stand up to Speedway’s high mark.

I’m happy to report that it did.  The meat was moist and tender, and quite flavorful.  The breading is some of my favorite ever.  It’s nice and crispy and stays that way through the life of the sandwich.  The sandwich was brought with the condiments I ordered, and the bun was nicely toasted.

I gave the Speedway location 5 out of 5 bites, and I’m doing the same for the Lafayette location.  It’s a winner, folks!

Grindstone Charley’s, Lafayette, is located at 3443 State Road 26 E in Lafayette, Indiana

Rock Run Cafe’ and Bakery, Rosedale, Indiana (Guest Review!!)

Today’s mission was for my friend, Maria and me to drive from Indianapolis to Rockville to buy some incredible Amish soft pretzels. And since we are both geocachers, we thought we’d grab a few caches along the way. We did find a few caches, but we found that the pretzels are only available on Saturdays. Oh well!. That gives us an excuse to come back.

While compiling a list of caches, I read about a restaurant called The Long Horn Tavern in Rosedale, Indiana, within sight of The Roseville Covered Bridge. I thought this might be a great place to stop for lunch. On the way there, Maria and I saw a sign for a place called The Rock Run Café and Bakery and we thought we’d try to find it after lunch for a little dessert.

When we got to Coxville, we saw The Rock Run Café and Bakery and went inside only to find out that this was the former Long Horn.Tavern, yep, one and the same. The main level seats about 50 people in a rustic, cozy room with lots of Tex Terry western movie memorabilia with country music playing overhead. There are exposed beam ceilings and some potato sacks on a section of the ceiling as well. There is a salad bar and a pastry counter. It is also an internet café with free WiFi and computer terminals at some of the tables for their customers’ use. Upstairs is a large room that seats 100 folks. On one end there is an ice cream parlor..To give you a little history, this building was built in 1923 and once served as a gasstation and general store. After the store started selling beer, it was renamed The Coxville Tavern. It closed in the late 1970’s. Not long after, B Western Movie Star, Tex Terry, returned from Hollywood to his hometown after appearing in over seventy four movies and television series. He and his agent wife, Isabel, bought the tavern in 1979 and named it Tex Terry’s Long Horn Tavern. Locals could gather to chat with the local hero and order soup, chili, or a burger.

In 1982 the tavern was purchased by Tom and Alice Hyatte, who lovingly expanded the restaurant and the menu. They ran the restaurant for 30 years. Since 2009 the next generation of family carries on since Tom and Alice have retired. The name has been changed to Rock Run Café & Bakery. They are proud of the addition of authentic artisan wood-fired brick oven pizza.


The pizza was tempting, but I asked the server if the tenderloin was hand breaded, and she assured me that it was, so I had to try it. So did Maria.

The sandwich is $6.99 and that includes one side. I had onion rings and Maria had smashed red potatoes. The onion rings were really incredible! They are large rings with a light crispy breading that almost melts in your mouth. Maria said the potatoes were awesome, combining several flavors.

The tenderloins arrived directly from the fryer. They were pounded out thinner than I prefer, and I think they were in the fryer a bit longer than necessary. The toppings arrived exactly as we ordered them. The meat was tender and flavorful and the breading was crispy, tasty, and not overpowering. The bun was not toasted, but it didn’t fall apart.

Maria ordered hers on a pretzel bun, which she felt added a little extra something to the sandwich, which she liked. I liked the tenderloin too, but it was not a five. Definitely a three and a half – better than most.

The owners were friendly and filled us in on the history of the place. The service was great, and our server even brought ‘to-go’ cups without us asking for them.

The menu features plenty of down home favorites like meatloaf, beef manhattans, country fried steaks, and fried chicken. Also they have steaks, seafood, pizza, panini’s, sandwiches and desserts. Did I say Desserts? Of course, we HAD to try the pies. Authentic Indiana Sugar Cream Pie. And their specialty, Vinegar Pie. It sounds awful, but the owner explained that it tasted like pecan pie without the pecans. And he was right. Both were excellent. You can even buy whole pies from them.

This restaurant is about 55 miles from Indianapolis – straight west on Rockville Road (US 36) to Rockville. Turn south on US 41 to Coxville Road, which is about 10 miles south of Rockville.

I definitely recommend it if you are in the area for The Covered Bridge Festival. It is worth making the trip there just for the heck of it. The Rock Run Café and Bakery is open daily from 11am – 9:30pm, but pizza’s are served until 11pm on Thursday, Fridays, and Saturdays. They are located at 8050 S. Coxville Road, Rosedale, Indiana 47874.
The web address is http://www.rockruncafe-bakery.com. 765-548-9282

****Big thanks to my friend Janie Morrison, known to Geocachers as Indigo500, for this fabulous review!  Janie, you rock!

Chad’s Bait Shop and Store, Lawrence County, Indiana

Have you ever been to a restaurant so far out in the remote parts of the county that someone had to take you the first time so you could find it? And when you finally arrive, it looks more like someone’s garage or multi-purpose building, situated between two houses, than it does a restaurant? This is what it’s like when you visit Chad’s, the best kept secret in Lawrence county, Indiana.

Chad Hillenburg has worked as a cook at various restaurants in Lawrence county over the years, but he and his family have settled into running their own restaurant, convenience store, and bait shop for several years. Yes, you read that right. The store is also a bait shop, but the bait is sold from a refrigerator out front – there is a sign posted that clearly says bait is not allowed to be brought into the restaurant.

As you walk into Chad’s, you are shocked by how small it really is. The place can seat about 20 people, 14 of which would be sitting elbow-to-elbow at a long table down the middle of the restaurant. I’ve been there when we were sitting with folks we didn’t know when we got there, but we knew them better before we left!

While you take in the restaurant, you will undoubtedly be drawn to studying the wide array of convenience store items that line one wall. In addition to typical items (paper towels, pop-tarts, bottles of pop) you can also purchase a fishing pole, a car battery, or a greeting card!

Now that you know have a sense of the restaurant, let’s get to the ‘meat’ of the matter – the breaded tenderloin sandwich (sorry, but the pun was just too tempting). To be honest, I’m not much of a tenderloin fan. Those words might make the Tenderloin Connoisseur second guess his offer that I write a guest review, but I admit to my lackluster feelings of tenderloins to convey the quality of the sandwich Chad prepares. I’ve visited Chad many times (weekly for most of this summer) and almost invariably, I order the tenderloin sandwich. Outside of Chad’s, I honestly cannot remember the last time I ate a tenderloin. But do you know what? I don’t think I could ever eat a tenderloin someplace else because Chad has set the bar so high.

As the picture shows, the sandwich is a beast. Many times, I only manage to eat half of the sandwich (and can then enjoy the other half for lunch the following day). In the case of this particular sandwich, I started eating it by pulling off the parts hanging off the bun. This took considerable time and when I finally got down to a bun-sized sandwich I could pick up, I wasn’t sure I would eat it all. But where there’s a will, there’s a way, and I wanted to give this review 110%. I was miserably full the rest of the evening, but enjoying the tenderloin, the delicious home made potato chips, three cups of sweet iced tea, and a brownie sundae might also have contributed to my post-Chad’s misery.

As I think back to when I have eaten tenderloins in my pre-Chad’s days, my recollection is they are generally pounded flat, have very little flavor, and subsequently need condiments to give them some flavor. This is not the case at Chad’s. His tenderloin is a thick cut of pork and has a breading on it that’s neither too hard nor too soft – it’s just right (baby bear would love it). It is tender, full of flavor, and a delightful treat for the tastebuds.

If you find yourself in Lawrence county, craving an awesome tenderloin, give me a call. I’d be glad to show you the way.

Chad’s is located at 7917 Bartletsville Road, Heltonville, Indiana, 47436

***This review comes from my friend and fellow Geocacher Steve Booker….you can find him in my friends list on Facebook.