Slippery Noodle, Indianapolis

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The Slippery Noodle Inn (usually called just “The Noodle” by locals) proclaims itself Indiana’s Oldest Bar, established in 1850, and has live blues 7 nights a week. Friday and Saturday nights they feature two bands on two separate stages, so it’s all about the blues here!
We’d been here a few times to hear (or play) music, but it’s usually been late at night so we usually only got drinks or appetizers instead of a meal. This particular night, though, the Cosmic Preachers were playing a set, and Holly and I opted to come early and have dinner.
A good way (for me, anyway) to judge whether a place has a decent tenderloin is to check the menu and see if they order it grilled AND breaded, as opposed to just breaded. I’ve found places that do both typically serve a real breaded tenderloin, as opposed to a fritter passed off as a tenderloin.
The menu offers both, so I took a shot.

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This is a big sandwich! And, it’s not a fritter, it’s a real piece of meat. The meat was nice and tender, and the breading was crispy and I liked the texture of the breading quite a lot. The meat was flavorful and seemed fresh, and the breading was tasty, but I do think it could have stood just a bit more seasoning, at least to my taste. The bun was nicely toasted, and the sandwich was served dressed as I requested. All in all, though, it’s a very good sandwich and I’ll give it a 4 out of 5 bites, well above average and I wouldn’t hesitate to order it again. It sells for 9.95, with homemade chips, or you can get fries or another side for a slight upcharge.
For her dinner, Holly chose the black and bleu salad. The menu describes it as a very basic, plain salad, but it comes out with several extras (like a sliced hard-boiled egg and onions) that she didn’t actually want. In addition, the steak has some kind of sweet, barbecue type sauce on it. This was definitely not anticipated, and she did not read anything about this on the menu. Had it been stated in the item description, she would have ordered something else entirely.

The Slippery Noodle Inn is located at 327 S Meridian in Indianapolis. You can find them online at http://www.slippernoodle.com

Metro Diner, Indianapolis

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I’ve been excited to try the Metro Diner on the north side of Indy ever since they opened a few months ago.  We actually tried to go this past Sunday, but the line was stretched out the door to get in, and we were on a bit of a schedule, so we decided to drop in last night for an early dinner.

The Metro Diner is a throwback to the diners of the 50s, with a bit of an upscale twist.  There’s a small counter with a half dozen or so stools in front of the grill, and a large dining area with tables and booths.  It’s a small chain, and their emphasis is on comfort food, as evidenced by some of their menu items…meatloaf, pot roast, and the like.

We arrived about 415 PM and again, I realized how very important a first impression is when trying a new restaurant.  There was a host at the host station, and we stopped and there was a moment of awkwardness…he wasn’t especially welcoming.  And, honestly, we both found him a little aloof and off putting, which wasn’t a good sign for a place that stakes its reputation on comfort food and being comfortable.  However, we were seated and our server, LaChelle, proved herself to be capable, personable, and helpful in explaining the menu.

I already knew what I wanted…the Big Bern Fried Pork sandwich, which is their version of a Breaded Pork Tenderloin.

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I knew going in that this wasn’t a traditional Hoosier Pork Tenderloin.  For starters, it’s served on grilled Italian bread.  And it’s topped with provel cheese, wilted spinach, caramelized red onions, bacon, fried jalapenos, tomatoes, and garlic aioli.  I decided to be adventurous and get it exactly as it’s served.  Being a traditionalist when it comes to food (and most other areas of my life) this is a bit of a stretch for me, but, what’s life without a little adventure thrown in?

As is my tradition, I cut a corner of the meat off and sampled it, and my first thought was that it was just a little bland.  However, once I tried it all together, it was absolutely stellar.  All those flavors and textures meld together to make it a VERY good sandwich.  They’ve obviously done their homework on this one, every flavor and texture complimented the other one, without one overwhelming another on the sandwich.

Since it’s not a traditional sandwich, I’m not going to rate it on my traditional 1-5 scale…I’m going to rate it on the “would I order it again” scale, and the answer is, yes, absolutely.  I REALLY liked it and would not hesitate to order it again.

This is an added bonus….it’s so big, I couldn’t finish it all, which is a rarity for me.  I’ve got half left over for lunch today!

For my side order, I chose onion rings, and they were very good also.  I won’t go so far as to say they’re the best in town, but they’re well above average and I wouldn’t hesitate to order those again, either.

For her dinner, Holly chose the grilled fish wrap with homemade potato chips, and she reports them to be outstanding. The chips are extra crispy – like a kettle cooked chip – and simply seasoned.

We splurged for dessert this night.  I had the strawberry shortcake and it was awesome, and Holly chose the Key Lime Pie.  Being that the original Metro Diner is in Jacksonville, rest assured that their homemade Key Lime pie is the real deal – and it is delicious!
The Metro Diner is located at 3954 E 82nd street in Indianapolis.  Their website is www.metrodiner.com and you can also find them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

North End BBQ and Moonshine, Indianapolis (Nora)

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North End BBQ is a relatively new restaurant on the north side of Indy, known as Nora.

Situated in a small strip mall, it’s divided into 3 areas, a bar, a family dining area, and a VERY nice outside patio.

As a BBQ restaurant, BBQ is their main emphasis.  However, there are a few other things on the menu…a burger two, quite a few appetizers, and a few salads.

We were planning to meet some friends for dinner, so I brought up their online menu and saw a breaded tenderloin, and knew I had to try it.

We arrived about 5PM and our capable server, Ellen, told us it was a lunch menu item only.  I expressed my disappointment, because I had come to try it, and she went back to the kitchen and they were glad to make it for me.

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This is a VERY good tenderloin.  It’s just a tad thinner than I normally prefer, but in this case it worked, and it worked well.  The breading was nice and light, and there was a nice texture difference between the crispness of the breading and the tenderness of the meat.  That’s one reason I’m a fan of thicker tenderloins, the differences in texture, but that wasn’t an issue with this one.

The breading was seasoned nicely, just enough to add a little flavor without overwhelming the flavor.  Personally, I would have preferred a little more seasoning, but that’s just a matter of personal preference.

The meat was not quite as tender as some I’ve had, still it was well above average and nice and moist.

It was served dressed as I requested.  It’s a VERY good sandwich.  I don’t think it is quite one of the very best in Indy, so I’m going to give it a 4.5 out of 5.  Very, very good indeed and I highly recommend it.

For my side, I got their fries, which are paired with smoked bone marrow butter and jalapenos, and these are simply outstanding. I do believe they’re my favorite fries in town, but they’re not quite traditional.  Still, I HIGHLY recommend trying these.

For her dinner, Holly had the Carolina pulled pork.  It comes with two sides – and she chose the collard greens and cornbread, which is served with maple bourbon butter.  She reported the pulled pork to be tender and flavorful.  She said It was fun to try the variety of sauces that North End provides!

North End BBQ is located on 86th street, in the Nora Plaza.  You can find them online at www.thenorthendbbq.com  and they also have a Facebook page.

Whiskey Business, Indianapolis (Oaklandon)

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Whiskey Business is a sports bar on the East side of Indianapolis, in the community of Oaklandon.  We’ve driven by this place a number of times, on our way to shows at Ten West Center for the Arts in Fortville, but had never stopped in.  A friend said he had had a particularly good tenderloin here, so we decided to give it a try this Wednesday evening.

Whiskey Business certainly IS a sports bar!  There seem to be televisions EVERYWHERE!  For a person with ADD (like me) it’s either heaven or a nightmare. 🙂  There’s a LOT to see.

They have a number of local beers available, and in a nice twist, many of their beer battered items are made with Sun King beer, made right here in Indianapolis.  I love a place that strives to use local products, that’s a big point in their favor.

They have quite an extensive appetizer and entrée menu, and there are some surprises, too.  The term gastropub is overused today, and I’m thankful that they don’t’ use it in their advertising (that I’ve seen), but they certainly fit that description.

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Of course, I wanted the hand breaded tenderloin.  I’m never quite sure what to expect when a tenderloin is advertised as hand breaded, as I’ve got a few that certainly were a perfectly round, processed fritter, but this was not the case with this one.  The breading was crisp and absolutely perfectly seasoned.  The meat was moist, tender, and flavorful.  Add to that a perfectly toasted, buttered bun, and condiments just as I requested, this was one of the best tenderloins I’ve had in quite some time.    As a matter of fact, I’m going to say it’s one of the best in Indy.  It’s a 5 out of 5 bites, no doubt in my mind.

For my side, I ordered fries for an upcharge, and was given the choice of hand cut fries or waffle fries.  I chose the hand cut fries, and they didn’t not disappoint.  Outstanding.

There were some service issues with our meal.  There was an extensive wait for our food.  Some folks ordered the same time we did, and had received their meals and finished them before we got ours.  In addition, for her dinner, Holly ordered grilled fish tacos, and got breaded fish tacos instead.  We were on a pretty tight schedule that night, so we didn’t really have time for her to return the meal for a redo, so she ate what she was given…and she reports them to be fantastic!  They are made with grouper, and served in flour tortillas with lettuce, tomato, and sour cream. In addition, you get spicy refried beans, seasoned rice, and an avocado salad.  A whole lot of food for the $9.95 that you pay – and easily enough to make two, or even three meals out of it!

The mark of a good restaurant is when they realize they made a mistake and correct it.  Our waitress (whose name I neglected to get) without us even asking told us she was so sorry for the delay in getting our meals, and made sure to set it right with us.  I’d say she went WAY above and beyond in customer service.  THAT, my friends, is the mark of a business that cares about their customers and wants them to come back.  That act earned our repeat business.


Whiskey Business is located at 11915 Pendleton Pike in Indianapolis.  You can find them online at:  http://www.whiskeybiz.com/  and they also have a Facebook page.

Lord Ashley’s Pub and Eatery, Indianapolis

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Lord Ashley’s Pub and Eatery, located on the East side of Indianapolis at Pendleton Pike and Oaklandon Road, is a family friendly, non­ smoking pub. This is my favorite type of pub, and it’s always a treat for me to see families eating and laughing together in an atmosphere like this.

Located in an unassuming strip mall, it’s nicely appointed with a lot of dark wood on the inside. There are a LOT of TV’s playing mostly sports and news stations, but the sound is turned down low so one doesn’t have an issue carrying on a conversation in a normal speaking voice, another big plus.

We arrived shortly before 5PM on a Friday night, on our way to a show in nearby Fortville, Indiana. Although it was the dinner hour, and they were pretty busy, service was prompt and friendly.

The menu has a LOT of choices on it, from salads to steak to sandwiches and more. I’d been told my buddy Dick Davis that they had a pretty good tenderloin here, so I already had my mind made up.

I had a rather interesting interaction with our waitress. I asked “How is your breaded tenderloin” and she responded “It’s big!!!”. We had a nice conversation about how I really didn’t care if it was big or not, I was more concerned with whether it was good or not. That’s one of my pet peeves…restaurants bragging about portion size, rather than the quality of their food.

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That said, when she brought it out my first thought was “This looks good!” Even though it’s pounded out thinner than I normally prefer, for this particular sandwich, it works well. The breading is really good….nice and crispy with just the right amount of seasoning. The meat itself, not QUITE as moist as some I’ve had recently….maybe because of the thinness it was pounded to, but, still, it was VERY tasty.

The sandwich was served dressed as I requested, and the bun was nicely toasted. I’m going to give Lord Ashley’s breaded tenderloin a 4 out of 5 bites…well above average and certainly worth getting. It is served with a side of homemade chips, and, let me tell you, they were FANTASTIC. Although you can get fries or rings for an upcharge, I highly recommend these chips.

For her dinner, Holly chose the tempura batter breaded fish sandwich. The portion size was enormous, and could easily have been divided into two small sandwiches. The fish was light and flaky. She chose the homemade chips for her side as well, and really enjoyed them.

Lord Ashley’s is located at Pendleton Pike and Oaklandon Road in Indy. You can find them online at: http://www.lordashleyseatery.com/

Hard Rock Cafe, Indianapolis

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I’d been to one Hard Rock Cafe’ before…Myrtle Beach, maybe?  And I don’t remember much about it.  Had it been a terribly good or bad experience I’m sure it would have stood out, but it didn’t make enough of an impression on me that I either sought another one out, or sought to avoid one.

Some friends of ours…Point of View Comedy….were performing at the Indianapolis Hard Rock last night, and we decided to go have dinner and support them.

Most of you probably are aware of the Hard Rock….it’s a Rock and Roll themed restaurant, with posters, guitars, albums, and more.  If you’re into music, it’s a pretty cool place to go just wander around and look at the displays.

I’d not intended getting a tenderloin, as they don’t have one on their menu.  However, each location offers a “Local Legend” burger, and I asked what it was….it was a breaded tenderloin!  What better local legend for Indiana than a breaded tenderloin?

Of course, it’s what I ordered.

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About the best thing I can say about this sandwich is that it wasn’t a fritter.  It was fairly thick, but both the meat and the breading were pretty bland.  Don’t get me wrong….it just wasn’t good, either.  It was filling, and it wasn’t a fritter…that’s pretty much all I can say about it.  I’m going to give it a 2 out of 5 bites…below average.

For her dinner, Holly had the Cobb salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  She said it was good, but that she could have made it at home for half the price, and it would have been just as good.

As a whole, I found the food to be mediocre and overpriced.  But, I realize that a lot of folks really DO like the Hard Rock.  It’s just not my personal taste in a restaurant.

Gatsby’s, Indianapolis (NW side)

I’ll be honest.  I’ve had folks request that I review a certain restaurant/tenderloin, and I’ve had varying success.  I always feel badly when sometime tells me about a breaded tenderloin that they think is a 5 out of 5, and it turns out to be a fritter.

So, when a good friend asked me to join him for lunch and review the tenderloin and Gatsby’s…I was cautiously optimistic.  I really hoped I wasn’t in for a letdown.  And, I suspected I wasn’t…because he is a firefighter, and if one thing firefighters know, it is good food.  I later found out that the owner of Gatsby’s is an Indianapolis Firefighter, another plus.

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Gatsby’s looks like your typical strip mall pub from the outside.  It’s located just off of I-465 and 71st street on the West side, and is surrounded by office parks and motels/hotels.

Upon entering, it’s much larger than it looks like from the outside.  There’s a raised dining area, and the main floor.  They make efficient use of the space here.

The wait staff was friendly and helpful, but we both knew what we wanted…the breaded tenderloin.

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When they brought it out, it was obviously hand breaded, and it’s sized right. It’s not so large as to be overwhelming, but it’s certainly filling.  The sandwich is seasoned PERFECTLY….and the breading stays crisp throughout the life of the sandwich.  The meat is moist and tender.  Although I was a bit skeptical at the beginning, I can say with assurance this is one of the best tenderloins I’ve ever had.  It’s a 5 out of 5, no questions asked.  Seriously.  Go get this sandwich.

For my side, I chose onion rings, and I’d say they are above average.  They’re not the best in town, but they’re certainly better than what one usually gets.

Gatsby’s breaded tenderloin goes for $8.29, and is served breaded, grilled, or Cajun. Cheese is .50 extra.

A bit of advice….if you’re going for lunch, go a bit early, or after 12:00 Noon.  We got there about 1130, and it was pleasantly busy, but by noon or a few minutes after, there were folks waiting to be seated.

Gatsby’s is located at 6335 Intech Commons Drive.  You can find them online at http://www.gatsbysonline.com , and they also have a Facebook page.