Smee’s Place, Indianapolis

 

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Smee’s Place is a pub/restaurant at 86th and Ditch in Indy that I’d heard about, but not visited.  

It’s located in a strip mall that isn’t real visible from 86th street, so it’s not a place one is likely to stumble upon…I suspect the vast majority of their business comes from word of mouth, as opposed to folks seeing it and dropping in.

We were meeting our friend Richard for supper to talk about an upcoming project, and he was actually the one who suggested it, otherwise, I’m not sure we would’ve stopped there.  It’s in a part of town we don’t frequent much (even though it’s pretty close to home).

I really liked the vibe from the minute I stepped in the door.  Lots and lots of woodwork, nice lighting level, and even though it got crowded as the evening went on, the noise level was perfect for carrying on a conversation without feeling like I was straining to hear.

The menu is what I would call “upscale pub”…many of their sandwiches and dishes have a bit of a twist to them.   On their website, they proclaim “Fresh food and a friendly atmosphere” and that is spot on.  From the hostess to the server, everyone was friendly and professional.

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I chose the hand breaded tenderloin.  It’s served on a brioche bun, and although I’m not a huge fan of “fancy” buns, I’ll say this one was really good and complimented the sandwich perfectly.

From the first bite, I was impressed with this sandwich.  The meat was nice and tender, and the breading was, again, the perfect complement to the meat.  Nice and crisp, it was appropriately seasoned, and didn’t overwhelm the taste of the meat.

In addition, I really liked the size of this sandwich.  It was enough for a hearty meal, but not so huge as to be overwhelming.  I’m giving this sandwich a 5 out of 5 bites, no question about it.  The price is right, also – $8.95 with a side of fries.

For her dinner, Holly chose the fish tacos.  They are served with a generous serving of Basa, shredded lettuce, and diced tomato.  The fish is grilled, not fried – which is exactly what she wanted.  Fish tacos are often Holly’s “go-to” dish on any menu and for the price of $14.95, she was anticipating the best fish tacos she’d ever tasted.  She reports them to be good, and filling – but not stellar.  When we go back to Smee’s, she will definitely try something else on the menu.  That being said, she HIGHLY RECOMMENDS the lemon rum cake!

Smee’s Place is located at 86th and Ditch.  You can find them online at www.smeesplace.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.