Montgomery’s Steakhouse, Spiceland, Indiana

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Montgomery’s Steakhouse personifies a restaurant “out in the middle of nowhere”.  It’s located in the little hamlet of Spiceland, Indiana, south of New Castle, just off of the intersection of State Road 3 and I-70.

The parking lot is huge, and for good reason…this is a HUGE facility!  2 big dining rooms, a very large bar, and an area they call “The Back Porch”, where they have outdoor concerts in the summer.  They draw some pretty large crowds, with groups like 38 Special, Confederate Railroad, and more.

We were there for a comedy night, which was held in one of the dining rooms.  It’s got a very cozy feel that makes it seems intimate, in spite of its massive size.

As a steakhouse, they’re menu definitely runs towards the beef side.  There are a lot of steaks, of course, a very complete appetizer menu, some desserts, and more.

I spied ”hand breaded tenderloin” on the menu, and asked our server if it was done in house, and she told me indeed, it is, so I decided to give it a try.

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This is one of the thicker…perhaps THE thickest breaded tenderloin I’ve had.  It’s a hefty sandwich, to be sure.  Was it too thick?  For me, no, it wasn’t.  But, for some folks who prefer a thinner sandwich, it might well be.

The breading was nice and crunchy.  It wasn’t as seasoned as some I’ve had, still, it was very good.  The meat itself had a good flavor…not outstanding, but above average.  However, at least one bite had a hunk of gristle in it.  I realize this happens from time to time, but it does detract from the overall rating of the sandwich.

I ordered a side of onion rings, and I gotta say, those are some FANTASTIC onion rings.  Obviously hand breaded, done perfectly, some of the very best I’ve EVER had.  And I’ve had a lot of onion rings!

I’m really torn on how to rate this sandwich.  It’s good, but finding a nice hunk of gristle can’t help but bring the rating down.  Still, I’ll give it a 3.5 out of 5 bites.  It’s a little above average, and I’d order it again when I’m there.

For her dinner, Holly had the veggie burger and a side of steamed broccoli.  The veggie burger was average – nothing spectacular.  The broccoli florets were smaller than usual, which made them kind of difficult to eat with a fork, but other than that, the taste and level of “doneness” was fine.

I’ve got to give a shout out to the service.  With it being a special event night, I didn’t know what to expect.  They did a GREAT job on serving the crowd.

Montgomery’s is located just south of the intersection of I-70 and Highway 3 in Spiceland, Indiana.  You can find them online at:  http://www.montgomeryssteakhouse.com/

Guest review: Corky’s restaurant, Danville, Indiana

Corkey’s Fabulous 50’s Restaurant

Danville, Indiana

http://corkeysrestaurant.com

When it comes to my dining experiences, there are few things I enjoy more than the playing of 50’s music in the background and, I’ll admit it, a good ole’ fashioned waitress who calls me “honey” and sounds like she means it.

I received both in abundance during a recent visit to Corkey’s Fabulous 50’s Restaurant, a 50’s themed casual diner in Danville, Indiana located at 745 E. Main Street right next to Pence Automotive. Located within a few blocks of both downtown Danville and the nearby Hendricks Regional Health, Corkey’s Fabulous 50’s Restaurant opened up about a year ago in one of those non-descript buildings where you struggle to remember what it used to be but think to yourself “This is perfect for an old diner.”

I’d also been looking for the perfect opportunity to write a guest column for my good buddy Rick Garrett’s “Tenderloin Connoisseur” blog, and as I was driving up to visit a relative in the nearby Hendricks Regional Health it occurred to me that this would be the perfect opportunity to relax a bit before a hospital visit, check out Corkey’s, and finally snag that long desired guest column.

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When you enter Corkey’s, it’s exactly what you’d expect from a 50’s themed restaurant with checkboard linoleum flooring, the obligatory jukebox, a life-sized Marilyn Monroe figurine and constantly playing 50’s music at an easy to the ears volume that allows you to appreciate the music while still having conversations.

The waitresses, at least on this occasion, weren’t quite decked out in your traditional 50’s garb but definitely had a retro vibe with blue jeans and plaid tops and a 50’s style “come on in” attitude that instantly made me feel welcome even as a city boy in this small town just to the west of Indianapolis.

Of course, I was really here to sample the tenderloin sandwich and, much to my delight, it just so happened to be on special during my visit. The “juicy, pork tenderloin” comes standard with tomatoes, lettuce, and onion on a fresh bun with a pickle spear on the side. The special includes either french fries, a side salad or the soup of the day for $6.99. While I certainly don’t fancy myself a tenderloin expert like Rick Garrett, I had no problem choosing breaded over grilled and had no problem determining that this abundant specimen of a sandwich was “really” hand-breaded.

I’m a bit of a purist and opted to order my sandwich plain and with fries on the side along with my customary unsweetened iced tea. My iced tea arrived quickly and I settled in to enjoy the ambience and my newspaper until my food arrived.

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When the sandwich arrived, I looked at it and went “WOW!” It was a far more substantial sandwich than expected with the tenderloin clearly overwhelming what is best described as a fairly basic poppy seed styled sandwich bun.

Unfortunately, this is where the “WOW!” factor really ended. While the sandwich is a better than average sandwich, the taste doesn’t quite match up to the presentation. The meat was thick but not, in fact, particularly juicy and the breading, which had a kind of southern style cornmeal taste to it, lacked the zesty flavor that I value from a truly fantastic tenderloin sandwich. The best word that I can think of to describe the sandwich is “bland.” The meat was surprisingly bland and the run-of-the-mill bun only added to the blandness.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the sandwich, but not nearly as much as I was hoping as it arrived at my table and I looked at its beautiful presentation. I’d easily give it 3 out of 5 bites. The french fries on the side were lightly seasoned and tasty. As a meal combo, the tenderloin sandwich and fries was more than enough for this hearty appetite and I found myself completely unable to even contemplate dessert options that include everything from hand dipped ice cream (at only $.99 a scoop!) to shakes, floats and your expected 50’s diner fare.

The service was for the most part stellar, attentive without being invasive. It was a joy to look around and see that the waitresses clearly took time to talk “to” their customers and not “at” them. It was clear that more than a few diners were Corkey’s regulars, and the rapport between the servers and the customers appeared to be quite genuine, light-hearted and caring. The only slight “glitch” came in needing to ask for an iced tea refill, something that should never have to happen when a restaurant advertises free refills and the server has visited my table multiple times.

Fortunately, the server was readily available and offered me a “to go” cup so I could have an icedtea with me as I readied myself for another hospital visit.

As a consumer in a wheelchair, I do always consider the “accessibility” issue when choosing my dining establishments. While Corkey’s has marked off a couple of parking spots that are clearly designed to be “accessible,” it is worth noting that they are not appropriately marked as disabledvparking and I could easily see them being taken by customers without disabilities. Entering thevrestaurant is a breeze, however, with two easy to maneuver front entry doors and a wide openvconcept restaurant that easily allows for adapting a dining experience when needed. Because thevservers were so incredibly friendly, I can easily see them offering assistance should a diner with avdisability require it.

The big questions I always ask myself as I leave a restaurant is “Will I go back?” and “Will Ivhave this meal again?”

Yes and no.

I will definitely go back to Corkey’s Fabulous 50’s Restaurant. For less than $10, I enjoyedvgood food, terrific service and a fun and casual atmosphere. Corkey’s is easily worth a trip out of Indianapolis to enjoy the day in the delightful community of Danville, Indiana. If you’re there all day, you can enjoy Corkey’s for lunch then head into downtown Danville to enjoy the beloved Mayberry Cafe for dinner. That’s what I would call the absolutely perfect day.

Corkey’s offers a rather delightful menu ranging from your usual 50’s diner fare to such southern comfort favorites as country fried steak, beef manhattan, meatloaf and more. The next time around, I’ll probably try myself a burger or I may even go all out and check out the meatloaf.

Route 67 Bar and Grill, Mooresville, Indiana

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Holly and I had heard of the Route 67 Bar and Grill from several friends, and we were looking for the opportunity to try it.  We seldom get out to Mooresville, but we had a meeting with some folks so this was the perfect chance.

The Route 67 Bar and Grill is located in a little strip mall, very close to Grey’s cafeteria.  It’s not terribly convenient to get to…you have to cut across a gas station parking lot to get to it, but it’s worth the effort.

Upon entering, the first thing I saw was a very large aquarium, a nice touch!  The bartender greeting us warmly, and we were shown to a table for dinner and to conduct our business.

I have to say…I’m seldom felt as welcomed in a restaurant as I did here.  The folks really seemed to appreciate the fact that we chose their place for dinner.  That, alone, makes me want to return and patronize them again.

On the menu, they advertise their “big, sexy tenderloin”.  You can get it either breaded or grilled, and, of course, I chose the breaded version.

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This is one HUGE tenderloin.  And it’s perhaps the biggest bun I’ve ever seen in my life.  Seriously.  I’m not sure the scale of this sandwich comes through in the photograph, but you’d better be hungry if you intend on eating it.  Better yet, plan on sharing.

This sandwich is certainly hand breaded.  Not only is it huge, it’s thick, also, which is my preference.  It LOOKS good….however, there’s a problem.  When the sandwich came out, it was already starting to get soggy.  Maybe not terribly so, but enough to detract from the taste and texture.  That’s the problem with a huge sandwich….keeping it fresh and crisp in almost unmanageable.

The meat was tasty, but the sogginess of the breading certainly took away from that.  Don’t get me wrong….it wasn’t terrible.  It just wasn’t great.  On a scale of 0-5 bites, I’ll give it 2.5, just average.

For her meal, Holly chose the Black and Blue Salad.  She ordered the steak medium and it came out just as she had asked.  The dressing (blue cheese) was good and as an added bonus, they put blue cheese crumbles on as well, which took an above average black and blue salad to the next level!  It was the perfect size – an excellent dinner salad she said she wouldn’t hesitate to order again.

All in all, it was a very good experience.  The service was outstanding, the price was right, and the atmosphere was warm and friendly.  We’ll certainly go back.  Be aware, they are 21 and over, and they are a smoking restaurant. However….I DO believe this was the least smoky of any smoking restaurant I’ve ever been to.

 
Route 66 Bar and Grill is located at 600 S State Road 67 in Mooresville, Indiana.  They have a website at:  http://route67barandgrill.biz/

Copper Still, Noblesville, Indiana

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Copper Still is a combination pub/sports bar/family dining restaurant on the Northeast corner of the Noblesville town square.

I’m a fan of this business model.  It’s a good place to go if you’ve got family or friends who are under 21 to gather and watch a ball game or just socialize in a warm, inviting atmosphere.  As an added bonus, they have live music on weekend nights.

Although many of the items on the menu are pretty typical bar food, nearly all of them have a twist of some kind, bringing them up a notch.  That’s a nice touch.

Of course, I was there to sample their hand breaded tenderloin, and that’s what I ordered.

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This was a pretty good sandwich….but it wasn’t outstanding.  It certainly was hand-breaded, as advertised, but the breading seemed to lack any seasoning at all.  If I could sum up the breading in one word, it would be “bland”.  The meat was good, but, again, not outstanding.  The sandwich was served dressed exactly as requested.  Overall, I’ll give it 3 out of 5 bites…average.

I had a side order of onion rings, and these were VERY good.  I’d not hesitate to order these again.

For her meal, my wife chose the veggie burger.  It was well seasoned and tasty, but pretty average as far as veggie burgers go.

Our friend Barrie and her husband Wes who were dining with us that evening chose the wings, and Holly and I both agree that they were simply outstanding.  The wings are not breaded, but instead coated with a crust of spices.  Not just dry rub…there is a little bit of oil in the mix to keep the spices intact.  But the flavor and texture was amazing.  I’ve never had wings quite like that before.

 
All in all, it was a positive experience, and we’ll certainly be back.  Conner Station is located at 917 Conner Street in Noblesville, Indiana.  I was unable to locate a website for them, but they do have a Facebook page.

Gallagher’s II, Indianapolis. (Southport)

 

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Gallagher’s II is a restaurant/pub/music venue on Southport road, on the south side of Indy.

From the parking lot, it looks rather unassuming, but once you get inside, it’s HUGE!  There is a nice bar area, two separate dining rooms on the ground level, and a very large upstairs dining area, and a patio that appears to get a lot of use in warm weather. It appears they could comfortably seat a couple hundred…or more….people here.  There’s a nice stage, and the dining areas are well lit and comfortable, and it’s an all-ages venue.  This is a huge plus in my music….a place where an entire family can come out and enjoy music, comedy, or some other art form.

 

The menu is pretty complete, with sandwiches, burgers, pizza, steaks, and more.

 

The list a hand breaded tenderloin on the menu, and that’s exactly what I was there for.

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It’s a nice sized sandwich.  Lately, I’ve become fond of smaller tenderloins, where I leave pleasantly full.  This sandwich fits that category.  It’s obviously hand made, and that’s another big plus in my book.

 

If I had to give this sandwich a one word review, it would be “good”.  It was a good sandwich.  However, I was expecting a GREAT sandwich, and that just wasn’t to be.  Everything about this sandwich was average, or, at best, a little above average.

 

It WAS served dressed exactly as I requested, so they earned high marks for paying attention to detail.

 

I chose fries as my side, and these were quite good.  I’d not hesitate to order them again.

 

My wife, Holly, chose the blackened cajun grouper.  She says it was really good – nice flavor and seasoned well.  She chose a side salad and steamed vegetables as her sides.  Unfortunately, they do not currently offer any reduced fat or low calorie salad dressings.  The great part about the grouper is that you can have it seasoned with lemon pepper or cajun and you can have it as an entrée (which is what Holly chose) or on a hoagie style sandwich.  This was a good, solid meal for a bar/restaurant.

 

All in all, this was a good enough experience that we’ll certainly stop back in when we’re back on the south side of town, but not good enough that we’d make the drive back down from the far north side just to go to this establishment.

 

Gallagher’s II is located at 2310 W Southport Road in Indianapolis.  You can find them on Facebook.

 

The Georgetowner Draft House, Fortville, Indiana

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The Georgetowner Draft House is pretty much like stepping back into Old England – which seems rather out of place in Fortville, Indiana. But it works.

We’ve been to the Georgetowner a few times before, and it was pretty good….good enough that we always went back when we’re in the area. I had heard through the grapevine that they had a new chef, so we decided to drop in when we were in Fortville attending a wedding.

The menu advertises a hand breaded tenderloin, and I asked our friendly and helpful waitress if it truly was hand breaded, and she said that it is hand cut, hand pounded, and hand breaded, in house. Well, that was good enough for me.

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It appears that is certainly the case with this tenderloin. The meat was tender, moist, and tasty. The breading was nice and crisp, and blended perfectly with the tenderness of the meat. The bun was toasted perfectly, and the fries that came with the sandwich were darn near perfect. I’m going to give this one a 5/5 bites. It’s worth the trip.

One thing I REALLY liked about this tenderloin was that it wasn’t the size of a hubcap. You left knowing you’d had a hearty meal, without feeling bloated. And, yes, I DO realize I can take half a tenderloin home, but they’re never as good on the second day.

For her entrée, Holly chose the Fish and Chips that were on special. For $6.99 you get two pieces of deep fried cod, a generous serving of seasoned fries and cole slaw. The fish was excellent – fried to perfection, as were the fries. The dressing for the poppy seed cole slaw is the chef’s own recipe. And let me tell you something…it is TO DIE FOR! I’m not a big fan of heavy dressing on cole slaw anyway, so this was a pleasant surprise. And the flavor was BEYOND my expectations! I would return there any time JUST for the slaw! But that’s not the end of my culinary adventure! I had eaten most of my fries, devoured my cole slaw, except for a bit of the outstanding dressing, and the waitress came over to clear the plates. Then she said, “Are you going to dip your fries in the cole slaw dressing?” I looked up at her as if that were a foreign concept to me. Honestly, I hadn’t given it a first thought. But I said what the heck…and boy, I am GLAD I DID! What a great combination! She said, “Yeah, I do that all the time!” I suggested that they sell an order of fries topped with the amazing cole slaw. Yes…it was THAT GOOD.

So if you stop by the Georgetowner and see that on the menu, remember where you heard it first! 

And, I have to say, the price was right! I had a sandwich, fries, and a diet coke, Holly had a full meal and a beer, and our bill was 20 bucks. Service was outstanding and we felt right at home here. We’ll beback to the Georgetowner, and soon.

The Georgetowner Draft House is located  at 215 S Main Street in Fortville, Indiana. You can find them online at http://www.georgetownerdrafthouse.com

The Rusty Bucket, Indianapolis

Come sit right down and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip….

OK, maybe the Rusty Bucket tenderloin story isn’t fateful, but I do find it interesting. Holly and I had dined at the Rusty Bucket a year or so ago, and, while I liked what I had, I was disappointed that there wasn’t a tenderloin on their menu. I’m disappointed ANY time I’m in a pub and there’s not a tenderloin
on the menu. So we didn’t make it back for a while. Recently, we made a return trip, and I was all set for a good burger, when lo and behold, there was a tenderloin on the menu.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

The Rusty Bucket is part of a small chain based, I believe, in Ohio. The layout reminds me somewhat of an Applebee’s, but it is miles ahead of that chain in food, décor, and service.

The menu is quite extensive, with a nice selection of burgers, steaks, pizza, sandwiches, and more. They all seem to have some sort of unique bend to them. Although I had stepped in craving a burger, when I saw a hand cut, hand breaded tenderloin, I knew that I had to have one.

I’m glad I ordered it. This is one darn fine tenderloin. The meat is extremely tasty, tender, and moist,\and most certainly qualifies as a 5 out of 5. The breading is nearly as good…it lacks just a little something in the seasoning department, but still well above average. The sandwich was served exactly as I ordered it, the bun was nicely toasted, and all was in order.

Except for the onions. First, they were diced. I abhor diced onions on a sandwich. Give me the real thing. Secondly, on both mine and Holly’s sandwich, the onions had a slight taste of charcoal lighter fluid. I’m not sure if they were contaminated by a knife or what, but it certainly detracted from the taste of the sandwich.

I’m torn on exactly how to rate this sandwich, for it WAS very, very good indeed. But that taste on the onions really detracted from the experience. So, I’m NOT going to rate this one. I’m going to revisit and see if I get the same experience again.

The Rusty Bucket is located at 1130 W 86th Street in Indianapolis. You can find them online at www.myrustybucket.com