Savage’s Ale House, Muncie, Indiana

Savages frontSavage’s Ale House is a fairly new pub/restaurant in downtown Muncie.  Downtown Muncie has seen a resurgence of bars and eateries lately, and it’s good to see some activity in my old hometown’s downtown.

It’s in an old building with a LOT of character.  Hardwood floors, pressed tin ceilings, and more.  When we entered, we noticed there are 3 dining areas, the main room with the bar, and two smaller rooms.

We arrived about 1130 and it was hopping.  The main dining room was filled, and we weren’t sure exactly where to set.  We waited, and waited, and waited.  There were two servers working, and I caught the eye of each of them, but they went about their business, and left us standing.  After a lengthy wait, one of them told us to sit anywhere we pleased.

Just a word to those of you who own or manage restaurants, and I know that more than a few read this blog.  If someone comes into your establishment, the first minute or two are pretty much make or break for a new customer.   Honestly, those minutes being ignored had quite the impact on my impression of Savage’s.

Once we were seated, the service was fine.  Prompt and friendly, I wouldn’t call it outstanding but it was OK.

The menu consists of pretty standard bar fare…tenderloins, burgers, a wrap or two, a Reuben, etc.  I, of course, chose the breaded tenderloin.

Ale House Tenderloin

Looks good, doesn’t it!  The breading was a classic tempura batter – nice and crispy, and stayed that way through the life of the sandwich.  The meat was tender and juicy.

But there was one problem.  None of it had much flavor.  The texture was fine, even outstanding, but the flavor just wasn’t there.  It seemed devoid of any seasoning, and if I could describe this sandwich in one word, it would be “bland”.  I’m going to give it a 3 out of 5, just an average sandwich.

For our sides, we chose the side salads.  I was a little taken aback at how expensive the side salad was  (4.50) but it was quite a large salad, and a nice mix of greens, olives, and more.  The Blue Cheese dressing was tasty and plentiful.  High marks for their salad.

For her entree, Holly chose the veggie wrap – which consists of Chipotle black bean crumbles, guacamole, shredded cheddar jack cheese, lettuce, jalapeno, onion, and tomato in a grilled flour tortilla.  Holly reports that this is one of the best tasting wraps she’s ever had, and she would not hesitate to order it again!

As a side note, when we received our check, we noticed something very different than we have seen in the past.  The menu prices all include sales tax.  So when we received our final bill, it was the grand total amount due.  The only thing we had to figure out was how much to leave for a tip.

Savage’s Ale House is located at 127 N High Street in Muncie, Indiana.  I was unable to locate a website for them, but they do have a Facebook page.

The Chicken Inn, Shelbyville, Indiana

My wife and I have been past The Chicken Inn a few times when in Shelbyville, but it had never been at mealtime, so we’ve not had the chance before now.

CHicken Inn SignThe Chicken Inn is your quintessential small town diner…warm, cozy, and it seems everyone knows each other by name. Even though we aren’t local, our server (whose name I neglected to get) greeted us with a smile, and was as pleasant with us as she was with the folks she knew by name. We were off to a good start!

I’m not sure how long the Chicken Inn has been there…quite some time, I believe, but I think it was something else before its current incarnation. It appears to be an older Pizza Hut building, but I’m not sure.

Their menu is all home cookin’. Fried chicken, breaded tenderloins, and walleye, which seems to be their specialty.

They have a hand cut and hand breaded tenderloin, so, of course, that’s what I selected. It’s available it two sizes, a smaller one, and a large one. I opted for the smaller one, and it was plenty big to satisfy even my hearty appetite!

CS tenderloin

It was a little thinner than I prefer, but I DO realize that is a matter of personal preference. The meat itself was fine…not great, not bad, just average. The breading was a nice ratio to the meat, but…the breading was very bland. It wasn’t bad breading, there was just not much flavor to it.

The sandwich was served dressed as I requested it. Honestly….I was expecting more out of the sandwich. After I finished it, I was left with the feeling that it was just average. That’s what I’ll rate it, 3 out of 5, just average. If you’re not a fan of seasoning, and prefer a thinner tenderloin, you’ll like it. Otherwise, you probably won’t.

There were some VERY bright spots in our meal. The broasted potatoes I chose for my side were simply amazing. A big bonus is Sugar Cream Pie for dessert, and it was a VERY generous slice of pie.

For her lunch, Holly had a walleye sandwich. Walleye is their feature on Fridays, and we noticed several people coming in to buy it – with good reason: Holly reports the walleye to be incredibly good! Tender and flaky, and full of flavor. They brought out tartar sauce, but honestly, this walleye does not need it! For lunch, you can either get a sandwich and one side for $5.75, or filets with two sides for $7.75. And at dinner on Fridays, they feature all you can eat walleye for $12.95. Holly had the broasted potatoes for her side as well, and gives them two thumbs up!

Even though the tenderloin was less than outstanding, I was quite impressed with the service and the rest of the food. It’s on our list of places to visit when we find ourselves back in Shelbyville!

The chicken inn is located at 541 E Hendricks in Shelbyville, Indiana. I was unable to find a website for them, but they do have a Facebook page.

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”.

Image

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.

B&C’s Hideout, New Palestine, Indiana

 

We’ve driven by B&C’s Hideout in New Palestine several times, always thinking “We need to try this place”, but our schedule never allowed us to until Saturday.

 

We were in New Palestine for an animal rescue event, and took advantage of the schedule to meet our dear friend Judie for lunch.  She’d visited the Hideout before, and recommended it as a good place to eat.  I’m glad to say that her recommendation was spot on.

 

B&C’s is decorated in a Bonnie and Clyde theme, and they’ve done a good job of not OVER doing it.  If it’s possible to have a tasteful Bonnie and Clyde theme, they’ve succeeded.

 

The menu is very extensive, and do yourself a favor and read the names of the dishes, very creatively done.  They have everything from sandwiches to pizza to steaks, ribs, and much more.

 

They offer their tenderloin either grilled or breaded, and that’s a very good sign indeed.  The Hideout talks about their breading in the menu, but, honestly, I was so hungry I didn’t take much time to read it…I just took the recommendations of my friends that it was worth getting and ordered it.

 

 

And, again, my friends were spot on.  This is a darn fine tenderloin. The breading is wonderfully crunchy and has a VERY nice flavor.  The sandwich isn’t greasy as all, and the breading stays crispy through the life of the sandwich.  The meat is nice and moist, and the sandwich was served exactly as I requested…with mayo and onion only (I prefer to add my own ketchup), and the bun was nicely toasted.  I’m going to give this sandwich a 5 out of 5 bites….as good as it gets, and well worth the drive to New Palestine.

For my side, I ordered onion rings, and they were nothing short of heavenly.   If you’re a fan of onion rings…and who isn’t??…..do yourself a favor and get an order.

 

B&C’s hideout is located at 7242 W US 52, in New Palestine, Indiana.  I was unable to find a website for them.

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

The Cabana Room, Brownsburg, Indiana

The Cabana Room is an upscale sports restaurant located in Brownsburg, Indiana.  I’ve had the opportunity to visit here a few times, and it’s always been a good exeperience.

It’s an interesting place.  Although they’re called “elegant and sophisticated” on their website, they do that without being pretentious.  If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a prententious restaurant.  I’m happy to report that the Cabana Room IS sophisticated, but still retains a small town atmosphere and we’ve never encountered anything but a warm and friendly staff when we’re there.

The atmosphere is part cigar bar, part sports bar.  The bar area has a fully stocked humidor, if you prefer non smoking, there’s a seperate dining room.  Outside dining is also available, weather permitting.

The have a complete menu, with a nice selection of appetizers and salads, sandwiches, steaks, pasta, and desserts.

Of course, I was there to try the breaded tenderloin.  Their tenderloin is advertised as beer battered, and it’s obviously hand breaded with great care.  The meat itself is nice and tender, and the breading is really nice and flaky with a good flavor.  The meat and breading are certainly up among the best around.

They serve their tenderloin with “Island Barbeque Sauce”, which I asked them to hold.  It’s also served on Ciabatta Bread.  Now, mind you, I like Ciabatta Bread, but, for me, it doesn’t work on the tenderloin.  I really enjoy the traditional texture of a nice, soft bun on a crisp breaded tenderloin, but the Ciabatta Bread was just too much.  I liked the flavor combination, the texture, not so much.

There are a number of sides available.  I chose waffle fries, and they’re very, very good.  I highly recommend them.

I’ve been struggling with how to rate this sandwich.  I’ll say this.  If you’re looking for a twist on a breaded tenderloin…something different….you’re going to REALLY enjoy it.

That said, I’m a traditional guy.  I like traditional Hoosier Breaded Tenderloins.  If this meat and breading were on a traditional bun, I’d give it a very high rating.  As it stands, I’m going to give it a 3.  It’s above average and worth a try.

I like Cabana Room a lot.  I’ll certainly be back and sample more of their menu.  The Cabana Room is located at 36 E Main Street in Brownsburg, Indiana.  You can find them online at http://cabanaroom.net/

J’s Dairy Inn, Liberty, Indiana

J’s Dairy Inn is an ice cream parlor/restaurant with 2 locations, one in Richmond and one in Liberty Indiana, just a couple of miles from Whitewater State Park.

We were camping at Whitewater when performing for the Metamora Old Time Music Festival, and I’d heard great things about J’s, so we decided to give it a try.

The restaurant is clean and the help is friendly.  We had never had a meal here before, and the menu was just a bit overwhelming…for a small restaurant, there are a LOT of choices.  But, the girl who served us behind the counter was patient while we perused the menu and asked about a couple of the things we didn’t recognize.  One of them was J-Bob’s, which are breaded potato wedges, and Mushroom Chips…which are sliced, breaded, deep fried mushrooms.  More about each of those later.

Of course, I chose the breaded tenderloin, which they advertise as hand breaded.  When they brought it out, I was quite disappointed….it certainly didn’t LOOK hand breaded.  It looked like the run of the mill frozen pork fritter.

Taste wise, it was a tad better than that.  Not much, but a little.  The breading was…well, it was there.  That’s about all I can say about it.  It was crisp, but there just wasn’t much taste to it.  And, I’ll have to say the same about the meat.  It didn’t taste BAD, there just wasn’t that much taste to it.  It was prepared with the condiments I requested, which is a plus in the service department.

As my side, I chose the J-Bob’s, and let me tell you, these things are GOOD!  Lightly breaded, perfectly cooked, I’d get these anytime!

But the tenderloin…well, for me, it didn’t even get up to the average grade.  It sells for $6.95 with a side.  I’m going to give it a 2 out of 5 bites.  It’s edible, and that’s about all I can say about it.

Holly had a pulled pork sandwich and proclaimed it excellent, WELL above average and certaintly worth getting again.  For her side, she chose the Mushroom Chips, and I sampled them also.  These things are little slices of breaded heaven….if you stop in at J’s,  make sure you order these!

J’s Dairy Inn in Liberty is located on State Road 44, one block west of the traffic light.  You can visit them online at  http://jsdairyinn.com/