Sgt Pepper’s Chicken, Martinsville, Indiana

Peppers outside

Holly and I found ourselves scheduled to be in Martinsville, Indiana, where she was judging a middle school talent contest, and I wanted to try a tenderloin in a town I’d never had one in.

I asked the folks at the Pursuing Pork Tenderloins group on Facebook who had a good tenderloin in Martinsville, and two were recommended….Indy’s Family Restaurant and Sgt. Pepper’s Chicken.

Indy’s Family Restaurant was my first choice, because it sounded like it would be a good place to set and relax before the competition. Upon arriving, we found out it was a breakfast and lunch restaurant only, so off to Sgt. Pepper’s we went.

From the outside, it doesn’t look like much. Set in an unassuming, out of the way strip mall, it’s not too far off of State Road 37 and easy to get to.

Actually, from the inside, it doesn’t look like much, either. I suspect the building has been something else in a former life. You walk up to the counter, order your food, and then they call out your name when it’s ready.

Sgt. Pepper’s serves its food one way….fried. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Peppers loinI chose the hand breaded tenderloin. This is a VERY good tenderloin! It was the right size for me…not so large to be overwhelming, yet large enough to be a very hearty meal.

The breading was VERY tasty, but, I do think it could’ve used a bit more seasoning. Oddly, being named Sgt. Pepper’s, I think it could have used some more pepper. Still, it was tasty. The meat was very flavorful and tender. The bun was pretty much a standard bun, and they gave me plenty of onion for my sandwich…kudos to them for not being stingy!

I think with just a bit more seasoning, it certainly could have been outstanding. As it was, I’d give it 4.5 out of 5 bites. WELL above average and certainly worth getting.

For my side, I chose the fried potatoes, and they were simply outstanding. When we return, they certainly will be my go to side order. As an added bonus, this sandwich is a bargain…7.69 and that includes your choice of a side.

For her dinner, Holly chose the fried chicken, which is what they are known for. She reported it to be very tasty, albeit a bit salty for her taste. The homemade potato chips hit a home run with Holly! And they give you enough of a serving of chips that you can have some with your meal, and have plenty of leftovers for later.

Sgt. Pepper’s Chicken is located at 2028 Burton Lane in Martinsville, Indiana.

Their website is http://www.sgtpeppers.net/

OB’s Pub, Indianapolis

I love a good dive bar. OB’s pub certainly fits this description!

OBs outside

Located in a nondescript strip center on the East side of Indy, OB’s is everything a dive bar should be. It’s dimly lit, the paint isn’t the freshest, the carpet is frayed around the edges. The TVs seem to rotate between game shows (The Price is Right was showing when I was there for lunch) and sports, there are a couple of dart boards, and, most of all, it’s friendly.

I was meeting a writer there for lunch who is writing a series of articles on regional foods, and this was a good place to meet her and give her a glimpse of Hoosier hospitality.

Our waitress (who could have been anywhere between 40 and 80) was friendly, and since we were taking pictures of our food and keeping copious notes, she (and several of the regulars) were quite interested in what we were doing.

But I digress. We’re here to discuss the tenderloin.

OBs loin

It appears to be hand breaded. It’s cut a little thinner than I prefer, and the meat, while decent tasting, I found to be a little dry. The breading was nice and crunchy, and stayed that way through the life of the sandwich. There was a small issue with the breading…it was quite salty. Although I didn’t mind it, I think it probably would be too salty for a lot of folks. Also, there was a seasoning in the breading that I didn’t quite recognize, and after discussing it a little bit, we think it was lemon pepper. It gave it a different flavor…not bad, mind you, but a little unexpected. I think with a little less salt, the lemon pepper could have taken this from an average sandwich to a stellar one.

The sandwich was served dressed as I requested, and was served cut into two pieces, which was a nice touch! Since it was a quite a large sandwich, I had 1/2 on this day and 1/2 the next day for lunch.

All in all, it was a pretty decent sandwich. Not stellar, but decent. I’d order it again, but, honestly, there are several other things I’d order first just to try them. I’ll rate it a 3.5 out of 5 bites, just a shade above average.

OB’s pub is located at 2102 N Mitthoeffer Road in Indianapolis, I was unable to located a website or Facebook page for them.

Cobblestone Grill, Zionsville, Indiana

One of the things I really enjoy doing is talking about tenderloins to other foodies, and last week I had the chance to do that.

My wife, Holly, and I, met Jolene Ketzenberger at the Cobblestone Grill in Zionsville for dinner, to talk tenderloins. Jolene is a food writer and restaurant critic, and you might have seen her work at http://www.eatdrinkindy.com or on Thrillist, or heard on on WFYI or seen her on the morning show “Indy Style”. She’s certainly worth a follow on twitter.

Cobblestone Front

The Cobblestone is an upscale restaurant in the lovely community of Zionsville, located right downtown, it’s long and narrow, and nicely decorated. Take a moment and check out the ceiling fans, which were installed by the local company Fanimation.

Normally, when I do a review, I don’t let the restaurant know that I’m coming, I like for it to be a surprise. However, partly due to the fact we were going to be chatting with the chef, they knew we were coming, so I won’t be rating this one on the bite scale…I’ll just let you know if I’ll get it again or not.:)

Cobblestone Loin

The meat was nicely breaded, and the breading had a nice flavor to it. Personally, I would have preferred a bit more seasoning, still, it was VERY good. The breading was flaky and crisp, and stayed attached to the meat for the life of the sandwich.

The meat itself (locally sourced) was tender and flavorful. It wasn’t quite as moist as some I’ve had in the past, still, it was very good indeed. The bun was nicely toasted and a cut above the average hamburger bun.

So, would I get this sandwich again? Absolutely, in a heartbeat.

For her dinner, Holly chose the special – which was grilled grouper. The side dish offering included several foods that she cannot eat due to allergies, but the chef was able to adjust these restrictions, and the results were delicious! Holly says the fish was simply outstanding, and the broccoli was prepared in a way that she had never tasted – it had a crispy outer texture to it, but was still fully cooked. Amazing!

All in all, a very positive experience. We will certainly be back!

Cobblestone Grill is located at 160 S Main Street in Zionsville, Indiana. You can find them online at http://www.cobblestonegrill.com

The Goldfinch Restaurant, Brookville,Indiana

GOldfinch OutsideThe Goldfinch restaurant has been an institution in Brookville, Indiana for quite some time now.  A couple of years ago, it closed for an extended period of time, leaving a void in the Brookville dining scene, and it was welcome news indeed when it reopened under new management/ownership.

The Goldfinch is a large family friendly restaurant.  For some reason, it reminds me of a Bob Evans with a hometown touch…and better food.

They have quite the extended menu with everything from sandwiches to steaks, and just about everything in between.  Of course, fried chicken is king in the Whitewater Valley, and The Goldfinch is no exception.

The Godlfinch has a quite large Sunday brunch buffet.  Holly and I were able to have it one time, and it rivals any big city brunch that I can think of.  Really outstanding.

Our friends had recommended that I try the breaded tenderloin, so that’s exactly what I did.

Goldfinch Loin

As you can see, this is a VERY large and hearty sandwich.  The breading is nice and flaky, and the meat, while not as tender as some I’ve ‘had recently, was still very good.  I do think the breading could have used a bit more seasoning, but it is still well above average.

One of the folks in our dining party had a pot roast melt sandwich and it looked and smelled fantastic.  Even though as a small town restaurant, their staple is the basics…fried chicken, fried fish, burgers, it looks like they’re not afraid to take chances with daily specials.

For her dinner, Holly had a grilled chicken breast and a baked potato – she’s keeping it simple these days.  She reported the grilled chicken to be a generous portion – juicy and flavorful.  She said the baked potato seemed to be a little over cooked, as the skin was tough.

As I said, this is a very good sandwich.  It misses that little something that would make it a 5 star sandwich, but I’ll still give it 4 out of 5 bites.  I would not hesitate to order it again.

The Goldfinch is located at 11161 US 52 in Brookville, Indiana.  It doesn’t appear they have a website, but they do have a Facebook page.

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.