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/

Smokehouse on Shelby, Fountain Square (Indianapolis)

Fountain Square is one of our favorite neighborhoods in Indy.  Over the last few years, it’s has undergone an amazing transformation, and is now a bustling area with restaurants, pubs, duckpin bowling, swing dancing, live music, and much more.

It’s always a good place to take friends who are visiting from out of town, which was the case for us Friday night.  We choose the Smokehouse on Shelby partly because we’d been there before and enjoyed the food, and party because it’s in the same building as Duckpin Bowling, one of the unique things in Indy that we wanted to introduce to our friends.

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Smokehouse on Shelby is a BBQ restaurant, but they have a few other things on the menu.  They advertised a hand breaded tenderloin, but, frankly, I was skeptical.  I’ve been to a few restaurants where they advertise a hand breaded tenderloin, and end up with a fritter.  I asked our waitress about it, and she told me they do all the breading and pounding in house, so I decided to give it a try.

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This is a pretty darn good sandwich!  It’s decent sized without being overwhelming, and the breading is tasty and crisp.  The meat is tasty, but it wasn’t as tender as some tenderloins I’ve had.  And, the price is right…you get a sandwich and TWO sides (I chose fries and cole slaw) for 7.99.  That’s a bargain!  I’m going to give it 3.5 out of 5 bites.  It’s above average but falls short of stellar.

For her dinner, Holly chose the pulled pork sandwich, also served with two sides plus fried biscuits and apple butter.  For her sides, she chose the steamed vegetable du jour and seasoned & roasted Fuji apples, which are customer favorite.  I kid you not; there was enough food for three meals on the plate they brought out to her!  We had plenty of leftovers to take back home!  And for the price of $10.99, you can’t go wrong with this smokehouse classic.  Holly highly recommends the raspberry chipotle barbecue sauce.  This one may be a bit too spicy for some, so a close second would be the horseradish barbecue sauce – all of the flavor with not as much heat.

I want to give a shout out to the staff at Smokehouse on Shelby.  Holly made reservations because we had a larger group, and from the reservation process to the service before, during, and after the meal, everything was stellar.  We’ll certainly return soon!

Smokehouse on Shelby is located right on the fountain in Fountain Square.  You can also find them online at http://www.fountainsquareindy.com/smokehouse/.

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 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”.

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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.

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

The Mayberry Cafe, Danville, Indiana

 

One of the hardest parts about doing a blog about this is being fair.  No matter how much I like  (or dislike) a particular restaurant, my job is to give as unbiased an opinion as is humanly possible.

Those of you who know me personally know that I’m a HUGE fan of the Andy Griffith Show.  My office has Andy Griffith art on the walls, I watch the show nearly every day, and can talk right along with the dialogue.

We’re fortunate to have The Mayberry Café about 45 minutes away from home, in the town of Danville, Indiana.  Holly had a music gig in Danville, and it gave us the perfect chance to visit The Mayberry Café for dinner.

Of course, the place is Mayberry themed, complete with a Mayberry squad car parked outside.  The walls are lined with photos and posters of The Andy Griffith Show, and multiple TVs show episodes of the show while they’re open.

The service is very friendly and down home, and, to us, it seemed very genuine.  It appeared the servers truly enjoyed their job, and did a fine job of interacting with the customers without being intrusive.

The menu features what I call “down home” cooking…meatloaf, fried chicken, and so on.  There also are several burgers on the menu, as well as a few Italian dishes…perhaps in homage to the “Dinner at 8” episode.

I saw the breaded tenderloin on the menu, and asked the server, “Is it a REAL breaded tenderloin, or a fritter”, and she replied “We get that question a lot, and it IS a real tenderloin”.

Well, that was enough for me.  I ordered it…and I’m glad I did.

The taste and texture were fantastic.  Fresh pork, and the breading is wonderful.  Nice and crispy, and it stayed crisp throughout the life of the sandwich.  I ordered my sandwich, as always, with ketchup, mayo, and onion, and they didn’t skimp on the onion, a big plus in my book.  The bun was nicely toasted, although there was nothing special about the bun itself.

The ONLY downside to this sandwich is that it was pounded out just a bit thinner than my preference.  The taste and texture were perfect, only it being just a bit too thin for my personal taste kept it from being a 5 out of 5.  I’m going to give it a 4.5…VERY good, and well worth the drive.

Holly chose Aunt Bea’s fried chicken.  She was surprised to learn that the chicken was *not* bone-in!  Not a minus, just not expected.  The breading was wonderful and although it was all white meat, it was tender and juicy.  Home-style mashed potatoes and gravy with green beans were her sides – both reported to be comfort food at its finest.

The Mayberry Cafe is located at 78 W Main Street in Danville, Indiana.  I was unable to locate a web page for them, but they do have a Facebook page.

Guest Review…The Mill House, Jasper, Indiana

Recently, the Tenderloin Connoisseur put a call out to his friends to visit one of their local restaurants and try its version of a tenderloin and report back.  I meant to take up this challenge earlier, but other events in our life seemed to get in the way.  However, this past week my wife, Wendi, and I decided to have an evening out and visited The Mill House in Jasper, IN. 

After being promptly seated and presented menus, we placed our order for our drinks and perused the menu.  The menu has several Americana dishes that can satisfy the appetites of most patrons.  They also have nightly specials that even include a Kids Pizza night and a Pizza bar night.  On their menu, there are three options for a tenderloin sandwich.  All three options can be made breaded or grilled.  The regular tenderloin comes topped with lettuce, tomato, and mayo.  The Mill House comes with Cheese, bacon, and sautéed onions.  The third choice is the Buffalo Style.  The Buffalo Style comes with buffalo sauce, pepper jack cheese, and ranch.  All options come with waffle fries.  You can substitute onion straws or add the soup and bread bar for an extra fee.
As usual, I chose the Buffalo Style tenderloin, breaded, but substitute mayo for ranch. Also, I upgraded the waffle fries to cheese waffle fries.  I had a sweet tea to wash it down with.  It arrived promptly just as I had order.  The sandwich was definitely not your meat processed fritter.  It did have the appearance of being hand cut (as advertised).  The tenderloin was about twice the size of the toasted bun.  Three slices of pepper jack cheese covered it.  Although, it had some size to it, it also had a nice thickness that prevented it from being dried out.  Even with it being Buffalo style, it wasn’t swimming in the sauce like many wings do.  In fact, you don’t realize the sauce is even on it, until you start eating it.  However, after a few bites, your mouth is heats up.  I also received a good portion of cheese fries with it.  Although in the past, I have received smaller portions. The fries were covered in multiple cheeses and sprinkled with bacon.  They too come with ranch, but I just used the supplied Heinz ketchup.  I give this a 4 out of 5 rating, as it did get crispy around one of the edges.
Wendi chose the chicken parmesan pasta.  She received a generous helping.  She reported that it was just the way she liked it, but was just a little too much for her to finish.   
Service here is typically a 4 out of 5 rating as well.  This evening was no exception.  At our time of dining, they were not very busy.  But as seen in the parking lot, which is across the street, the crowd had started coming in. 
The Mill House is located on the corner of 14th and Mill Street in Jasper.  The two story building has two entrances.  The entrance on Mill Street is for the bar area.  The entrance from 14th Street is to the family and group dining.  Family dining is one the first floor while the upstairs can be reserved for groups.
Many thanks to Matt and Wendi Osgatharp for doing this guest review.  Would YOU like to do a review?  Drop me a note and let’s make it happen! :)