Attention Indianapolis restaurateurs. This is how a first night can be performed, with the right planning and know-how. You would never have known that this was BJ's first night in full operation.
Look forward to art deco decor and an open floorplan, extremely attentive and experienced staff(some flown in from the CA locale), and a menu to rival the Cheesecake Factory...just add BEER! Although our waiter, Michael, had mentioned never "carding" anyone before(Thanks, Sweetie!), he had an experienced shadow. There were many tenured waitstaff roaming about keeping a tight ship in the dining room.
With our knowledge of an actual BJ's brewery involved, we opted for the sampler...strangely, we had to ask as it was not on the beer menu nor mentioned by our waiter. Seven 7 ounce delights before us, we set about to our chosen task! We found that both extremes were quite impressive, but the "Jeremiah Red" and "Nutty Brewnette" options were weak and rather flavorless. Surprising since they are two styles that we normally enjoy. Even more surprising, was that we found their IPA to be pleasant, fruity, and only the hoppy after taste to be against our grain. Favorites would be the "Brewhouse Blonde," "Harvest Hefeweisen," and the "P.M. Porter." After perusing their website http://www.bjsrestaurants.com/, it became clear as to why we might like them more...the brewmaster's tended to favor IPA's and Belgian ales!!! Yay!
On to the food...an enormous menu, seemingly styled by the same marketing team as the Cheesecake Factory...a binder, beautiful pics, and well organized. This place started in 1978 in Santa Ana, CA as a Chicago style pizzeria. Since FLO had just had pizza the night before, we will save that review until our inevitable return! Instead, we opted for the two new chicken dishes, the Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breast and the Balsamic Glazed Chicken Breast.
While Ozzy was verbally appraising the mac 'n cheese as he ate..."That's good, Daddy!" We were doing the same. Fred was notably impressed with his dish. Of course he's a sucker for a wine sauce, but the chicken was perfectly cooked and yielded enough for lunch tomorrow! Libby, in kind, digs a good balsamic, and this one was complimented with a bloomin' onion garnish?! Okay! Both of us found the white cheddar mashed potatoes to be good, but unremarkable. Thankfully, the same cannot be said for dessert.
Pizookie, anyone? Let's just say, does it get any better than a hot, ooey gooey chocolate chunk cookie with two scoops of vanilla bean ice cream? We think not! Reminiscent of the deep dish pizza pan, this witty compliment is served pie style and easy for all to dig in and enjoy. Ozzy was in sugar heaven and was considering licking the hot pan. Touche, BJ.
Price-$$-$$$, You can easily go overboard, but it's well worth it!
Atmosphere-***, Beautiful and open, perhaps a bit loud as Ozzy was acting like he was on meth.
Service-****, Opening night off without a hitch? Our food was to the table within 10 minutes and perfectly cooked? Waitstaff totally accomodating and relaxed? Wow.
Fred - A, The chicken was perfect, the sauce was excellent and the Pizookie! Would be an A+ for not being too safe with flavors of the majority of the beers.
Libby - A, Our dishes were superb. The service, well thought out and the atmosphere condusive to much beer sampling. Dessert a delight. I look forward to our next visit!
Ozzy -B+, While Ozzy enjoyed the experience, the atmosphere proved to be too much for the boy and the time-outs, a plenty.