Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Brozinni Pizzeria

Okay, okay, so we had to try the new New York style pizza place after reading several rave reviews and we have to say...damn right! That is some impressive pie!

Ozzy had an impromptu night with Grammy, so we had to go out! Tonight we started with the knuckles...dough twists smothered in a garlic butter sauce. Yeah, how can that NOT be good? Super buttery and too much for two, so order if you're in a group.

Then, there was the pizza. The pie was as big as New York and it was only the 16"! (their smallest!!) Although the specialty pizzas were very tempting, from the Canal Street(sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, and green peppers) to the 34th Street(fresh garlic, basil, mozzarella cheese, and a special white sauce), we decided to create our own. Spicy Sausage, pepperoni, zesty peppers, and WOW, just look at Fred's face! Truly magnificent. We are not usually sausage pizza people, but that may have changed. This is a sliced sausage with a mild heat when mixed with the zesty peppers(pepperoncini's) was a mouth pleasing party! Let's not discount the pepperoni, which could easily stand on its own.

The menu is not limited to pizza and bread sticks, either. There are the usual appetizers, soups and salads, calzones, subs, and pastas. We were also intrigued by the "Grandma's Pie," a square deep dish style pizza that will have to be sampled at our next visit.

Not to be redundant, but yet again, this is NOT a toppings pizza. Although the meats are much higher quality than your local papa john's, it's really a great pie in it's entirety. Excellent crust, light marinara, good meat, and overall a pizza that you cannot get anywhere else in the Indianapolis area. Although the crust was almost a third of the pie, it could stand alone as an exceptional breadstick. We did happen to witness a 20" 34th street walk by and the crust was more proportional. Might we add that the table of 8 sharing it, ooed and awed audibly from across the room!

The beer selection was satisfactory, although they were out of half of what was listed on the chalk board. Something tells us, with the size of the portions, they're not going to be selling any of those yummy sounding cannoli's on the dessert menu.

Wrap Up
Price-$$, Decently priced food, but we spent as much on beer as food, unfortunately.
Atmosphere-***, Black and white New York photos, faux brick and visible dough tossing...nice.
Service-***, Courteous staff and perfect timing.

Fred - A-, Top notch ingredients and great technique make for a killer, unique in Indy pie.
Libby - A, A serious competitor with Some Guy's, yet they are totally different. Without a doubt, the best pizza on the south side!
Ozzy -slumber party at Grammy's!

Brozinni Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sophia's Original House of Pancakes

Another groggy Sunday morning for Libby and breakfast was sounding mighty good. So, it was time to try the new(only open 2 1/2 weeks) regional chain, Sophia's. Taking over the old location of a rather grimy, smokey Sunshine Cafe, Libby was pleasantly surprised to walk into a very clean, bright, fresh environment. Not only was the air clear, but the host was fast and furious...quickly getting me to a seat as a swarm of waitstaff brought water, silverware, menus, and coffee...thank you.

Fred and Ozzy joined a few minutes later and we began to take in the enormous menu. Not only the usual pancakes, egg combo's and omelets, but also blintzes, Belgian waffles, crepes, hash, and that southern staple, grits. It was quite a feat to settle on one entree a piece, but we finally did.

Ozzy, the Mickey Mouse chocolate chip pancakes. Something tells us Disney isn't getting their royalties, but Ozzy certainly didn't seem to mind! Libby, struggling deeply within between a carb breakfast or the hash, finally went with the hash breakfast...four eggs, hash, hash browns, and two flapjacks....come to mama. Fred decided to try a staple for any new breakfast place, the eggs benedict(although the eggs florentine was very tempting).

All in all, very good. All eggs cooked as ordered, hash browns nicely crisped, pancakes, fluffy, yet not with an annoying skin that makes them hard to cut. The coffee, an average cup of joe, but not watery or burned...fresh, hot, caffeine.

Libby found the hash, although nothing exciting, very delicious and simple. The eggs and hash browns really made for a complete experience. The pancakes, although very good for a plain flapjack, were unnecessary. Libby was working her way to a carb coma to ensure a good days sleep.

Fred, on the other hand, ordered his benchmark breakfast dish. If you want to call yourself a true breakfast place, then you must know your eggs benedict. Sophia is well acquainted and did not disappoint. As Fred has mentioned before, he loves a lemony hollandaise. This one, while bland, was still full of buttery goodness. He is happy that they didn't go with a cheese sauce rather than an actual hollandaise like so many others tend to do.

This is what we were referring to when lamenting Four Seasons. While Sophia's is not the end all be all of breakfast establishments, it sets the bar at "good eats"-a step above your average Denny's. It saddens us that a chain is one upping the mom-and-pop. But let's hope a little healthy competition will make them up their game. As far as FLO is concerned, another visit to Sophia's is in the near future to either partake of some other breakfast delights or sample the lunch menu...they are open 7 days a week from 7-3.

Wrap Up
Price-$-$$, Not dirt cheap, but very reasonable.
Atmosphere-**, Unfortunately the decor left a lot to be desired...commercial Grandma's house with no personality, but bright and clean.
Service-****, Fast and efficient. You can tell this place had good management...ran like a well-oiled machine already in it's first month!

Fred - B, While nothing special, I feel like I can count on a solid breakfast every time.
Libby - B+, As the resident carbo-holic parent, I am glad to say I will be back to sample the waffles, blintzes and crepes...Yay!
Ozzy - A, There was no talking once the food arrived from this sleepy-eyed boy.
Sophia's Original House of Pancakes on Urbanspoon

Stone Creek Dining Company

The first time we went to Stone Creek was soon after it's opening several years ago. At first, we found it a little pretentious with it's fine dining prices and oddly chosen decor(servers in Hawaiian shirts, eclectic lodge-like interior with blown glass), but after our first meal, we were pleasantly surprised. We are happy to say that the Hawaiian shirts have been retired for a more classy black on black. Not only is it family-friendly, but it has a wide variety of tasty dishes. One of Libby's favorites is the salmon salad. Pan seared salmon on a bed of mixed lettuce with boiled eggs, nuts and the appropriate amount of dressing. Our favorite architectural choice is the kitchen. It is open to the dining area and there is nothing better than watching the chaos during a dinner service.

Our most recent visit was at lunch and this time we were in the mood for sandwiches. We hadn't had the pleasure and Libby quickly eyed the Cuban. For Fred, it would be the Chicago(Italian) beef. Ozzy, you guessed it, the grilled cheese.

In a word, WOW. Libby was immediately happy. Not only were the ingredients perfect...excellent meat, thinly sliced, crispy ciabatta, and the accompanying horseradish sauce were inspired on their own, but *drum roll* the most ingenious addition---giardenera. Yes, that was the perfect accoutrement, not just the pickled deliciousness, but this one had some oily heat. And for the first time, Libby understood the point of ciabatta. It always seemed like too much for most sandwiches, but the greasiness of the giardenera coupled with the hearty pork---ciabatta was an excellent delivery device...just heaven.

Fred's Chicago beef gave Libby's Cuban a run for it's money. The same crispy ciabatta covered in massive amounts of chipped, juicy cheese covered beef goodness, spiced to the max with the same giardenera. Fred's been looking for a good Italian in Indy, and this is certainly the best he's found. It was served with crispy double-fried shoestring french fries, sopping wet in the spicy giardenera juice....ahhhhhh. For those who preferred their Italian's wet, au jou was provided on the side.

Ozzy finished his double fried fries first(they were yummy), then did decide to sample the grilled cheese. Pity, because it looked pretty good.

Wrap Up
Price-$$$-$$$$, Quite possibly one of the most expensive restaurants in Greenwood.
Atmosphere-***, Comfortable with odd taste in art and other decorations...fake, dried flowers, anyone?
Service-***, good, professional service.

Fred - A-, Is there anything better than a gentle burn on your lips after that perfect amount of spice?
Libby - B+, Although a bit pricey for a sandwich, I wasn't upset about it...damn good Cuban.
Ozzy - B, ate all the fries, tried the grilled cheese, but seemed happy overall.

Stone Creek Dining Company on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Barcelona Tapas

Peckish but interested in more than just some chips and dip? How about teasing your palate with small yet delicately appointed dishes presented by our Iberian friends as tapas. If you've never had tapas, the concept is simple. They are small appetizer-sized portions of some very sophisticated dishes meant to be ordered in quantity and shared among a table.

It is rare that you can order an entire dish based on artichokes or asparagus. Much less begin moaning when the goat cheese comes out! Thus is the case at Barcelona Tapas.

FLO first visited Barcelona soon after opening in 2007 and found it to be quite wonderful. A refreshing twist on the entire concept of a restaurant not seen elsewhere in Indianapolis. Not only are it's dishes reflective of the Spanish culture's cuisine, but Barcelona Tapas also has the open-to-the-street feel you only find in more old-world destinations.

We were long over-due for another visit and knew the Queso de Cabra al Horno (baked goat cheese in tomato sauce with garlic bread) would be the first of our list of tapas for the evening. Just as with our first visit, Fred wished to bathe in it. If only an Italian restaurant would serve a marinara as exquisite! It was so spectacular that we ended up dipping everything in it.

Along with our Queso, we ordered 3 other tapas:
-- A skewer of fried shrimp in a sherry cream and "caperberry" salsa. Yum! It was the first casualty.
-- Fried artichoke hearts with a Romesco sauce and shaved Manchego cheese. Very very tasty, and the perfect dipper for that baked goat cheese and tomato sauce!!! While the Romesco was good, it just couldn't compete.
-- Last but not least, the grilled lamb chops with sherry alioli and rioja reduction. Oh-mah-gawd. Perfectly tender, perfectly moist, perfectly seasoned. If only they made lambs the size of cows. . . hmm.

And did we mention they have a decent beer selection on tap? Bells Oberon, Stella Artois or Hoegarten? Nice. We forget the other choices, but there was a wide enough range to satisfy most palates.

Ozzy was happy to munch on the complimentary warm bread and enjoy the afternoon sun. While Barcelona does not offer a children's menu, he did not seem out of place nor unwelcome.

Wrap Up
Price-$$$-$$$$, Not cheap. But did we mention the sauce?
Atmosphere-****, The garish colors & decor transport you out of the midwest.
Service-****, very attentive and almost too fast service
Fred - A, I know I'm splitting hairs, but our food actually arrived so quickly that we were not ready for it. Gosh what a problem to have!
Libby - A, Any time I can enjoy my meal and feel like I've experienced a taste of the culture, I am very happy.
Ozzy - C, Ozzy seemed to almost understand that Mommy and Daddy needed their private time with the goat cheese. Thank you boy!!!

Barcelona Tapas on Urbanspoon

Four Seasons

The FLO have frequented the Four Seasons for several years, but sadly, we can't say anything remarkable about it.

As far as a typical "diner," it is as greasy spoon and non-chain as you can get in Greenwood. Not that it is all bad, but it wouldn't take a lot to make this place really stand out. For one, it is owned and operated by Greek immigrants, and the menu definitely reflects a few more ethnic options. Libby loves Greek, Fred hates la vie. Every meal we have ever gotten has settled in the "okay" category. Not terrible, not wonderful, just okay.

Our latest experience was for lunch on a weekend. Fred went with the house omelet and Libby the Greek Lasagna. Libby was pleasantly surprised with the mildness considering the amount of onion in the dish. It wasn't bad, just not exciting. Her salad had several brown pieces of lettuce and this is not the first time. Ozzy ordered the grilled cheese and actually ate it!

Fred's omelet was well below par. The egg was brown, dry & rubbery. The potatoes, while done, were not crispy and lacked any seasoning of any kind. The best thing on the plate was his out-of-a-box english muffin.

In the past, Fred has enjoyed the house omelet...a Greek rendition with tomato, spinach and feta. Libby has also enjoyed the Greek platter with it's deconstructed gyros. So, it's not all bad. It just wouldn't take too much more effort to make crispier fried potatoes, tastier pancakes, and more carefully prepared salads. The service is always good. Attentive and fast.

The FLO would suppose that watching Food Network's Diners, Drive-in's and Dive's has made us even more critical of Four Seasons. I guess a "bananas" is too much to ask, but we yearn for the "killer" and the "money" that it sorely lacks and that Greenwood desperately needs. It's not that the food is bad, they could easily kick it up a notch and really have something special. Instead, they cater to the steady stream of business on the south side that doesn't demand much of the palate.

Wrap Up
Price-$, At least the price is right...
Atmosphere-**, Recently updated greasy spoon motif. No complaints.
Service-***, very attentive and fast service
Fred - D, I'm rethinking my aversion to Denny's.
Libby - C, I do love a good gyro, and their's suffices, but there is a lot lacking here.
Ozzy - A, Very family friendly and they know how to make a grilled cheese.

Four Seasons on Urbanspoon