Friday, May 21, 2010

Binkley's Kitchen & Bar

We were on a mission.  Find the best sit-down burger in Indy.  Boogie reigns supreme in our minds, but it's not technically a sit-down. So, from a strong suggestion from a close friend, we headed for Binkley's in Broadripple. 

Originally a drug store in 1928, Binkley's is now a very well established restaurant with accommodations for both adult diners and families (to our delight!).  Once inside, the very contemporary decor was minimally decorated and tastefully understated.  There was so much buzz around that the squealing infant and talkative pre-schooler were never noticed.  A quick glance at the appy's made it easy to choose the Baked Goat Cheese served with naan.

Yeah, it was good...very reminiscent of the tapas version at Barcelona Tapas, but not quite the complexity with the tomato sauce here.  Not complaining one bit.  It was delicious!  This is the first time we've seen naan in Indy outside of an Indian restaurant.  A definite step up from the standard pita.

Fred and Libby had to sample some brews, so Fred chose the Celis Gran Cru and Libby the Goose Island Urban Wheat.  Both were easy on the mouth, but something about Fred's beer made Libby's very good wheat taste like ass....ah, it was a Belgian Triple we later discovered...not to be compared with a mere wheat.  Alas, they were both pleasing and oh, yes, Ozzy enjoyed his chocolate milk.

After looking over the menu, Fred decided he would order a burger, the Black & Blue, served with bacon and blue cheese crust.  Libby, not to limit Binkley's to a burger experience, went for one of the spring specials, a half roasted chicken with roasted potatoes and the veggie of the day, squash and zucchini.  Ozzy went for the kids' grilled cheese and fries and Stella settled on some Earth's Best peas and brown rice. ;)

Pictured right, the Black & Blue was huge!...not sure if only a third of a pound or more, but dripping with blue cheese sauciness and topped with fresh veggies(lettuce and tomato) and nice crispy bacon, it was one beefilicious bite!  It came out just as ordered, medium rare.  Even Libby, not a fan of blue cheese, was quite impressed with the combo!  Fred was heavily reminded of cheeseburger in paradise, but even better...super juicy with perfectly crisped bacon and a great flavor from the sauce. 

Libby's entree started with a salad mixed with strawberry!  It really popped!  Almost like a dessert, the fresh greens, house-made croutons and sweet dressing were just wonderful!  After the beer, appy and salad, this was really shaping up to be quite the experience.  Libby's roasted chicken came with roasted peaches in a thyme and balsalmic glaze.  On it's own, the chicken was sadly, uninspired...but add a slice of peach to the mix and it was raised up to a fresh and light bite...still a little light.  Not bad, just nothing special.  It felt light on flavor...too subtle.  Luckily the roasted potatoes were swimming in a pool of oily goodness, so mixing that with the roasted chicken added the seasoning from the potatoes and some fat...better.  Still, not something Libby would order again. Bummer.

Ozzy was very quiet in the buzz around us as he dined on his panini grilled cheese, yes, panini!   Served with fries, Ozzy was naturally in his preferred state of zen, carb munching.  He refused to share a bite, so we will have to assume it was better than his usual "pretty good."

So, big question is, did we find the best sit-down burger in Indy?  Well, Fred gives an enthusiastic thumbs up, but Libby is still on the fence.  Better than Brickhouse? Yes.  Better than any chain we have experienced, yes.  But the best?  Since burgers are not ordered at every dining experience, Libby doesn't want to commit just yet, but....anyone else out there know of a best sit-down burger in Indy?

Wrap Up
Price-$$, Shocked by the great price at the end!  Three entrees, one tall and two short drafts, plus an appy all for $57 before tip? Not too shabby.
Atmosphere-***, Like most places in Indy, it's hard to judge the ambiance inside based on outward appearances.  For years, we assumed this was an adult pub or adults only dining experience, but we were so pleased to see a kid's menu on the website and high chairs offered for the wee ones when we arrived.  Not necessarily a "family" restaurant, it is great to see such a grown up place be so welcoming of those willing to bring the munchkins to a nicer spot. 
Service-***, Timely in a busy section.  Polite and accommodating.

Fred - A, That burger was melt-in-your-mouth good and with a killer beer selection to boot! 
Libby -B+, Really enjoyed the appy and salad!  Entree was pretty blah, but one bite of Fred's burger made me wish I had tried one of my own!
Ozzy-A, Ozzy's most enthusaistic, "pretty good!" might chalk this up to the best grilled cheese place in Indy!
Estelle-B, High chair? check! Busy room? check!  Infant welcome?...yes, but still would feel odd if there were more than a couple in the place.  She was definitely admired by onlookers, but we could only imagine how much less appreciated she would be if this was the typical kids everywhere kind of place. 

Binkley's Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon


Erin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erin said...

Binkley's also has GREAT pizza, and I consider myself an aficionado of the local pizza scene. The dough is clearly made fresh, and dusted with cornmeal - I LOVE that!

Never had bad service there in dozens of visits, they have great, fresh seasonal menu offerings, drink specials, and as you mentioned, priced right.

Binkley's is a place easy to miss/forget if you don't know better - but it's just a really super solid spot.

Austin said...

Urban Element has two locations now in downtown Indy. I've never been disappointed with one of their burgers. Give it a try if you've never been. They have great lunch specials as well.

Fred, Libby, Ozzy and Estelle(Stella) said...

Thanks for your comments! Erin, the pizza sounds great! Have to try it next time. Austin, Urban Elements is on our long wish list, so we hope to check it out before too long!