Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fat Dan's Deli

"Wow...I need more napkins and a shower!"  Not necessarily a good sign when you're out enjoying a family dinner, but in this case it's only the beginning.  FLOE had an opportunity to go out on one of the hottest Saturday's of the year for dinner.  Libby was off so it felt like a great day to venture up to Broadripple!  We really should live around there, but you know how it is...economy, etc. etc.  Back to our story...we were super psyched as we had decided to finally sample Fat Dan's!!! So many awesome reviews and now it was our turn.

We must reiterate, it was hot out.  Hades hot.  Slatherin' in the nethers hot.  And Fat Dan's A/C was either non-existent or had just given up in the kitchen heat.  No problem.  We were there for the food, no matter the consequences.

As you walk in, the first thing you notice is the non-chalant atmosphere.  You could be in any hole in the wall in any big city.  Low key, small space, but a lot of personality.  Definitely the spot to go to after a night of drinking with friends.  There is a chalk board menu and an order-at-the-counter set up.  Perfect for street eats with a seat.  Sadly, we found that they were out of several things; the cole slaw, ribs, and wings...hmmm.  FLOE knew they had to try some form of barbecue and the Italian we got the I.B. dipped with sweet and hot peppers. You can get it in any number of different ways including double dipped or with cheese whiz.  Rib tips and their house made fries were a must.  We can't forget the draft Upland Wheats...especially good on this sweltering day.

So, we cop a squat at a table near the picture window and spend some time examining the scene.  Stella was oddly calm and observant as she sat on Libby's lap.  No folks, this is not the kind of place that caters to wee ones.  Again, not a problem. Ozzy noticed some games around(a large old-school arcade racing game, Connect 4 and what looked like a chess game box) and immediately wanted to know if they were for kids...uh, could be, but our guess is it was for the bigger kids. ;)  So, he settled on Daddy's iphone.  Out of seemingly nowhere, a nearby patron got our attention and asked if we were FLOEats Indy...uh...yes.  In the literal heat of the moment, we hope we came across as thankful of their compliments as we were.  It was somewhat shocking to be noticed.  Thank you, young reader, whomever you are.  We truly appreciate your support.

Did we mention it was hot?  ;)  The food arrived with a parchment paper matt for the table.  No plates here. On top of it was placed a huge Italian Beef that looked the part...tons of peppers piled high and the kind of maneuvering that doesn't allow for any type of clean or polite eating...this was a "MANwich."  Just get ready to get sloppy.

So much flavor...and more heat...It was hot before the food got the beads of sweat were forming and suddenly FLOE was beginning to feel a religious experience coming on.  What is it about eating spicy, hot food in an equally sauna like environment?  Libby kept thinking how being this uncomfortable was really adding to the experience.  You were earning the goodness that was going in.  It was cleansing, real.  Not the commercialized comfort we are exposed to and grow to expect on every dining experience.  This was the real thing.  Fat Dan was pulling no punches.  This is what it costs in 90 degree weather to have a great sandwich...Man-up...or Woman-up in this case. ;)

If the Italian Beef weren't enough, the rib tips just gave more.  More flavors, tons of different textures between the char and the fatty super tender tender in fact that Stella, with only two bottom teeth, was able to enjoy her first bit of pork ever.  Such a comfort to know that in our twilight years, when we're down to dentures, we'll still be able to enjoy some rib tips!

Lastly, the fries.  Not that they are the bottom of the barrel by any means.  They were great.  Hot, skin on, fresh cut potatoes...excellent frying well seasoned.  As good as they were, they really paled in comparison to the whole meat experience.  Kind of like when you go to Fogo de Chao and they have that killer salad bar, probably the best we've ever had, but you don't want to waste an inch of space when you know the meat love that is to come.  Yeah, this is yet another carnivores paradise.

Oh, and if it isn't crystal clear...Even though you weren't there this day, we love you, Dan.

Wrap Up
Price-$$, $10 per meal...more than the average fast food, but more than worth it.
Atmosphere-****, Normally sweating while we eat wouldn't get such a high rating, but in this case, it just added.  The two staff were as warm as the kitchen.  Upbeat and truly happy to serve great eats!
Service-****, Self order and fast.  Exactly how it should be for a great Italian Beef.

Fred - A+, Perfect beer selection an Italian Beef JUST like I remember from Chi-town!
Libby - A+, Solid and delicious meats and potatoes.  It was the kind of experience that will stand out in my memory.  Don't change a thing.  Keep making it and they will come.
Ozzy- B, Lots of visual entertainment and tasty fries.
Estelle-B, Although Stella wasn't as comfy as she could be, she was diggin the pork and fries!

Fat Dan's Chicago-Style Deli on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Scotty's Brewhouse

A day off together always calls for an opportunity to review.  We considered making the trip to Fishers to Scotty's Lakehouse, but thought better of it...too close to nap time.  So, instead, it seemed like a good opportunity to try Scotty's Brewhouse downtown.  We had been to the location in Bloomington a couple of years before, but had no memory of it.  From the website, we saw they had an extensive menu and today, burgers were sounding pretty good.

We had heard several good things about this location.  After finding street parking, we were immediately impressed by the large amount of outdoor seating, including a very comfy-looking crazy-large couch encircling an equally large fire pit.  Sounds like a great spot to enjoy a nice summer's evening to us!  Since it was mid-day and 90+ outside, we chose to keep it all inside this trip.  We were immediately seated in what appeared to be a semi-private room which could be closed off for larger parties.  Upon first sitting down we were impressed by the incredible amount of flatscreens.  It was like eating in the electronics department at Best Buy.  Each extra-high booth had it's own TV plus several 50+ inchers on every wall.  Talk about an incredible place to watch a game! Fred pondered if he'd rather keep our Colts tickets or have a season ticket to our own booth here, if one were offered.

While waiting for Stella's highchair, we wondered how it would fit as the booth was raised a good foot above a normal table.  Never fear!  Scotty's has thought of that!  Soon a very tickled Stella was happily munching away in her equally-tall chair.  Nice work, Scotty's.

On to the food, but not without a couple of thirst-quenchers.  As expected, Scotty's boasts a really spectacular draft menu.  Fred eventually chose New Albanian's Beaks Best Bitter while Libby went with the Sun King Wee Mac Scottish ale.  It's not often you find an English-style bitter around as they're often misunderstood here in the US.  Lots of great hop flavor but with only a hint of bitterness.  We both agreed it was a perfect brew to stand up to the belly-buster to come.   

As we had just reviewed the fried pickles from Parky's, we decided to get them again for some contrast.  Sadly, these paled in comparison.  While they still had a nice tang, most were stuck together causing the batter between the pieces to be uncooked an mushy.  Once un-stuck we found that the batter fell off the pickles making them hard to eat.  While they were served with 2 yummy (and artery clogging) sauces, horsey & ranch, this was not a good start to the meal.

The rest of the meal came out quickly.  Ozzy's mac n' cheese looked great and both mom & dad thought it was mighty tasty.  Unfortunately the extra cheese placed on top was enough to turn him off of it.  A real shame, but we are certain that any less-finicky kid would love it.

Libby's Atomic Mo'Fo burger was very good.  A large burger at half a pound, dressed with montarey jack, jalapeno slices and the burger seemed to be dipped in the mo'fo sauce it was so well coated.  All served on a kaiser roll.  I would always prefer a toasted bun, but the taste of the burger itself made up for it.  She chose a side of blue corn chips with salsa.  Oddly, she only received around 2 tablespoons of salsa to go with half a plate full of chips.  While she wasn't too hot on the salsa, there still needed to be about 4 times the amount.

Fred chose a build-your-own bison burger with pepper-jack and mo'fo sauce.  The burger was perfectly cooked and juicy.  Not the easiest job with bison.  A real winner, especially with the mo'fo sauce to light up your tongue.  Unfortunately his waffle fries had the same problem as the pickle chips.  We're not sure if it's an oil temp problem or just a lazy fry-chef, but this is a big issue.  They were a jumbled mess of stuck, half-cooked fries;  a real shame, especially at a beer & bar-food establishment.

Wrap Up
Price-$$, Right around average for a downtown bar.
Atmosphere-****, Yeah baby!  On gameday we might show up even if they were serving sandpaper!!
Service-****, Absolutely no complaints here.  There were plenty of servers and everything came out quickly.

Fred -B, This really should have been an A- if not for the fry-problems. 
Libby - B, Top quality beef, cooked to order correctly.  A fantastic mo'fo sauce.  The bun could have stood to be toasted.  It was a little soggy with all the extra sauce.
Ozzy- B+, Although he didn't care for the mac 'n cheese, he loved the tv and there were plenty of other kids options on the menu. 
Estelle- A+, She ate up not only Ozzy's applesauce, but even had a taste of a fry. 

Scotty's Brewhouse on Urbanspoon