Friday, October 29, 2010

Usual Suspects

Salutations to all! May your plates always be full and your wallet runneth over! I had the honor of accompanying my cousins on their return to the world of Tuesday Night Takeover. Allow me to apologize for their hiatus for the past few months. There have been a few events that have interrupted this most august of blogs. Heath found a second hobby, Luke and Sarah
were married, and aliens attacked. All of these items being settled, more or less, they are back.

We decided to kick off the celebration by visiting Usual Suspects. The restaurant/bar is located at 6319 Guilford Avenue, in-between Broad Ripple Ave. and East Westfield Blvd. (317) 251-3128. It’s more of a dinner than lunch establishment, open from 5pm – 10pm, with the downstairs bar staying open till 1:30am; 3:00am on Saturday. It’s closed on Monday. You shouldn’t go then. The restaurant itself has a quality, yet laid back, vibe. Not unlike an old college professor you run into at a local winery. The open space arrangement could appeal to both a large group gathering and also for a nice, yet not too extravagantly priced, date night. Though not a wallet breaker, the food was perhaps just slightly pricy. I mean, I don’t want to offend Usual Suspects, but just last week I purchased a frozen pizza, bag of potato chips, and two-liter of soda for less than five bucks! …I’m not getting that date night any time soon, am I? The food you get for your money is excellent. Seven of us went on this exhibition, and all of us were more than satisfied.

I heartily recommend the appetizers. We opted for a near suicidal run through as many as we could possibly contain. We lost three good people, and I can no longer feel my legs, but it was worth it. My personal favorites were the Three Amigos and the Shrimp Quesadillas. The Three Amigos – tortilla chips served with a trio of fresh salsas, including one made from guacamole and another with corn and beans, are a crowd pleaser. The Shrimp Quesadillas (available with a variety of other stuffing) are excellent. They’re seasoned and flour-dusted in a garlic aioli with mozzarella and a sweet and spice chili sauce. I know this because the menu told me. Highly recommended. We also ordered the Hummus and Chicken Pot Pie Potato Fritters. Also tasty.

One word of warning. The Pepperoni Bread - They taste delicious, but they are spicy little ninjas. I had one and sweated for sixteen hours. Which worked out, as I needed to lose some pounds after the surplus of pre-dining (yeah, we also ordered entrĂ©es). Now granted, growing up with a steady diet of corn and potatoes has not made me the best judge of spice. I love the flavor of spicy food, but my body suddenly becomes convinced that I’ve picked up volcano spelunking and does what it can to save my life and douse the lava. And that’s just from eating a taco. So, try them, enjoy them, and tell me what a wimp I am. But tread carefully. With bread and water nearby.

Though we were virtually all in food comas at this juncture, we went ahead and order the entrées. This is a portion of the run down:

Ashley – Penne a la Vodka Pastas: “It was delicious, and a huge portion. Luckily, it was also just as good the next day.”

Heath - Mac & Cheese: 
Ditalini pasta with fresh mozzarella, parmesan, provolone and a butter cream sauce. “The chicken was a little dry, but the multiple cheeses in the sauce was great.”

Karl - Greek Lamb & Potato Kabobs: It probably would not serve as my first choice next time. Although tasty and perfectly cooked, I found it a little bland. Though it is possible that the Pepperoni Bread had by this time burned through all of my taste buds. It’s not a large serving, but it does come with fresh grilled pita bread and a refreshing cucumber & dill sauce on the side.

Laura - Salmon en Papillote: baked in parchment with olive oil, lemon and marsala wine, with capers and rosemary. I sampled it. Several times. I found it delicious. Please don’t eat the paper.

Nick - Osso Bucco: 
 Pancetta-wrapped pork shanks lightly flour-dusted, browned and braised slowly in red wine with carrots, onion, celery, garlic and wild mushrooms atop truffled risotto. Nick’s currently unavailable for a comment. I think he’s still in a food coma. Please keep him in your thoughts.

Final word – The food is excellent. Delicious and with solid serving sizes. No complaints at all. The service was pleasant and quick. It has a versatile atmosphere lending to a variety of functions. I thought it perhaps slightly, but not extravagantly, pricy (I would say it’s just enough
that you feel you’re having fine dining without going broke). Best of all - a plethora of good beers on hand – all for a decent price. We would definitely recommend this establishment for a night out. Maybe next time we’ll go easier on the appetizers so we can explore the downstairs bar, as well.

tnt, signing out.

--Written by Karl Gardner, TNT special guest

Usual Suspects on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

We're baaaack!

After an extended hiatus, Tuesday Night Takeover is back. We may be tweaking it a bit, but more on that later. Last night, we went to Usual Suspects. Review coming soon...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Tie Dye Grill

This week we traveled east to visit the Tie Dye Grill. The contingent was smaller than usual this week since @Heath and @Ash could not attend, despite the fact that they suggested the location. Also Lars is spreading the word Down Under so she could not make the trip. The crew was missing Sir Nick as well, due to unforeseen reasons.

Upon arriving to the restaurant on Shadeland Ave, Sarah and I were greeted by the owner. He pointed us to the rest of our group and we joined them at the table. For appetizers Wyatt "Flying Death" Buzzard ordered beef stew, which he enjoyed but as stuck comparing it to his home-made deliciousness. Beth Ann ordered some loaded fries, which we all delved into and were quite satisfied. A-Bomb ordered spicy garlic(?) wings which the three of us gentlemen shared and enjoyed.

As for the main event: Tuesdays are tenderloin days at the Tie Dye Grill, and as many of our loyal readers may have noticed, we always have at least one person who finds it necessary to sample a tenderloin. (Looking at you, Liggett girls). Well, sure enough 4 of the five eaters tonight sampled the tenderloin (with gravy), while the lone rebel, yours truly, went with a mac daddy chili cheese dog, mainly because like the dog, i am the mac daddy. The four tenderloiners went about attacking the massive sandwich in different ways. Aaron poured the gravy all over it and went to town, while the other three were more delicate in the nibbling. None of the four finished the beastly sandwich, but Wyatt did save room for his dessert. It was a delicious Heath Bar cake that we ordered in honor of our fallen comrade, Heath "Soft Shoe" Shanahan.

While the drive was a burden for most of us, the meal and atmosphere were enjoyable. The owner made himself readily available and was very conversational, and the place was packed with guests. If you are hungry on a Tuesday night, and have a hankering for a heaping tenderloin, the Tie Dye Grill is the place to go.

With our new grading scale, I would give the Tie Dye Grill a 3.2/4.0.

Tie Dye Grill on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 10, 2010

Oaken Barrel

With only a few hours to spare until the next Takeover, I welcome back all of our faithful followers. This is the newest of the Takeoverers, Blake, speaking. Seeing that I only made my season debut last week, I have minimal points of comparison; however, I truly enjoyed my restaurant pick, Oaken Barrel. The Oaken Barrel is a relaxing restaurant and brewery with a wide menu selection located in Greenwood.

The dinner began with a strike of destiny. All five vehicles pulled into the parking lot at the same time. Nick, single and always looking to impress, highlighted the group with a pair of suave glasses and a classy sweater. Unfortunately for the group, neither Aaron nor Laura could make the dinner due to prior commitments.

The atmosphere inside of the restaurant was relaxing and very enjoyable. We sat in the bar area where, despite the score, we were able to watch the Cubs' game. Dinner began much like any family get-together as Laura was the butt of most (if not all) jokes. Luke, never afraid to bash on Laura, lead with way with 6 Laura jokes on the night. The relaxing environment of the restaurant catered well to our group.

The deciding factor in the choice for the week was that Oaken Barrel brews its own beer. Although I am not 21 and cannot indulge in such practices, those who got beer certainly enjoyed their choices. Luke really enjoyed the Alabaster which is a Belgian Wheat Ale.

The menu at Oaken Barrel offers a very wide variety of options from pastas to sandwiches to steaks to seafood. We began the meal with a few appetizers including Dynamite Shrimp, Boneless Wings, and Bavarian Pretzels. While I would not ordinarily order pretzels, they were very enjoyable. Their horseradish sauce and jalapeno cheese sauce were incredible.

The mealtime decision was mentally draining. There were simply too many options. My decision, as well as Nick's, was the Cajun Jambalaya Pasta. This certainly did not disappoint in the slightest. As Nick can surely attest, the Jambalaya Pasta was phenomenal. The only disappointing part of the pasta was that I left my carry out box on the table. The rest of the crew enjoyed their meals also. Ashley and Sarah both got the Buffalo Sandwiches, which upon trying were delicious. Possibly the best part of their meals were the beer battered french fries. Despite contributing to the ballooning of the youth, these fries were some of the best that I have tasted. The remaining crew enjoyed other sandwiches and pastas including the Bar-B-Q Sandwich featuring their Famous sauce, the Steak Sandwich, and the Mediterranean Pasta. The meals, our waitress, and the beer were excellent and left everyone satisfied.

All in all, I would definitely recommend the Oaken Barrel restaurant in Greenwood. Its relaxing and casual environment was great for sitting back and appreciating life. At dinner we discussed a new rating system. The scholars in us decided to make it on a 4.0 scale. So, I would give the Oaken Barrel 3.8/4.0.

After a two-week streak to start my career as a Takoverer, I will have to temporarily say goodbye to the crew for the next three months. From May 19th to August 15th, I will be visiting/traveling/studying in Europe. I wish everyone good luck, and will see the crew at the Rory/Sarah wedding in August. God Bless...

Oaken Barrel Brewing on Urbanspoon