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


  1. The Osso Bucco tasted like Christmas....AWESOME... Also, thanks for everyones prayer while I fought through my food coma!!

  2. Great dinner. I loved Usual Suspects. Karl mentioned it all. BUT if you decide to go to Usual Suspects, ask for Megan. She was very helpful when choosing something to eat and my glass was never empty.

  3. I loved the appetizers. The pepperoni bread was great. Some people said it was spicy, but I'm used to spicy foods, so it wasn't too bad for me. What I really loved was the humus. I'd say it was the best of every place we've been, even better than Canal Bistro's.

  4. Just to reiterate - Excellent choice of beers at very good prices. I'd go back anytime.

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