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Indigo - Springfield, IL

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On a weekend trip to Springfield, we decided to enjoy one "nice" meal, and based on Indigo's extraordinary menu (available online, but only with Windows Explorer), we made reservations here for a Saturday night at 6:30. Our reservations proved unnecessary, as when we arrived only a couple of other tables were occupied (although by the time we left around 8:00, the place was about three-quarters full). The look of the place is very classy and "hip," with nice lighting, a very nice looking bar in the back, and pictures (fakes, not real ones) of the Rodrique "blue dog" all over the walls. [For the real thing, see http://www.georgerodrigue.com/index2.htm

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Our server was very good, although she had a peculiar habit of announcing everything she was going to do before she did it (e.g., "I'm going to take your napkin and unfold it and hand it to you." I don't know... maybe she'd once startled someone with a sudden move.)

As noted, the menu offers quite unusual dishes for this neck of the woods, including sushi and several gourmet items -- not just your steaks and seafood. We started by sharing two appetizers -- the fried calamari on a bed of julienned jicama and carrots, and the "Godzilla-tini" -- sashimi on rice in a Martini glass with "atomic" hot sauce on top. I guess we should have known -- the latter dish sounded better than it was, as the hot sauce drowned out almost any taste of the fish (the texture of which, however, was good). And it's completely impractical to use the chopsticks provided to try to eat rice out of a Martini glass. The calamari was good, although the light sauce it was in was way too salty.

After a house salad (very good, a house vinaigrette, with Craisins and sliced almonds, atop field greens), I had a New York strip, while was served in a chipotle butter sauce. Both the steak and the sauce were good, not great. The salad came with an unannounced plate of sliced pita bread, hummus, olives, and roasted garlic -- which was good, but had we known that was coming we might have ordered differently. Although my entree was described as being served with garlic mashed potatoes (which it was, and which were excellent), and grilled asparagus, there was no asparagus, no substitute vegetable, and no explanation for the missing item. When I asked, the waitress recalled that the menu had promised it, but said they were allout. She offered to get me another vegetable such as broccoli. I agreed, but I was instead served sliced red and green pepper and onion in butter -- odd.

My wife had a Caesar salad (which, despite being described as "not too big" turned out to be entree-size) and the duck enchiladas appetizer, which she described as also good, not great. We were too full to even think about dessert.

All in all, the descriptions on the menu and the ideas they reflect indicate a chef whose intent exceeds his reach.

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