Jazz at the Station (Bloomington, IN)
We actually had reservations last night at FARM with some friends but couldn't go, obviously, because of the kitchen situation. So we went to Jazz at the Station instead, a new jazz place in the old railway station by the overpass on Walnut. Mixed reviews. The music, or at least the guy who read his really, really bad poetry, really, really loud, to a background of music, was horrible, but the food was great and the place was totally jammed.
Matt O'Neill (who has the Runciple Spoon and part of the Bloomington Cooking School) is cooking there and I have always thought Matt does a fine job when he is paying attention. Very classic cooking -- sauces Bearnaise and Charon and stuff like that, but very well done.
Had a lobster tomato soup loaded with herbs to start -- very rich and the portion was too large for me to finish, but it was good. It's the steakiest menu I have ever seen and the only vegetarian item on the menu didn't appeal but I asked Matt to do a herb pasta with mushroom dish that is normally served with (of course) steak, without. Whatever he did to it, it was just fabulous. The fresh pasta was tender and perfect and the mushroom sauce was fresh and herby with minty flavors. Had the frites with Bearnaise sauce too, just to try them. It wasn't the traditional version I know and love (not in the league with the ones at Tallent) but they were good. The fries were cut and stacked like logs -- big and blocky but not mealy like steak fries can be, and I could have sworn I got a whiff of currry rather than tarragon in the Bearnaise, but tasty for sure.
Our friend (who was our host) ordered one of each of the desserts for the table and three of the four had booze in them so I didn't try them, though they looked good and went quick. I did have a bite of strawberry rhubarb pie and it was yum.
Another notable thing is that it was not particularly expensive -- either the food or the wine list. We will definitely go back, but will try to get there before the music starts. Even when it's good it's going to be loud in that place, and with the poet at the mike, it's not good. ("I've been to New Orleans, I know what it means. It's in Louisiana, that rhymes with Indiana." Oh. My. God. And the amazing thing is, the musician actually asked us to stop talking for a few minutes to listen. Unfortunate.)
I revisited the leftovers this a.m. and I think I meant "basilly," not "minty" flavors. Fresh and lovely, though, and just as good this morning (though too rich for breakfast.) Funny how your flavor-identifiers can be off when all your senses are bombarded by loud music and poetry. Not the environment I would choose to enjoy food.So I wonder what I was really tasting in the Bearnaise that came across as curry....
What an unfortunate review of the Indiana Poet Laureate - doesn't reflect well on our home state