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Jun 26, 2010 07:23 PM

Indianapolis tasting menus?


I'll be in town over the July 4th weekend and would love to try a tasting menu with wine pairings at a local restaurant.

In the past, I've eaten at Oakley Bistro and loved it. Was not impressed by Sullivan's. Of the chains, Palomino, Ruth's Chris and the Oceanaire are my favorites in Indy.

Price is really no object nor is type of food, just want something interesting and of high quality.

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  1. Not tasting menus per se, but the set menus at Recess and at H2OSushi [Omakase menu] provides the chefs' menu of sorts for each day as they choose. Pretty good. Recess will not "know"/publish what they will be serving until the day itself, generally; not sure how far in advance the Omakase menu at H2OSushi is decided on. Recess has its own website and Facebook page, both updated regularly, H2OSushi has an out-of-date website w/ a more up-to-date Facebook page.
    (Since you are asking for tasting menus, the presumption is that you are not looking to make your own selections from a large menu)

    4 Replies
    1. re: huiray

      I second both of huiray's suggestions.

      Omakase at H2O tends to include a tasting of all of the daily specials (often but not always posted on the facebook page), an assortment of sushi and/or sashimi, and sometimes some other things. If you want something truly interesting and high quality, I'd highly suggest contacting chef Adams in advance, as he will then have time to order and prepare some truly special things that might not otherwise be available a la carte.

      The process at Recess is pretty well known and self-explanatory at this point. Also highly recommended.

      1. re: Condimentality

        Recess sounds extremely interesting. Assuming that I like whatever ingredients are being used this weekend, it seems like a sure stop.
        Thanks for the advice.

        1. re: SVarney

          Reservations recommended for Recess especially if dining for more than two. I suggest you call straight away and just take a chance on the stuff they will present that day. (take a look at this thread if you haven't done so yet:


          I dine by myself mostly and have so far been able to get in at Recess several times and on the day I visit but that's also because I'll take whatever time they have available 'for one'. BTW the price will vary depending on the menu. Sometimes they will offer a choice for one of the courses. I've asked for BOTH of the choices before, at extra charge, and they have been obliging in letting me have both.

          1. re: huiray

            Beware if you're a dessert lover, as the menu sometimes (including tonight) has no dessert, only a cheese plate.

    2. Recess two nights ago was outstanding. Innovative and interesting food. Vastly preferred it to Oakley's Bistro. It isn't tasting menu though. 4 courses of whatever they're cooking that night for $50.00. You can add pretty good wine pairings for another $20.00. But you have to be willing to accept their format which was no issue to our group.

      1. Two Recess questions-I've seen contradictory information on various sites regarding credit cards-do they accept them?
        And-is there a parking lot? I've looked on Google view and it's hard to tell where you would park.
        I'm a little afraid to eat at Recess, since it seems every place I eat at that I like closes by the time I'm visiting Indianapolis again-but I guess they will just have to take their chances with me. Thanks.

        4 Replies
        1. re: David W

          Yes and Yes. They do accept most major credit cards. And there is parking directly in front of the building. If that is full, then street parking on College Avenue (very visible main artery) is ample. I have been going about twice a month and each experience has been great because each dinner has been totally different, so I hope you will give it a shot. I believe the parking lot on the north side the little strip which houses Recess will be complete next month......followed by a new bar which will open later this year, FYI. That intersection will continue to get better by the day! Good luck.

          1. re: David W

            Don't be afraid! Recess is so good!

            Plenty of parking and, yes, they accept most major credit cards.

            1. re: Cookiefiend

              And I'm only afraid I'll curse the place by eating there...I'll report back the end of August.

              1. re: David W

                We did have dinner at Recess-very impressive. I found the space to be very inviting, casual and pleasant. We were there at 8 on a Saturday night, and had no problem having a civil conversation.
                We started with a beet salad, with blue cheese and purslane, in a corn/bacon vinaigrette. Wine pairing was a Cava. Nothing too suprising, but good.
                We next had a supplemental course (I hadn't read of that before) so, of course, we took it-they charged $8 for it. It was well worth it-pickled sardines with jalapenos, avocado and what they called corn torillas (but reminded me of really good "Chinese" noodles) - this dish was pure joy, made better with the Jolly Pumpkin "bam biere" beer pairing.
                Next up was a perfectly cooked piece of cod with calamari (also perfect-delicate), which had a very Nicoise vegetable side. Paired with a Lioco chardonnay.
                Next was the lamb pho - a take on classic pho-once again, perfectly cooked lamb loin slices on top of a lamb broth with vermicelli noodles, mushrooms an basil-I could have eaten several bowlfulls of this. Paired with a Plungerhead zin.
                The finale was warm peach crepes with raspberry sauce-very fresh, very nice, and a nice end to the meal. I would note that the wine pairing doesn't include a dessert wine, so you'll have to add that if you want it. Presspot coffee finishes it off (no espresso).
                I'll confess to continuing to track the menus, even though I am way too far away to eat there. Let us hope that this place manages to attract enough people that it stays open until my next visit! Please, go. Go often. You could practically eat there everyday and never have the same thing twice. I'd also point out that my brother loved it, and he doesn't really eat at, shall we say, more adventureous places often (unless he's with me.) So don't be afraid to take your less "foodie" friends.