2012 Early July--Best Restaurant in Indianapolis
I am arriving from DC to spend time with my Aunts at Sweetwater lake in Brown county. I was born in Indianapolis and know it well, however I was looking for a nice place to take them to dinner on July 3 when I arrive at about 4PM in Indianapolis. We have been to Santorini--LOVE it, Trader's Point--LOVEDit too, did Grays in Mooresville--LOVED it from childhood...now I was hoping this year for something new (as in we have not tried it yet new), great and maybe even fun. Please help! I do not want a chain restaurant or a per se seafood lplace like Oceanaire. I live near the Eastern shore and we get great seafood--the Midwest I have found lacking in this area, unless of course you fish for it yourself!
We will drive anywhere in Indianapolis for the first night meal together,
Recess is a good rec. Check the menu though b/c it changes daily and what they have on the menu is what they are going to serve. I really like the place. I'd also strongly suggest R Bistro.
The best dinners I've had in Indianapolis have been at Oakley's Bistro, on the north side. R Bistro is also very good.
I haven't been to Recess, but I've enjoyed Chef Hardesty's cuisine at several of his previous venues. Be aware that the menu at Recess is limited (1 or 2 choices per course).
An additional note regarding Recess: The place frequently serves seafood, but it is always of high quality and well prepared in my experience. (I'm sure there are some off-days) On occasion they serve fish that no-one else has except for a few other folks who had access to that rare, seldom-available fish. (Greg Hardesty seems to have contacts/friends within the fish world) On other occasions they serve very specific locale fishes or other less-common fishes. Very special fishes are flown in and picked up by one of the team or Greg H (so I was given to understand at one time) from the airport.
Absolutely! Nowadays you can find extremely fresh seafood anywhere in the country, thanks to express air cargo services. Of course it depends on the restaurant, and only the best places have the freshest and most unusual kinds of seafood. I have friends who, like the OP, live right on the Atlantic and who tried making the same negative claims until I took them to places which specialize in the very best seafood, and they have changed their tune. Also, cities with air freight hubs (like the FedEx hubs in Memphis and Indianapolis) seem to have an advantage in access to the freshest seafood. Don't rule it out!
True. Of course, we in the Midwest (including Chicago and Indy) would not quite be able to enjoy fish straight-from-SALT-water to dish; or scallops scraped off the shells right from the waters into our mouths. Stuff like that. But fresh and excellent fish otherwise; or Great Lakes fresh water fish straight-from-the-water to the plate? Yes. Mind you, even as recently as 10 years ago it was not necessarily the case - but times have changed.
I still remember the Paiche Greg Hardesty served one evening back in Oct 2010. He got one of the four (or something like that) fishes brought into the country that time; a fish that didn't make its debut in the New York Times till January 2011 (http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.co...) or when it got a write-up in Florida in September 2011 (http://www.soulofmiami.org/2011/09/15...). This fish is gaining traction in the US (e.g. see http://www.seafoodsource.com/newsarti...) but Greg H. had it here in Indy back in 2010. :-)
If you're interested in witnessing the birth of a place that's likely to make a big impact on the Indy food and beverage scene, check out Bluebeard, which just opened this week.
Co-chefs are John Adams, the former executive chef of H2O Sushi, and Abbi Merriss Adams, the former sous-chef at Recess.
I haven't been personally, but early reports from my family in Indy are very, very positive.