You’d never expect to find such a nice restaurant tucked away behind the Wal-mat on Keystone, but Capri (a member of Indianapolis Originals, so bonuis points to start with) is a great way to get your Italian fix. The decor is warm, there’s a large fireplace in the bar, and a recent patio additionwould make for a lovely evening dinign al fresco. With a location close to Keystone at the Crossing, Chris guessed that “a lot of power lunches happen here”, and the atmosphere has that dark-wood-yellow-wall rich sort of feel to it. Staff is excellent with wine reccomendations, and we enjoyed glasses of merlot and cabernet. It was a cool rain late summer afternoon, so reds seemed appropriate.

Chris ordered and loved the pollo con salsiccia (chicken with sausage). The rosemary was excellent, and who doesn’t love italian sausage? My pasta, penetta boscaiola, was penne, tomatoes, and portabella mushrooms—very fresh, very light, and just what i wanted. It just takes a look at Capri’s menu to see that they cater to many tastes. Several meatless entrees make this a very vegetarian-friendly menu, and the offerings go from spicy to beefy to light to creamy.

In our never-ending quest to find the city’s best tiramisu (sigh…still looking…we’ll just have to keep ordering dessert), we were pleased but not convinced. We may have to try it again, just to make sure. And we probably will. Although Chris did bring his parents back to Capri for a repeat visit, he regrettably forgot what they ordered. This may be because they returned home to find nine inches of water in the basement (it was a dark and story night) but at least they had some carbs to work off…

R Bistro

Excellent! The menu changes weekly, ingredients come from local sources, and the staff is attentive and welcoming. We decided to visit for Emily’s (belated) birthday dinner. All she’d requested was that “it be new and a surprise”. R Bistro was both.

For starters, the bread (crusty on the outside, warm and doughy on the inside) was perfect, and our salads were exellent.

Christopher had seared scallops served with swiss chard and cheesy polenta. On a whim, Emily ordered ham with potatoes au gratin and sauteed leeks. The server made quite a point in warning us that the ham would be served room-temperature. She appreciated the heads-up, and her dinner was so good that she did that thing where she crosses her eyes and closes them, and raises her eyebrows.

We found the service staff to be friendly and helpful. The owner’s husband meandered about and conversed with the patrons, so it was fun for us to eavesdrop and feel like we’re hip to what’s hapenning in the Mass Ave district.

Dessert and coffee weren’t the highlights of our experience, however. Coffee beans were from Hubbard and Cravens, a local roaster, whose beans are consistently more roasted than we prefer. Compound that with the fact that our coffee was brought to us in a French press, where all but the first cup was over-steeped in over-roasted beans, and the result was disappointing bitter coffee. Next time we’ll have a glass of port instead.

All in all, we are upset with ourselves for not visiting R Bistro sooner. It’s easily a new favorite!

Update 1/2005: Our bad for leaving a year in between visits. Yet another birthday prompted another visit to R Bistro, and we were again highly pleased.

Bread, still crusty and warm. Salad (with spinach, daikon, onions, and fennel) was crisp and tangy, while Chris’s cream of cauliflower soup with caraway seeds was warm, creamy, and smooth (an inspiration for our own attempts at home).

Chris ordered breakfast fopr dinner (huevor rancheros with awesome tortillas) and dinner for dessert (rice pudding with cream saunce) and was very pleased, but Emily totally won on this one. Although it’s hard for her to order coq au vin (just because she hates saying it), the mushroms and pearl onions would have been enough by themselves, they were just. that. good. Add chicken piences that don’t require a knife to eat because they were falling off the bone and some flatbread grilled with olive oil, and she was a happy diner.

Dessert, too, topped off the evening. Cranberry ice cream cake with chocolate crust and a frozen whipped cream and pistachio topping was delicious, and the coffee (what part of it Emily’ didn’t spill on the table) was a little better than previously. Perhaps they shouldn’t grind it so finely if it’s going to be served in a French press (and therefor avoid the dregs at the bottom of the cup).

Again, though, we loved our evening and it was romantic while bustling, private while public, and delicious while creative, labor-intensive, and delicious. The only bad thing is that by the time you read this, the menu will have totally new delicious options to choose from. Have fun!

Wasabi on 82nd

We went here to celebrate Chris’s raise, so the mood was already pretty chipper. In another celebratory move, we tried sake for the first time. Our waiter was pretty knowledgeable when we asked for a recommendation for sake: he found us something dry, sweet, and it didn’t even burn our faces off. Plus, it comes in little square cups.

One of the true tests of a good Japanese restaurant is the ginger dressing that goes on the iceberg salad. It was just the right kind of flavor: zesty but not too sweet.
The miso soup was, well, miso soup. There aren’t too many different ways to spin it, but it was decent.

The sushi was extremely fresh and dense, just how raw fish should be. We ordered some sort of a chef’s plate, so we took our chances with what was brought to us. Try as we might, we just haven’t been able to enjoy roes of any kind, and our plate had several. Pretty, yes. Tasty, no. One might be better ordering something specific, rather than tempting fate.

All in all, we were happy when we walked into the restaurant, and we were happy when we walked out. Good sushi can be hard to find in the midwest, but Wasabi on 82nd found it and served it to us on square plates.

Taste Cafe and Marketplace

A new little eatery at the growing-in-popularity corner of 52nd and College, we’ve visited twice for Sunday brunch and have been charmed both times. The baked goods that greet you when you walk in the door are reason enough to eat there, and if you make it past the alluring display of baked carbs, more large dishes of fresh potato, pasta, and fruit salads are chilled and just waiting for you to take them home.

The omelettes come with a cheddar cheese biscuit and potatoes (flavored with fennel and other delightful spices). Chris’s CB&G (cheddar biscuits and gravy) were heavenly, and the fresh-squeezed orange juice is full of pulp…just the way we like it.

The fruit and granola parfait is exactly how you’d expect it to be: sweet, fresh fruit, crunchy, homemade granola, and fresh yogurt. The other sampling was a peanut-butter-and chocolate muffin; need I say more?

Updates: Apparently, lunchtime food is just as good as breakfast food! Hooray! I had (for whatever reason) a hankering for the beet salad, which was delicious, even for beets. A BLT sandwhich had the perfect kind of bacon: thick and crispy, but not too crispy. Plus, we witnessed two grown men fighting over the last chocolate chip cookie. I guess that would be the one drawback to Taste: if you get there too late, your favorite food could already be 86d…

Bonefish Grill

It was a dark and rainy Tuesday, so what better time to eat out? We’d heard rave reviews from Emily’s folks, and we were in a seafood mood, so we decided to try out this national chain but locally accepted restaurant.

Although the music was a little too loud and a lot too irritating, the decor was relaxing and we liked the mangrove trees on the wall that divided the bar from the dining room. Chris thought the dining room should have been divided a bit more, but I was comfortable after they moved us from the table right next to the loud and verbally expressive kitchen.

The bread was warm and toasty (but why do they only slice it 1/3 of the way through the loaf?!) and the pesto was fresh with olives and basil.

We each ordered the house chopped salad with dinner, and the citrus vinaigrette was crisp and light. In a smart move, they put pine nuts where they didn’t have to (who doesn’t love pine nuts?) and they topped the salad, along with a slice of hearts of palm (corazon de palma, mi esposo amorado).

I was going for something simple, so I ordered the grilled mahi steak, Pan Asian style. Chris went for the parmesan pistachio crusted trout. In a classic case of “I want what he’s having”, I realized that he made the better choice. My fish, while sporting a very tasty Asian teriyaki-style sauce and tasting remarkably fresh, had already been rubbed with seasoning and was so salty it made my mouth pucker. The bed of sauteed greens underneath the fish were so salty even I didn’t like them, and we all know how much I like the leafy greens. The island rice was nothing special, and since the sauce from the fish was touching it, the rice, too, came out salty.

Chris’s fish, on the other hand (would you like some fish with that butter?) was delicious. Lightly breaded and zesty with cheese, it was crisp and tender in all the right spots. He opted for the sauteed vegetables as a side, and again, it acted as a vehicle for the butter.

One request: although the wine list was fairly decent, add more dry, sweet whites, like a chenin blanc. Perhaps a glass would have made me a little more tolerable.

All in all, we enjoyed Bonefish. We may visit again, although next time I’ll opt for the warm mango salsa and try a different side dish. The daily specials may have been worth investigating, too, and had we not been so tired, the key lime pie was sounding mighty good…