Fletcher’s of Atlanta

As a surprise for Christine, Jon invited us to go with them on the Fisher’s Dinner Train, a fun variation on the traditional date night. We took the Hamiltonian Evening Express, one of the historic trains housed at the Transportation Museum.

The 18-mile train ride was relaxing and fun; you ride in the cars that date back to the 1930s (and if you’ve ever taken the train to the State Fair, you know what we’re talking about).

The price for the evening included appetizers on the train (as well as a cash bar). For the price of the dinner, I would have expected something more than BBQ meatballs in a plastic cup and water crackers, but considering that it was hard to both bartend and navigate back to one’s seat without spilling on the rolling and lurching train, the menu choices were understandable. Plus, had I known how good dinner was going to be, I would have saved more room.

If you eat at Fletcher’s on your own accord (and not part of the Dinner Train group), the menu is far more extensive. As it was, we were offered our choice of two salads, five entrees, and three desserts.

The evening began with a typical baby green salad. I went for the Green Goddess dressing (hello, creamy!) and it was very good. Chris ordered the tomato and provolone salad, and what a perfect time of year for fresh tomatoes. It also came with greens, fresh basil, and a tangy vinaigrette dressing.

Being the bread lovers we are, the homemade dill rolls that came next were excellent…steamy and warm and buttery, the four of us could have easily gone for two more baskets and been happy.

For dinner, Chris and Christine both went with the evening’s seafood special. Fletcher’s online menu boasts many changing specials, which can be either a treat or a gamble. In this case, the evening’s special was halibut prepared with a tropical citrus salsa. While the fruits offered that sweet flavor that goes so well with fish, the halibut itself was thick and tender but not as flavorful as past halibut encounters have been.

I ordered the chicken saltimbocca, covered in pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, and provolone and topped with a creamy tomato sauce. It was garlicky and tender, and although prepared differently than traditional saltimbocca that I have had in the past, it was still delicious. Both entrees came with baby carrots and grilled asparagus. The highlight of the sides, however, was some rich and creamy garlic sauce that was thinly veiled as scalloped potatoes. No kisses that night! One of my favorite touches was the fact that they wrapped my leftovers in foil in the shape of an elegant swan. I love that!

As the token vegetarian, Jon had seen that the kitchen would be happy to prepare a meat-free entree for him (since the other menu offerings that night included pasta with shrimp and two steak options). They whipped up a pasta primavera and he chose the red sauce to top it. When the waitress asked if he wanted it prepared spicy and he said yes, apparently she wasn’t kidding. Jon sweated, but enjoyed dinner just the same. He said the mushrooms (which we decided were sliced shiitake) were a really good addition.

Dessert was a tough pick. Who wants to choose between homemade ice cream sundaes with caramel and macadamia nuts, flourless chocolate cake, and Russian cream (which was described as “sort of liquid cheesecake in a champagne flute”…not to Fletchers: change the description). Our waitress had even recommended we try the Russian cream the next time we come, but we had already placed our orders. Chris and I both went for the ice cream (suckers for dairy) and were very pleased. It was thick and dense but not too rich…the perfect ending to a delicious and unique meal.

The atmosphere at Fletcher’s was eclectic, to say the least. This is not the type of restaurant one would expect to find in Atlanta, Indiana. (Where?) If you have the opportunity to make an evening of it, make sure to study the large “inspirational” painting on the wall. We thought nothing of it until Chris really started to study it, and when the waitress saw us all looking at it, she got coy and told us that “it probably is what you think it is”, which confirmed that it really was what we thought it was. If you used your imagination, it featured lots of body parts. Enough said.

After dinner, a much-needed walk through the dark streets of downtown Atlanta (it was a short walk) showed us quaint houses, a few different little businesses (which we think included a perfume store and boutique) and a big owl flying overhead. The train arrived to take us back to the “big city life” of Fishers, and the rocking of the train quickly put us to sleep.

The chef at Fletcher’s is a very friendly man in fun pants. The website, too, is worth a visit (what menu have you seen that contains the words “phallic” and “road kill” as dinner descriptions?), and genuine Hoosier hospitality comes out in the narrative, as well as in the demeanor of the staff at the restaurant. They are open and warm people who seemed to enjoy chatting with guests, and that make a big difference.

What an entertaining way to spend an evening! There was a little something for everyone, with the mechanical geeks enjoying the engineering of the train, the foodies being pleased with the menu, and the ladies getting an opportunity to dress up a little bit for a fancy evening of riding and dining.

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