One thing that definitely goes by the wayside when you become a parent? Dinners out at nice restaurants. Bluebeard has been on my short list of places to try for a loooong time now, and one chilly December evening we finally got the opportunity to go. Located in the Fletcher Place neighborhood just south of downtown, Bluebeard opened 3 years ago and Indy foodies have been raving ever since. Cuisine is described as modern American and many ingredients are locally sourced; the menu changes nightly to reflect the specials and seasonally inspired dishes. There was a brief scandal involving seating issues and accusations of corporate snobbery, but folks seem to have forgiven them. It certainly hasn’t hurt business! When we arrived, we were told there was about a 30 minute wait so we walked down to Chilly Waters for a quick beer. When we were called back, the hostess told us she’d actually waited a little longer to call us so we didn’t have to chug our drinks. How nice is that? The restaurant looks pretty small from the outside, but off the main entrance/small seating area there is a larger back room.
Let me just say, I LOVED the ambiance of this place. Dimly lit, but not so dark you needed your phone to see the menu… Wood accents everywhere… And of course, plenty of Vonnegut references amidst the books, vintage typewriters, and artwork. Mark fits right in here, dontcha think? 😍 The servers are a little hipster but extremely knowledgable in regards to their menu, and very friendly.
Naturally we started with cocktails (Vonnegut-themed monikers abound here as well). I’d read about the Bee’s Knees in Indianapolis Monthly a while back and wasn’t disappointed- a smooth concoction of gin, lemon, sugar, and local honey. I could see Gatsby himself enjoying one of these on a warm West Egg evening. Mark had a Kilgore Trout, a sweet and spicy rum drink.
Along with drinks, we ordered up a cheese plate. Bluebeard offers constantly rotating cheese and charcuterie selections served with fresh dipping/spreading sauces and bread made at in-house bakery Amelia’s. Guys, I could write an article on the bread alone. Crispy crust, soft inner baguette… I’m drooling at the memory. The cheese was equally delicious. We opted for trillium, a creamy-salty spread; black swamp, a mild Gouda; and pata de mulo, a hearty manchego.
I’d love to try a charcuterie board next time. Hell, I could probably just make a meal out of charcuterie and cheese and of course, the bread. Mmmm.
But then, I’d miss out on the main courses. The entrees are divided up into small, medium, and large categories, with smalls meant to be more of a larger appetizer, medium a tradional entree size, and large is meant to be shared. With that in mind, we chose a small and a large, considered adding a medium, then opted to save room for dessert. Priorities. 😉 The small dish we ordered was the cassoulet featuring duck confit and Italian sausage.
Puff pastry, rutabaga, roasted tomato and flageolet beans were the supporting players. Rich, a little spicy… A perfect little stew for a cold wonter’s night. For the large dish, Mark surprised me by choosing a pasta option- a pappardelle with pork belly and mushroom ragout.
Isn’t it beautiful?! And my hubby, Mr. “It’s a waste to order pasta in a restaurant”, declared this the most delicious thing he’s ever eaten. That’s saying something! Ginger, pickled carrots, and cilantro mingled with the ragout and tomato sauce just perfectly.
And then, there was dessert. After much debate, we finally settled on the espresso gelato.
*Insert Homer Simpson drool sound here.* Chocolate and coffee flavors with fresh cream on top? Yes. A thousand times, yes. The cocoa nibs on top added a nice little bit of texture and kept it from just feeling like a fancy pudding cup. 😊
Everything we tried was absolutely superb. Watching neighboring tables’ dishes come out and subsequent reactions, I don’t think anyone came away disappointed with their choices. Our only regret was not having room to try the scallops… Our neighbor’s order looked tantalizingly tasty. Everything, from drinks to dessert, strikes a perfect balance on your taste buds. I can’t recommend Bluebeard more highly! Perfect for date nights, small groups, and your favorite foodie friends.
Bluebeard serves lunch Mon-Fri 11 am- 2 pm; dinner Mon-Sat 5 pm- 11 pm; and a limited dinner menu Sun 5 pm- 10 pm. Located at 653 Virginia Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46203.