Indianapolis Monthly

DOWNTOWN

INCLUDES Fletcher Place, Fountain Square, Mass Ave, Mile Square

1913 Restaurant

UPSCALE COMFORT The farm-to-table standards get a glossy do-over at this hotel restaurant tucked just off of the polished marble lobby of the Omni Severin. The dining room, all dark lacquer and leathery browns, feels a bit stuffy, but diners easily warm up to a menu that includes a root beer–cured pork chop topped with bacon marmalade, and half a chicken roasted to a juicy, rosy hue and plated with succotash and a little pan of sweet-corn “milk” for dipping. The sides—such as macaroni-and-cheese pie and sautéed Brussels sprouts—get passed around the table. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. 40 W. Jackson Pl., 317-634-6664, omnihotels.com

Ali’i Poke

POKE Follow the IUPUI students to this delightfully fresh fast-food spot just off campus. The scooped-to-order poke bowls have a rice base (sticky or brown) over which customers layer the Hawaiian raw-fish poke and a rainbow of add-ons. Fresh mango, edamame, avocado, pickled ginger, seaweed salad, and unagi sauce are just a few of the available toppings. Go crazy ladling them on, or get yours “Island Style,” with just rice and fish. Lunch and dinner daily. 910 W. 10th St., 317-602-3632, aliipoke.com

Bakersfield Mass Ave

TACOS & BOURBON This hip spot done up with timbers, steel beams, bourbon barrels, and dangling Edison bulbs does a nice job with all the late-night standards: booze, raucous music, and tacos topped with the likes of achiote-braised pork, pickled red onions, and habanero salsa. Plenty of customers wash down the pretty little tacos with PBRs from glass boots, but more-spirited regulars opt for one of the 50 bourbons or 50 tequilas. Lunch and dinner daily. 334 Massachusetts Ave., 317-635-6962, bakersfieldtacos.com

Bazbeaux

PIZZA As some of Indy’s most celebrated restaurateurs open pie places all over town, we haven’t forgotten where we first found artichoke hearts and goat cheese on our ’za. Bazbeaux has changed little since 1986, when it opened in Broad Ripple, and it hasn’t really needed to. Flat crust baked crunchy. Toppings you won’t find at Domino’s, like pine nuts and prosciutto. And the cheese—mounds of mozzarella blended with provolone and pecorino. The slice-and-salad combo at lunch is one of the best deals in town. Lunch and dinner daily. 333 Massachusetts Ave., 317-636-7662, bazbeaux.com

Beholder

CONTEMPORARY A former car-repair shop just outside Woodruff Place sets the stage for a daring piece of performance art featuring pigskin noodles, granita-topped uni designed to melt on the tongue, grilled cucumbers, and other transfigured meats and veggies. Labor-intensive cocktails are so smart and spot-on that it’s hard to choose just one. Or three. Dinner Mon.–Sat. 1844 E. 10th St., 317-419-3471, beholderindy.com

Black Eye Takeout

RAMEN The owners of General American Donut Co. operate this carryout spot with a Tokyo rock-star theme (white-balloon ceiling, blinking red Plexiglas floor, rising-sun motif). The kitchen focuses on utilitarian rice bowls and creative bánh mì like Swedish meatball, Japanese sloppy Joe, and lemongrass tofu. But the grab-and-go ramen is the salty, slurpy headline act. There is no seating in the ship, but the soup’s precision packaging—the hot pork-and-chicken stock in a separate container, with chopsticks and an Asian soup spoon thrown in for utensils—make it easy to tote back to the office. Lunch and dinner daily. 1006 Virginia Ave., blackeyetakeout.com

Black Market

CONTEMPORARY Sophisticated Mediterranean touches and wine-friendly Continental fare now top the menu at this Mass Ave standard, where recently installed executive chef Esteban Rosas took the reins from longtime chef and partner Micah Frank in late 2018. The burger with halloumi cheese and house frites is still one of the best bar meals in the city, but elegant pastas such as cavatelli with a fragrant lamb ragout and a simple spaghettini with imported tomatoes and toasted garlic are not to be missed. Pan-roasted cod, a slow-cooked cotechino sausage with French lentils, and roasted marrow bones with grilled bread and pickled apples show just how much this rustic gastropub has evolved into an innovative bistro through the years. Desserts, such as a poached pear with earthy, rich taleggio ice cream and butterscotch, have especially found their elegance. And the secluded, pergola-topped back patio with the low buzz of the interstate is still one of downtown’s most relaxing urban retreats for enjoying a summer supper. Dinner Tues.–Sat. 922 Massachusetts Ave., 317-822-6757, blackmarketindy.net

Bluebeard

Crowds still roll in for chef Abbi Merriss’s take on seasonal comfort food, a category she dominates in town as evidenced by her vast collection of national media mentions and James Beard Award nominations. Start with the bread baked next door at sister-business Amelia’s—delicious slathered with anchovy butter—and build your meal from the ever-changing

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