DINING: Broad Ripple staple expands to downtown

Ambrosia Centro

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Dining - A&E

The restaurant space at 15 E. Maryland St. has come a long ways since its beer-drenched, smoke-filled days as a Buffalo Wild Wings franchise…and burger joint Badaboomz…and Cajun eatery J. Gumbo’s.

Now called Ambrosia Centro (635-3096), it’s the downtown outpost of a Broad Ripple favorite, serving up standard Italian dishes in a decidedly upscale environment.

Think warm colors, dark wood and solicitous service. And nary a burning ember in evidence outside the cozy dining room fireplace.

Ambrosia Centro’s one-page lunch menu is pretty basic: appetizers, salads, panini, pasta and several heartier entrees. We started with the Carpaccio antipasto ($11). I’m not sure what I was expecting but I was pleasantly pleased by the plate covered with delicate slices of subtle prosciutto. The lemon vinaigrette-tossed arugula and shaved parmesan cheese served atop the cured meat provided a perfect flavor combination.

The Penne Rustica at Ambrosia Centro features thick chunks of Italian sausage. (IBJ Photo/Robin Jerstad)

The Penne Rustica ($9) was similarly simple—and successful. The dish marries penne noodles with slices of sweet Italian sausage, assorted bell peppers, onions and tomatoes in a light marinara sauce. We detected a hint of heat, but not enough to overwhelm the otherwise sweet dish. Here, restraint works.

My Pollo Panini ($8) wasn’t quite as good, making me wish I’d disregarded the server’s advice and gone with my other finalist: the mozzarella, tomato and basil sandwich. Not surprisingly, the Pollo features grilled chicken along with arugula and tomatoes. But there wasn’t quite enough of the poultry, leaving me with a few bites of “wish” sandwich—you know, where you have two slices of bread and wish you had some meat. A little too dry for my liking.

The paninis come with thick-cut, parmesan-coated fries, an unadvertised surprise. They were good, but if I’d known the sandwich had a side, I would have asked for a salad instead. Live and learn.

For dessert, we inadvertently broke our must-be-homemade rule, ordering a Peach Sorbetto ($5.50). I’m not sure what made it a sorbetto as opposed to a sorbet, unless it was the sugar-coated frozen peach used as a serving dish, but we enjoyed it nonetheless.•

—Andrea Muirragui Davis


Second in a month-long series of visits to downtown newcomers and reopenings.



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  1. Aaron is my fav!

  2. Let's see... $25M construction cost, they get $7.5M back from federal taxpayers, they're exempt from business property tax and use tax so that's about $2.5M PER YEAR they don't have to pay, permitting fees are cut in half for such projects, IPL will give them $4K under an incentive program, and under IPL's VFIT they'll be selling the power to IPL at 20 cents / kwh, nearly triple what a gas plant gets, about $6M / year for the 150-acre combined farms, and all of which is passed on to IPL customers. No jobs will be created either other than an handful of installers for a few weeks. Now here's the fun part...the panels (from CHINA) only cost about $5M on Alibaba, so where's the rest of the $25M going? Are they marking up the price to drive up the federal rebate? Indy Airport Solar Partners II LLC is owned by local firms Johnson-Melloh Solutions and Telemon Corp. They'll gross $6M / year in triple-rate power revenue, get another $12M next year from taxpayers for this new farm, on top of the $12M they got from taxpayers this year for the first farm, and have only laid out about $10-12M in materials plus installation labor for both farms combined, and $500K / year in annual land lease for both farms (est.). Over 15 years, that's over $70M net profit on a $12M investment, all from our wallets. What a boondoggle. It's time to wise up and give Thorium Energy your serious consideration. See http://energyfromthorium.com to learn more.

  3. Markus, I don't think a $2 Billion dollar surplus qualifies as saying we are out of money. Privatization does work. The government should only do what private industry can't or won't. What is proven is that any time the government tries to do something it costs more, comes in late and usually is lower quality.

  4. Some of the licenses that were added during Daniels' administration, such as requiring waiter/waitresses to be licensed to serve alcohol, are simply a way to generate revenue. At $35/server every 3 years, the state is generating millions of dollars on the backs of people who really need/want to work.

  5. I always giggle when I read comments from people complaining that a market is "too saturated" with one thing or another. What does that even mean? If someone is able to open and sustain a new business, whether you think there is room enough for them or not, more power to them. Personally, I love visiting as many of the new local breweries as possible. You do realize that most of these establishments include a dining component and therefore are pretty similar to restaurants, right? When was the last time I heard someone say "You know, I think we have too many locally owned restaurants"? Um, never...