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DINING: Big City Grill & Lemonade steaks a claim on 38th

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Dining - A&E

Indy has no shortage of sandwich shops—Subway, Jimmy John’s and many other “what-do-you-want-on-that?” chains.

We don’t, however, have many sandwich shops where the portions aren’t determined by corporate policy and where the desserts aren’t shipped in. Which is why, in this month’s visits to “grill” restaurants, I want to celebrate Big City Grill & Lemonade (23 E. 38th St., 283-7000).
 

ae-big-cityprint-1col.jpg A Philly Steak with fries and a pink lemonade from Big City Grill and Lemonade. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

No, it isn’t the most polished eatery in the city. Its limited seating is more suited to someone scarfing down lunch than to a couple on a date. But the counter service is efficient and friendly. Free WiFi makes it a useful stop between downtown and the north side if that is your travel route, and—most important—the food succeeded well enough that I intend to visit again.

We tried a Philly Steak ($4.99 or a $7.69 bargain with a drink and fries), and once again I have to rant that true Philadelphia cheesesteaks don’t contain green pepper. Nonetheless, Big City understands that the quality of such a sandwich increases by finely dicing the meat and thoroughly mixing it with the onions, melted cheese (in this case, provolone), etc. A bit greasy, yes, but there wasn’t a tough bite to be found. The fries that sided it were also winners, with more than a dash of seasoning to spruce them up.

An Italian Beef sandwich ($5.49) could have come with a spice warning. The fine-cut roast beef here is mixed with hot, flavorful giardiniera—and packed to near overflowing into a roll with enough strength to soak up some of the juice while keeping everything contained.

You could get a soda, but the house drink is fresh-squeezed lemonade served in 20 oz. cups with the option to add Sno-Cone flavoring, including watermelon and fruit punch. I went with the strawberry, which was added to the icy cup of ade, wrapped in cellophane, and given a quick shake. Delicious—and what I didn’t finish at lunch stayed cold on my ride back to the office.

But I didn’t leave without dessert. Big City’s choices (cheesecake, peach cobbler, etc.) are created locally. I went with Banana Pudding ($2.99) which, with sliced bananas and wafer cookies, tasted like it came right from the family reunion picnic.•

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Fourth in a month-long series of “Grill” restaurant reviews.

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  • I LOVE THIS PLACE
    I am hooked on the food at Big City! Expecially the desserts which I am so glad that you mentioned. Mama P's cakes are always moist and absolutely delicious. It reminds me of my grandmother's kitchen. Kudos to Steve for adding Mama P's desserts...the only place in the city that they serve!
  • Big City Grill is AWESOME
    It had been awhile since I had eaten here. I had lunch there today and it reminded me of why I like this place so much! The food is great. The service is amazing! Steve, the owner, is very friendly and approachable. Did I mention the portion sizes surpass anything you get from a "chain" restaurant. If you have not eaten here, you HAVE to go!

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