DINING: Mane attraction added to Fountain Square fare

Red Lion Grog House

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Dining - A&E

There are those who like to take note of dining trends—what spices are suddenly de rigueur, what countries’ cuisines are now being fused.

We at IBJ, however, like to note different sorts of trends. For instance, this month, we’re going to focus on Indianapolis-area culinary newcomers that sport animal names.  

Dining Review Fish and Chips are an expected staple at any British eatery. At Red Lion, the planks are hand-dipped cod. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Yes, we know such categories are inconsequential, but they do allow for variety.

On our March bestiary dining tour, let’s start with Red Lion Grog House (1043 Virginia Ave., 822-4764), which has settled into Fountain Square in the Murphy Arts Building spot briefly occupied by the pizza joint Gusto.

The layout is similar to its predecessor’s: a few tables at the Virginia Avenue window and a stretch of additional seats paralleling the not-very-attractive open kitchen and leading to more seating in the back. The liquor license had yet to be secured when we visited, nullifying the grog in its name. Nonetheless, we settled for seeing how the British fare fared.

Of course, sampling the Fish and Chips ($10.99) was a given. The Red Lion version features hand-dipped cod fried to just the right crunch, with minimal grease and a side of hand-cut chips (you know them as fries). The menu boasts homemade tartar sauce, which upgraded them further.

The Blanket Bangers ($9.99) were reminiscent of the American favorite Pigs in a Blanket—with a little more personality. Plump, tasty English bangers (sausage links to the rest of us) were wrapped in puff pastry, baked until brown, and served with a side of fries and garlic-Dijon aioli. We added a ramekin of spicy curry sauce (60 cents), giving the dish a welcome punch.

In the Chicken Pot Pie ($9.99), a similar light puff pastry covered a mixture of shredded chicken breast, carrots, peas and potatoes with veloute cream sauce and little eye appeal. Hearty but unmemorable, it helped stave off the cold and kept the belly full until dinner, but it wouldn’t be my first choice on a return visit. It came with French Onion Soup (a visitor from across the Channel?) that was thin on both cheese and flavor. We also tried a plate of Fried Pickle Chips ($6.99), which were surprisingly delicate—OK, delicate for pickle chips. A garlic-Dijon aioli helped cut the pucker.

No matter what the weather, Red Lion’s location offers a great way to walk off a meal—it shares a front doorway with the recently relocated Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art and a back door with the interior hallway of the rest of the Murphy galleries. While you’re expanding your culinary horizons, why not expand your esthetic ones as well?•

—Lou Harry


First of our month-long series of reviews of animal-named eateries.


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  1. I think the poster was being sarcastic and only posting or making fun of what is usually posted on here about anything being built in BR or d'town for that matter.

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  3. So disappointed in WIBC. This is the last straw to lose a good local morning program. I used to be able to rely on WIBC to give me good local information, news, weather and traffic on my 45 minute commute.Two incidents when I needed local, accurate information regarding severe weather were the first signs I could not now rely on WIBC. I work weekend 12 hour nights for a downtown hospital. This past winter when we had the worst snowfall in my 50 years of life, I came home on a Sunday morning, went to sleep (because I was to go back in Sunday night for another 12 hour shift), and woke up around 1 p.m. to a house with no electricity. I keep an old battery powered radio around and turned on WIBC to see what was going on with the winter storm and the roads and the power outage. Sigh. Only policital stuff. Not even a break in to update on the winter storm warning. The second weather incident occurred when I was driving home during a severe thunderstorm a few months ago. I had already gotten a call from my husband that a tornado warning was just southwest of where I had been. I turned to WIBC to find out what direction the storm was headed so I could figure out a route home, only to find Rush on the air, and again, no breaking away from this stupidity to give me information. Thank God for my phone, which gave me the warning that I was driving in an area where a tornado was seen. Thanks for nothing WIBC. Good luck to you, Steve! We need more of you and not the politics of hatred that WIBC wants to shove at us. Good thing I have Satellite radio.

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