IBJOpinion

DINING: Newcomer fills Agio void

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Dining - A&E

Even if Agio wasn’t your favorite Indy Italian restaurant, you can’t deny the void that was left when it closed on Mass Ave. With its open-air frontage and prime location next to Theatre on the Square, its absence blighted the block. And when permits began appearing on the building, you could almost hear the rejoicing, sight unseen (and food untasted).

Well, the new tenant has arrived, and Ralston’s DraftHouse (635 Massachusetts Ave., 493-1143) already has given its block a face-lift. While there are still a few issues to work out, early visits indicate that the menu is creative, the execution smart, and the prospects strong.

ae-ralstons04-1col.jpg The pork shanks and the flight of sauces that make up The Flying Pig are fine, just difficult to combine. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

On my first visit, I dined alone at the bar where attentive, friendly, but not pushy service made my Kuzola’s Spicy Spinner ($9) all the more pleasurable. With pepper-encrusted shaved steak, enough habanero relish to justify the name without overpowering, and a bit of macadamia nut and coconut to remind you that this isn’t your neighborhood sandwich shop, the creation proved a winner. The wide range of side options helped, too—although I spent far too much time weighing my choices. Ultimately, the Lemon Champagne Cucumber Slaw won out over Fried Rosemary Potatoes, Sweet Potato Fries, Greek Yogurt and four other options. Viva la variety.

When it comes to beverages, Ralston’s provides even more options but also more assistance. Each sandwich on the menu has a suggested beer pairing. With an afternoon of work ahead, I skipped the adult beverages, but appreciated the recommendations (and the subtle up-sell).

For a return visit with a colleague, we dug into the unexpected appetizers. El Guapo ($5) featured a tasty trio of chorizo, habanera relish, onions and lime wrapped in soft corn tortillas. The Flying Pig ($10.50) showed care in the preparation of both the pork shanks and the flight of sauces, but the two weren’t easy to combine. Unfortunately, despite my multiple efforts to slow things down, our entrees were brought to the table well before our appetizers were gone.

After hastily finishing off the appetizers, we dug into the Liege Waffle ($8.50). A glorified chicken and waffle dish accented with Greek yogurt, fig, date and agave reduction, it proved more successful with the well-prepared chicken than with its wan breakfast-staple support. The Drowning Trout ($9.50) may sound like an over-sauced dish, but it was actually a well-balanced, pan-seared trout with raspberry reduction, toasted pecans and goat cheese. There’s a build-your-own-sandwich option, too, but with a charge of $1.50 each for such options as greens and tomatoes, the price can get out of control in a hurry.

No room for desserts this time, but Mango Mousse Cake and Mocha Panna Cotta are likely to lure me back before or after a show next door. If I can get in. A drive by on a Saturday proved the patio seating is already popular. Which is as it should be.•
__________

Second in a month-long series of possessive restaurant reviews.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

ADVERTISEMENT