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DINING: Nothing fowl at canal-side newcomer

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Dining - A&E

I’m not a fan of outdoor dining. Why? Because I grew up in New Jersey and have been the victim of one too many snatch-and-grabs by stealthy seagulls. And though I’m aware these airborne sneak thieves are rare anywhere west of the Delaware River, I still hesitate when asked if I prefer inside or on the deck.

With spring springing, though, it seemed silly to eat anywhere but the canal-side deck when I visited Flatwater Restaurant (832 E. Westfield Blvd., 257-5466). Taking the spot formerly occupied by Bazbeaux Pizza and Canal Point Grill, it promises a respite “between the rapids of life, the twists and turns of the daily grind and the turbulent white water.”
 

dining At Flatwater Restaurant, shrimp adds character to the flavorful salsa. And outdoor seating is a must. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

I—and probably you as well—could use a helping of that. So with an eye on ducks, we took a spot on the deck and got busy with the Shrimp Salsa and Chips appetizer ($9.50), a more interesting variation on the common nachos and dip. With tiny chopped veggies and chunks of seafood, it got things off to a laid-back start.

Two meaty sandwiches were tasty but seemed a little out of place here. The Steak Sandwich ($10.50) featured substantial slices of thicker-than-Philly meat, with plenty falling out of the roll to fork up afterward. Mushrooms and caramelized onions gave it even more heft. Ditto for the Burger ($8), capped with applewood smoked bacon and a choice of cheese on a just-right Kaiser bun. Homemade fries were well worth adding for $1.50.

Visiting the entrée side of the menu, we found the Grilled Salmon ($15) a better fit for the environment. Its sesame-cilantro glaze validated our selection. And a Caesar Salad ($8.50) paired with Mahi Mahi Tacos ($8) proved an even more inspired choice. The Tacos come from the Small Plate section of the menu, a trend I’m still trying to sort out. Here, soft wraps enclosed two delicious mounds of fish, pico de gallo, cilantro and cheese, so call it what you will.

The ducks, for their part, respectfully kept to their place. Appreciating their sensitivity, I couldn’t resist tossing a bit of bread into the water to share our bounty.•


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  • Y R U here?
    So much venom!? Sounds like you guys should leave Indy. I mean, don't get me wrong, it's not the most cultured or open-minded kind of place, I completely agree, but the dining options are improving and diversifying. My family and I have lived in the area for about 11 years and it's only gotten better. Hogheads wasn't the best bbq, but the options for outstanding bbq are...? This is not the deep south, texas, what have you. You have to give props to those who make the effort, but there is always room to improve. Bottom line, the "What I hate about Indy..." folks can either get a better attitude or leave. Nobody's keeping you here. And yes, not really a review, was it?
  • Rude
    As much as I agree that this is not much of a culinary "review", Jonathan- you are extremely rude. You could have said that in a more polite manner. That is why I hate Indy. Rude people such as yourself. I would like to read a glorious review written by you..
  • Why I don't like Indy
    I love how Barbara think Hog's Heads served good food. To be more specific good BBQ. She also probably thinks that La Piadad is good Mexican food. Totally ignorant of what food should be and it's sad. I could see her sitting in one of those Pizza Hut commercials telling us "this is the best authentic pasta I've ever had!".

    And this is why I hate indy. There is almost no one here with any culinary sense. As Will pointed out this review lacked any culinary direction as to why I would want to dine there.

    Just a rant at a city that can't grow up culturally.
  • Dog Friendly
    With the closing of Hog's Head and the Canal Point Grille last year, we lost the best places to take the dog for a good meal. You can only eat Pizza at Greek's so often and Plump's Last Shot is so over-crowded with the furred-set that a it can get a little uncomfortable if the dogs aren't already well acquainted with each other. (Not to mention that the food at Plump's is mediocre at best).

    Last month we had to be out of the house for a showing, which means taking the 130 lb dog out for lunch. Flatwater accommodates both the furred set and the "strictly-humans please" group by allowing dogs only on the front patio, which only has 2 tables. If you don't want any whine with your meal, then the back patio is ideal for your outdoor dining pleasure. At the same time, the furry guests can be accommodated out front with wide open spaces between the tables.

    We started our meal with the bratwurst appetizer and the pulled pork nachos. My husband ordered the pulled pork sandwich and I had the pulled pork tacos. Normally, I equate pulled pork with barbecue, so I was little surprised that there was no barbecue on any of the pulled pork selections. The waitress, however, was incredibly accommodating and brought plenty of barbecue sauce, along with ample beer and a bowl of water for the dog. Being the only guests on the front patio didn't leave us forgotten, as had been the case at Canal Point.

    We will definitely make the Flatwater our primary hang-out when we dine with the pooch. So, if you dine at Flatwater and see a 130 lb dog that you can't recognize the breed, it's probably Sherlock.
  • huh?
    Will, my thoughts exactly. I thought i was reading metromix for a second. Writing the price and one descriptive sentence does not a review of a restaurant that may or may not have inside seating too.
  • Really?
    Is this a review or just a little piece about this time you overcame your fears of eating outside?

    Seriously, is this a review?

    Why doesn't Indianapolis have anyone who writes about restaurants and food with any sort of creative perspective.

    In regards to your sorting out the "trend" of eating small plates. Don't bother. The trend is about 10 years old. So unless you are waiting for it to come back into fashion in about a decade, you are sufficiently late (or early) to the party.

    This kind of haphazard type of restaurant reviewing isn't good for the restaurant which you are critiquing because you don't know enough about the business or food to give any kind of constructive criticism. Here is what they can take away from your review.
    1. The shrimp salsa will make you laid back.
    2. The Steak sandwich is inappropriate. For reasons that you fail to mention.
    3. "Ditto for the Burger"....we guess.(?)
    4. Salmon works, presumably because the restaurant is on the canal.
    5. The restaurant needs plexiglass panels surrounding the patio so morons don't feed the ducks which with a little time and constant feeding will become as unruly as those NJ seagulls causing the collapse of the entire al fresco dining scene of Indianapolis.

    This is not a review, this is a poorly documented date with yourself.

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