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DINING: Now it's Matt's time

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Dining - A&E

Anchoring a corner of the Carmel City Center colossus, Matt the Miller’s Tavern (11 City Center Drive, 805-1860) springs from a Dublin pub of the same name.

Before you get too impressed, know that its origins are in Dublin, Ohio, not Dublin, Ireland.

Still, Matt’s (or, should I say, Miller’s?) pays attention to the bar side of the business, housing over 60 bottled beers, with craft beers on tap, and a happy hour with $5 martinis and select appetizers. An after-show drink is now a short walk from the Palladium.
 

ae-matt-millers04-1col.jpg Flatbreads are a specialty at Matt the Miller’s Tavern in Carmel. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

While the tight entry area wasn’t yet equipped to handle the crowds on the chilly evening I visited, the restaurant itself is divided into comfortable small areas. When the gotta-try-it-first crowd has moved on in a few months, the place won’t feel empty even with fewer customers.

Our visit had enough hits to warrant another trip, but with kitchen misses that I hope aren’t chronic. The Tomato Basil Bisque ($4.99) was watery and without much flavor. Our waitress graciously replaced it with a much better Matt’s Salad ($5.95/$8.99). Matt’s Burger ($9.99) was an expensive and unexciting sandwich with a nondescript whole wheat bun not helped by the onion ring slipped in with the pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and (should be kept) secret sauce. And, from the Sides from Scratch section, we tried to perk things up with White Cheddar Grits ($3.99) and got what tasted like a large wedge of butter.

On the other hand, Pacific Rim Calamari ($9.99), described as offering an “explosion of flavors,” actually proved subtler than that. The stir-fried snow peas, peppers and sprouts mixed with peanuts, chili sauce and lime did a delicate dance with their lightly breaded seafood companion. Stir Fry Edamame ($5.99) was even better, accenting the soybean pods with fresh garlic, toasted sesame seeds and the requisite sea salt. I’m anticipating adding that to a future post-show drink.

Matt the Miller’s also does well by its flatbreads. The Chicken Avocado ($12.99) had a hint of the honey-lime marinade in its poultry and a refreshing citrus topper of diced watermelon. The sloppier Ahi Tuna ($15.99) featured a creamy miso mousse with Asian slaw, sliced avocado and wasabi aioli that never fought with the tuna flavor.

Boasts of “housemade” usually tempt me, but I won’t return to the Housemade Chicken Salad sandwich ($9.99 or halved and combined with a soup or salad for $8.99). The seafood side of the menu might be a better bet, judging from my Roasted Salmon Filet ($16.99)—neatly combined with coconut-edamame rice and grilled vegetables.

Desserts? Like the calamari, the Oreo Cookie Explosion ($6.99) didn’t exactly explode, thanks to a lackluster cookie under the pleasing frozen cookies-and-cream mousse. Better was the Warm Banana Bread Pudding ($7.99), a baked blend of cinnamon rolls, croissants, and brioche baked in custard and served with a whiskey caramel sauce, whipped cream and vanilla ice cream.

That’s when I felt like it was truly Miller’s time. Or Matt’s time. Whatever.•

—Lou Harry

__________

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

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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.

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