IBJOpinion

DINING: Tavern on South has obvious appeal

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Dining - A&E

How Tavern on South (423 W. South St., 602-3115)—the new eatery in the shadow of Lucas Oil Stadium—deals with the pre- and post-game masses remains to be seen­ since it opened at the end of the Indianapolis Colts’ season. But it passed a recent weekday lunch test with good grades and just a couple of opportunities to improve.

Despite its obvious appeal to fans of the three pro teams that suit up within spittin’ distance, the eatery avoids the raucous sports-bar atmosphere. The renovated 1910 two-story building is decked out with warm browns and oranges instead of the more-obvious Colts blue and Pacers gold.

The upstairs balcony overlooking downtown is sure to appeal when the weather breaks, and the main-floor dining room is gloriously smoke-free—as fitting for a working lunch as an after-hours cocktail. The flat-screen TVs are in evidence, but not in your face. The service is solicitous, the menu ambitious without being obnoxious.

We started with Deconstructed Filet Sliders ($11), which we knew from “Top Chef” meant some assembly would be required. Indeed, the appetizer featured tender, tasty slices of beef on grilled Ciabatta bread, with horseradish mousse and a tomato-mushroom ragout sauce on the side. The first bite was disappointing—the dense bread overwhelmed rather than enhanced. But when we experimented with more deconstruction, eating the sliders open-faced and topping the leftover piece of bread with the thick ragout, our meal was back on track.

My companion had the same issues with his Open-Faced Sea Bass sandwich ($10), one of the dishes our server recommended. Even the single piece of Ciabatta was too much, so he took his fork to the broiled fish

and accompanying sweet corn remoulade. The side of perfectly cooked, thick-sliced French fries was a plus, however, as was the small Tavern Salad ($6), which featured candied asparagus, sweet and spicy walnuts, dried cherries, Indiana goat cheese and other ingredients you are unlikely to find within stadium walls. Combined, with the Granny Smith apple vinaigrette, it would easily work as a satisfying entree.  
 

Dining Tavern on South’s Guiltless Chicken Wrap comes enveloped in a Napa cabbage leaf. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

I was thankful my Guiltless Chicken Wrap ($8.50) was bread-free. Instead of the standard tortilla, the chunks of grilled chicken and sun-dried tomatoes are wrapped in a Napa cabbage leaf, giving it some crunch along with something to hold onto. I’m not sure how guilt-free the herb aioli drizzled in and over the dish was—think fancy, housemade mayonnaise—but it sure was delicious. And I mentioned the cabbage, right?

Lest our meal be too healthful, we ordered dessert: a cake-and-ice-cream concoction called Black & Tan. And, no, it didn’t involve Guinness or Bass beer. The black was a reference to the miniature chocolate cake (although it actually was a much lighter color), the tan a nod to its peanut butter filling—and possibly the cinnamon ice cream that came on top. The cake was moist, the peanut butter creamy, the ice cream tasty. But only when we got all three in a single bite did it wow our taste buds the way a good dessert should.

The next time we find ourselves with Colts tickets, we’ll cut back on the dogs and beer to save room for post-game dining.•

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First in our month-long series of reviews of new restaurants downtown.

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  1. If what you stated is true, then this article is entirely inaccurate. "State sells bonds" is same as "State borrows money". Supposedly the company will "pay for them". But since we are paying the company, we are still paying for this road with borrowed money, even though the state has $2 billion in the bank.

  2. Andrew hit the nail on the head. AMTRAK provides terrible service and that is why the state has found a contractor to improve the service. More trips, on-time performance, better times, cleanliness and adequate or better restrooms. WI-FI and food service will also be provided. Transit from outlying areas will also be provided. I wouldn't take it the way it is but with the above services and marketing of the service,ridership will improve and more folks will explore Indy and may even want to move here.

  3. They could take the property using eminent domain and save money by not paying the church or building a soccer field and a new driveway. Ctrwd has monthly meetings open to all customers of the district. The meetings are listed and if the customers really cared that much they would show. Ctrwd works hard in every way they can to make sure the customer is put first. Overflows damage the surrounding environment and cost a lot of money every year. There have been many upgrades done through the years to help not send flow to Carmel. Even with the upgrades ctrwd cannot always keep up. I understand how a storage tank could be an eye sore, but has anyone thought to look at other lift stations or storage tanks. Most lift stations are right in the middle of neighborhoods. Some close to schools and soccer fields, and some right in back yards, or at least next to a back yard. We all have to work together to come up with a proper solution. The proposed solution by ctrwd is the best one offered so far.

  4. Fox has comments from several people that seem to have some inside information. I would refer to their website. Changed my whole opionion of this story.

  5. This place is great! I'm piggy backing and saying the Cobb salad is great. But the ribs are awesome. $6.49 for ribs and 2 sides?! They're delicious. If you work downtown, head over there.

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