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DINING: Delicia lives up to the name

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Dining - A&E

Call me contrary, but rave reviews usually turn me off.
 

ae-delicia05-15col.jpg Tostones Con Longaniza pairs tangy grilled sausage bites with crispy fried plantains. (IBJ photo/Aaron P. Bernstein)

After all, the higher my expectations—of a movie, restaurant or whatever—the greater the chance I’ll be disappointed. So I typically tune out the hype and allow myself to be surprised.

That’s hard to do when a restaurant was the talk of the town for years before it opened, as is the case with new SoBro eatery Delicia. (Turns out the name is a bit of a spoiler, too.)

The long-awaited occupant of a former video rental store, Delicia (5215 N. College Ave., 925-0677) is the latest entry from the ownership group behind Northside Social, Northside Kitchenette and Village Cigar.

The Latin American restaurant opened in March after a protracted legal battle with neighbors over parking, and foodies have been buzzing about it ever since.

Despite the buildup, hubby and I gave it a go. We were pleasantly surprised to find it rave-worthy from start to finish.

We started with the Tostones Con Longaniza ($13), an appetizer that paired tangy grilled sausage bites with crispy fried plantains, or tostones. Each component tickled different taste buds, but the combination—topped with pickled red onions and a garlicky chimichurri sauce—provided a perfectly balanced flavor.

The generously sized starter had me looking for something other than a full entrée. The solution: Peruvian Ceviche Mixto ($11) a light dish featuring assorted seafood chunks marinated in citrus juice. My dad, who hails from neighboring Ecuador, makes the best ceviche I’ve ever had, but this was a close second. Pieces of avocado and onion married well with the mild fish—and allowed me to camouflage the occasional octopus tentacle. Freshly fried tortilla chips added a nice crunch.

My husband played it a little safer, ordering Tamal Corn Cakes ($17), a pair of masa-based patties piled high with tender beef that had been smoked in banana leaves. The chef topped the concoction with pico de gallo, cilantro cream and queso fresco, giving it additional color and flavor. Four thumbs up.

We’d have to borrow some appendages to do justice to the Tres Leches Cake ($7) we chose for dessert. The sponge cake was moist without being soggy, presumably a testament to the three milks that give the treat its name. Delicia’s version was topped with a lime “meringue”—which was closer to whipped cream than the typical pie topper—and a sweet guava compote. Delicioso.•

—Andrea Muirragui Davis

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

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  • delicia
    I agree whole heartedly with Andrea. It is a great restaurant with unique dishes. We have dined there a couple of times. The red snapper in coconut milk and the ham wrapped scallops are amazing; the duck enchiladas and fish tacos were equally as good. Great atmosphere and bar as well. We are going back!

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  1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.

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