IBJOpinion

DINING: Drive-by Carmel newcomer worth a stop

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

There are certainly people living within a gnocchi’s throw of J. Razzo’s Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar (12501 N. Meridian St., Carmel, 844-9333). But it qualifies for this month’s theme of “en route” restaurants because most potential customers are likely to first see it while heading toward downtown from points north or heading up to Clay Terrace or the Palladium from points south.

Whatever the case, they’ll find in this strip-center Italian newbie a restaurant making a serious effort to combine casual and classy. The sneaker-and-jean-clad host combined with the classically muted, if slightly generic, décor send a message to come as you are.

ae-j-razzos1col.jpg Spiced ground beef is layered into J. Razzo’s lasagna, a lunch staple. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

On the lunch food front, J. Razzo’s doesn’t yet dazzle—at least on my visits. But there were certainly pleasures to be had in this comfortable, friendly eatery. My guest and I would have been deeply disappointed if either of us had ordered the individual pizza ($7 for a Tomato & Cheese version) as a lunch entre. One of our two appetizers, the dull disc seemed like an afterthought. Better were the Risotto Balls ($6), although only one of the two orbs on our platter had the promised sweet peas inside. Odd.

J. Razzo’s defines an Italian Cheeseburger ($8—refreshing in a dining world where $10+ burgers are becoming the norm) as topped with sliced onion, tomato, fresh basil, mozzarella cheese, and a dab of sauce. In any language, it would prove a hearty, flavorful combo. An Italian Panini ($8), packed with prosciutto and provolone, at least showed a little flair, thanks to a pesto aioli that moved it beyond the basic grilled ham and cheese. Side options are limited to French fries or pasta salad, neither of which distinguished themselves.

Happiest of our diners was the one who went for the pasta, scoring a hefty block of lasagna ($8), with plenty of spiced ground beef, fresh pasta layers, and an aromatic, savory red sauce that left us wishing for more bread to soak it up with.•

—Lou Harry

__________

Second in a month-long series of “en route” restaurants.
 

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. I am so impressed that the smoking ban FAILED in Kokomo! I might just move to your Awesome city!

  2. way to much breweries being built in indianapolis. its going to be saturated market, if not already. when is enough, enough??

  3. This house is a reminder of Hamilton County history. Its position near the interstate is significant to remember what Hamilton County was before the SUPERBROKERs, Navients, commercial parks, sprawling vinyl villages, and acres of concrete retail showed up. What's truly Wasteful is not reusing a structure that could still be useful. History isn't confined to parks and books.

  4. To compare Connor Prairie or the Zoo to a random old house is a big ridiculous. If it were any where near the level of significance there wouldn't be a major funding gap. Put a big billboard on I-69 funded by the tourism board for people to come visit this old house, and I doubt there would be any takers, since other than age there is no significance whatsoever. Clearly the tax payers of Fishers don't have a significant interest in this project, so PLEASE DON'T USE OUR VALUABLE MONEY. Government money is finite and needs to be utilized for the most efficient and productive purposes. This is far from that.

  5. I only tried it 2x and didn't think much of it both times. With the new apts plus a couple other of new developments on Guilford, I am surprised it didn't get more business. Plus you have a couple of subdivisions across the street from it. I hope Upland can keep it going. Good beer and food plus a neat environment and outdoor seating.

ADVERTISEMENT