IBJOpinion

DINING: In Whitestown, a culinary wonder

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

Our waiter kept referring to the kitchen boss as “Chef.” “This evening, Chef has prepared … .” That sort of thing. And he described each ingredient in every dish in loving detail, making sure to highlight the fact that the restaurant uses locally raised pork, beef and poultry.

Before you combine the above description with the photo, below, and form a picture in your head of some posh center-city eatery, I should point out that our waiter was sporting jeans and a T-shirt. There was a large group of leather-clad bikers on the patio (there are cycles mounted on the walls in the bar area). And the meal in question was happening just steps from a desolate intersection in downtown Whitestown.

Examples abound of quality restaurants outside of urban areas. But that doesn’t lessen the pleasure when I find one that exceeds expectations. Nor does it diminish my desire to encourage others to make the effort to patronize them.

The aforementioned chef at L.A. Café (4 S. Main St., Whitestown, 769-7503) is Reid Craig, from Peterson’s and Eddie Merlot’s. He’s co-owner, with Deano Vino Wilson, of Fountain Square’s Deano’s Vino. And, on our visit, the duo was firing on all cylinders, starting with an impeccable Shrimp Cocktail Martini ($9.95) featuring a quartet of plump monsters in an attention-getting-but-not-overwhelming sauce garnished with zucchini strings.

The dressed up flank steak highlights a creative menu at L.A. Café in downtown Whitestown. (IBJ Photo/Robin Jerstad)


A cup of French Onion Soup ($2 with entrée) may initially leave purists balking thanks to its grated rather than solid cheese topping. But the subtle taste proved as unexpected as its look.

L.A. Café, in its previous incarnations, was best known as a place for steaks. The new version was equally adept, accenting its Marinated Flank Steak ($18.95) with a parmesan crust and topping it with red and green peppers. The result was greater than the sum of its parts. An Open Face Pulled Pork ($9.95) barely earned its way onto the sandwich menu, not because it lacked quality (it was outstanding), but because it consisted of a mound of Makers Mark-sauced shredded pork atop, rather than encased in, thick bread. “Sandwiches” come with a side and our wise-in-hindsight choice was fresh Sauteed Green Beans.

Desserts are house-made, so we gave into temptation with a merely good Crème Brulée ($5.95) and a Triple Delight Martini ($5.95). The creamy latter was a mix of mousses that was intoxicating. Thank you, Chef. Whitestown is now a restaurant destination.•

—Lou Harry

__________

Last in our month-long series of review of reborn cafes.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Still Open?
    Is this restaurant open? A friend had reservations for 8 people on Saturday, March 13, 2010. They arrived at 7 pm, and there was a sign on the door that simply said Closed. What gives?
  • Deano
    Lori
    This is Deano chefs Business partner, and Chef said that those are plantains, and to shave them with a knife and thinnly slice them and then deep fry or you can pan fry them. The next step season them and add them to the skewer, the shrimp should take no longer than 3-4 minutes each side. Thank you for the question and I hope this helps you out.
    Deano
  • Sweet potatoes
    My husband and I had the pleasure of dineing at LaCafe a few weeks ago and we had the best meal. Could you tell me how you fix the sweet potatoes that are served with the shrimp skeur?
    • Your new menu is inspired!
    • I myself never heard of The L.A.Cafe until last week when my friend Gary insisted on eating there after a looong 18 holes of what he considers golf. We pull up to this little building surrounded by motorcycles in this little town that I've never heard of thinking that I was going to regret this experience only to discover a little gem of a restaurant. We sat at the bar and enjoyed one of the best shrimp cocktails and a couple of martinis. Who would've thunk? Now a week and a half later I'm reading about this joint online, So much for my new best kept secret.
      I'll definitly see you soon.
    • Yes Tina we have high chairs and we have a complete non smoking restaurant. Bar side 21 and over, and dinning side for children and families. We look forward to your visit, and hope to see you soon.
      Cheers Deano!
    • I have dined at LA Cafe 3 times since they opened. Everything I have had has been out of this world. The ribeye was one of the very best I ever had and the french onion soup is awesome.
    • Is the restaurant kid-friendly? Do they allow kids or have a kids menu? I love a good dining experience but we often have to bring our 10-year-old with us.
      • My wife and I had just eaten here after we read the review today. I had the Pork chop bone in with Makers BBQ Sauce and green bean side. I was plesently suprised on how tasty this dinner was and I will be back more to enjoy the rest of the menu. My wife June had the 6 oz filet which melted in her mouth as she described it to me. She also sharred the side of green beans and stated that it was the best veggie side she has had in a while. We are not your normal couple we love to support smaller local business and these folks don't have to worry, we will be back plenty more times..
        Thank you L.A. Cafe'
        Dave and June

      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. Uh, sorry Johnnie, but you are incorrect. Despite the assertions by yourself and various defenders and captains, sports attendance is NOT off significantly at most sporting events in the US. Variances in attendance has been in the range of single digits, both + & - for years now. MLB has had most of its best overall attendance nubers in the last decade, and that trend has been consistent for most major sporting events. The number one issue cited by most fans when asked about attendance is the overall cost of attending. The presence of HD and big screen televisions in home doesn't even register, as a factor for not attending an event. VALUE in the product is the key, and apparently is something lacking in the current ICS. What other explanation is there when with what is routinely touted as the "best" racing on the planet, fans are staying away in DROVES. A "close" title battle into the last event at Fontana, with the "cars and stars" of the ICS, and who showed up? MAYBE 8K. Sorry, but HD TV isn't to blame for that kind of fan apathy.

      2. Do you need finance to establish your business ? Are you interested in getting a loan at 3% from our private company? If so please Email: suntrust_oil@blumail.org

      3. If she was worth the $ the public outcry over direct tv dropping them would have kept them on their dishes as we have seen with other companies. I too quit watching channel 13 after she showed up since I left channel 8 because of her all show rather than production results. When Randy on 8 corrected her she had a big head and incorrectly challenged his correction for pronunciation of a city. Other antics while she matures was too much for me with her very inaccurate forecasts. All the forecasters were predicting rain until Thursday except Chris. They predicted sunny on Thursday but instead of rain until Thursday upon which the sun would finally make it out in full glory Chris was right on the money just as I too predicted looking at the radar on weather.gov. One thing I love about Angela is the fear you can see in her every time it thunders in the winter. It far exceeds the entertainment value of her body language (high heel noise drags, depression, etc) when her forecasts are so incorrect. Her hair stands on end, you have to see it!!!

      4. Good Day, Apply For A Loan I am Mr Fernadez Antonio, a private Loan lender and a cooperate financial for real estate and any kinds of business financing. I also offer Loans to individuals, Firms and cooperate bodies at 3% interest rate We offer any kind of loans. email us via fernadezloaninvest@outlook.com LOAN APPLICATION FORM First name:......................... Middle name:......................... Last name:........................................ Date of birth (yyyy-mm-dd):....................... Gender:........................................... Marital status:................................... Total Amount Needed............................... Loan Duration.................................... Address:.......................................... City:............................................. State/province:................................... Zip/postal code:.................................. Country:.......................................... Phone:............................................ Fax:.............................................. Mobile/cellular:.................................. Monthly Income.................................... Occupation:....................................... Best Regard, Mr Fernadez Antonio.

      5. i will love to share my testimony to you all the people in world i got married to my husband about 2 year ago we start having problems at home like we stop sleeping on the same bed,fighting about little things he always comes home late at night,drinking too much and sleeping with other women out side i have never love any man in my life except him. he is the father of my child and i don't want to loose him because we have worked so hard together to become what we are and have today .few month ago he now decided to live me and the kid,being a single mother can be hard sometimes and so i have nobody to turn to and i was heart broken.i called my mom and explain every thing to her,my mother told me about DR.okoro how he helped her solve the problem between her and my dad i was surprise about it because they have been without each other for three and a half years and it was like a miracle how they came back to each other. i was directed to DR. okoro on his email:okorospell@gmail.com and explain everything to him,so he promise me not to worry that he will cast a spell and make things come back to how we where so much in love again and that it was another female spirit that was controlling my husband he told me that my problem will be solved within two days if i believe i said OK So he cast a spell for me and after two days my love came back asking me to forgive him i Am so happy now. so that why i decided to share my experience with every body that have such problem contact Dr okoro the great spell caster on his email addresses spellcasterforlove@outlook.com

      ADVERTISEMENT