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DINING: Take your pick(les) of interesting choices at Black Market

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Dining - A&E

While many terrific local restaurants have Indy addresses, more than a few of them seem to be disguised as chains. Maybe the more you look like the nationally advertised competition, the better your chances.

But it’s refreshing when a new eatery appears that feels uniquely itself—one that seems to have been designed to be itself, designed to be a place you remember, and designed with its neighborhood in mind.

Well, kind of. Located where Mass Ave collides with Interstate 65, Black Market (922 Massachusetts Ave., 822-6757) is, for now, a neighborhood bar/restaurant without many neighbors. (That should change when the Trail Side apartment/retail building nearby is finished.)

Now, the minimal signage and out-of-the-way location can make you feel like you’re about to enter a Prohibition-era speakeasy. Inside, a long “community” table for multiple parties parallels the bar, and the dinner menu is limited enough to be scrawled on the wall. And—shocking and refreshing in this day and age—it has no blaring TVs.

The menu, too, is distinct. A Daily Pickles

($5) appetizer plate would stand out on any lunch—or dinner—menu. The pickled items

on this visit (they aren’t identical from day to day) were ramps (think fancy green onion), watermelon, the traditional cucumbers and an egg. A dollop of homemade peanut butter was the star of the show with its crunchy texture and sweet, peanutty taste. The pickles themselves were delicious, and the pink pickled egg added some visual interest.
 

ae-black-market-salad-15col The berries in the Arugula, Blueberry and Goat Cheese Salad burst with flavor. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

The Arugula, Blueberry and Goat Cheese Salad ($8) offered a tasty combination of ingredients, but in a mix simple enough that the flavor of all three was pleasingly apparent. Each blueberry was a plump, fresh burst of flavor making this a salad to be savored.

Even the heartier fare felt somewhat light. On the menu, the Black Market Burger ($13) boasted of buns from Bakery at Geist and our overenthusiastic waitress stressed that the meat also was local, or just down the road from Fischer Farms in Jasper, anyway. Served alongside an unadvertised (but welcome) arugula side salad, the juicy burger was unusually flavorful—turns out Black Market uses a custom blend of beef and lamb. A creamy goat cheese spread provided an extra tasty kick. Better still was the Braised Beef & Cheddar Bun ($13), a warm, sweet sandwich packed—but not overflowing—with moist, tender meat.

Desserts? Sure—if for no other reason than to see what such a creative kitchen would come up with. Blueberries & Lime Curd ($7) and Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta ($7) were both winners. The yogurt dish included cumin, an ingredient you don’t find in many desserts in these parts. For some, that might be a good thing. For me, I’m glad Mass Ave now offers another reason to cross College Avenue.•

—Lou Harry

__________

First in a month-long series of reviews of new arts district eateries.

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  • Black Market
    Have eaten at Black Market several times for lunch and dinner. Amazing food. The Black Market Burger is awesome. Love the buns. I buy them from Bakery at Geist often. A must try

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  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

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  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

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