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.


  • 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. If I were a developer I would be looking at the Fountain Square and Fletcher Place neighborhoods instead of Broad Ripple. I would avoid the dysfunctional BRVA with all of their headaches. It's like deciding between a Blackberry or an iPhone 5s smartphone. BR is greatly in need of updates. It has become stale and outdated. Whereas Fountain Square, Fletcher Place and Mass Ave have become the "new" Broad Ripples. Every time I see people on the strip in BR on the weekend I want to ask them, "How is it you are not familiar with Fountain Square or Mass Ave? You have choices and you choose BR?" Long vacant storefronts like the old Scholar's Inn Bake House and ZA, both on prominent corners, hurt the village's image. Many business on the strip could use updated facades. Cigarette butt covered sidewalks and graffiti covered walls don't help either. The whole strip just looks like it needs to be power washed. I know there is more to the BRV than the 700-1100 blocks of Broad Ripple Ave, but that is what people see when they think of BR. It will always be a nice place live, but is quickly becoming a not-so-nice place to visit.

  2. I sure hope so and would gladly join a law suit against them. They flat out rob people and their little punk scam artist telephone losers actually enjoy it. I would love to run into one of them some day!!

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  4. Woohoo! We're #200!!! Absolutely disgusting. Bring on the congestion. Indianapolis NEEDS it.

  5. So Westfield invested about $30M in developing Grand Park and attendance to date is good enough that local hotel can't meet the demand. Carmel invested $180M in the Palladium - which generates zero hotel demand for its casino acts. Which Mayor made the better decision?