DINING: Two winners at Carmel City Center

Lou Harry
February 18, 2012
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Dining - A&E
Truffle Egg Brioche at Eggshell Bistro in Carmel Truffle Egg Brioche at Eggshell Bistro. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

No amount of bohemian decor or distressed furniture and salvaged wall hangings will make you forget that Eggshell Bistro (51 City Center Drive, Carmel, 660-1616) is part of the behemoth known as Carmel City Center. But the friendly wait staff and artisan breakfasts could lead you to not care at all about the oversized shell that surrounds this superior newcomer.

Attention seems to have been taken across the board to make every bite remind you this is no chain breakfast spot. Not settling for simply “fresh-squeezed” orange juice, Eggshell Bistro offers Organic Orange Juice ($3) “squeezed to order.” Tea—from Serendipitea—is served in a 17-oz. pot for one or a 34-oz. pot for two. Ours, the Rubby Slipper ($3, $5—and, no, I’m not sure if that’s creative naming or a menu typo), featured a soothing mix of Halloween-esque fruit and spices in a pot that kept it warm for our entire leisurely meal.

IHop stalwarts may complain about the portion sizes, but there were plenty of pleasures packed into the entrees we tried. Mixed Heirloom Potato Frittata ($10) combined baby spinach and capriole goat cheese with garlic and eggs to form a texture-rich mass. Truffled Egg Brioche ($9) scattered bites of asparagus onto the Fontina cheese-covered pastry.

And Sweet Potato Hash ($9) smartly offered a mix of poached egg, chorizo, black beans and just enough jalapeno to keep things interesting.

We couldn’t resist meats on the side, adding Sweet Fennel Sausage ($2.50) and Applewood Smoked Bacon ($3.25) from Indy’s own Smoking Goose. Again, small portions, but delicious complements to an already strong meal. A Fruit Mix du Jour ($3, $6) allowed us the delusion of healthfulness.

Holy Cow, Cupcakes! offers this butterscotch-dipped vanilla option The choices at Holy Cow, Cupcakes! vary from day to day. A lucky day has butterscotch-dipped vanilla as an option. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Biggest disappointment? The kitchen was out of Anson Mills Grits ($3, $6—with an upcharge for Grafton cheddar). How does that happen?

Eggshell Bistro does offer desserts, including a ricotta-based Roman Cheesecake ($7.50), but there were other temptations just a few steps away. Carmel City Center is also now home to Holy Cow, Cupcakes! (61 W. City Center Drive, Carmel, 571-1500). If that name sounds familiar, it could be because you sampled one at the Carmel Farmer’s Market—where the company launched four years ago—or you visited its former location on Rangeline Road.

Difficult-to-resist creations on our visit to the new, spacious spot included a surprisingly low-key butterscotch-dipped vanilla, a hearty Oreo and a chewy cookie-dough-stuffed variation, none of which tried too hard (as many a nouveau cupcake seems to do). The Holy Cow styles can vary by the day, but the price remains constant: Each runs $2.50 with $12 for a half dozen. Want something you tried yesterday but that isn’t available today? You can special-order, but you’ll have to take a dozen.

Hint: They keep for about two days if stored in an airtight container.•


Third in a month-long series of reviews of new north-side restaurants.


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  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?