Disappointing meal begs question: How Polo can you go?
Like a true “Hoosiers”-loving Hoosier, I always pick a No. 16 seed to upset a
No. 1 seed in the NCAA basketball tournament. I root for the underdog.
So when I heard
local owners were taking over a shuttered Steak & Ale restaurant, I was cheering them on. And when we decided to review eateries that had moved in where others
had moved out, I was hoping for a slam dunk at the Polo Club Steakhouse (4302 S. East St., 780-1711).
It was more like a layup. And for a while there, it looked like it might clang off the edge of the rim.
My first impression of the restaurant was that it looked like a Steak & Ale. That might have been influenced by the giant Steak & Ale sign out front, though. Inside wasn’t much different-lots of dark wood,
with polo-themed prints on the wall paying homage to the new theme.
We were greeted by a server who seemed pathologically unable to say anything to us without throwing in a term of endearment along the lines of “honey” or “sweetie” or “dear.” Um, ma’am? We just met.
As to the food … well, let’s just say “eh.”
I had two dining companions, so we
sampled a cross-section of the menu: steak and seafood, salad and soup, appetizer and dessert. We didn’t find anything worth bragging about.
The Thai Lettuce Wraps ($7.99) featured steak instead of the more typical chicken, which we were OK with given that we were at a steakhouse. But the few slivers of Asian-ginger-marinade-covered beef came atop a veritable mound of what was billed
as Jasmine rice (but looked and tasted a lot like regular white rice) that nearly covered the Bibb lettuce leaves. It didn’t take long
for the lettuce to wilt under the heat of the rice, leaving us with a mess.
The $6.99 value lunch menu was heavy on burgers and chicken sandwiches, so we ordered from the more upscale side: Top Sirloin ($10.99), Stuffed Shrimp ($9.99) and Grilled Tilapia
($7.99). A trip to the salad bar tacked on another $2.49, and a big bowl of Seafood Bisque the same price (a good thing, since my friend only wanted a cup).
The sirloin was solid, if unspectacular. The fish was OK, but probably would have been better with the hollandaise
sauce we 86’ed in the interest of cutting calories. The shrimp was blah-and the promised crabmeat stuffing suspiciously low on crab meat.
We had high hopes for the Sticky Toffee Cake ($5.49), which promised two layers of moist cake and made-from-scratch car
amel sauce topped with whipped cream. In reality, the cake was soggy and the sauce almost sickly sweet.
We left disappointed with the lackluster performance, a feeling I know well as a fan of a basketball team years away
from contending for a title. But in the Polo Club’s case, I’m not looking forward to the next matchup. It’s game over for me.