922 Massachusetts Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46202
We have officially lived in Nap-town now for one month! Fortunately for me, my inner food snob has not been completely destroyed! Rather, I am optimistic about my dining options, even if they are a tad bit more limited.... That's to be expected when you move from a Foodie Capitol to a smaller market; right???
The first week we moved here my spouse and I were heading downtown to hear one of our favorite bands play, The Head and the Heart. If you don't know them you should... They are INCREDIBLE! But, since this blog is about food, that is all I will say about that! Back to the point... We were heading downtown and decided to grab dinner somewhere near Massachusetts Ave.. We had read about Black Market and its comparisons to The Publican in Chicago. The Publican is one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago so we decided to give it a try even knowing those were some big shoes to fill.
Upon entering Black Market, my first impression was GOOD! The restaurant is actually quite small yet it works in their favor with the communal tables lending to a hip and casual vibe that doesn't come off contrived. I also liked the use of more rustic finishes throughout such as the brick walls and chalkboard menu. To me a lot of the enjoyment of dining out comes from the aesthetics you are dining in and Black Market definitely succeeded there!
On to the food! First, let me apologize for my lack of photographs! I happened to eat here before my brilliant idea of starting a food blog came to fruition! And since this is my first soiree into the blog world I figured it best not to cut and paste pics from other websites as if they were my own! But I promise to always have pictures from this day forward! Now that I have said my vows... Here is what we ordered:
Duck buns and the Summer tomato, corn, and melon salad.
The duck buns seem to be the most hyped up item on their menu. I am a big fan of duck and who doesn't like a good steamed bun?? So in theory this item should be a home run, and it almost was.... almost. The buns themselves were wonderful, soft and lofty as they should be with the right about of filling to allow for what a dear friend of mine once coined "the perfect bite". The duck breast was tender and not gamey but where the dish lost me a bit was the hoison mustard. It was just too salty, and I am often accussed myself of over-seasoning so I am certainly not afraid of a little sodium. With that said, I do think it was a well executed dish and the overtly saltiness of the sauce could have been that evening's batch so I will go ahead and say it was GOOD!
Next up: the Summer tomato, corn and melon salad served with bacon and a sherry vinaigrette. This one was recommended by our sever and quite honestly I wish it wasn't. Was it horrible? No. But it certainly wasn't GOOD. It was really a bit awkward as a dish and the flavors did not seem to mesh at all. The cantaloupe was cut way to large in comparison to the tomato and corn and flavor wise really overpowered the rest of the ingredients. The salad seemed confused as to whether it was a salad or a succotash. Even the bacon couldn't save it and what doesn't bacon make better?? So unfortunately, I have to say this salad was BAD.
Ale steamed mussels, Pork schnitzel, Grilled flat iron steak
The mussels were quite nice and I was suspicious when my spouse chose to order them. I typically lean more towards the traditional herb de provence broths and this one was made with tomatoes and basil. I was pleasantly surprised; the tomatoes and basil were very subtle and there was a nice kick to the broth as well. Even better was the amazing bread they served with the mussels. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE a good crusty loaf; to the point that I actually think the bread served with mussels is as important to the dish as the mussels themselves. Apparently, Black Market must share my same sentiment because they bake the bread in house. Kudos on this one. It was GOOD!
My brother got the pork schnitzel and it too was very GOOD. Dare I say, perhaps the best schnitzel I have ever had and I have an Eastern European mother so I've eaten some schnitzel in my day. I have also made many a schnitzel since it is one of my children's favorite dinners so I know it's pretty hard to mess up. Still, probably one of the best schnitzels I've eaten. The summer slaw on the side was decent but nothing too incredible... I would have preferred a mash potato side but I appreciate their efforts to stick to the season and attempt to lighten it up s bit since it was August. All in all, very GOOD.
I ordered the flat iron steak and unfortunately for me it was the least exciting of all the entrees we ordered. It was served with a lime cilantro compound butter and a tortilla salad. Reading that description made me think I was going to get a very south of the border taste from my meal but it ended up being a little lack luster. The steak was cooked well to medium rare but I could not at all taste the lime cilantro butter which I assume was what was suppose to differentiate this dish from any other flat iron steak. Additionally, the tortilla salad was pretty boring and I am convinced was the same succotash like creation from the appetizer salad we ordered minus the cantaloupe and plus the tortilla strips. I don't know why, but this annoyed me to no end and probably made me more critical on the rest of the meal so therefore I have ti say this dish was BAD.
Overall, I would say Black Market is GOOD! We enjoyed 3 out of the 5 menu items we tried, and with the cool space and vibe it is certainly someplace I will come again.