Restaurant Review: R Bistro

I’ve been meaning to write this review for awhile. We visited R Bistro in early March for our anniversary weekend! The quaint and modern restaurant has been located on Massachusetts Avenue downtown Indianapolis for about eight years. The talented owner and executive chef is Regina Mehallick; she is a James Beard Best Chef semi-finalist this year which is a high honor.

We made a reservation for a Friday lunch. The service was excellent and our server very knowlegeable. He answered our questions and gave us some of the history of the restaurant, building, and surrounding area. We were very impressed. The winter lunch menu was unassuming but everything sounded delicious. The lunch menu changes quarterly to reflect the seasons and features local ingredients. While it’s a pricey lunch, we felt it was worth every penny.

I ordered a panini which highlighted a local kielbasa sausage made just down the street, saurkraut, and horseradish. It was bliss…absolutely delicious and very likely the best sandwich I’ve ever had! My husband ordered a panini that had a sweet tomato chutney, bacon, avacado, and watercress. It also exceeded our expectations and was wonderful! Each sandwich came with a small mixed green salad which was a light and delicious accompaniment. After such delectable cuisine, we had to try dessert – it was our anniversary after all! I ordered the sticky toffee pudding (a British dessert) and was not disappointed. It was buttery, sweet, and divine. Andrew ordered the buttermilk pie which he liked but didn’t love. We didn’t want to reach the end of this meal – it was delightful.

R Bistro rocketed to the top of our favorite Indy restaurants. We will definitely go back for a special occasion! We would also enjoy trying their dinner menu which changes weekly to ensure the freshest seasonal and local ingredients. And we have it on good authority that recipes are not usually repeated for at least three years. I cannot imagine the exciting challenge of coming up with new and original items every week! You can sign up to receive their weekly menu via e-mail.

If you live in Indy or find yourself visiting our city, take the time to visit this excellent restaurant!

**Very unfortunately, I did not bring my camera and the attempt at phone photography just didn’t work with the restaurant lighting.**

The Best Chocolate in Town

A few weeks ago my sister took me to a local chocolate shop. I had no idea how fun the afternoon was going to be. Stepping in the door of The Best Chocolate in Town (880 Massachusetts Avenue; Indpls.) we were greeted with row after row of handmade chocolate truffles in all sorts of exotic, as well as expected, flavors.

In the room next door to the entrance we glimpsed the workings of the shop from behind glass. Chocolate slowly swirled in a large vat. Trays of newly made truffles sat on the counters and towards the back an employee stirred a concoction on a stove top.

 

The owner, Elizabeth Garber, warmly greeted us and happily answered our questions. The shop has been around for 12 years and they make all of their own chocolates in-house, except for ice-cream and the extensive line of sugar-free chocolates they carry(which require a whole different process from regular chocolates).

Once we’d looked at everything it was time to choose our truffles. Narrowing the decision down from 38 choices to only 6 truffles was very difficult. Some of the options included: Blackberry, Champagne, Cranberry Orange Cinnamon, French Vanilla, Guinness, Honey Lavender, Lemon Chiffon, Raspberry, Rosemary, Strawberry Cheesecake, and Sour Cherry. Looking back, we’re not sure how it happened but we ended up with six very exotic truffles: The Gorg (Gorgonzola cheese), Cinnamon Basil, Wasabi Ginger, Espresso Cardamom, Fiery Cayenne, and Asian Spice (Five Spice).

Our truffles were boxed up in an adorable box, complete with ribbon, and put in a bag tied with the shop’s card and ribbon. We left trying to decide how many truffles we should try now and how many we should save.

An hour later, coffee cups in hand and an additional taster added, we opened the box of truffles. First was The Gorg — a creamy, slightly salty taste with a hint of Gorgonzola at the back of the mouth. We all agreed it was good. Ginger Wasabi next — wow! I loved the hot tang in the midst of the chocolate, and the candied ginger on top. The other girls weren’t so sure, but I insisted it was probably going to be my favorite.

Everyone gave the Espresso Cardamon a thumbs up. Good chocolate flavor with just enough cardamom shining through. Excellent with chai, we decided. And then came Cinnamon Basil. Hmmm….. “It’s like Bath & Body works landed on my tongue,” said one taster. Much discussion ensued. None of us liked it — but none of us like white chocolate and that is what the truffle is dipped in. But the truffle later redeemed itself when Alaina tasted it and declared it one of her favorites.

With only two truffles left untouched it was unanimously decided that we had to go ahead and try all six truffles. What was the point in waiting until later? Fiery Cayenne was appealing because of the bite at the end and made it the favorite of one taster. Asian Spice was very creamy and not over powering. We all agreed that it too would be a perfect accompaniment to chai tea.

By the time the afternoon ended we were satiated with coffee, chocolate, laughter and good company. I had no idea how fun it could be to consume a box of chocolates with friends! It was definitely one of the best ways to spend $12 and I highly recommend it!

So, if any of you are in the Indianapolis area, you must check out The Best Chocolate in Town (especially if you are looking for a terrific Valentine’s gift). And, if you aren’t in the area, you can still look at their beautiful website and order online!