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Foodie Spotlight: Bluebeard

Indianapolis is quickly becoming one of the hottest food cities in America.  A destination for true foodies who are interested in everything from fine dining to food trucks.  This column will put the spotlight on one of these local hot spots to help get the word out and share in the love of all things food.

Review by contributor Dustin Heller

What comes to mind when you think of your favorite restaurant in Indy? I realize that is a very difficult question to answer with so many excellent options. However, our culinary journey this week takes us to a restaurant that would probably be a popular choice amongst the foodies out there. Located in the historic Holy Rosary Neighborhood and Fletcher Place, Bluebeard is taking farm-to-table dining to the cutting edge. The name, Bluebeard, doesn’t come from a swashbuckling pirate as one might guess; but rather a novel by best-selling author, and Indianapolis native, Kurt Vonnegut. Mr. Vonnegut is not only a local legend, but he also attended Shortridge High School with the parents of Bluebeard owner, Tom Batista. Pretty cool, right?

The restaurant resides in the renovated Richardson Printing building that was built in 1924. The space features a family dining room, a bar room, a private dining area and a beautiful courtyard overlooking Virginia Ave. Fun fact: The tables and benches throughout the restaurant all come from trees that were struck by lightning around the city. The décor is very hip and trendy with typewriters and books scattered throughout to pay homage to its namesake. To say the place has character would be quite an understatement.

When it comes to the food, the uber-talented Chef Abbi Merriss is not only the brains behind the ever-changing menu (sometimes twice a day!), but she is doing a lot of the heavy lifting in the kitchen as well. Unlike a lot of other chefs, Chef Abbi is actually on the line cooking for the guests, which is a breath of fresh air in my opinion. Her culinary creations are exotic, exciting and without question delicious. It would be easy for me to say that you should try everything on the menu, but your stomach (and your pocketbook) might not be able to handle that. So, I’ve taken the liberty to pick four items from the current menu that you “can’t miss” when visiting Bluebeard.

1. Bruschetta…take everything you thought you knew about bruschetta and throw it right out the window (except for maybe the bread). Forget about the tomatoes and olive oil, Bluebeard tops their grilled francese with clams, potato, carrot, peas, jalapeno, micro basil, parmesan, and they top it off with black truffle. It’s kinda like a foodie pot roast piled onto Amelia’s bread. Perfection!

2. Casarecce…before I get into this beauty, let’s play a little game of word origin. Casarecce comes from Italian word casereccio which means “homemade”. The only thing better than pasta is…homemade pasta. This pasta is tossed with butchershop Bolognese, tomato sauce, parmesan and herb oil. I challenge you to find a better Bolognese sauce in all of Indy.

3. Halibut…if I were grading on presentation alone, this is an A+ all day. The bright green color of the castelvetrano puree is something to behold, and I haven’t even mentioned its amazing flavor. Not only is the dish really pretty, but it brings together perfectly prepared halibut with fava bean, peas, black radish, and greens. It’s a stunner!

4. Hamachi Tartare…Hamachi is another name for Japanese Amberjack or yellowtail (a perfect fish for sushi). The Hamachi is cubed and served with fennel, orange, olives, shallots, and muscatel vinaigrette. This dish is out-of-this-world fresh and oh so light. I can’t think of a better way to start any meal.

When was the last time you visited Bluebeard? Whatever your answer may be, I think it’s time for another visit. Bluebeard is one of those special places that makes you feel like you’re missing out on something when you’re not there. With an ever-changing menu, I’m sure you will always find something new and exciting to tantalize your taste buds.

Tell Dustin your thoughts about Bluebeard. You can follow him on Instagram @eatindywatchindie.

Check out more restaurants featured in our Foodie Spotlight section.

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