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.
Being a foodie and a native Hoosier, two things I absolutely love are a gourmet meal and the Indianapolis Colts–so why not bring the two together? That’s exactly what happened back in late 2016 when former Colts linebacker Gary Brackett joined forces with restauranteur Jeremiah Hamman to create CharBlue.
CharBlue is a modern steakhouse offering a fine dining experience located right in the heart of downtown Indy at 14 E. Washington St. CharBlue has the look and feel of a classic steakhouse, but one look at the menu and you’ll realize it is much more than that.
The vibe at CharBlue is chic yet exuberant at the same time. The debonair wait staff friendly and ultra-attentive. The interior has a rustic look with wood plank flooring and exposed brick walls complete with vintage Colts paintings. On the flip side, it is also quite elegant with crisp white tablecloths and dim lighting that add to the ambiance. The bar area is very chill and the perfect place to grab a drink after work or before dinner. I’d be remiss to not mention the private dining areas in the basement and upstairs–the perfect spot to host a small or large engagement.
When it comes to the food at CharBlue, it is definitely not your typical steakhouse. Chef Ruben Montes’ chef-driven menu is creative and inventive, which makes it perfect for foodies looking for a nice evening out. The mains are broken up into two parts: “From the Char” (grilled meats) and “From the Blue” (seafood), hence the restaurant’s name. All the meat options are impressive from top to bottom, but it is the accompaniments that truly make these dishes special. The culinary arts are on full display and you’ve got a front row seat. Now that I’ve got you excited for a visit to CharBlue, let me tell you about the items that you “can’t miss.”
Duck Ham: If you’re like me, you might not be familiar with duck ham: it is simply a cured duck that is sliced and ready to serve. The duck in this dish is from Maple Leaf Farms in Milford, Indiana. We love it when local restaurants use local products! The confit duck is char-grilled to give it that char flavor and then covered with delicious harissa barbecue sauce that packs a pretty nice punch (that’s me trying to say it’s spicy), and some crispy chickpeas for texture. The duck is fabulous on its own, but the real showstopper in this dish is the cauliflower couscous with coconut milk and the curry crème fraiche. Le magnifique! There are so many different flavors in this dish and they all marry together perfectly. Even if duck isn’t your thing, now’s the time to make it your thing.
Lobster Pops: The foodie version of a lollipop. CharBlue coats succulent lobster sausage with a creamy cornmeal batter that is then deep fried on a stick. As glorious as that may sound, it’s only the starting point. The pops are served in a bowl of sweet corn puree and drizzled with jalapeno maple syrup for a great combination of sweet and heat. How many bites does it take to get to the center of a lobster pop? In my case, one!
Grand Banks Blackened Swordfish: This swordfish comes to Indy all the way from the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. It has a meaty texture and mild (if not a little sweet) taste profile. The dish is served with roasted kale, confit potatoes and finished with a lemon caper butter. If you’re not into the whole blackened thing, CharBlue would be happy to roast or broil it upon request. I love the spice, so I’ll take it blackened all day.
Bourbon Glazed Pork Chop: We’re not talking about just any old pork chop here–this is a double-cut pork chop with that flavorful bone still attached. The thick pork chop is brined in an apple cider brine, causing it to be extra juicy after cooking. It is finished with a bourbon mustard glaze complete with whole mustard seeds on top. The dish isn’t complete until the pickled mustard greens and apple mostarda are added. Mostarda is an Italian condiment that is both sweet and spicy, making it a perfect complement to this already magnificent piece of pork.