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 Dustin Heller (@eatindywatchindie on Instagram)
My real estate friends tell me all the time that the three most important factors in determining the desirability of a property are "location, location, location." This statement rings especially true in the world of restaurants as the focus of this week’s Foodie Spotlight takes up prime real estate on Indy’s North side. Firebirds Wood Fired Grill is located at 9611 N. Meridian Street just off the I-465 exit, where they share a parking lot with the luxurious Drury Plaza Hotel and reside just down the street from a happening business center. Talk about 'built-in business'! There are 50 Firebirds locations across the country, but I’m convinced we’ve got the best one right here in the Hoosier state.
Firebirds is an elegant restaurant without all of the stuffiness that comes along with that. The interior of the restaurant is downright gorgeous with its fire-centric décor and wood-fired themes. The main dining area is open and spacious and book-ended with a lively bar and an exposed kitchen. Better get there early for happy hour - the bar is really hopping!
The menu at Firebirds offers up classic American dishes with a focus on bold and exciting flavors. They are famous for their aged steaks and fresh seafood that is prepared in their scratch kitchen and seared on a wood-fired grill. They use locally sourced hickory, oak, or pecan wood for the grill; where the fragrant smoke penetrates the food and really intensifies the flavor. There are all sorts of goodies to be found on their extensive menu.
As you’re probably aware, Devour Indy is almost over, so get in before February 2nd if you want to check out the Firebirds special menu. For those that weren’t able to make out it for Devour, you’re in luck. I’m going to attack my “can’t miss” list a little differently this week. Instead of the four “can’t miss” items from the entire menu, I’m offering up my “can’t miss” meal from appetizer to dessert:
Shareables - Lobster Spinach Queso: We need to get this party off to a bangin’ start, and what better way to do that than succulent lobster bathing in hot, melty cheese? I’m not talking about imitation lobster or little bits that you can’t even taste; I’m talking about big chunks of fresh lobster that dominate your taste buds. Firebirds takes this lobster and combines it with baby spinach, tomatoes, and creamy pepper jack cheese to form melty bliss. They finish it off with fresh pico and serve it with house made tortilla chips. Fun fact: any unused chips are crumbled up and used to start the fire for the grill.
Greens - Grilled Shrimp & Strawberry Salad: The best way to follow a rich and hearty appetizer is with a fresh salad; and the best way to make a fresh salad even better: load it up with grilled shrimp. This salad is full of flavor and could definitely be ordered as a meal all by itself, but what is the fun in that? They start with mixed greens and then add goat cheese, jicama, San Saba Farms spiced pecans and a load of freshly sliced strawberries. Don’t think for a minute that I’m forgetting about the best part; the final touch is perfectly grilled shrimp that bring the entire dish together. The Chef recommends the balsamic vinaigrette, so who am I to argue with that?
Entrées - Wood Grilled Salmon: If it’s not obvious by now, I’m really diggin’ the seafood at Firebirds. There’s just something about wood grilling that makes Salmon taste better. The preparation is simple, but the taste is spectacular! The Salmon is hand-fileted in-house and basted in Key lime butter, then grilled to your liking. It is a healthy dinner choice that doesn’t sacrifice any of the flavor. That’s not all, the Salmon is served with fresh veggies and a choice of side; might I suggest the Parmesan Mashed Potatoes - a match made in heaven?
Temptations - Crème Brûlée Cheesecake: If you’ve made it this far into the meal, don’t give up now. The final reward is quite handsome. All the craze a few years ago were the mash-up songs; I think the television show Glee had a lot to do with that. Anyway, since mash-ups worked so well in music, then it should also work with food, right? Right! This mash-up of crème brûlée and cheesecake is the stuff of legends. The cheesecake is super creamy (like the creamiest cheesecake I’ve ever had) and it has the signature crunchy, caramelized sugar topping that makes crème brûlée so special. It is served with a dollop of whipped cream, fresh berries, and raspberry coulis. Take my word for it and do not skip dessert!