Foodie Spotlight: Beholder’s nationally recognized chef offers bold menu

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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)

One question I’ve been asked countless times over the past year has been: “Have you been to Jonathan Brooks’ new restaurant?”

The answer is always a resounding “Yes!” What I love most about the question is the recognition of the chef himself.  How many chefs (especially local to Indy) have the ability to generate national buzz when opening a new venture?  Chef Brooks and business partner/sommelier Josh Mazanowski opened Beholder last June and the Indy dining scene hasn’t looked the same since.

Photo by @davepluimer

Beholder is located at 1844 E. 10th St. where it overlooks historical Woodruff Place.  The main dining area is bookended with a fabulous cocktail bar and a bustling food bar.  The food prep might take place in the kitchen, but all of the dishes are prepared and finalized right there in the heart of the restaurant.

There is also the grandma-chic (probably not a real thing) dining area if you’re looking for something a little more intimate.  If outdoor dining is your thing, their new patio just opened and the weather is starting to heat up.

Photo by @davepluimer

The food at Beholder is inventive and exciting–and for some, adventurous.  Almost everything coming out of the kitchen has been sourced from local farmers and purveyors, and you can really taste the difference.  The menu changes regularly at Beholder, so don’t get caught sleeping if there is something you’d really love to try (more on that below).  Check out their Instagram feed for the latest menu updates, but be prepared for some hunger cues to kick in.

The general format of this column is for me to pick four “can’t miss” items from the menu to help guide you on your way.  Well, can I just say that Beholder is a “can’t miss” restaurant and that be enough?

Asking me to choose my favorite items from this menu is like asking me my favorite Pearl Jam song or my favorite Tarantino movie–I love them all (“Footsteps” and Pulp Fiction if you’re dying to know).  I guess it wouldn’t be fair to anyone to break format (not to mention boring), so here are my “can’t miss” items:

Behold our Burger: I’m not usually one for clichés, but I’m not sure how else to put it.  Stop what you’re doing and run (don’t walk) to Beholder before this behemoth gets taken off of the menu.  Chef Brooks told me they were going to keep it around for a while, but you really shouldn’t take any chances.  The burger is made of local bavette steak that is ground in house and seasoned with a Moroccan spice.  You could literally serve this patty on a plate by itself and call it fine dining, but they don’t.  They top it with a thick slice of mahon cheese, beef fat roasted garlic mayo, house fermented pickles, and sweet onion.  The term “gourmet” burger gets thrown around pretty loosely these days, but I’m here to tell that this is the real deal.  To quote Jules Winnfield: “Mmmm!  This is a tasty burger.”

Photo by @davepluimer

Local Grilled Asparagus: I grew up eating asparagus from the local grocery store and always really enjoyed it.  It wasn’t until I was in college that I tried fresh asparagus from the garden (what a shame, right?) and my eyes were truly opened.  I questioned whether or not it was even the same vegetable.  That said, the asparagus being served in this dish is super fresh and bursting with flavor.  The asparagus is placed directly onto the grill to get it nice and tender and also add a little char.  It is then served with a warm ham vinaigrette, chives, and egg yolk bottarga (aka shaved egg yolk).  You can almost taste summer in every bite.

Photo by @davepluimer

Pan Roasted Local Mushrooms: I don’t want to hear of anyone reading this column passing over this dish because they “don’t like” mushrooms.  If you don’t like mushrooms, you just haven’t had them prepared properly.  The mushrooms being served in this dish have a rich, smoky flavor that is only heightened with the addition of toasted fregola and local chives.  For good measure, the dish is finished with a delectable preserved lemon cream sauce.  Trust me on this one–you won’t regret it.

Photo by @davepluimer

Twice Cooked Spanish Octopus Aguachile: Comfort zones: take one step outside.  I know my true foodie readers wouldn’t think twice about eating octopus, but for the rest of you, you’re so missing out.  If you like the taste of crab, you’ll probably love octopus.  It has a mild, sweet flavor and the texture is glorious.  Aguachile is a Mexican dish that uses chili peppers, lime juice, and fresh veggies as the basis for flavoring the protein (octopus in this case).  Beholder’s aguachile uses Yukon gold potatoes, cucumber, green olives, pickled red onion, radishes and herbs and is served with a garlic aioli.  There are tons of great flavors in this dish!

Photo by @davepluimer

Bonus:  I’m not gonna spend a lot of time here, but I wanted to make sure that everyone saves room for dessert!  My personal recommendation is the Roasted Banana Pudding, but you can’t go wrong with any of them.  Bon appetit!

Photo by @davepluimer

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