FOOD Matt The Miller knows his trade
Carmel eatery hits ground running BY N E I L CH AR LE S N CH A RL E S @N UV O . N E T The third restaurant in a mini-chain (the other two being in Ohio), Matt The Miller’s Tavern has hit the ground running in its upscale location in the Carmel Arts and Design district. Now in its third week of operation, the place is jam-packed after 5 p.m. and clearly already enjoying some repeat business. On my first visit for lunch last week, I was quickly impressed by the staff’s excellent product knowledge and confident recommendations. Friendly and unpretentious, they immediately made me feel welcome and unhurried. The following evening, my wife and I paid a return visit with a few friends for an early dinner. Our timing couldn’t have been better, because for the next two hours there wasn’t a seat to be had, and this isn’t exactly a tiny establishment. Bustling and pleas-
antly noisy, the place had great energy, our server kept the food and drinks coming at a nicely-judged pace, and everyone around us seemed to be having a great time. Cleanly and stylishly appointed in blacks, grays and earth tones, Matt the Miller’s Tavern is divided up into several dining areas, including a spacious bar with no fewer than 10 Indiana beers on tap, as well as a host of premium brews from around the country. Although ostensibly a bar and grill, the restaurant does an excellent job of skirting the obvious choices in favor of a more adventurous and refreshingly more complicated menu than is usual in such places. Standouts on the appetizer menu have to include the cheddar grits with sautéed shrimp in a spicy cream sauce ($12), and the sweetly spicy calamari in a crunchy peanut, chili and lime sauce ($10). The former was expertly prepared, the grits smooth and creamy but not sloppy. The calamari dish could have used an extra squeeze of lime to balance the sweetness, but was otherwise delicious with a touch of heat. Both were garnished to within an inch of their lives, and could probably have benefited from a bit of restraint in that department. A plate of Bavarian pretzel bites ($8), wonderfully fluffy at the center, was enhanced enormously by a smooth and intensely-flavored roasted garlic dipping sauce which had table practically fighting for the last drops. Of the several main courses we sampled, two really stood out. The black and blue flatbread ($14) was perhaps a touch overseasoned, but featured perfectly medium-rare
PHOTO BY MARK LEE
Matt The Miller’s black and blue flatbread.
slices of sirloin well balanced with a sweetish red pepper pesto and a caramelized Guinness reduction. The second was also a flatbread, this time with crimini mushrooms and goat cheese, finished with a generous helping of moderately peppery baby arugula. Both were delicious modern pub dishes, properly done. A sandwich of blackened walleye was perfectly cooked, but might have benefited from a less oily condiment than mayonnaise. We barely saved room for dessert, but it was worth it: a really splendid, and quite enormous, banana bread pudding, fashioned from a mixture of brioche and croissant and served in a boozy whiskey sauce. I’ve had far worse at far swankier establishments recently, so this was a pleasant reminder of how it should be done.
Matt The Miller’s Tavern 11 W. Center Drive, Carmel 317-805-1860 mtmtavern.com
MON-THU: 11 a.m.-midnight FRI-SAT: 11 a.m.-1 a.m. SUN: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
FOOD: r ATMOSPHERE: e SERVICE: e
BEER BUZZ BY RITA KOHN
Ralston’s DraftHouse, newly opened at 635 Massachusettes Ave., features 24 beers on tap — including six Indiana brews from Sun King, Fountain Square, Three Floyds and New Day Meadery — as well as a selection of national and import craft beers. What’s more, the bottled list is even more extensive. The restaurant, located in the former Agio space, focuses on pairing beer with food. The restaurant’s namesake is Alexander Ralston, who, in 1821, laid out Indianapolis’ streets on a diagonal, including Massachusettes and Virginia Avenues. Bloomington Brewing Company is releasing its first-ever bottled brew, B-Seven, on Oct. 6 at 10 a.m. at the Big Red Liquors store, 418 S. College Ave., in downtown Bloomington. Brewer Floyd Rosenbaum will be on-site to talk about the special ale and sign bottles. Fewer than 500 hand-numbered bottles will be sold.
Triton tapping Fort Harrison Cherry Bourbon Barrel Stout, 5 p.m. The news is this oatmeal stout spent the last five months in a bourbon barrel. Beer Sellar, Castleton, Schlafly Night with owner/ brewer Tom Schlafly, 6 p.m. Lineup of 12 brews includes Schlafly Oktoberfest, Pumpkin Ale, Biere de Garde, Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout, Oaked Aged Barleywine, Black IPA, Tasmanian IPA on Cask.
Big Red Beerfest, Bloomington, 300 beers from around the world, including some local Indiana breweries.
Beer MBA Class 1 at Payless Liquors, 726 Adams St., Carmel. 2:00-5:30 p.m. $50 per class or $135 for series of three; more at beermba.com.
Alexander Ralston’s plat of Indianapolis (1821) Two free events at Tuxedo Park Brewers, 1139 Shelby St.: Partial Mash (Beginner) Homebrewing Class, 1-4 p.m., and the family-friendly Fauxtober Fest, from 4 p.m. Pints for Half-Pints fundraiser for Broad Ripple Kiwanis Club at Bier Brewery, 5133 E 65th St., 6-10 p.m.; $5 donation, food, trivia games; 317253-2437. Hop Your Face Imperial IPA tapping at Fountain Square Brewery, 1301 Barth Ave.; 2 p.m., doors open at noon. This annual Imperial IPA is aggressively hopped with four different hops and loaded with a complex mix of malts. If you have an item for Beer Buzz, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline for Beer Buzz is Thursday noon before the Wednesday of publication. 100% RECYCLED PAPER // NUVO // 10.03.12-10.10.12 // food
Published on Oct 3, 2012