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Sidebars: Bloomington eatery’s Cajun food leaves diners satisfied

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SidebarsEditor’s Note: Sidebars reviews and rates eateries lawyers may enjoy visiting when working at courthouses throughout Indiana. Jennifer offers this issue’s review.

I love working with other lawyers from other firms on cases. It gives you new perspectives on how to approach and prepare for a case, and it creates new friendships. I have had the pleasure to work with Frost Brown Todd lawyer Tom Farlow on a few cases in the past, but a recent case has led us to spend more time working together. Since it is a case in Bloomington, we spend some time in the car together. While Tom is a great lawyer, he also happens to be the most passive-aggressive backseat driver I have ever met. He doesn’t say “look out” or “don’t get over,” rather he jerks his head around as I attempt a lane change. If he verbalizes his concerns, it is matter-of-fact like. “Can you believe how some people stop for red lights like the car in front of us?” really means “SLOW THE %#$& DOWN! WE ARE GOING TO DIE IF YOU DON’T START BRAKING!!!”

But Tom does know how to pick a place to eat. After some depositions in Bloomington, we dined at the Uptown Café right off the courthouse square. The restaurant dons a comfortably upscale décor. It was busy, which is always a good sign especially when the campus is out for summer break. We were quickly seated and served.

The menu brags, by its selection, a Cajun pride but has other options. For appetizers, one may choose from a Rock shrimp and calamari fritti with mango coconut cocktail sauce and chipotle sour cream. There is the Cajun liver pâté or Cuban black bean soup. A handful of salads are offered with house-made dressings. The salad offerings include a Chinese chicken salad, the traditional Caesar, or a mesclun salad that includes 14 organic baby lettuces topped with gorgonzola cheese, baby tomatoes, onions, olives and walnuts. For any salad you may add toppings like chicken, salmon or jumbo shrimp for a little extra.

We went straight for the entrees. Tom ordered the special – fried perch and fries. It was perfectly battered so it didn’t mask the fish. He was not passive-aggressive when it came to the fish. He aggressively gave it a thumbs-up. I loved my Louisiana hot pepper chicken. Cajun-spiced chicken breast cutlets smothered in a cheesy, hot pepper cream sauce with basmati rice. All I need to say is it was scrumptious. However, once you see the menu, decision making will be tough. There is pot roast, crawfish étouffée, red beans and rice, gumbo of the day and more. On the sandwich side of the menu, more temptations await: shrimp tacos, Ararat chicken pita (sliced chicken marinated in olive oil, rosemary and garlic, placed inside a warm pita with aioli, lettuce and a tomato-onion-cucumber relish), a Veg Head Sandwich (on which you can ask for, ironically, bacon), and a Cajun meatloaf sandwich. Finally, if you feel like breakfast fare, they offer regular items such as a potato omelet or eggs and bacon, but also a unique creme brulee French toast – slices of a baguette on top of a custard infused with vanilla. Seriously? Yes.

If our entrees are indicators of how the other selections will taste, any selection will satisfy. While some of the entrees sound heavy, we left sated but not overly so. As I drove back to Indy with my jumpy passenger, we laughed about how I would be making fun of him in this upcoming article. Fortunately, he did not object, but we’ll see after he reads it in print.

Go and enjoy a nice lunch and take a friend, co-counsel or as I did, both.•

Uptown Café, 102 E. Kirkwood Ave., Bloomington, IN. http://the-uptown.com

Fred Vaiana and Jennifer Lukemeyer practice at Voyles Zahn & Paul in Indianapolis, focusing on criminal defense. Both enjoy a good meal with colleagues and friends. The opinions expressed in this column are those of the authors.

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