Sidebars: Chef Joseph's provides sophisticated dining

Jennifer Lukemeyer , Fred Vaiana
December 21, 2011
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SidebarsHave you ever walked into a restaurant and thought, “Wow, I really could spend the afternoon here sipping sophisticated wine or drinking sophisticated drinks while chatting it up with friends about sophisticated stuff and acting all sophisticated?” I found that cozy and inviting place right around the corner from the courthouse. Chef Joseph Heidenreich, formerly of California Café and Agio, opened Chef Joseph’s at the Connoisseur Room just weeks ago and is easing into it by currently offering only lunch and occasional special tastings and dinners. If the lunch we had is indicative of what his deliberateness produces, downtown Indy luckily has a new experience in executive dining that is top notch.

The richly decorated space conveys class while being very inviting. The service was spot on. All orders are taken on an iPhone, and your server can show you pictures of the menu items. Joining me was Tyler Helmond of our office and soon-to-join-our-office Jeff Baldwin. Having to wait on Jeff (which will be absolutely unacceptable in our office to force any of us to wait for food – especially Voyles and Jenny), Tyler and I ordered a small plate of the asparagus tempura, manchego cheese and garlic mayonnaise. The tempura batter lightly and perfectly encased six big, fresh stalks of asparagus, and they were not overwhelmed with the cheese or mayonnaise. Other small plates included sweet potato empanada with gorgonzola and a balsamic glaze as well as prosciutto and orange onion compote bruschetta with Asiago cheese. These selections are perfect for sharing.

The next decision was for entrees. Jeff took an unacceptable amount of time to make up his mind, leading to a second admonishment about keeping us waiting for food. It was worth the wait though. I waffled between the bacon, butter lettuce and tomato salad with blue cheese dressing and the chive lamb brat with fettuccini. Ultimately, I decided on the latter. The lamb made the dish, coming fresh from Viking Lamb in Seymour, Ind. The pomodoro sauce was helped by the peppers, onions and Asiago cheese. Tyler struggled with whether to order the Caesar salad with avocado, spicy fried croutons and manchego cheese with or without grilled chicken breast. Quite frankly, I bet you could sprinkle spicy fried croutons on an old shoe and it would taste good. However, he ended up with an open-faced sandwich consisting of grilled chicken breast topped with prosciutto, cream sauce and melted Swiss cheese. A bit of a tang in the sauce he could not put his finger on, but we didn’t hear a peep out of him the rest of lunch as he declared it one of those treats he’ll later crave and have to return for. Quality prosciutto made the dish more special. Finally, Jeff decided on the Angus burger, which he declared was perfectly cooked as he had ordered and was topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato, spicy mayonnaise and Gorgonzola cheese. What he appreciated most was the fresh ciabatta bread on which the burger was served that didn’t snap your jaw because it was over a day old. The house fried chips were plentiful and delicious.

Other offerings include: northern Spanish beef stew; a sautéed winter flounder with brown and wild rice, tarragon and green apple butter with carrot relish; a Mediterranean chop salad in a shell with feta cheese and mint vinaigrette; slow roasted pork with black beans, fried plantain and pico de gallo; and a mahi mahi sandwich with a barbecue glaze. You have some thematic ingredients such as prosciutto and the few cheeses used in the dishes, but the limited menu reflects Chef Joseph’s dedication to serving high-quality meals instead of going for quantity. It goes to show that deliberateness pays off in delivering a quality product.

Chef Joseph’s at the Connoisseur Room is located at 115 E. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis. Check out the website, and get there for a sophisticated lunch experience that ultimately will be a sophisticated drinking and dinner experience when he is ready!•


Fred Vaiana and Jennifer M. Lukemeyer practice at Voyles Zahn Paul Hogan & Merriman in Indianapolis, focusing in criminal defense. Vaiana is a 1992 graduate of the John Marshall Law School in Chicago. Lukemeyer earned her J.D. from Southern Methodist University in 1994 and is active in the Indianapolis Bar Association, Indianapolis Inn of Courts and the Teen Court Program. The opinions expressed in this column are those of the authors.


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  1. I commend Joe for standing up to this tyrant attorney! You ask why? Well I’m one of David Steele victims. I was in desperate need of legal help to protect my child, David saw an opportunity, and he demanded I pay him $3000. Cash. As I received motions and orders from court he did nothing! After weeks of emails asking him to address the legal issues, he responded by saying he was “on vacation “and I should be so lucky to have “my attorney” reply. Finally after lie on top of lie I asked for a full refund, which he refused. He then sent me “bills” for things he never did, such as, his appearance in the case and later claimed he withdrew. He never filed one document / motion for my case! When I finally demanded he refund my money he then turn to threats which scared my family for our lives. It seem unreal we couldn’t believe this guy. I am now over $100,000 in debt digging out of the legal mess he caused my family. Later I was finally able to hire another law office. I met Joe and we worked diligently on my case. I soon learn Joe had a passion for helping people. As anyone who has been through a legal battle it is exhausting. Joe was always more than happy to help or address an issue. Joe was knowledgeable about all my concerns at the same time he was able to reduce the stress and anxieties of my case. He would stay late and come in early, he always went the extra mile to help in any way he could. I can only imagine what Joe and his family has been through, my prayers go out to him and all the victims.

  2. Steele did more than what is listed too. He purposely sought out to ruin me, calling potential employers and then lied about me alleging all kinds of things including kidnapping. None of his allegations were true. If you are in need of an ethical and very knowledgeable family law paralegal, perhaps someone could post their contact information. Ethics cannot be purchased, either your paralegal has them or they do not.

  3. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  4. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  5. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise