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Sidebars: Find a little Mardi Gras any time at The Bar

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SidebarsWhen I think of culinary capitals in the United States, New Orleans is right at the top of that list. We have recently been blessed by the arrival of chef John Maxwell who worked for years at New Orleans’ Mother’s and Antoine’s restaurants. John is now at The Bar, located on the corner of 9th and Pennsylvania streets at the base of the Ambassador Hotel Apartments in downtown Indianapolis. He is developing a menu that will certainly please those who appreciate Cajun cooking.

Fred and I were joined at The Bar by two fellow counselors, Alex Will and James Bell, of Indy’s corporation counsel and Bingham McHale respectively. The underlying purpose of the meeting was to discuss bar association business and thus what a better place to do so than The Bar. We accomplished the bar business but we also succeeded at producing lots of laughs at and with each other. For example, advising James about buying a new smart phone while he diligently worked, with his face about 1 inch from the table, to get the rollerball thingy back in the face of his Blackberry, circa 2002, was really funny but also slightly painful. Anyway, to the food!

The Bar is technically “a bar” but does not feel pub-like or sports-bar like. The décor of the entire place is refined enough that the actual bar does not dominate the scenery despite its largeness. Our waiter immediately notified us that the kitchen prides itself with fresh cooking and thus we should not be in a huge rush. The meals actually came out in due course, with the exception of one appetizer that showed a bit late, but we were still at lunch for an hour. He explained the specials included an oyster po-boy, beef vegetable soup, and horseradish encrusted salmon. The salmon will soon be a permanent addition to the menu. He directed us to the placard on the table where we found additional appetizer specials. We immediately put in an order for the alligator balls and then added an order of the pepper butter shrimp with blue cheese for the table. The alligator balls came out promptly and were atop a Creole honey mustard sauce that had a small kick to it. The moist alligator was shelled in crispy breading that was quite flavorful.

Next were the entrees, and we were all very satisfied except for Fred, whose French dip was pretty blah. No worries though, I have learned the French dip will soon be replaced by a more succulent pot roast sandwich and promises to be much richer and satisfying. Alex cleaned his plate of a huge oyster po-boy sandwich. The perfect amount of spiced breading and hot sauce did not override the oysters but made for a perfect combination of all the flavors. Apparently the chef uses only peanut oil and ensures his seafood is cold at the time of preparation to enhance all the flavors. James, after he had fixed his Wang-generation phone, dug into the red beans and rice with the hot sausage. The sausage accompanies the red beans and rice on the side and is presumably cooked separately from the red beans and rice. James did not eat all the sausage but left hardly any of the red beans and rice which is an endorsement for the dish. Finally, I had the fried shrimp sandwich and fries. The coating on the shrimp obviously contains spiced corn meal, which I discovered was a Zataran’s batter, and thus complements the shrimp rather than enveloping it. I don’t think I’d get the sandwich again but rather just the fried shrimp, which is also an entree. The fries are thin-sliced and also cooked in the peanut oil and delicious.

During our meal one of the best items arrived – the pepper butter shrimp with blue cheese. A very spicy sauce with just a touch of breading on the shrimp and crumbled blue cheese distracted Fred from his blah French dip sandwich. The sauce was like a buffalo sauce but much richer due to the butter. This was no corporate buffalo sauce is all I’m saying. We all were impressed by this dish and the kitchen was forgiven for its tardiness.

Wouldn’t a big ol’ plate of jambalaya temporarily cure those winter blues? Grab a colleague, friend, opposing counsel, or anyone and entertain your taste buds with a little Mardi Gras for your mouth at The Bar.•

__________


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 the authors’.

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  1. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

  2. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

  3. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

  4. Right on. Legalize it. We can take billions away from the drug cartels and help reduce violence in central America and more unwanted illegal immigration all in one fell swoop. cut taxes on the savings from needless incarcerations. On and stop eroding our fourth amendment freedom or whatever's left of it.

  5. "...a switch from crop production to hog production "does not constitute a significant change."??? REALLY?!?! Any judge that cannot see a significant difference between a plant and an animal needs to find another line of work.

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