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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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