Monday, July 12, 2010

The Good Stuff Italian Cafe

As it is DAY 1 of my newest venture into the blogosphere, I thought I'd start as I mean to go on: with a review of a restaurant. It's a place we heard great things about from friends. They said it was a hole-in-the-wall place with great, authentic Italian food.

It's located at 4709 North Shadeland in Indianapolis in a little strip mall. I have to admit, there's really nothing else around but a church across the street. They've been open two months and I hope they get a bunch of word of mouth traffic cause foot traffic is going to be hard to come by.


Decor:

Very basic, recently brought up to snuff. It is a rather small space, probably seats 15-20. Nothing to write home about, but not dirty or anything. Lots of light (which I like).

Service:

The service we received was really fantastic. Everyone was friendly and welcoming. We were the only two in the place at the time, but I still think the owner/chef went beyond his duty to be a good host. I'm a service snob so when I get it, I like to acknowledge it.

Food:

The menu is pretty basic, offering a few daily specials (there was a lobster ravioli, a sausage lasagna, a meatball sub, and perhaps another item) and pizzas, subs, house salads, and some Italian dishes (such as spaghetti and meatballs, ravioli, lasagna, manicotti, stuffed shells, tortellini and some dishes with their alfredo sauce--which is supposed to be outstanding). There are also a few desserts, a couple of which are imported (bomba and canolli) from Italy.

I ordered a small salad (basic, but very fresh and tasty) and the stuffed shells ($7.99 for dinner portion + $1.00 for salad):

My picture is not the greatest (I'm looking at new digital cameras as we speak, if you have any recommendations, please send them my way!), but the food was nicely presented in a very "home" kind of way (note the dinnerware). The sauce was fresh and light, slightly sweet, not acidic at all. There were herbs and larger pieces of tomato, which I liked. The shells were hand stuffed with fresh, creamy ricotta, also well-studded with fresh basil and oregano. The bread sticks were fluffy and a bit crisp on the outside (and dusted with parmesan and oregano, as you can see). I was able to eat one shell and one breadstick. I probably could have eaten more, but I'd already eaten a salad and was anticipating dessert, so, I decided to take a to-go box.

My husband had a small salad and one of the specials of the day: the sausage lasagna (~$8.00 for the dinner portion + $1.00 for salad).

He loved it and said "it was robust in flavor and very fresh and home-style." I trust he's telling me the truth cause he polished off his entire plate. 'Nuff said.

For dessert we actually ordered both the imported desserts (the Italian Canolli--which we brought home and have stuck in the fridge 'cause we're stuffed, and the Italian Exotic Bomba): both were $3.75

This was a "bomba" of passion fruit sorbet (the lightest color), mango sorbet (the orange-y one), and raspberry sorbet enrobed in white chocolate, drizzled with dark chocolate. We had the owner cut it in half for us cause they are huge. The sorbets in this dessert are some of the nicest I've had. The passion fruit was tart/tangy/sweet just like passion fruit should be. The sorbet was so creamy I almost wondered if there was any cream in it, but there wasn't. The mango was a touch floral and had a very bright and true full-on mango flavor. The raspberry portion was very small, but it did have a nice raspberry flavor. If I closed my eyes and tried each flavor, I'd definitely be able to tell you what they were.

Pricing:

On the whole, the pricing here is more than fair for the portion sizes and quality of the food. We spent $35 for the both of us including a couple soft drinks, salads, entrees, and desserts. My husband tipped about $8 on the bill because the service was just so good--friendliness goes a long way! So really, about $27 including tax. Not bad at all. AND I have lunch for tomorrow!

Verdict:

A place I'd visit again. There were enough vegetarian options and the people were so nice. I'd love to see them survive and thrive in this wretched economy. Was it the best Italian food I've had? No. BUT, it was certainly very good, very fresh, and very well-priced. Give it a shot. Invite me.



The Good Stuff Italian Cafe on Urbanspoon

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