High summer means I'll soon be riding the Greyhound overland to Indiana again. It does rather seem as if the restaurant scene has got slightly less interesting over the last couple of years: several significant closures, and the new additions are not terribly intriguing. For instance, there is a burger offshoot of St Elmo's across the street from our hotel. More than one review has referred to it as 'Ivy League-themed', which seems curious given that the closest Ivy League university is in Philadelphia.*
If Steak ‘n Shake had gone off to an Ivy League college, read a lot of British literature, and acquired a taste for dark sipping liquor, it would have come home as this handsome go-getter with an old soul. [Indianapolis Monthly]
But the non-burger dishes make me wonder what is happening in Mike Pence's America.
...a starter of four wonton chips topped with spicy Asian mayo–drizzled tuna poké makes brilliant cubes of ahi taste both bright and buttery. The same dice of seafood is lightly seasoned, seared in a ring, and eased into a sesame-seeded brioche. Dressed with ponzu mayonnaise and Napa cabbage, it is called the Semester at Sea. A shaved Brussels sprouts salad loaded with little hunks of lilting burrata cheese manages to bring together so many big flavors, from toasted pumpkin seeds to a tuft of candied onions, in one big bowl of decadence disguised as rabbit food.
Most of the sides represent the breaded-and-fried food groups, some (like the hot, crisp zucchini spears that taste like the Indiana State Fair’s interpretation of a garden vegetable) more successfully than others (rubbery slices of avocado rendered even less edible under a hot panko crust).
The 'Ivy League' burger on the menu is vegetarian.
* Mmm, Cornell may be a few dozen miles closer, actually.