INDIANAPOLIS, IN. – Indianapolis has been in a food revolution the past few years with the emergence of some great new farm-to-fork, innovative and national-attention getting restaurants. Meanwhile, there have been old standbys like St. Elmo’s Steakhouse, several great Italian restaurants and more continuing to serve excellence.
Dunaways, at Prospect and South St. and not far from Lucas Oil Stadium, used to be one of those standbys. A Saturday night visit was part embarrassing, second part shameful, and third part ripoff. Perhaps I should quit writing here in the second paragraph and let the photo above speak for itself.
Indy’s big dining promotion, Devour Downtown, offers a chance to eat at these high-end restaurants for $30-$40 for a special menu of dinner choices. I didn’t do my pre-visit look at Yelp, Urban Spoon, and Trip Advisor but now I wish I’d have taken the time.
The restaurant, in the really interesting old Indiana Oxygen Building, suffers from poor service, very poorly prepared food, and a seemingly “I don’t care” attitude.
My dinner companion had a “Caprese Tower” and I a “Mini Crabcake for appetizers. Her “Tower” was three half tomato slices – one virtually butchered – and a few thing pieces of warm mozzarella. My crabcake was about the size of a silver dollar and burned. The crab was nice, if you like singed as a secondary flavor.
The entree’ selections were just slightly better. My friend’s beef tenderloin seemed to be a decent cut of meat but was overcooked. The Horseradish mashed potatoes were watery and no sign of the usually easy-to-find horseradish. My salmon was unremarkable but a tad over seared. The inside of the small piece of fish was raw. And I thought it was weird that it was served with diced tomatoes.
Unfortunately, the worse was yet to come. My frequent dining companion ordered a cheesecake-like dessert that was rubbery and inedible – to be kind. The photo of my creme brulee’ above should suffice, but I’ll note the small portion was tasty but the sugar on top was again burned.
Our first wine choice – Evening Land – was not available. The Siduri Pinot, at $65, was quite nice.
Our waitress was pleasant but a tad more Dennys than high-end dining. Each meal was $35 and honestly I think we could have found more tasty salmon and beef tenderloin at any national chain restaurant. I should note, most menu items are in the $30-$40 range on the regular menu. There were several wine selctions near $100 and over up to more than $200 for one Napa Cabernet.
After I got home, I saw online the place is for sale and the reviews are not as kind as this one. It’s a shame when a beautiful place like this, in a great location, falls to indifference and embarrassing service.
Do not go to Dunaways near Fountain Square. I hear there is a McDonalds not far away on Washington St.