Saturday, October 3, 2009

Restaurant: Indigo Casual Gourmet

Indigo Casual Gourmet is one of those places that I can't help but go back to, even when I feel like I know better. I've had some great meals there, as well as some awful meals there. I think what it comes down to is that they have a few good items, and really that's all it takes. I had a friend once who always knew what she wanted to order at restaurants; if she was in the mood for a certain dish, she'd go to the restaurant and not bother with a menu. Indigo isn't quite like that for me, but I'm usually disappointed when I stray from my standard meals.

Why the pitiful introduction? Well, I've been reading other reviews of the restaurant and now I'm nearly ashamed to admit that I like it. While I agree with the comments that it can be overpriced, overcrowded, and that some of the dishes are a little less exciting on your plate than as described on the menu, they have a few really great items that keep me coming back. I am now, however, asking myself whether I would frequent this restaurant as much if I didn't live so close. We take a 20-minute walk to Indigo, enjoy Wine-down Wednesdays featuring half-price bottles of wine, and then walk home.

The menu features pizzas, pastas, and sandwiches, with a few salads and calzones thrown in. Plenty of selections are vegetarian or can easily be made vegetarian, and they mark these on the menu with two carrots in the shape of a V. Adorable. One of my favorite appetizers is so delightfully simple that I should make it at home: the sundried tomato crostini. It's a toasted baguette, split longways, rubbed with garlic butter and then topped with sundried tomatoes, sweet red onions, and melted mozzarella cheese. You see, at home, I'd think twice about both buttering my bread and topping it with cheese. Delicious. We didn't order this today because it just seemed excessive.

I got my favorite dish, the grilled veggie wrap. It's a little messy, but oh-so tasty. Grilled eggplant, zucchini, portobellos, tomatoes, with smoked mozzarella and pesto. The bread is chewy and does a pretty good job holding everything together. I love, love, love this sandwich. In this photo, you see I got the side of chips. I think I'll stick with the fries next time -- nothing against the chips. Whenever I order anything else on the menu, I find myself longing for this. I've tried various pasta dishes and had a bad experience with an undercooked portobello in the bistro sandwich and a cold calzone.

Alex ordered his favorite sandwich, the veggie sub. He likes that it has both mozzarella and cheddar (this is Cincinnati, after all, so you have to serve plenty of cheese). It's also got banana peppers, green bell peppers, and mushrooms, all toasted together. He has the oven-baked fries on his plate, which are just fantastic. They bake the fries in individual portions on wire sheets to get them extra crispy.

In all, I've had some inattentive wait staff, but that doesn't bother us while we linger over a bottle of wine, and these sandwiches aren't too pricey. And considering how packed the patio is on half-price wine night, I'd say Indigo shouldn't be too concerned about the lack of support from the web writers -- although some of the criticism (cold food!) could be a basis for improvement.

Indigo Casual Gourmet Cafe on Urbanspoon

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