Eat Random

The idea for this blog is to blog about everything I think about food and food culture. I'll tell you what I like to eat, where I like to eat it and if I thought it was good or if I thought it was crap. My thoughts about food could go anywhere. Hey if you don't like it go blog at

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Nickel Plate Bar and Grill

If you're like me you probably at times find yourself fascinated with restaurants you drive by on a semi regular basis with out really a good reason why.  Maybe it's the exterior appearance or just the desire to one day stop on that route and eat food rather than continue on your soul destroying morning or afternoon commute.  Regardless of the reason The Girlfriend and I found ourselves at the Nickel Plate in Fishers hoping to find a local independent restaurant with at least a some solid bar food and nice atmosphere.

In regards to the atmosphere the bottom line is this place looks cool.  It's all brick and situated right next to the "train station" near downtown Fishers.  It's all brick with windows on one side of the restaurant that can open to create an open air dining experience on nice days/night.  I was hoping that we would get seated in that dining room, but to my surprise the hostess told us the only open tables were in the bar area so that's where we were seated.  I could have swore I several open tables in the main dining room, but I was hungry and didn't really want to bring it up after we had already been seated.  Also, I found it bizarre that the hostess was rolling the silverware in napkins at the hostess station when each party was seated.  This created the illusion of a wait when none existed and I imagine that more than one party walked out that night not wanting to wait.  After these couple of hosting issues I thought the service was better than average.  I never had to ask for a drink refill and even got one after my meal was finished and plate cleared.

The menu at the Nickel Plate is much like the decor, bare bones and far from fancy.  If you're in the mood for something more fancy than a salad, burger or sandwich you should probably look elsewhere.  There is a handful of "dinner entrees" on the menu and they may or may not be good, but I don't think that is really in this place's wheelhouse.  As I had a hanchorin (red neck colloquialism drink 2) for a cheeseburger I decided to go with their specialty burger called the Lionel (train them get it?) which was 1/2lb of ground beef, cheddar, bbq sauce and 2 slices of bacon.  The Girlfriend decided to go with their breaded tenderloin which apparently is considered a house specialty.  I was happy when the waitress asked me how I wanted my burger cooked.  Far too many places just go ahead and cook them well or mid-well.  I appreciate a place that says get it cooked how you like it because our beef is good enough quality that you don't have to worry about it.  I was happy that my burger was indeed not cooked to death when it arrived in front of me.  However, I was a little disappointed that the patty was no cooked consistently being that one end of the patty was medium, the center was nicely mid-rare and the back half was what I would consider rare.  The toppings were very good.  The bacon consisted of two large satisfyingly thick slices that made their presence known on the burger instead of just being an afterthought.  The cheddar was nicely melted and had some bite.  Also, I was at first concerned there wasn't enough bbq sauce on my burger (it's one of my favorite toppings) but there turned out to be plenty hidden under the cheese. All-in-all a solid burger and one I would probably order again.

The Girlfriend wasn't nearly as pleased with her tenderloin.  While it was quite large and looked like it was hand breaded in house she found it way too salty.  She did not finish the sandwich.  Since I didn't taste it for myself I asked her later how she would rate it on my scale and she said 6 or 6.5 out of 10 so I guess I'll just have to take her word for it.  Each of our meals included a choice of side and we both decided on the fries.  We were both somewhat disappointed.  Sure there was nothing wrong with them, but there was also nothing memorable about them.  Why do so many places seem to not put care into the quality of their sides and fries in particular.   If I get good fries somewhere that sticks out in my mind more than anything else.  It's an opportunity for restaurants to set themselves apart and be memorable and not that many decide to do so.  Also, back in my day we used to walk up hill both ways  to get good fries.  Okay my old man esque rant is done let's get to the results.  Dim the lights! (American Idol reference drink 3!)

Taste 7/10  I was looking for a better than average cheeseburger and that's exactly what I got.  It didn't blow me away, but I'll probably be going back to try one of the sandwiches or other specialty burgers at some point.
Value 7.5/10  Not including tip we got out of there for under 20 bucks for the two of us which is always good in my book for a meal that I found better than average.

Nickel Plate Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

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