Castleton. An indy neighborhood where there is shopping, traffic, and very few good food options or independent restaurants to satisfy all those shoppers and rat racers. It's sad really, but everyone who lives or works on Indy's North side knows that Castleton, food wise, has fast food and chains but little else. There are some notable exceptions like a couple of sushi bars and the Castleton Grill, but if you want a good sitdown meal you don't have a lot of options. That brings me to today's review which is a place that is trying to change that landscape a bit...Drake's.
Drake's is located in the strip mall on 82nd right before you get to the green bridge, and right behind the old Music Mill (now the not so impressive Brewstone). Drake's certainly isn't anything revolutionary. Their menu basically consists of burgers, chicken, salads, and the usual appetizers, and interestingly enough sushi. While the sushi certainly sets it apart I didn't try it on this particular visit so I can't really comment. What I did try was their fried pickles (annoyingly called frickles on the menu) and their Tavern Burger.
The fried pickles were delicious because well...fried pickles are always delicious, but here at Drake's I thought they were even a little better than the ones I've had elsewhere. First of all these pickles were cut lengthwise instead of in to chips which I think made them more crispy during the frying process and the pickles weren't so overwhelmed by the breading. The breading itself was also very well seasoned, appeared to be hand battered, the breading didn't slough off when you took a bite, and the sauce they served with them was different and better than the typical ranch you get at most places. Definitely had a mild but nice litle extra kick. My only quibble was that the cost of this app was 8 bucks which seemed a little high, but it's probably comparable to other similar restaurants.
The Tavern Burger was something I wanted to like was more than I actually did. The concept sounded great. Thick burger, pepper jack cheese, spicy remoluade sauce, and grilled onions. It was served with either fries or tots and I chose tots. When the burger came to my table it certainly looked big and appealing, and I could definitely tell it had all the elements just like the description stated. However, what was missing was something you can't see. Flavor. Despite the grilled onions, and sauce, and cheese it was just kind of bland. It wasn't as if the condiments were covering the flavor of the meat because I wasn't getting the spice I expected from the cheese or the sauce either. I will say that it was a very juicy burger even though it was cooked to well done without an option as to how it could have been prepared. The bun was toasted and was ok but it may have been a bit too large. I also wish the onions had been grilled and caramelized a little more. I think just a couple more minutes would have let them add that nice sweet flavor they can contribute. The tots were tasty and well seasoned, but they were your basic tater tots.
Even though maybe the burger was only a little better than okay I will say I liked eating at Drake's quite a bit. It was a nice day so we walked in and seated ourselves in front of the bar area and right near the open "garage doors" that make up the front of the restaurant. I like the semi al fresco dining experience a lot more than places that have patio seating under umbrellas. Our server was nice and service was prompt. I think Drake's is definitely worthy of another shot especially if I can gather some friends that will share some of that sushi with me.
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 methodicaldudereallythinksalotaboutthefoodhesgoingtoeat.blogspot.com