This post was written by a Butler University student about their experience at one of 40+ restaurants involved in Devour Downtown – a prix-fixe way to experience some of Indianapolis’ best downtown restaurants twice a year. Check out all the posts written about Devour Downtown on the Indiana Insider Blog
As an assignment, for quite possibly the best class ever, I was tasked to go take advantage of Indianapolisí Devour Downtown promotion (I know, tough homework, right?). I had never heard of the restaurant I was assigned, the Shelbi Street Cafť and Bistro located in the Fountain Square building, and was really excited to have the opportunity to try something normally would not have. So, I called up one of my friends and we set off on a friend-date.
The drive there was pretty interesting as we traveled through downtown, back out of the other side, and through little neighborhoods until we finally reached the Fountain Square Building (I was convinced I was lost at least 4 times) on the southeast side of downtown Indy. But, when we got to the neighborhood I was pleasantly surprised. It was different and had a community-within-a-big-city feel that reminds me of some neighborhoods in Chicago.
We walked into the restaurant and were seated right away by our wonderful server, Rustin. The menu looked great and we started off with a Sun King Cream Ale (from local brewery Sun King), which was on tap. Hereís a snapshot of our experience:
Course 1: Gingham Salad (mixed greens, mandarin oranges, berries, toasted pecans, and blue cheese)
I was a little hesitant to order this because I donít usually gravitate towards salads that have fruit. Iím so glad I did! The oranges and berries worked well with the blue cheese and pecans and there was the perfect amount of dressing. My friend ordered the Spinach Salad with sherry vinaigrette, chevre goat cheese, dried cranberries, and toasted pine nuts. She really enjoyed her first course also.
Course 2: Pan Seared Sesame Crusted Yellow Fin Tuna (with white rice and stir fried vegetables)
This was probably my favorite course of the meal and wow, do I love tuna. I asked for it medium rare and what came out of the kitchen was beautiful. Not only was the sesame tuna awesome, but the sides were equally as tasty. The vegetables were stir friend in a delicious sauce and I appreciated the portion. My friend had the roasted pork tenderloin and neither of us could stop talking about how much we were enjoying our food.
Course 3: Chocolate Souffle (no explanation needed)
Iím a chocoholic and it was probably gone in about 6 minutes.
Not only was the food amazing, but the atmosphere at the Shelbi Street Cafť and Bistro was adorable. It wasnít very crowded on a Friday night, the seating was comfortable, and the layout worked really well. I hear that in the summer thereís also a great rooftop garden available for seating. Our server was funny, not too formal, and attentive. We were never looking around the room or left hanging.
In a nutshell: This restaurant is great for both dates (friend or real) and small groups. The food was amazing, the space is inviting, the service was friendly, and itís located in an awesome neighborhood. I will definitely be back, and I encourage you to join me!