Have you ever had an experience at a restaurant where the food was really, really good but the overall experience was so bad that you really don't want to go back in spite of the fact you'd like to try one of everything on the menu?
About a year ago, a place called the Indigo Duck opened in a small town about half an hour south of Indianapolis. Franklin is halfway between Indianapolis and Columbus. I have a number of clients in Columbus who've become really good friends. How cool it would be to have a place halfway in between where we could meet for dinner. Extra lovely as my former admin, Amber used to say.
Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to Franklin we go. We were both VERY excited to try Indigo Duck because we'd had a duck slider at a tasting called Dig-IN. It was VERY good. We arrived to find a lovely little restaurant. Bar right inside the front door and seating in the back. I'm guessing eight four-tops and four two-tops. There was a special going on called Savour the Southside. A three course meal for $30. A very nice bargain.
A nice gal came to take our wine order and we were thrilled with the fact that they had a half-price wine list. We ordered an Albarino. About that time, it got crowded. And noisy. AS IN YOU CAN'T TALK IN ANYTHING OTHER THAN A SHOUT BECAUSE THERE'S NO WAY ANYONE CAN HEAR YOU OTHERWISE. Goodness, did I ever leave that place with a headache! That and the fact that I missed a great deal of the conversation with our friends Jim and Donna wasn't too much fun either.
Time to tap your fingers on the table. We were seated at about 6:30. The wine got to us about 6:50 and the bread about 7:05. It was decent french bread and plain butter. Nothing to write home about but nothing bad either. The service was proving to be pitiful. They knew Savour the Southside was on. Why didn't they prepare for it? Why did it take half an hour for bread to be served?
Then, the part that finished honking me off. The waitress announced that only if everyone at the table was participating in Savour the Southside could we do that. Huh? It's not disclosed on their menu. It's not disclosed on the web site. If there had been another decent resaurant in walking distance, I'd have walked. That's bait and switch in my book. You either tell it like it is up front or forget about it.
So, we ordered an appetizer to split and ordered our entrees. She encouraged me to order an appetizer and I told her I was intentionally ordering less than the prix fixe so my ticket would be less. The appetizer came and was wonderful. Connie had ordered a fried green tomato. It came layered with Capriole Farms goat cheese. YUM!
Then, we waited and waited and waited and waited. Well, you get the idea. It was well after 7:45 when our entrees finally showed up. I had a pork loin with braised cabbage and risotto.
Connie had a meatloaf with broccoli and mashed potatoes.
Jim and Donna both had the salmon.
The food was very good. No, it was better than that. It was extremely good. The serving sizes were perfect. The entrees were great and the sides with them were exactly what each entree needed. The only complaint I had with the food was that the chef was a bit too free with the salt shaker. But, I won't be back because I don't want to deal with driving 45 minutes to not be able to chat with my friends and have horrible service. As a destination restaurant, this place should've been on it's toes to make sure they're overwhelming newbies with great service and great food. As the downtown Indianapolis restaurants have found, Devour Downtown (which operates the same way) has really been a way to attract new regulars. Unfortunately, someone at the Indigo Duck was pretty tone deaf! I'd love to go back and try some other dishes but we eat out too rarely for me to spend my scarce entertainment dollars on another experience like this.