Houlihan’s @ 82nd
Location I’m hinting at:
6020 East 82nd Street
Indianapolis, IN 46250
I really have no other witty way of titling this post so I’ll just leave it as it is and call it a day.
Anyway, Houlihan’s proved to be a disappointment for me. I actually had high hopes for this place because it looked contemporary and was located at the Castleton Mall. My boyfriend randomly took note of this place one night after seeing their drinks special (not that we can drink anyway). I Urbanspoon-ed the place up when we got home and decided that we should try it sometime.
Well, that ‘sometime’ came. It was a Thursday and it was my only class-free weekday. We decided to go to Houlihan’s and finally give it a try.
We were seated right away at a table as soon as we entered (I was hoping for a booth). The dining room at the time wasn’t too packed but quite a few tables were occupied. We already knew beforehand what we wanted because we looked up the menu before arriving. We waited a couple of minutes until our server came.
Our server was a little monotone, and I couldn’t even hear him clearly at times. It really doesn’t help that to my north is the kitchen with all its bangs and sizzles, to my west is a party of about 8-9 talking vivaciously, and to my east is a TV screen trying to play over the chatter and the music. Our server barely smiled and actually acted as if he was nervous the whole time.
We ordered Calamari and Disco Fries for our starters, I asked for their Filet Mignon, and my man asked for the Chicken Fettucine Alfredo. We were able to score a free dessert because of an ongoing special on Foursquare.
Houlihan’s took quite a while to give us our appetizers. The calamari and disco fries arrived at the same time. The calamari was served in one of those Chinese take-out boxes. It came with what they call “sesame-ginger sauce” which just tasted vinegary. The calamari pieces were fairly sized, enough for a single bite. However, they were bland and their breading tasted like it absorbed quite a bit of oil. The sauce didn’t do anything to make it better.
On the other hand, the Disco Fries was interesting to say the most. Yes, most. You see, the closest I’ve come to poutini before was getting chili cheese fries and that probably doesn’t even count at a poutini. Not only that, but the thought of smothering fries with pot roast and melted mozzarella sounded delicious to me somehow. If only my imagination was as delicious as the real thing. The pot roast wasn’t as good; it tasted like something you get out of a can. It doesn’t have that sort of homely taste, it was just a thick dark brown gravy with strands of meat. It didn’t blow me away. The mozzarella is mozzarella. It’s cheese, so that’s that. The fries themselves were limp and cold. Naturally, the ones that were heavily covered with the pot roast gravy were soggy but I didn’t mind that one bit; the limp, tasteless fries on the sides and very bottom were the ones that turned me off.
I probably should say that within 2 minutes of us getting a taste of our appetizer, our main entrees arrived. Remember I said they took a while to give us an appetizer? Yeah, now with the main entree around, it overwhelmed me a little bit. I was just starting to “enjoy” my calamari!
Regardless, I decided to start tasting around anyway since the food was already there. I got my 8-ounce steak, my mashed potato serving and three long stems of broccoli (I think it was broccoli, it was their vegetable of the day). I also got my free lobster tail since they have this thing going on Thursdays where if you order one of their steak entrees on a Thursday after 4, you get either a lobster tail or 5 jumbo shrimps (eligible items are marked with a lobster tail icon). The mashed potato was actually pretty decent; it was sweet and quite smooth. It seemed a little too dry for me though. As for the steak itself, it was average. It was supposedly basted with red wine garlic butter, and I was definitely able to taste that from the subtle tartness that came with every bite. I ordered my steak medium-rare but I felt as if it was a tad bit undercooked, probably closer to the ‘rare’ mark. I didn’t make a fuss about it since I didn’t mind it, as long as it wasn’t dripping with blood. During the meal, I tried to juggle my attention between my steak, calamari, disco fries, and lobster tail. It was just distracting and overwhelming. I wanted to enjoy my main dish but there were the appetizers getting colder.
Towards the end of the meal, I noticed a glaring flaw that I should have noticed at the beginning of the meal had I not been distracted with the barrage of food on my table. The meat that they gave me wasn’t a filet, it was a sirloin. Of the numerous times I’ve ordered sirloin and filet from Longhorn, I learned how to differentiate the two from their texture. Sirloins are usually tougher to cut and chewier than filet, naturally. The strands on the meat are also more apparent on the sirloin than on the filet. I already had that notion when my food was delivered to me, but again, I was too confused and distracted to pay attention. I didn’t really bother to complain about it to my server since I only had a few bites left when I noticed. Besides, their sirloin and filet only had a six dollar difference. I can live without that six dollars. Don’t think for a second though that they can use my being distracted as an excuse for giving me the wrong meat, because it’s not.
Now that I finished giving my evaluation of my food, let me have my boyfriend write his own evaluation of his food.
Hello there, you may remember me as that one guy who hasn’t even bothered posting here yet. I wanted to give my own points on what I thought of my entree, the Chicken Fettucine Alfredo. Before I had the fettucine here, the one other time I had it was over at Red Lobster, which I thought was pretty good; it had a nice sort of creaminess with a blend of other seasonings to keep it tasty and not make you want to regurgitate it like pre-chewed worms from a mother bird’s mouth. So coming to Houlihan’s, I was at least expecting something decent, and what I got was… well… let me at least start with the chicken.
Now the chicken served with this dish was grilled, and I was nervous at first. I am not a big fan of grilled chicken to begin with, since a lot of the grilled chicken that I’ve tasted thus far can be summed up in two words: dry and bland. This grilled chicken, on the other hand, was actually a pleasant change in my mouth. The chicken itself wasn’t too dry and it at least had some bit of charring to it, which helped boost the taste of it. Overall, the chicken here was better than I thought, but I wished that it could’ve been so much better.
Now this dish takes a turn for the worst, and it unfortunately is one of the main parts of the dish: the fettucine alfredo. The noodles used were at least chewable, and I couldn’t find anything wrong with them texture-wise. Where the dark seed in this meal is planted lies in the alfredo sauce… first off, I’m surprised that the sauce even has some sort of “taste” to it. Even so, it was just some generic, cheese sauce that you wouldn’t want to eat too much of. Second off… wait, that’s pretty much it. All of the noodles in this dish were coated in this bland, uninspired schlock sauce that you have to fight against yourself just to eat the whole plate. Unfortunately, I lost the battle in this case, as I had roughly a quarter of my food left and became too nauseous to even finish it.
Now I can at least tolerate foods that, while they may not taste like the best thing I shoved into my mouth, I can at least down whatever is given to me and say “Well, I ate it all.” The dishes that really make me disappointed are the ones like these, where they make you sick to a point where it’s impossible for you to finish regardless of how starving you still are. I still remember that after we left the restaurant, I was still kind of hungry, but I was so sick from my entree that I couldn’t even force myself to eat something else to offset the dreadful feeling in my stomach.
Oh, and one last thing I should mention is that my entree also came with a dinner roll: it barely tasted of anything and was actually a bit hard to chew, like it’s been sitting out for a while. As a result, it contributed nothing to the taste of the entire meal. Wonderful.
I actually had a taste of his dish and I didn’t like it. I don’t like fettucine alfredo to begin with anyway, but every once in a while I can enjoy a forkful or two. It all depends on the sauce, whether it’s just a thick glob of white cheese or actually something delectable. In Houlihan’s case, I found their alfredo sauce to be this super rich and thick glob of cheesy sauce that will make you tire of its taste after a while. The grilled chicken, on the other hand, was actually better than I expected. It wasn’t dry (but it wasn’t moist either); instead it was tender. It had a hint of taste from whatever it seasoned it with but it was too subtle.
Last but not the least: the dessert. I’m not gonna complain too much about this one since there’s really nothing to complain about. Aside from the fact that I got it for free through Foursquare, the dessert we got (which name I forgot, it was some sort of Snickers Ice Cream something something) was ordinary. We got a scoop of Snickers ice cream sitting on a bed of crushed oreos and drizzled around with chocolate and caramel syrup. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but it’s not something spectacular either.
Overall, Houlihan’s disappointed me. I expected a lot from this restaurant considering how it’s at the mall and reviews for this place are positive. I wouldn’t try recommending this place as much as I can unless the person I’m recommending this to was a fan of bar and grill places. This definitely isn’t the worst I’ve had, but it’s below average. I probably won’t be coming back unless it’s a blue moon.
Rating: 2 out of 5