8651 Castle Creek Pkwy East Dr
Indianapolis, IN 46250
Three weeks ago, the night was cold and the area was covered in snow. Piles of it, really, because somehow between the night before and that morning, the clouds above managed to dump some snow on top of the already stale snow sitting comfortably on top of… everywhere. Regardless, we made our way around Bravo’s confusing parking lot, all while trying to argue whether there was a location in Keystone Crossing or not.
As soon as the anterior of my body entered the door (keep in mind, my posterior was still outside), blaring music met my ears like an unwelcome guest at the Thanksgiving table. It wasn’t the good kind of blaring that people usually do when they like the song that’s playing, but it’s the kind where they either clearly forgot how to control the volume or just didn’t care anymore because they probably don’t get crowded enough to get people staying in that area. Now that I think about it, I do suppose it was a little scary that I was thinking of that already but I couldn’t help it when the parking lot was pretty empty.
The host quickly walked back to the host’s stand as we made our way past the second set of doors, where the music became tolerable but still played loudly, this time applicably so. My eyes quickly scanned the area, analyzing each inch and committing it to memory so that I might not have to take the picture of the dining area like a total tourist. It was definitely one of the brightest restaurants I’ve been to, a little too bright for the kind of upscale feel it was trying to convey.
When our waiter finally joined us, his response of ‘better now that you decided to join us’ to our ‘how are you’ was rather cringe-worthy. It wouldn’t have been any faker even if he tried. His voice had a hurried feel to it, and he spoke under his breath that it was hard to hear him at times. I’m surprised he managed to talk over the crowd and the blaring music…
It took me a little bit to browse around the menu, and eventually I settled with eggplant parmesan and added soup with it. We also decided to get calamari for our appetizer, which was just as expensive as a freaking entree dish somewhere else. I almost didn’t want to get it, but I figured why not.
Eventually, our drinks came as well as the complimentary bread with olive oil. The bread was very doughy and didn’t taste fresh. It wasn’t stale and it was fairly soft, but it definitely suggested some age that shouldn’t be there, like it’s been out all day just getting warmed and re-warmed. There was an attempt at seasoning it, as well as the olive oil, but both attempts were futile. The olive oil, supposedly seasoned because of its faint red coloration and random red debris at the bottom, tasted rather flat and uneventful. I would have been happier with just plain olive oil instead of this pity of an attempt…
Then came our calamari: the thirteen dollar appetizer. Yikes. It was served on a wide plate but clearly the contents were sparse. I grabbed my fork and immediately held one hostage with my fork’s tines, and I was rather alarmed at how soft and unresisting the squid meat was. I prefer my squid firm and chewy, but this one was simply flaccid. Flabby. Floppy. Call it what you will, but it was the kind of soft where it was probably frozen for a long time before hitting the hot rage of the frying oil. Don’t even get me started on the sauce… it was watery yet annoyingly sweet and irritatingly tart. It had no semblance of balance whatsoever; the training wheels probably got tossed away before it could even do its job.
After we finished our calamari, our soups came. He got Lobster Bisque and I got Italian Wedding Soup. I grabbed my spoon and examined it; I really wish I hadn’t because now I’m just sad. The broth tasted exactly the same as the Sysco ones I used to cook back when I was still working at a cafe. Eventually, I got ahold of one of the supposed meatballs from this soup and I also wished I hadn’t. It was abysmally bland and abnormally soft.
I took a spoonful of Wade-o’s soup and immediately the soup gave me a direct kick to the face. The bisque had this unpleasant aftertaste of a lobster-taste attempt: bitter, salty, and tasted like dirty seawater. The small lumps of lobster themselves were stringy and tough.
I finished off my soup anyway because… well, I don’t like wasting food. Besides, it’s been four years since I had Sysco…… I mean Italian Wedding Soup, so I figured I’d indulge myself a little bit. Indulge might have been the wrong word, but that will do. Our entrees arrived, finally, served in a long platter…
On the left of my platter is linguine alfredo, looking scarily stiff and shiny I almost didn’t want to touch it. To the right are two, fried patty-looking rounded rectangles of breaded blob, topped with melted mozzarella. Our waiter shredded parmesan for us, maybe just for show, but whatever. No amount of acrobatics and pyrotechnics could save this disaster.
As I feared, the linguine was tough to eat, not because it was al dente but because it felt aged, like it’s been sitting and got a little dried before it was served to us. The shiny alfredo, while coating the noodles thinly, was incredibly rich. I’m already not a fan of alfredo so that was a double whammy. The eggplant parmesan, meanwhile, was crispy on the outside and… that was it. It was just crispy probably because it was coated with panko breadcrumbs but it had no taste. The eggplant was softer than it should be, maybe because it got soggy; it also offered no taste. The melted cheese on top was overly chewy and rather salty, while the sauce beneath it just clashed with everything else (it’s the same sauce as the calamari’s…). I tried to choke down as much as possible, but in the end I had to give up. Not with this kind of quality, and not when my raspberry tea became continuously refilled with unsweet tea.
“This alfredo sauce is way too rich. It’s making me sick.”
“I can’t eat any more of this.”
And to think these cost us 63 bucks before tips. This ought to be a crime…