Iozzo’s Garden of Italy

Last year, I received a call from someone asking me what was good from Devour Downtown. I threw some suggestions onto them, and later that night they told me that they were tired of the usual discounted steaks from steakhouses. They wanted something interesting, something refreshing. After a few hours of researching, we settled on Iozzo’s.
 
Location:
 
946 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225
http://iozzos.com/

 

Iozzo's Garden of Italy

  • As you probably already got from my little story up there, the first time we went to Iozzo’s was actually during Devour Downtown last year. I just didn’t get to write about them until now because of reasons that are too long to list (nothing pertaining to them though, it was all on me).
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    Bread

  • Each table starts off with some bread and some sort of tomato-heavy vinaigrette. Bread is bread and tomato is tomato, so there’s that. Seriously though, I’m saying it like that not because I didn’t like it but because I didn’t pay much attention to it. Sorry about that; I thought I’d let you know it’s there.
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    Italian Wedding Soup

  • The first time I learned about Italian Wedding Soup was back at my first job. I used to wonder what these frozen, bagged soups were that had funky looking white globules and some brown spheres that looked like a meatball. I tried it and while I marginally liked it, I became curious as to what it would taste like if it was made from scratch. Fast forward several years later with me staring at Iozzo’s DD menu. I saw the words “Italian Wedding Soup” and immediately ordered it. I was glad I did because it was light and comforting. A few pieces of rolled meat, some orzo floating around, and a few spinach leaves on a subtle broth make for a perfect appetizer (as in it really appetizes you). I haven’t had enough Italian Wedding Soups to learn from so I can’t tell whether Iozzo’s is made from scratch or not. Regardless, it was lightyears better than the frozen one I had somewhere else years ago.
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    Steak

  • Before we talk about our main entree, let’s talk about this interesting piece of steak here (aka Filet Iozzo Style). For two years in a row that we dined with that specific someone here, she got their steak. Personally, I don’t blame her. The steak was always charred nicely on the outside with slight hints of the sauce drizzled on it, probably from the demi glace. The mashed potatoes were also fresh and went well with the steak. Lastly, those mushrooms lying around the steak were a nice addition to the whole ensemble, along with some vegetables to round out the dish.
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  • For me, I chose Lobster Ravioli last year and this year (even though I came close to choosing that steak). On a big plate, they had about six or so pieces of ravioli and some shrimp drenched in a creamy tomato-based sauce. While they had green stripes on the ravioli’s exterior for some reason, the sauce drowned it out a little bit with its omnipresent bright orange color. Once that flower on the middle was removed, all that was left is the sea of sauce. Thankfully, persevering through this puddle of sauce was very rewarding, because each ravioli was filled with actual lobster meat. Not only did I get the creamy goodness of the sauce and the slightly firm bounce of the shell, but I also got a little taste of the ocean with the lobster meat pieces. It was a nice touch considering how they could have easily gone cheap and filled it with some ground-up stuff and called it lobster. Thanks, Iozzo’s! P.S.: those shrimps were a nice touch and actually served as a momentary distraction with all those sauce floating around.
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    Lasagna Bolognese

  • The lasagna last year and this year were pretty much the same quality-wise, except for the quantity. You see, last year it was just the normal serving: a pile of meat with cheese and sauce (of course, it was served in a more dignified way than what I had just said). This year, however, they asked us if we wanted a little bit of meatball and sausage on the side. Wade-o said okay, but this is what he got when he got his plate this year:
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    Lasagna Bolognese

  • I think this was a little more than just “a little bit”. It was still equally covered in alfredo and bolognese sauce, and the meat was still full of flavor, but let’s ask what Wade-o here thought of his lasagna and company:
  • First time I had Iozzo’s lasagna, I declared it as one of the best lasagnas I could get in the area. I was kind of scared of it being an alfredo-based sauce, but it was actually very calm and subdued unlike the one over at BURABO which tasted closer to ranch. It also mishmashed perfectly with the meat sauce on it, which had a bold taste. This year, I got a bunch of extra stuff along with it: meatballs and Italian sausage. It was kinda funny because I only asked for a little bit of each, but apparently 4 meatballs and 2 scoopfuls of Italian sausage was their definition of a little bit. The Italian sausage had a bit of spice to it but got a little salty at times, while the meatballs were soft and delicate with a light and delicate taste. When paired with the lasagna, they ultimately felt like extras that didn’t really contribute much to the overall taste. The lasagna itself, saucewise, also wasn’t as balanced as the first time I had it. I felt as if the meat sauce was weaker than the alfredo, with the latter tasting about as good as I had it last time.

     

  • Of course, what’s a good Italian meal without an equally wonderful dessert to end it with? Actually, last year I made the mistake of ordering spumoni because I confused it with panna cotta. And while the spumoni wasn’t bad at all (hint: ice cream), accepting the offered bites of tiramisu from everybody else at the table made me realize my folly very quickly. So this year, I decided I wasn’t going to miss out again. I mean why would I, with all that cool creaminess from the mascarpone, lathered all over the spongy lady fingers (or whatever they use), drizzled with chocolate and a hint of coffee, all topped with whipped cream. Unless, of course, this isn’t your kind of thing, in which case I won’t blame you.
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  • Even though I’ve only been to this place twice during Devour Downtown, I liked what we got enough to warrant a non-DD visit eventually. The fact that the quality stayed exactly the same even with several months of distance between visits speaks volumes about the way they prepare their food. And while I’m not going to preach whether Iozzo’s is authentic or not, I can at least say that this place is one of my top spots to eat Italian food from.
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2 thoughts on “Iozzo’s Garden of Italy

  1. Well this sounds delightful to me. I love lots of sauce by the way! When you get a chance, try Iaria’s Italian restaurant. It’s somewhere around 350 S. College downtown. It believe is authentic. And, I think they have been down there since the 30’s. Definitely don’t skip the fried fresh mozarella appetizer. I personally think it is my favorite Italian restaurant in Indy. It really ain’t cheap though.

    • Hey there! I think I actually saw Iaria’s building when we headed to Mass Ave from Iozzo’s. Definitely interested me when I saw it.

      Fried fresh mozzarella? I’m in! That sounds delightful. Definitely going to visit Iaria’s soon to try that. I’ll let you know when I do!

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