Thursday, October 28, 2004

Tiny Chicken, Seared Tuna 

Last night we enjoyed possibly the best restaurant meal we've had since moving to Indianapolis in 1997. We went to Elements, Downtown on Alabama just off Mass Ave. It's the fairly new offering from the guys of H2O Sushi. What impressed me about this place was the attention paid to ingredients that resulted in some flavors that were memorable and lively. We started off with a great Bordeaux-style wine, http://www.winesnw.com/hedgescellars.htm that was dry but low in tannins, with a remarkably fruity nose. Rolls were crisp-crusted and redolent of warmth and yeast. I had the lamb carpaccio- slivers of raw loin dusted with mint, capers, Parmesan and fried shallots. Its richness was incredible. Greg's salad of mixed lettuces rocked- it was dotted with generous chunks of creamy bleu cheese and topped with a sherry vinaigrette with a golden croustade. His entree was the Poisson, or tiny chicken. He called it the most delicate fried chicken ever- it was well-browned and juicy, on a bed of pureed parsnips and surrounded by a pool of truffle butter and pan reductions. My seared tuna hearkened back to the owners' first venue as it was sushi-grade perfection, velvety on the tongue. The twist was in its accompaniment- fingerling potatoes, red peppers, and thick cut applewood smoked bacon. The bacon flavored everything, off set with a red-wine vinegar reduction that offered a tart note to balance the smokiness. Our dessert was perhaps the best thing of all, however. We ordered pumpkin creme brulee. They could have easily pureed the pumpkin with the cream and eggs for a smooth texture, but then it would not have been so remarkable. Beneath a brittle sugar crust were small tender pieces of fresh roasted pumpkin and silky custard, and we were both amazed at how well the vegetable flavor and texture worked. Elements works so well because of their devotion to fresh ingredients and intelligent flavor and texture combinations.

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