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Restaurant Reviews --> Napolese at the Fashion Mall

Napolese at the Fashion Mall
In the Food Court

Last Saturday found us at the Fashion Mall at Keystone at the Crossing for lunch and a movie, sandwiched with a little shoe shopping for Linda. All three aspects of the afternoon were successful. American Hustle is a great movie that should win a bunch of awards. Linda found shoes (can Italian flats really cost that much?). And, lunch, by food court standards, was excellent with some very surprising wine service.

We decided to give Martha Hoover's latest north side outpost of Napolese a try. We've enjoyed and reviewed dinner at the 49th & Penn location, so we thought why not check out the Keystone Crossing location? Unfortunately, it may be Napolese, but it is still next to a food court. Think crowded tables, large crowds and more small children than we are comfortable being around. At noon, there was one table left, elbow to elbow with the surrounding tables and barely enough room for the servers to move between them. We contemplated escaping to Shanghai Lil's on the south side of 86th Street, but thought better of it and were glad we didn't change locations when we moved to two great seats at the far south end of the bar.

Like the 49th Street location, the food and service were excellent. The locally sourced charcuterie platter featured two Smoking Goose salamis, mild and spicy, along with delicious slices of smoked pork loin, accompanied by cut wedges of lightly cheesed, thin pizza dough focaccia, roasted red and yellow peppers and sun dried tomatoes. It was almost more than two people needed as an appetizer for only $10. Excellent.

We selected the Hamaker's Corner pizza, named for the the drugstore that used to occupy their 49th & Penn location. It featured spicy pepperoni sliced lengthwise, tiny mushrooms, Italian sausage with plenty of fennel, and creamy provolone cheese, all on a nice crisp, puffy crust. More than we could eat for only $14. And while the oven here looks to be gas, it gave a good approximation of a wood oven char.

The real reason that we're writing this was the quality of the wine service. We began with glasses of Tiefenbrunner Pinot Bianco and shared quartinos of a Frescobaldi Super Tuscan and a Pertinace Barbera d'Asti with the pizza. The wines were good, but the surprise was when I saw the bartender/server, Drew, sniff the cork (a couple of times) of the Frescobaldi when he opened it, with a slight frown on his face. Then he poured a taste, again twisted his face, and found his manager who went through the same exercise. Corked wine...yet another TCA fatality (learn about TCA contamination at Corked Wine. The amazing part is that we have been served corked wines by the glass in some of the best restaurants in the country, and I have never seen a bartender/server catch one so quickly, if at all.

Pretty amazing! At lunch, in a very crowded, noisy, busy restaurant next to a food court, they took the time to catch a corked wine before it was served. Hats off to Drew and whatever restaurant culture Martha has cultivated or educated to encourage such attention to detail. We'll still take dinner at the 49th Street location without the small children. But, if you get the two seats at the end of the bar and Drew is tending, at lunch it may be the best food court experience on the planet.

Napolese at the Fashion Mall

8702 Keystone Crossing
Indianapolis, IN 46240
(317) 705-0765