Restaurant Reviews --> A Visit to Peterson's
A Visit to Peterson's
Fine Dining at 96th and I-69
A year ago, Linda and I had dinner at Peterson's at 96th and I-69 in Fishers for our anniversary and were impressed with with what chef Karl Benko had done with the food at what had been a pretty typical Indianapolis steakhouse. Last Saturday we visited again for the same occasion and discovered that Chef Karl has continued the transformation. So, you have to ask, why does a steak house even need a chef? In this case, to turn it into a fine dining experience! The steaks, baked potatoes and cult Cabernets are still there, along with the just-off-the-lake, Mercedes-driving Geist set, but trust me, the food and service really are great.
Using local ingredients, Karl has transformed Peterson's into something I would expect in Chicago or New York. It is elegant, expensive, just a little pretentious and very, very good.
Linda began with lump crab cake and crisp fried basil that was indeed jumbo lump and seemed to contain no filler at all. Accompanied with stone ground mustard sauce, it was almost as good as the tempura lobster fingers I ordered. Towering upright over the plate, the tiny lobster tails had been reversed out of their shells and dipped in tempura batter, fried with no traces of excess oil and served with a Morgan County honey Dijon sauce and chipotle dust. Excellent!
We followed by sharing a spinach salad with hard boiled egg, crisp pancetta (tasted like bacon to me), red onions, tomato and smoked bacon vinaigrette ... also very good.
The real treat were the entrées, a major departure from typical steakhouse fare. My roast veal filet was served as tiny, rare medallions on a bed of crisp mustard spaetzle with tiny carrots and and a foie gras veal reduction that was far from the typical as possible. The tender morsels of rare veal were rivaled only by Linda's Snake River Farms pork tenderloin, also roasted and presented in medium rare medallions on a bed of fresh Indiana corn and crisp potato hash with a Capriole Farms goat cheese cream sauce that had to be tasted to be believed. I am relieved to report that creativity is alive and well in Indianapolis' sea of overpriced, over-hyped, convention-oriented, rare beef palaces!
The service was very attentive without being at all intrusive, and no one said "Hi, I'm Ted, and I'll be your server tonight." The wine list is extensive, and while a little heavy on cult Cabernet it offers plenty of reasonably-priced selections. We opted for Ray Coursen's Elyse Petit Sirah, a tooth-staining red that maintained enough character to go remarkably well with with both entrées. Ignore the Opus and go for the well-chosen $40 to $60 selections.
And, while we actually live at Geist, I have to admit to being embarrassed by some of my neighbors. If you are going to pay $200 for dinner, at least have enough respect for the restaurant and your fellow patrons to change out of your tee shirt and leave the cargo shorts at home. And yes, I know this comes from a guy whose store dress code is shorts and Hawaiian shirts. But on Saturday night, can't we pretend we are a big city with classy people?
7690 E. 96th Street
Fishers, IN 46038
August 24, 2005