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Restaurant Reviews --> Oh Yumm! Bistro

Oh Yumm! Bistro
Meridian Kessler's neighborhood Bistro

On Friday night, our friends Jack and Melanie, long time Meridian-Kessler residents, invited us to dinner at their newest neighborhood bistro. After a pre-dinner discussion of the similarities between Meridian-Kessler and Zionsville, we decided that the brisk walk to and from dinner would do us all good. Four cold blocks later, Linda and I concluded that while the neighborhoods both share a strong sense of community, Zionsville has a lot less traffic and a lot more sidewalks. The intersection of 56th Street and Illinois Street, while not as large or quaint as Main Street, does, however boast Indianapolis' best meat market, the trendiest hair salon, an elegant jewelry store and now, the "Oh Yumm!" Bistro.

Owner Patti Crahan has taken an narrow storefront, formerly occupied by a Mexican restaurant, and created an airy, yellow and white dining room with hand painted murals, lots of fresh flowers and a very pleasant ambiance. While the outdoor sidewalk cafe area made us yearn for spring, our table in the front window allowed us to soak up the neighborhood feel of the place.

Our server was friendly and efficient and immediately presented us the combination menu and wine list along with an explanation of the specials that were displayed on chalk boards throughout the restaurant. Only wine and beer are served, with a selection of 25 wines and 12 beers available. The wine list is undistinguished, but very honestly priced, with 9 selections by the glass and plenty of wines available in the $16 to $20 range. Best bets appear to be the King Estate Pinot Gris at $26, the 2000 Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc at $22, the 1998 Chateau St. Michelle "Canoe Ridge" Merlot at $39, or our choices, the crisp and refreshing Bonny Doon Pacific Rim Riesling at $18 and the never great, but always pretty good, Gundlach Bundchu Bearitage Red at $21.

The menu is short and a little on the light side, offering more salad selections than entrees, obviously intended to be supplemented with daily specials. Four appetizers were offered, but none of us partook. They included stuffed mushrooms, baked goat cheese, hummus, and a very tasty looking shrimp quesadilla that was presented to an adjacent table. The soup of the day however, was just excellent. It was a light, creamy homemade clam chowder brimming with fresh clams and potatoes. The salad selections featured a house salad along with 5 dinner salads, including an interesting sounding steak and potato salad at $11.95 featuring grilled flank steak, new potatoes, asparagus, and Maytag blue cheese in a Dijon vinaigrette. We opted for the $4.95 dinner salad that featured greens topped with dried cranberries, toasted pine nuts and gorgonzola with a delicate Caesar dressing. The salad tasted much better than it sounded, with the starkly contrasting flavors and textures blending beautifully.

All four of us were also more than pleased with our entrees. My pork loin chop was perfectly prepared and served with mashed red skin potatoes, steamed baby zucchini and an apple, cranberry and pecan chutney that elevated the dish well beyond "just another pork chop" status. Linda opted for the Chicken McHugh, a chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese, spinach and sundried tomatoes and rolled in a parmesan cheese crust. Served with a side of angel hair pasta in a light red basil sauce and accompanied by more baby zucchini, it was also pronounced excellent. Melanie, under the influence of her vegetarian daughter, choose the Penne Mediterranean with kalamata olives, feta, sun dried tomatoes and pine nuts in an olive oil and white wine sauce that I was told tasted as good as it looked. Finally, being adventuresome, Jack choose the mystery fish from the chalkboard. The delicate, mild Bassa filet was lightly pan fried and served with the angel hair pasta and baby zucchini. Our server was unable to enlighten us further on the fish's origin, so Jack still has no idea what a Bassa is, but he enjoyed it. Unfortunately, we may never know, since a chef emerged from the kitchen shortly after Jack ordered and erased it from the chalkboard. I assume it is now extinct!

The desserts looked intriguing, but we will leave them to your judgment since we were far too full to try them. "Oh Yumm" deserves high marks for the food, service, atmosphere and especially the reasonable prices. Our entrees, ranging from $13.95 to $18.95, coupled with reasonably priced wine selections made it an affordable as well as tasty dining experience. Worth a try! Let us know what you think...

Oh Yumm! Bistro

5615 North Illinois
Indianapolis, IN 46208
(317) 251-5656
www.ohyummbistro.com