Foodie Spotlight: 1933 Lounge

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Indianapolis is quickly becoming one of the hottest food cities in America. A destination for true foodies who are interested in everything from fine dining to food trucks. This column will put the spotlight on one of these local hot spots to help get the word out and share in the love of all things food.

Review by contributor Dustin Heller.

This week we’re visiting a hidden gem smack dab in the wholesale district of downtown Indy. I say hidden gem because probably not everyone around town knows about it, but I can guarantee everyone knows its legendary big brother that resides downstairs. 1933 Lounge is the ultra-chic and swanky bar just up the stairs from St. Elmo Steak House. I say upstairs bar, but don’t be mistaken, this is a culinary destination that should be sought out by foodies everywhere.

In case you were wondering about the name, the end of national Prohibition came in 1933 when the 21st Amendment to the Constitution was passed and ratified.  Sticking with the Prohibition theme, the look and feel of the place is exactly what you might expect of a speakeasy from that era (only legal).

The place oozes elegance with dim lighting that highlights the brick walls and the gorgeous restored vintage bar, not to mention the sophisticated waitresses in their classy red cocktail dresses.  If you’re out to impress, this is the place to go.

The kitchen is ran by executive chef, Jeremy Holmes, who is a true success story. He started working for St. Elmo some 18 years ago as a pantry/salad chef and has been moving up the ladder ever since. And if you’re ever in the mood for a deep and interesting conversation about bourbon, GM Richard Edwards is definitely your man. These two guys are true class acts.

Before I get into my can’t-miss choices for 1933 Lounge, I need to clear something up. Of course, everyone is going to say: “Is this guy crazy? How can he NOT have the “World Famous” St. Elmo Shrimp Cocktail as a can’t miss item?”. First of all, I’m not crazy (at least that’s what my shrink tells me), and second of all, I’m making the assumption that everyone already knows that it’s a rule that you order the shrimp cocktail. Now that we got that out of the way (btw, don’t miss the shrimp cocktail!), let’s get into the meat and potatoes of this glorious menu and highlight my can’t-miss items.

  • King Crab Mac & Cheese – Do I really need to say anything about this, it should be self-explanatory?  Rich and creamy gouda topped off with succulent Alaskan King Crab.  I won’t be needing a to-go box!
  • Sliders –  You can choose between the Filet, Fried Shrimp, or Spicy Meatball, or you can be like me and order all three (I’d recommend this choice). They are perfectly sized and each comes with their own unique dipping sauce. For those that care, the way to my heart is through house made dipping sauces.
  • Grilled Bacon – no offense to Oscar Mayer, but my eyes have been opened to what bacon should taste like.  I have seen the light!  If you’ve never heard comedian Jim Gaffigan’s stand-up piece on bacon, YouTube it.  He is a man that gets it.
  • Petite Filet Oscar Style – Is it cheating to put filet mignon on a can’t-miss list? Maybe, but I don’t care because I would shout from the rooftops how amazing this dish is. Just so we’re clear here, this is a ridiculously tender filet with asparagus and béarnaise…oh, and did I mention a huge chunk of King Crab for good measure. Perfection!

No restaurant in Indy can match the history and allure of St. Elmo, but 1933 Lounge is a hot spot of its own and should be on every foodie’s radar.  With its classy and cool vibe, this place would definitely get Don Draper’s seal of approval, and it now has mine as well.  Go check it out!

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