INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Our food adventure this week takes us to the cultural district of Broad Ripple; the artsy area known for its hoppin’ bar scene and diverse restaurants. Speaking of diversity, The Northside Social is serving up Southern fare with influences in Coastal, Cajun and French cuisine. Located on the North side of Broad Ripple Village at 6525 N College Ave, The Northside Social is the perfect place for any social outing. Their slogan pretty much sums it up perfectly: Good Food. Good Drinks. Good Times. Since its opening back in 2010, the place has been a staple in the ever-growing Broad Ripple food community. A community that includes a number of their own spin-off restaurants including Kitchenette, The Nook, Delicia, and La Mulita. Needless to say, they are doing something right!
The atmosphere at The Northside Social is elegant and sophisticated, but also casual and comfortable at the same time. The large windows allow for tons of natural light to pour in, which is perfect for taking Instaworthy food pics! They have a large bar area that is ideal for an after work meet-up or a drink before dinner. If that wasn’t enough, you really need to check out their outdoor patio that overlooks the ever-busy College Ave. Now that summer is here, isn’t it a law or something that all meals have to be eaten outside?
When it comes to the food at The Northside Social, their inspiration comes from the cuisine of the Lowcountry (the cultural region along the South Carolina coast). In addition to this, their menu draws from bayou-inspired Cajun cuisine along with a strong French influence. All said and done, we’re talking about upscale Southern cookin’. The menu is seasonal and uses only the freshest ingredients to create their bold and exciting flavors. The new summer menu has just recently dropped and I wanted to be one of the first in line to check it out. I will now offer up my four “can’t miss” items from this new menu that should not be overlooked:
- Mousse Trio…When I think of mousse, it is usually of the chocolate or dessert variety. Northside Social has their own take on mousse and let me say, it’s spectacular. I’d say this is definitely one of the more adventurous items on the menu, but that shouldn’t scare anyone away. The trio of mousse (mousses – meesse?) consists of a smoked salmon, deviled egg, and ‘nduja whipped pimento cheese. It’s difficult for me to pick a fave, but I do love me some pimento cheese…just sayin! All three are light and creamy and loaded with flavor. They serve them with pickled vegetables for dipping and grilled sourdough toast points for spreading. Full disclosure, I probably wouldn’t have ordered this had it not been highly recommended…but, one thing is for sure, I won’t make that mistake again.
- Fried Chicken Confit…You might be asking yourself: “What’s so special about Fried Chicken?”. Well, let me tell you. This fried chicken isn’t prepared like your stereotypical, deep fried bird. The chicken is first pickle-brined overnight and then seasoned; after that, it is slow-cooked on a low temperate in its own rendered fat. Once cooked, it is then sealed along with the fat and stored for preservation. The confit process is timely, but delivers maximum taste. The chicken is moist and crunchy and oh, so delicious. It is served with a side of pimento mac & cheese and veggie succotash. Wait, there’s that pimento cheese again…
- Crispy Pork Gourmet Mac & Cheese…All of the entrées at Northside Social come with at least one side, so you might be tempted to not order an additional side…that would be a terrible mistake! I guess you could say that I’m a bit of a mac & cheese fanboy, and this dish of cheesy goodness really is a work of art. There are a number of places that throw around the word “gourmet” without the food actually being so. That is not the case here…trust me on this one. Even if you decided to order this mac & cheese as your entrée, you wouldn’t be disappointed.
- Blackened Shrimp & Coconut Grits…This is for all you Southerners out there (or really just anyone that loves Southern cooking). Shrimp and Grits, what’s more Southern than that? Well, maybe Fried Chicken and Mac & Cheese, but I digress. The shrimp are coated with togarashi (Japanese spice blend) and sautéed to perfection, then they are finished with roasted peanuts on top. The grits aren’t made with bits of coconut, but rather cooked in a pot of boiling coconut milk and stock. The last piece of this Southern Comfort puzzle is the braised bacon-collard greens. I professed my love to mac & cheese above, but collard greens are the real way to my heart. Let’s just say, I’ve got a huge crush now.