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 Dustin Heller (@eatindywatchindie on Instagram)
The spotlight column is getting a touch of class this week as we head to an upscale American grill that has the look and feel of a post-Prohibition speakeasy, complete with a betting odds chalkboard for good measure. Harry & Izzy’s is the sister restaurant (and next door neighbor) to one of Indiana’s most treasured landmarks, St. Elmo Steak House.
In addition to the downtown spot, Harry & Izzy’s also has a location on Indy’s north side at the Rivers Edge Shopping Center as well as the Indianapolis International Airport. Forget about all of those airport food stereotypes you might be thinking: Indianapolis is breaking the mold. Harry & Izzy’s opened its first location in 2007 and got its name from Harry Roth and Izzy Rosen, the beloved owners and operators of St. Elmo for some 30 years.
The downtown location is right on the corner of Georgia and Illinois streets, one of the most desirable spots in the entire city. That’s partly due to their neighbor (cough, cough), but mostly because of the central location to all the major hotspots (Lucas Oil Stadium, Banker’s Life Fieldhouse, Victory Field and the Convention Center). With such a great spot, of course they have an outdoor patio area that is perfect for people watching or just enjoying our beautiful city.
The interior of the restaurant revolves around the bustling bar area that is the place to be downtown–you never know who you might run into. The dining area is elegant and sophisticated, making it the perfect location for a special evening out or a nice business dinner.
Although some might consider Harry & Izzy’s to be just a steakhouse, the menu is actually quite eclectic with lots of great options besides steak. They offer a wide variety of appetizers and salads along with some great seafood, sandwiches and pizza. Yep, you read that right–pizza. Harry & Izzy’s sets out to be a little more casual than their legendary big bro, but that doesn’t mean that they sacrifice any of the quality you’ve come to expect.
Before I get into my picks for “can’t miss” items, let me start by saying that I’m not going to tell you to order the famous shrimp cocktail or to get a big, juicy steak. That’s too obvious! I’m going to steer you in a different direction that I promise won’t disappoint. So, if you’re going to Harry & Izzy’s and aren’t in the mood for shrimp cocktail and steak, here are my glowing “can’t miss” recommendations:
Tagliatelle Alfredo: I’m sure you’re all thinking: “Who is really gonna go to Harry & Izzy’s and not order a steak?”. I’ll tell you who: me (and all the vegans and vegetarians out there). Don’t be so quick to judge either, because if you haven’t had their pasta, you don’t know what you’re missing. Tagliatelle is a long, flat pasta that is a little bit wider than fettuccine, and they make it fresh in-house daily. It is tossed in a scrumptious garlic Parmesan cream sauce and served with your choice of chicken, shrimp or salmon. You can’t go wrong with any of the protein choices, but I’ve got a soft spot in my heart Harry & Izzy’s shrimp.
St. Elmo Prime Rib Pizza: I know I said that I wasn’t going to recommend a steak, so instead, I’m recommending a pizza that is smothered in steak. Is this bending the rules? Maybe, but I’m the one making the rules. Make no mistake, this is without question a pizza, and an expertly crafted one at that. They start with their signature thin crust that is perfectly crispy and a solid foundation for what they pile on top. I use the word pile for a reason; they use a half-pound of prime rib on each pie! Everyone knows you can’t make a pizza without cheese, and they use a robust horseradish ricotta that is big on flavor and provides a nice kick. We all know the reputation of the horseradish at Harry & Izzy’s. Lastly, they add some mushrooms and a homemade campfire onion marmalade to finish it off.
Grilled Slab Bacon: I wanted to include a starter on my list since I’m sure none of you will be ordering a World Famous St. Elmo Shrimp Cocktail (wink, wink). Slab bacon is the whole smoked pork belly that is still in its uncut, natural state. The bacon used in this appetizer is locally sourced from our very own Smoking Goose Meatery right here in Indy. Harry & Izzy’s slices the bacon extra-thick and then plops it right on the grill. It is then glazed with a root beer maple sauce that is sweet and pairs perfectly with the smokiness of the bacon. It is served with cornbread triangles and some extra sauce for dipping. Don’t sleep on this one.
Pan-Seared Scallops: You might not know it by looking at them, but scallops are actually a shellfish and they belong to the mollusk family (oysters, mussels, clams, etc.). They have a sweet and delicate flavor that is only heightened by their interesting texture. I’m obsessed with them! The scallops here are pan-seared, which helps to keep their firm consistency and also give them a perfectly crispy crust. They are accompanied by a lemon beurre blanc sauce and served around a bed of citrus couscous. The dish isn’t complete until it is topped off with fresh arugula and watermelon radish.