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 (you can win a gift card to Liter House by visiting his Instagram page)
Achtung, foodies! South Broad Ripple has a new German restaurant and brewery that’s taking the city by storm. Liter House is located at 5301 Winthrop Ave. for those with a car; and for those traveling by foot or bicycle, it’s right on the Monon Trail. This is latest creation from the Sahm’s Restaurant Group, the restauranteurs responsible for the bevy of Sahm’s restaurants around town and also the uber-trendy Big Lug Canteen in Nora. Eddie Sahm and Co. have been hard at work on this new hot spot and Liter House is another notch in an already impressive belt.
Located in the former home of Bent Rail Brewery, the huge space underwent a complete renovation and is hardly recognizable. The space is filled with a beautiful dining area and an upbeat bar, a 200-seat banquet room for private events and parties, and coming in September, an outdoor beer garden and barbecue overlooking the Monon. They even have plans for a whiskey and wine bar on the roof at some point. To say that they’re making the most out of their new home would be an understatement.
When it comes to the kitchen, Eddie handed over the reins to one of Indy’s finest, Chef John Adams. Adams is an Indy native and a bit of a legend (he is to me!), as he got his start as a dishwasher at Greg Hardesty’s H2O back 2002. Since then, he’s worked at Bluebeard, the dearly missed Marrow, Salt on Mass and now he’s running the show at Liter House.
His contemporary German menu is filled with culinary works of art that are delicious and inventive. Liter House is open for lunch and dinner, and is even serving brunch on the weekends. What better way to end a nice workout on the Monon than with a great meal? I’m not gonna lie, pretty much everything I’ve tried at Liter House is spectacular, but it’s my duty to provide four items that you “can’t miss.” As hard as it was to only choose four, here goes nothing:
Cornwurst: No, I’m not saying this is the worst corn. Wait a minute, that attempted joke was corny and possibly the worst. Anyway, a wurst is simply a German or Austrian sausage, but I’m sure all of my readers already knew that. This cornwurst is kinda like a German corndog, but without the dog. Instead, they stuff the corndog batter with delicious pulled pork that has an out-of-this-world smoky flavor. They poke it with a corndog stick and then put it into the fryer until golden brown. Everyone knows that you can’t have a corndog without ketchup and mustard, right? Well, Liter House takes it a step further by serving the cornwurst with curried ketchup and rutabaga mustarda. German comfort food at its finest!
Eggplant Schnitzel: The vegetarians are gonna feel very loved by the end of this list. Don’t get me wrong–this eggplant schnitzel isn’t just a throw-in just to appease, it forced my hand to make the list by being so darn good. Full disclosure time: when this dish was brought to the table, I thought, “Sure, I’ll give it a try,” fully expecting to take one bite and move on. Boy was I wrong and I couldn’t stop eating it, so much so that I started getting some dirty looks from the others at the table! The eggplant has a light breading to give it a nice crunch, and it is served with smoked tomato tikka sauce, celery root mash, and fried cabbage with caraway and mustard seed. The eggplant paired with the cabbage is to die for!
Currywurst: This is the second “wurst” to make the list, and this one is more in the traditional sausage form. Currywurst is actually a very popular fast food item in Germany. It is pretty much a bratwurst seasoned with curry. The sausage in this dish is bursting with a big, bold curry flavor that jumps off the plate. What’s the perfect complement to currywurst, you ask? Well, garlic feta fries with curried ketchup, of course. Serve it with a side of tzatziki and baba ganoush for a well-rounded international dish.
German No MEATloaf: And the vegetarians say that I never give them any love. Liter House is doing everything right for me to have not one but two vegetarian dishes on my list. I guess I should address the elephant in the room before I go on. You’re probably asking yourself: “How can you make a meatloaf without meat?” Well, I’m not exactly sure how they do it, but they do, and it is spectacular. It has a similar texture to your grandma’s meatloaf, but the flavor is a little sweeter and less fatty. They top the “meatloaf” with a scrumptious mushroom sour cream sauce and serve it with potato dumplings and mixed peas. Vegetarians will love it and the carnivores just might, too.