Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Black and White at Indigo: A Delicious Palette for Your Palate

Twenty-Seventh Stop: Indigo Casual Gourmet Café
Date: March 12, 2013
Location: 2053 Dixie Highway Ft. Mitchell, KY 41011
Ranking:  22

By now, we’ve had a sampling of over half the pizzas on Cincinnati Magazine’s Top 50 Pizzas, in no particular order.   You’d think by now, we’d be hard to impress, what with our developed and refined pizza palates.  Not so, friends!  We happened upon Indigo for the second time (our first try was a bust-they were closed for an unknown reason), and were quite impressed with what we encountered there. 

Great pizza doesn’t have to be experimental.  It doesn’t have to provide street-cred for foodies with contemporary, hip ingredients.  In fact, if you combine fresh ingredients with a good recipe, courteous and knowledgeable staff, and a comfortable atmosphere, you’re bound to stake a claim in local pizzavores’ hearts.  Did we coin a new word here?  Just go with it. 

Anyway, Indigo definitely has the courteous and knowledgeable staff.  We were greeted and seated promptly, and our lovely server answered our questions and offered recommendations.  We arrived at about 6pm on a Tuesday evening, and that place was hopping with guests.  It seems to be a popular spot and, come to find out, for good reason. 

In terms of atmosphere, this place excels.  The building is an old historic Shaker house, and includes the original hardwood flooring from that era.  The large, wood-trimmed bar is set in the dining room, where small tables are cozy, but not crowded.  We hear there is a spacious, shaded patio out back that is quite lovely, if you’re into that outdoor dining sort of thing.  However, outdoor dining wasn’t an option yet at this point in the season, and Robyn was glad about that, because she’d rather eat a Speedway hot dog than eat outside on a patio.   

Now, let’s get down to business - the food.  First up - breadsticks.  It was a hungry night, and we couldn't wait until the main dish to start stuffing our faces.  Several of the starters looked quite tasty but, in the end, we went with an old standard:  breadsticks with marinara.  The little appetizer plate was piled with long and thin, rectangular sticks of soft bread.  They were salted and topped with pretty green specks of herbs.  On top of all that, the accompanying warm marinara sauce was topped with gooey mozzarella cheese.  These breadsticks were a pleasant surprise:  better than expected and a great way to start off our meal at Indigo. 

As far as pizza is concerned, our server offered us some advice and insight on her personal favorites.  She helped to steer us toward the Italian White and Cuban Black Bean pizzas.  Unintentionally, both of these choices were vegetarian selections.  When ordering pizza, you have the option of either a white or wheat crust, and we chose white for the Italian White and wheat for the Cuban Black Bean.  The pizzas offered at Indigo are the single serve, one-plate style, so we decided to order two and share, as we often do when it’s an option.  Indigo offers 5 types of specialty pizzas, along with one “Choose Your Own” option, where you select from their extensive list of stuffings and toppings.  These toppings range from the traditional items such as pepperoni, to the not-so-common accents like garden peas, almonds, and hard salami.      

We each preferred our own selections.  Robyn went with the Italian White.  This one includes Ricotta, Feta, mushrooms, spinach, and Mozzarella, and will set you back $9.99.  This pizza was BY FAR Robyn’s favorite.  It was soft and creamy, without being overly so.  It was akin to neither an alfredo nor a marinara, but fell somewhere in between, in a perfectly lush median of fresh, quality ingredients.  Also, there was an interesting but balanced contrast between the Italian and Greek cheeses.

Courtney opted for the Cuban Black Bean pizza.  This had stood out to us on the menu, but we were hesitant of the "black bean sauce" in the description.  Our server set us straight - she said it was delicious and proclaimed it her favorite.  Ok, then!  The Cuban Black Bean features that house-made black bean sauce (don't be scared), banana peppers, salsa, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, and a side of sour cream.  Courtney really loved this one, preferring it's zesty and non-traditional toppings, and the dipping aspect provided by the sour cream.  She enjoyed Robyn's Italian White, too, but was glad she had chosen the Cuban Black Bean, and happy that she got to keep both leftover slices of it when doling the leftovers into two carryout containers.  The only problem:  the leftovers kind of sucked.  Somehow the zeal of this pizza vanished when refrigerated.  True, a microwave was involved in its reheating (we know, never a good idea, but options are limited in a workplace kitchen), but the problem was with the flavor, not that it was gooey/mushy/tough-crusted.  It was a sad lunch.  What's the lesson here?  Go to Indigo with an empty tummy and eat all of your pizza in one sitting!                        

We left Indigo very pleased, albeit a little confused.  How can a place like Fratelli’s rank in the top 10 when places like this go above and beyond in almost all of the facets we’ve talked about?  Regardless, we are very likely to make some return trips to Indigo, whether it’s for a casual “girls night” with our friends or a “date night” with our significant others.  There are some other pizzas on that menu that need us to eat them.

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