It’s been a minute. School has been a wild ride the past couple of weeks, but I am happy to report that I have made it through both finals AND comprehensive exams and am now on my way to a happy and healthy summer. I still have a full load of classes and have to work on a little something called a dissertation, but in general, my next couple of weeks are going to feel a million times lighter without my 1AM study sessions. My newly-found free time has created an abundance of energy which means I now have sudden urges to redecorate my house, change my toothbrush, clean out my refrigerator, plan future vacations, schedule play dates with all my friends, and get back to blogging.
Before I start with today’s review, I have two questions for you:
- How long do you think is acceptable to wait to visit and review a restaurant? Like is it unfair to write a negative review within the first week of being open? Should restaurants be given time and grace to figure things out or should they be ready to impress right away? I keep hearing different feedback. I suppose that restaurants are bound to have a learning curve right after opening, but that’s also why they have weeks to train staff and have a soft opening. Restaurants close so quickly in Indianapolis that if you don’t go the first couple of months, you may never get to go at all! AND even if I return to a restaurant months later, my second impression is literally almost always the same (I’m wracking my brain trying to think of an exception, but I’ve got nothing). So, I guess that is my logic behind reviewing restaurants early in the game, but I’d love to hear other opinions.
- Does it change your opinion about the review if the writer was given a free meal in exchange for writing about it? I read so many blogs right now where ALL the reviews are positive because the reviewers only write about restaurants where they are fed for free or invited to a special preview. NOT ALL FOOD IS GOOD, PEOPLE! Some places I would never return if I’m paying with my own money, but I might be convinced if someone else is paying… Thoughts?
OK, enough of my rambling. On to the review.
Hedge Row American Bistro is one of Kimbal Musk’s (brother of Elon) restaurant ventures. The Indy location is the second extension of the brand (the other one is in Colorado), but Musk has several other food ventures with different concepts across the country. Musk has a passion for eating and serving real, honest food that is sourced locally whenever possible. Hedge Row is located on Mass Ave and serves lunch and dinner every day and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. They also take online reservations, which is always a plus for me. ALSO! Complimentary parking behind the building, which is very helpful since it’s located on such a busy street.
I got to check it out on a double date a couple weeks after the restaurant first opened. To start off, it was packed. I’m always curious where all these people come from, like where would they be eating tonight if this restaurant hadn’t opened yet? The atmosphere is very modern with indoor and patio seating. Menu is not too surprising with pretty typical New American offerings divided into categories of “snacks,” “vegetables,” “small, “large,” and “sweets.” The restaurant does boast a wood-fired grill and features multiple grilled options.
Our table started our dinner by sharing Harissa Honey Almonds ($4) and Hand Cut Garlic Fries ($6). Both were boring. A handful of nuts is a lame appetizer anyway, as it is more appropriate for a free bar snack and the garlic fries lacked any real garlic flavor despite seeing the chunks of garlic pasted on to the fries. For my entree, I originally ordered the Pan Seared Wisconsin Trout ($24), but they were out of it, so I tried the Pan Seared Salmon ($26). The salmon was served in a bowl with broth and a few pieces of bok choy. The flavor was OK, but a bit bland and I would have appreciated more substance to the accompaniments. Husband ordered the Pasta Bolognese ($19) and gobbled it up before I could try a bite.
We had multiple struggles during our dinner, such as two dishes being brought out 30 minutes before the other two, so 1/2 our party was done eating before the other 1/2 got our food. The restaurant was out of multiple food and drink options, so a couple of us did not get to try our first choice from the menu. Our service was also veerrryyyy slow, so we were all too tired of waiting to even attempt to order dessert.
Overall? The food wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t that great. I’ve paid less to eat much better meals elsewhere in the city. This is a place that I would go again if a friend was really in the mood, but I am not going to initiate a return visit. Maybe I just made poor choices? Or maybe it was just a bumpy start during the first couple weeks of business? I appreciate Musk’s drive to give us real, farm-to-table food in an elevated space–I just wish that food had a little more flavor.
Overall Rating: 3/5
Hedge Row American Bistro
350 Massachusetts Avenue, Suite 150
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Monday – Thursday: 11 am – 10 pm
Friday: 11 am – 11 pm
Saturday: 10 am – 11 pm
Sunday: 10 am – 9 pm
Anyone else been to one of Kimbal Musk’s restaurants?