I write this review, I'm contemplating -- and eating -- cilantro lime hummus
leftovers from Cornucopia Cafe.
sounds like something a pub chain might dream up just to bastardize into a
chalky, over-cilantroed mess. But it turned out to be one of the better things
at this new eatery in Broad Ripple.
you haven't heard of or seen Cornucopia Cafe, perhaps you remember its
predecessor, Food Paradise. Admittedly I never visited. Too many people called
it "Food Hell" for me to even get close. And from the exterior, the
place never quite looked clean to me. So perhaps it was some sick, daredevil
instinct that drew me to the turned-over location at Winthrop, just south of
Broad Ripple Steakhouse.
vibe had been different when I'd driven past in the last few weeks. The place
was somehow more sophisticated than its predecessor, despite the makeshift
paper "marquee" of the obvious, a cornucopia, lodged in the window.
Still, a single couple on the outside deck looked like they were enjoying
themselves the day I took the plunge and walked over to the chalkboard menu
etched with purple-filled wine glasses and twirling strokes on the ends of
final assurance that the former ghost had been banished was the substantial menu,
which is a Middle Eastern-Spanish mutt, a sort of very long continuum. Brie
en croute is on there too. Its
appearance is at best confusing.Better to position it as savory baklava, methinks.
a woman would introduce herself as Joya (phonetically, anyway), and describe
the menu as "world cuisine." That made my stomach drop. Then she
described some new recipes she was working on – more of the en croute variety -- and I asked if she was owner or chef.
"Oh no," she said. "He brought me on as a creative
consultant." That seems potential for a crowded and confused kitchen.
My worries were
momentarily assuaged by my kind server, who made recommendations with ease.
"Don't get the Greek tacos," she admonished. "Kofta. You will
like it." We went around a few more times like that, and she offered me a
glass of red house sangria on the house while I waited. It was decent; drier,
which I prefer.
I drank in the scenery
while I waited for my food. Inside was a sparse Mediterranean backdrop
conducive to relaxing with friends: White, lightly textured walls; ornately
framed mirrors; Moroccan influenced chandeliers. The cashier table was tiled.
It quite reminded me of Canal Bistro.
But the food has a
little maturing to do. My motley lineup included a crazy array that began with
a maza trio ($11.95) of the aforementioned hummus, fiery feta dip and roasted
eggplant salad. Two out of three hits ain't bad: The roasted eggplant salad,
subtly sweet and tender, was delightful. But that fiery feta dip was a greasy mess
whose coagulated texture reminded me of that football season dip of blended
chicken, cheese and buffalo sauce.
I couldn't stop myself
from ordering the cherry stout bbq pulled chicken sandwich ($7.95), thinking it
could be an odd standout hit. It could have been, and it certainly isn't bad:
The barbecue sauce was tasty, though a little too sweet, or just lacking a
balancing bite. And why pulled chicken? It was a little dry and stringy, and the grilled focaccia bread
That bread tasted like charbroil. A similar taste profile befell the desiccated
kofta burger's patty ($7.95).
These guys have only
been around for a couple of months, and are not significantly worse than most
area Greek options. With a little focus, they could be better.
6314 Winthrop Ave.
Mon - Wed: 11:00 am -
Thurs: 11:00 pm - 10:00
Fri - Sat: 11:00 am -
Sun: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Food: 2.5 stars
Service: 4 stars
Ambience: 3.5 stars