Milktooth in Fountain Square; Not just for Hipsters
By Karen Kennedy
Food Editor; Carmel City Magazine
In the wanton years of my mid-20s in Chicago, I loved to go out dancing. I was young and hip (or at least I thought I was) and so were my friends, and we stayed on the dance floor until the lights came up and the bouncers tossed us out. Then we went on the prowl for an all-night diner to have a 4 a.m. breakfast and recount the night’s exploits, after which we fell into bed and slept ‘til noon, at least.
Over the last several years I have tried to relive those wanton times by venturing out to a club and throwing myself onto the dance floor. Unfortunately, I’m not young and hip anymore (if I ever was) and after testing out and abandoning a few of my signature 80s moves (think “Tainted Love”) I consider retreating to the safety of a clubby hotel bar where I can sit on a banquette and retain some semblance of dignity. Yet the young hipsters around me on the dance floor are welcoming and polite. Clearly they’re living a paradigm that I can only observe and their moves are foreign to me (as well as physically impossible at this stage of the game) but they make room on the floor anyway, and I’m integrated into their party, forgetting the past and reveling in what’s happening right now.
This is how I feel every time I dine at Milktooth.
I’m not tall, thin, twenty-something, tattooed or pierced anywhere other than my two earlobes, but I love good food and good service, so here I am again, trying to be cool and hoping they’re not “86” the Dutch Baby Pancake.
Milktooth serves only breakfast and lunch, but if you’re looking for scrambled eggs and bacon or a Cobb Salad, you’re in the wrong place. To call it “cutting edge” would be passé. To call it “fine dining” would be flat-out wrong. And yet it’s all of those things.
Husband and wife team Jonathan and Ashley Brooks have created something really special in Fountain Square and the culinary world is taking notice. Jonathon was recently named one of the “Ten Culinary Superstars of Tomorrow” by Food and Wine Magazine, and travel writers from both coasts are flocking to Indianapolis to see what the hullabaloo is all about.
A dedicated pair, Jonathan is on the line of the open kitchen daily and Ashley can be seen bussing tables and chatting up guests in her impossibly hip glasses and high heels. The staff is educated, knowledgeable, efficient and friendly.
And the food is outrageous.
On a recent visit, we enjoyed Kumamoto Oysters, creamy Quinoa Grits with Whey, Bacon, Scallions and Blue Cheese, and Lemon Paprika Lox with a house-made Bialy. We shared bites of a lovely Heirloom Melon and Cucumber Salad with Cashews and Blue Cheese accompanied by Cinnamon Raisin Toast. We fought over the remaining crumbs of a delicate Strawberry-Lemon Curd-Ricotta Scone. And we chose these items after agonizing over the Fried Calamari and White Radicchio Salad and the signature Sweet Tea Glazed Fried Chicken Wings. Every dish was perfectly executed, nuanced and delicious.
The menu changes constantly as Brooks’ team of culinary whiz kids continue to blaze new trails. But be assured that whatever you choose will be seasonal, creative, locally sourced and unlike anything you’ve ever considered having for breakfast or lunch before.
A few caveats:
>>> The food does not typically arrive all at once, so be prepared to dig in and share whatever arrives first with your table companions.
>>> The menu carries the disclaimer that modifications to menu items will be “politely declined.” So don’t think you’re going to talk them into a watered down version of something on the menu. You’ve got to go all in. Put on your big girl or boy pants and try it. You’ll like it.
>>> And yes, there will be hipsters. But there will also be a table of six old guys having coffee and talking politics. A couple of high-powered business people making multi-million dollar deals at the bar. And a fifty-something red head at a table by the window, acting cool and devouring a Dutch Baby Pancake.
534 Virginia Avenue, Indianapolis
7:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m. Wednesday through Monday (closed Tuesdays)
Karen Kennedy is the owner of Small Potatoes, an Indianapolis-based catering and event planning company. She is the creator of the Indie Indy Foodie Tours, a culinary adventure that takes diners on a luxury limo coach to visit four independently owned restaurants in one night, while meeting the chefs and owners and sampling their best dishes. More information can be found at www.smallpotatoesindy.com.