Whatever it is, it’s Good
By Karen Kennedy
It’s a coffee house. No. It’s a tapas bar. No. It’s a devastatingly hip SoBro hangout with craft cocktails. No.
Open Society Public House is all of those things and more. It’s impossible to define, but succeeding on pretty much every level. Open Society opened its doors at the end May. I can’t imagine that they’re not all exhausted by now, with the hours they keep. They’re open seven days a week, starting at 7:00 a.m. with coffee and pastries, serving straight through late night dinner.
We wandered in on a Thursday night at the pathetically unhip hour of 5:45. There were a few tables occupied in both the bar and the dining room. A guy who was drinking wine with friends at a table in the window broke away from the group, greeted us and told us to sit anywhere we were comfortable (that term is relative given the industrial metal bar stools which are a bit too small for most non-hipster bottoms.) We were feeling like we had wandered into someone’s private cocktail party uninvited and were considering giving up the ghost when our adorable server appeared and saved the day. She chatted about the cocktail list and the menu in a knowledgeable fashion and swept away to grab our drinks. While we waited for our craft cocktails to be crafted, we perused the menu.
The menu is focused on tapas-style Latin flavors and every item sounds better than the next. After intense negotiations (and a conference with our lovely server) we settled on the Pan Plano, which is a perfect summer plate of grilled, goat cheese crusted goat cheese topped with a fresh herb salad and tomatoes. The flavors were clean, perfectly balanced and extraordinarily satisfying given the simplicity of the dish. I could eat it every remaining day of my life.
We also tried the Croquettas, (lump crab cakes with micro greens and an avocado emulsion) which were again very simply prepared but with fresh and complementary flavors, beautifully presented. Other small plates choices at the top of the list for our next visit include: Albondigas (lamb and chorizo meatballs,) the Tamal (caramelized scallops with masa fresca) and the Mariscos (a tempura calamari and shrimp salad with fresh papaya.) Large plates include: roasted half chicken, escolar, filet and a Tomahawk steak for two.
Cocktails were fabulous. I had the Heel Toe Tap, which is a lovely medley of muddled blackberries, lemon juice, Earl Gray Tea and gin.
A full brunch menu is in the works but for now pastries and an interesting selection of coffee drinks from Tinker Street and Madcap Coffee) and teas suffice. Lunch is coming soon too. There’s also a Chowdown Midtown three-course prix fixe available through July 23.
Open Society Public House
4850 N. College, Indianapolis