Milktooth, Indianapolis, IN

A new, and now by far the best, breakfast/brunch spot in Indianapolis:

“Milktooth Chef Named among America’s Best New Chefs” by Liz Biro on

There were two semifinalists from Indianapolis for the 2017 James Beard Best Chef: Great Lakes award (all five finalists were from Chicago). One of these was Bluebeard, reviewed both here and three posts above in this thread. However, if you want breakfast at Bluebeard, you’re out of luck, as it’s open only for lunch and dinner. Milktooth, however, is open only for breakfast and lunch, and is *the* restaurant to go in Indianapolis to find an outstanding breakfast (Bluebeard and Milktooth are nearly across the street from each other).

Chef Jonathan Brooks has set up an extremely casual, high-volume operation that feels much more like Shapiro’s Deli than any sort of fine-dining establishment. Tank-top and shorts? No problem! I took a seat at the bar so I could watch the cooks, who were operating in high gear at around 1 PM on a Friday afternoon.

My delightful server, Jess, took my order – I got a Large Glass of Fresh-Squeezed Orange Juice ($3.50), and something similar to what Washingtonians might see at Tail-Up Goat: House Salmon and Cream Cheese Rillettes on House Challah ($14). Fourteen dollars seemed expensive for what might be akin to lox and cream cheese on a bagel, but this was more than that, and served in the style of Tail-Up Goat’s “Bread Courses.”

While I watched three of the cooks, mesmerized by the high-heat, high-speed, high-risk ballet they were dancing, I saw with my left peripheral vision a figure, creeping towards me very slowly – I turned, and it was Jess carrying my orange juice – very slowly, very carefully, as it was filled slightly over the brim, and one false movement on her part would have meant a spill, but she somehow didn’t spill a drop. I thanked her, bent down, and slurped my first sip, and it was perfect – I was now staring down sixteen ounces of fresh-squeezed perfection, and already deciding whether I would chug it and order a second one, or quench my thirst with water instead (I opted for the latter so as not to be a sea slug).

A couple minutes later, my Rillettes arrived – this is one case where a picture does some damage to the final product, because it had been pea-shooted to death. Now, I like pea shoots, but one of the three cooks, during their ballet, had grabbed a fistful of pea shoots with too much gusto, and the condiment was over-stacked. Not a problem, because I just pushed most of it aside, and made myself a little side salad, while enjoying a terrific rillettes on bread that was almost surely baked that morning. It was a great, knife-and-fork, open-faced sandwich. I should add that there are many more items on Milktooth’s menu which are more complex and interesting; I merely ordered what I was in the mood for, but their menu has just about anything you can think of – do take some time and look at their food menu – they have a good selection of beer and wine also.

Do not judge this fine open-faced sandwich by this poor photo!

It’s remarkable that Jess didn’t spill a drop, and be sure you’re aware that the rillettes sandwich was *much* better than it looks here. Both Bluebeard and Milktooth are two of about six very, very serious restaurants now in the Indianapolis area – this is slowly but surely becoming an important dining city, no doubt helped by the Convention Center. On my way out, I took $6, handed it to who appeared to be the head cook, and asked him to split it between the three of them – they deserved this and much more.

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