Midwest Living Review
The "R" in R bistro stands for owner-chef Regina Mehallick, named one of Indianapolis's top chefs and recent James Beard award semifinalist. The well-edited menu offers light, contemporary American cuisine peppered with international influences. Located in a former caster factory in Indianapolis's artsy Mass Avenue district, the decor reflects the neighborhood. The bar is made of corrugated metal, and the dining tables are stainless steel. Blonde wood, exposed-brick walls and exposed ceiling pipes abound. The floor is painted in color-blocks of earth tones, while pendulum lighting and funky paintings add finishing touches. But the food is what really makes R bistro stand out. The eclectic lunch menu changes seasonally, and the dinner menu changes every week. A basket of multigrain bread was delicious and hard to stay out of. Salads were fresh, with a mix of interesting ingredients such as bok choy, fruits and herbs, $7 and up. Among the tasty sandwiches we tried at lunch, the flavorful applewood-smoked bacon, watercress, avocado and sweet-tangy tomato chutney panini, $13.95, got top billing. The baked artichoke torta was light, less eggy than a thick quiche, $9.25. While Mehallick uses mainly local ingredients and area purveyors' products, a peek at the dinner menu showed $25 Tasmanian sea trout with lemon-dill cream entree, so there are some exceptions.The lunch menu has two stand-out desserts. The creamy buttermilk pie, $5.50, is R Bistro's version of the state's signature sugar-cream pie. But our favorite is the sticky-toffee pudding, $5.95, a steamed spice cake drizzled in caramel sauce and topped with fresh whipped cream.