Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Runcible Spoon

I used to walk by the Runcible Spoon at least once a week for the first few months that I was in college, which was way back in the fall of 1993. Before I realized that there was no way I could afford to keep doing it, I used to go out to Vintage Phoenix every Wednesday after classes were over (assuming that I went to all of them, which was not always a given) to buy comics; and along the way, going straight out 6th Street, I would pass the Runcible Spoon and look at the hand-painted signpost with the picture of the owl from the poem. I never went in, but I passed by it all the time. I didn’t manage to eat there until almost fifteen years after that first fall semester in college.

It’s an old house converted into a restaurant, with high ceilings and creaky floorboards that evoke words like rustic and hobbit. I don’t know that I would have appreciated such a place those many years ago when I first walked by it, but it certainly appeals to me now. It’s unique, which is one of the many things that make independent restaurants superior to chains. Amy and I stopped in for lunch (what technically might have been termed brunch) on an early Sunday afternoon ovver a month ago now, the same trip to Bloomington that served up the pictures of the the Jordan River flooding and my review of Bistro et Crèpe.

Unfortunately, since it was so long ago that we ate there, I’ve forgotten some of the smaller details, especially concerning the service, which I seem to remember was pretty good, considering what time of day we were there and how busy they were. I also don’t recall what Amy ordered, and perusing the online menu isn’t ringing any bells. So...all apologies for such journalistic ineptitude, and for the relative brevity of the review and for tangential ramblings contained herein (see first paragraph).

I chose the Chef’s Choice omelette ($6.50), which contained, within its three eggs, corned beef, sautéed mushrooms, onions, and provolone cheese. I thought corned beef was sort of an odd thing to put in an omelette, but it worked pretty well. Everyone knows that ham works well with eggs - though come to think of it, so does steak - and corned beef isn’t all that far off from ham (both being cured with copious amounts of salt - the term corned beef derives from the original curing process, which used large pellets of salt that closely resembled kernels of corn). The ratio of corned beef to the other ingredients was not disproportionate, which can be a problem with omelettes sometimes. Also, cheese in an omelette often comes out not all the way melted, though that was not the case here. All of the flavors worked and played well with each other, making for a quite excellent omelette, though not the best I have ever had. That was an amazing little omelette at a place called Pigalle, in New York City. Runcible Spoon was a close second, though, and the ambience probably puts it above Pigalle overall, but damn...Pigalle makes a fine omelette.

We also shared a bowl of fresh fruit for $5.50, and if you think that better than five bucks is a bit steep for a bowl of fruit, you might be right - but you have also not seen this bowl of fruit, which can be glimpsed at the top of the picture of the omelette I ordered. This was a big, deep bowl of fruit, piled extra high - you could have taken a knife or a spatula and skimmed the fruit off to the level top of the bowl and come away with enough fruit - apples, pineapple, strawberries, cantaloupe, honeydew, blueberries, grapes - to mostly fill a second bowl.

After the meal, I got a hazelnut latté to go, as it would have been remiss of me to have brunched at a place where they roast their own coffee and not sampled the wares while I was there. However, we were heading out and about for some walking around Bloomington, and it’s always good to have a cup of coffee at hand when doing that, so I got it to go - and it was an excellent cup of coffee, far superior to the cup I had at the Copper Cup, the Starbucks clone I think I mentioned in a previous post somewhere. It had a strong, rich flavor that rivals the quality of the espresso drinks found here in Indianapolis at Lazy Daze, which is without question the finest coffee shop ever.

The Runcible Spoon, then, comes highly recommended, and I get the feeling that this is going to be a place that gets put into the regular rotation, along with Snow Lion and Café Pizzaria (Nick’s when Jackson isn’t with us) - certainly for the cup of coffee to accompany the walkabout, and maybe also for the meal when we’re in Bloomington. (The dinner menu has a roasted peanut soup with curry, coriander, and cumin that makes me want to cry just thinking about it.)


troy myers said...

you really are an unbelievably articulate and enjoyable restraunt reviewer. much like terry kirts, i feel your talent might be a little wasted here in chain city.

but regardless keep up the GREAT work.

Ana said...

Its funny but I don't think I ever went there either. I don't know if I would have appreciated it either. I guess I wouldn't have or I would have made a point to go.

Godfather Weilhammer said...

There are coffee shops in Bloomington? No way. Ahhhh brunch, it's not quite breakfast, it's not quite lunch but you get a piece of cantelope on the side, and while it does not fill you up, it's still a good meal!

Prime Mover said...

When did this turn into the food critic section? Where are my liberal rants?!

John-O said...

Oh, surely Al Gore is committing some crime against humanity to keep you occupied between my liberal rantings, right?

If Bayh gets the veep pick, though, I suspect I'll be a bit hacked.