Three sisters comment on Indianapolis restaurants and other local food venues
Friday, February 10, 2012
A Sanctuary in Zionsville
The Restaurant in the Sanctuary in Zionsville, Indiana, offers an unusual dining experience. This restaurant is housed within an 1800's Victorian church that has since become Nancy Noel's art gallery, museum and luncheon cafe. The cafe serves lunch from 11-4 PM and showcases chef Gyslain's beautifully hand-painted chocolates and his breads and pastries. Corrin and I headed to Zionsville to pick out a Noel painting for ourselves. We decided to stay for lunch after settling on a typical Noel piece that features Amish themes. Unfortunately, we were visiting on a day that was also chosen by a local school, so the place was swarming with high school kids who had devoured many of the hand-crafted pastries. Even though the cafe was littered with lingering students and their used dishes and glasses, we managed to find a quiet and clean corner soaking in the art work which surrounds the large luncheon room. It is a peaceful cafe that fills the senses with wonderful architectural elements and whimsical paintings. The waitress was very attentive, rushing over to serve us. We ordered the espresso barbequed pork sandwich (pulled pork marinated in cinnamon, and other warm spices and paired with an espresso barbeque sauce), a side of beet salad, garden vegetable soup, and a side of scalloped potatoes with leeks. For dessert we picked out two of the mousse pastries from the display case. While waiting for our order I noticed that on the table they provided several exotic sea salts to try - a very nice touch. I also caught sight of a small and magical-looking seating area above the main room where one could sit and have lunch. Our food promptly arrived, even after such a full house, and was beautifully displayed on the plates. Everything was piping hot. I liked the smooth and creamy soup that had a appealing burnt orange color. My sister liked her pork sandwich but I thought the flavors were odd. The beet salad was flavored with curry and was enjoyable. We agreed the scalloped potatoes and leeks were delicious but extremely salty to the point of being inedible! Not much of a chance of utilizing the special salts on the table. The slices of a homemade baguette with the very fresh butter served with our lunches were delicious. We were divided over the desserts. The mousse cakes were gorgeous! The taste of these art pieces, though, did not match up to their fantastic appearance. The Sacher was a raspberry chocolate creation, which we did not finish, and the other, the Bresilian, was a coffee-chocolate flavored concoction that was pretty good. The mousse inside both was grainy rather than smooth. In summary, The Restaurant was a very pleasant lunch spot but the food was inconsistently good.