Review: Tulip NoirAuthor: Indy Food Geek | Filed under: Food Reviews, Location: Indianapolis, IN
1224 86th Street West
Indianapolis, IN 46260
We just moved out of Broad Ripple to the franchise-happy northern suburbs of Indy and we have been craving that unique kind of experience we could get in our old neighborhood. So while out on a mission for groceries early Sunday morning, we stopped for breakfast at Tulip Noir, a relatively new breakfast/lunch café near 86th St and Ditch Rd. I had heard surprisingly little buzz about this place when it opened other than a few not-so-stellar reviews on other blogs, but I was willing to give it a try. Most of the complaints I had heard were directed at the service and the atmosphere, which can certainly ruin an experience, but I’ll be the first to admit that the usual restaurant service model does not always sit that well with us. We tend to prefer the bare minimum in terms of check-ins and chatter, so I often find that we can’t fully judge a restaurant base on their service.
The restaurant itself looks like an advertisement for Ikea or CB2. Stark white, minimally adorned, yet kind of quaint. On a bright spring morning, the place was alive with couples, large families and a surprising amount of children, which is odd since some past reviews have lambasted Tulip Noir for not being kid-friendly. Must be something about drawing on their perfectly white tables. Everyone in the dining room seemed perfectly comfortable and happy, so I don’t see what all the fuss was about.
We shared a pot of French Press coffee which arrived with a small hourglass timer and instructions from our server. Some may find this pretentious, but I found it cool. Their Sunday brunch menu had a surprising amount of choices, but it became obvious quite quickly that Tulip Noir does not strive to compete with Denny’s. Side dishes (including toast) are a la carte and portion sizes are “restrained.” This isn’t a greasy spoon diner and should not be judged as such. There is a definite femininity to the whole experience, but there were plenty of men dining around us.
What I Got: Sam’s Deluxe Eggs Benedict, $8.75.
I wasn’t really in the mood to be weighed down by my breakfast, but the Eggs Benedict looked so enticing. I opted for the meat-free version as a compromise. With all that butter and egg yolk, who needs the extra cholesterol? Not this guy. Sam’s Deluxe Eggs Benedict consisted of a broccoli-cauliflower fritter, a slice of tomato, a poached egg, hollandaise sauce, fresh peas and a handful of arugula. Undoubtedly, a Benedict purist would scoff at this unholy abomination. Frankly, I don’t care! This was a savory masterpiece (my exact words while chewing). The fritter on the bottom was so delicious, despite not being terribly crispy. The egg, MY GOD, the egg. Folks, I have never had an egg poached so perfectly and I really doubt that you have either. It was soft, pillowy, and the yolk was beyond perfect. The hollandaise was so good that I had to steal some toast from my wife to harvest the last of it from my plate in a manner suitable for public view. Everything worked perfectly and it struck a chord that was music to my ears on that particular morning.
Would I Buy It Again? Yes. Yes. YES! I would’ve paid twice the price for this breakfast. The ingredients were extremely fresh and so un-muddled that every flavor sang a note that built to a clean and harmonious chord. I’m gushing here, I know, but this was really good. My wife enjoyed her breakfast as well, but I’ll be honest that I didn’t take many mental notes about her food. The service during our visit was perfect. The stark atmosphere that some find less-than-friendly just provided a blank canvas upon which bright, flavorful food was showcased. We will be back and we will be bringing people with us next time.
-Indy Food Geek