Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

SEP-OCT 2016

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Entrees are priced under $21 and wine begins at $5 a glass. Tinker Street diners must be 21 or older, though space limitations restrict alcohol offerings to the curated wine and beer lists. Focus group feedback nixed an all-vegetarian concept, so Tinker Street features food choices for everyone: from wax beans to walleye. "It's like Caprese Salad," Main says. "You have the freshest, juiciest, ripest tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, beautiful olive oil and good salt. It's perfect! You don't think, 'I'm eating vegetarian.' You think, 'I'm eating good food.'" Chef Kellner celebrates "oddball ingredients" balanced with the classical French treatments he mastered at the Culinary Institute of America. "I love to help educate and have people discover new things," he says. Diners are known to become distraught to learn that one favorite menu item or another has disappeared. The chef recommends that people enjoy what they like as it is available, but to not become too attached. Only one menu item — the S'more Pot de Crème dessert — has stayed constant since the beginning. "It's like showbusiness," Main says. "Every day the curtain goes up and we get immediate feedback." Tinker Street's food offerings are reflective of the seasons and, therefore, in constant flux. Kellner strives to see how many different iterations he can draw from one ingredient. With pumpkin gnocchi, for example, he purees dumplings in pumpkin sauce and adds pumpkin seed pesto with garnishes of roasted pumpkin seeds along with pumpkin seed oil, shaved parmesan and fried sage. Speaking to the "amazing" influence of social media on the restaurant, Kellner says, "People will come in here that can't speak English at all, they will just pull up a dish and point. Like our Pork Belly with Kimchi. People will see that on Yelp or Instagram and come in just for that." Indicative of their appreciation for the locally grown, George and Main invested in an authentic Hoosier when they recruited Kellner (albeit a Hoosier with the solid French influence of his maternal grandmother). He grew up in Carmel and, as a 15-year-old, began working as a busboy for award- winning Indianapolis chef Steven Oakley. Kellner went to the Culinary Institute on Oakley's recommendation, focusing half of his four-year program on culinary studies, the other other half on management. Natural sirloin with creamed greens and marble potatoes 95

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