Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

MAY-JUN 2018

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Arriving in time for lunch our first day, we dined at the in-house restaurant, WestEnd Kitchen & Bar. The majority of the culinary team is originally Southern, evidenced by the many modern yet hearty dishes on offer. Hungry from our travels, I was eager to sample their version of Nashville hot chicken, which they call the Crispy Chicken Sandwich. It didn't disappoint, as my clean plate amply attested. e restaurant and bar feature an open design running together off the lobby. It's a popular place, and not just with hotel guests. WestEnd has become a social hub for locals and visiting celebrities. So impressed with lunch, we returned for dinner where we were treated to some truly exemplary culinary treats. Particularly outstanding was the Caribbean-inspired spiny lobster with coconut, rice and caviar, as well as a traditional, yet ultra-modern, beer-can chicken with succotash and ale sauce. With cooking of this caliber, two visits were simply not sufficient to fully do justice to the talent in the kitchen. e bar program, designed by Beverage Manager Megan Cross, lately of LA's Old Lightning, offers a combination of classics and modern, cutting-edge cocktails with a twist. We enjoyed both a traditional Sazerac, which reminded me of my New Orleans hometown, and the more contemporary El Diablo, a zesty concoction made with tequila, ginger, cassis and lime. A concise, well-considered wine list presents a good selection of food-friendly bottlings in a variety of styles, and there's a nice selection of local beers to round things out. The hotel's lounge, Analog, might better be described as a hedonistic concert venue. Offering top-notch entertainment, it occupies the vast space that was home to a parking garage prior to the renovation, and is accessible from either the hotel or via the original ramp leading up from the street. We were delighted to listen to live music here in a setting that, in all my years of travel, is stunningly unique. Jen and I took several brisk constitutionals to enjoy the crisp and sunny early spring weather. After lunch, on one leisurely walk, we took in the sights and sounds of Lower Broadway, We were always glad to return to the Hutton, however, where we were impressed by the staff, who displayed the blend of professionalism, service and humor that can make all the difference between an average stay and a great experience. Following one afternoon stroll, we participated in an informal and most welcome wine tasting in a quiet area off the lobby, while listening to a fine collection of old vinyl on the vintage record player, getting us in the mood for some live music later in the evening. In the lobby itself, there's also a small counter, WestEnd Coffee Bar, where I became a temporary regular. The local coffee on offer, Parlor, was created in Brooklyn by Nashville-raised Dillon Edwards, and is now the city's premier local brew. I was in both mornings after working out in the spacious and well-appointed hotel gym, and enjoyed the quaint spot immensely. It wasn't easy to leave Nashville. Picking up some Parlor coffee and croissants to enjoy on the drive back home, I was reminded of the treats my aunt and uncle used to pack for us to eat on the road. We were headed north this time, toward a wet and still wintery Indiana, but it was with a warm glow and fond memories that would happily sustain us until our next trip to warmer climes. Perfect as the croissants were, however, I still found myself hankering nostalgically for a Mr. B. sl For more information, visit huttonhotel.com. slmag.net 91

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