Da Blue Lagoon
Last year Dave and I went to Jamaica for a long weekend. It was March and therefore horrible in Indianapolis. Jamaica was everything it was cracked up to be. The weather was mid-80s perfect, the water was azure blue, the people were nice, reggae wafted from every corner, and the rum was flowing. It was my first visit to one of those all-inclusive resorts where you stick a flag in the sand and someone brings you a drink. Heaven couldn't possibly be any better.
And then there was the food: jerk chicken, fried plantains, ginger beer, tons of fresh fish, specialties like ackee, and ubiquitous Red Stripe beer. Tasting those flavors brought back the entire experience, which is probably why I like Da Blue Lagoon so much.
Da Blue Lagoon is nestled between the Red Key and the Oasis Restaurant at 52nd and College, in the former home of Rob & Jay's Chippy (great location, good atmosphere, terrible food. R.I.P.). The decor is a little spartan, with white and chrome tables and chairs and a counter in the back. The Jamaican vibe is acknowledged with deep blue and green walls and two weird flat screen images of moving tropical landscapes, replete with flowing water and bird sounds. Gentle reggae plays in the background. The mood is broken only by the slow-to-close front door, which emits blasts of decidedly un-Jamaican 30 degree air directly into the dining room.
After starting with drinks at the nearby Aristocrat (recommended if you'd like a cocktail, as Da Blue Lagoon doesn't yet serve alcohol), Dave and I were quickly seated by a friendly server and offered photocopied menus (slightly worse for the wear with grease and food stains). We started with a bottle each of Old Jamaican ginger beer, which was spicy, gingery, and pungent. I wasn't grooving on the plastic barware, but it was overlookable.
Dave and I started with the Montego Bay appetizer sampler platter ($8.95), which comes with one Jamaican patty, jerk wings, coconut shrimp, and plantain chips. The spicy beef patty was fiery, the shrimp were hot and crispy, and Dave declared the plump, juicy, smoky, tangy wings "the best wings I've ever had." Our server told us that the wings are marinated for three days and then slow cooked over indirect heat. Impress the hell out of your friends and bring a takeout order to your next gathering. The only disappointment was the plantain chips, which were out-of-the-bag bland and generic.
We tried three entrees: oxtail stew, jerk pork, and curried goat. Don't order the oxtail stew on a first date - it's not pretty to eat. The rich fatty meat is wrapped around the tail bone and you kind of have to gnaw it off. The stew is a simple one with a rich dark gravy and butter beans. The curried goat was prepared in the same fatty gravy vein, although there wasn't a very pronounced (or really much of any) curry flavor. Once again the standout was the jerk pork, which was as smoky, tangy and tender as the jerk wings. The entrees were generous and accompanied by some wonderful sides, including rice and beans, buttery steamed cabbage, broccoli, and carrots, slabs of fried plantain (one of my all time favorite foods) and festival rolls, which are cornmeal and sugar dumplings. Dinner entrees range from $9-13; you get a lot of food for your money.
Other entrees include red snapper, tilapia, shrimp prepared as you like it, and coconut-curry chicken. I really wanted to try a Jamaican classic, the ackee and codfish, but they were out of it.
If you want something a little lighter, they also have a small selection of sandwiches, salads and wraps.
Their few desserts (rum cake, ice cream) sounded good but we didn't have any room after the rich entrees.
The non-alcoholic drinks run to the traditional, with smoothies, icky-sweet Ting soda, and the aforementioned yummy ginger beer. As soon as they get the whole liquor thing sorted out, wine and beer will be coming, including (say it with me) Red Stripe...mmmmm.
I can imagine spending a lot of time here in the summer, sitting outside in the warm breezes sipping on a Red Stripe and munching on chicken wings. It'll be the next best thing to actually being in Jamaica. Mon.
5168 North College Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46205
TrackBack URL for this entry:
- About Us
- Board and Video Games
- Day Trips
- Events & Festivals
- Film & TV
- Geek Bling
- Hoosier Oddities
- Indianapolis In the News
- Indianapolis Living
- Kids' Stuff
- Local Attractions
- Local Celebrities
- Museums and Visual Arts
- Night Life