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Monday, November 12, 2007

Buggs Temple — A Review

A friend visited Buggs Temple over the weekend and sends this report:

Buggs Temple is Chuck and Vicki Mack's new restaurant downtown. The place really was a temple, built in 1918, and sits at the head of the Indianapolis Water Canal, which makes for spectacular south-facing views of the city. The Macks and their partners have undertaken an extensive renovation that is beautifully done, including hand-crafted walls and contemporary lighting that highlight the original structure and many light fixtures and architectural items removed from the Indianapolis Athletic Club. There are three floors: a canal-level tavern; a casual dining room above it; and another bar and formal dining room above that. Each level is served by its own kitchen and all three have outdoor seating with a great view. Coming soon: Ritter's Custard, available from a window in the casual dining room or from carts outdoors on the canal level.

The formal dining room is designed to compete with other fine restaurants downtown. It's elegant and offers a separate small room for private parties. The chef is Brad Gates (the grandson of former Indiana Governor Ralph Gates), formerly of Puck's at the IMA. A pastry chef makes bread and desserts on-site. And they cure their own meats on-site too. The bar adjacent to the formal dining room has a separate, tapas-type menu, great if you want to stop in to admire the view but not spend quite so much. We ate in the casual dining room below; I recommend the roasted Brussels sprouts soup and the housemade bread but not the curried chicken salad (too heavy). The fish and chips are "Indiana-style" (catfish) and the macaroni and cheese is made with ziti. The bloody marys were perfect (note to Moe & Johnny's: please make them the same way!). So I give Buggs Temple a B++ for a return to the days of Provincial Kitchen fare and an A+ for the project itself. Go now before everyone finds out about it. When warm weather returns, it will be the busiest place in town.
M. Zane Grey, 10:35 AM