Mimi Blue: Carmel, Indiana

Mimi Blue is a tribute to the owners’ mother, Mildred (Mimi) Bluestein Kosene: Mimi Blue. The story has it that her every meal had to satisfy the whole family, including her husband and three sons. Mimi Blue’s cooking was her way of showing her family and friends love. That tradition carries over today in her namesake restaurant.

Location: Mimi Blue located at 12505 Old Meridian Street, Suite 170, Carmel, Indiana. Indianapolis also has two Mimi Blue locations. Find the restaurant’s website here.

During this time of social distancing and isolation, we still have to eat. And we still want to patronize local restaurants that we love, helping to keep them in business. We urge you to check the websites of the restaurants we’ve reviewed and to consider eating local as a way to help our communities.

Menu: The menu is all about the meatballs and how you like them. It’s your choice. The host presents you with a laminated menu and a cup of markers. Mark your selection right on the menu, like ordering in a sushi restaurant.

First, choose your desired type of meat and then decide on the quantity of each. Select from fried chicken, classic, turkey, buffalo turkey, beef, and their weekly special meatballs. The week I was there, the special was falafel. Additionally, you can choose from vegan options, like veggie, black bean quinoa, and wonderball. The wonderball was soy-hemoproteins, coconut and sunflower oil, potato, fennel, onions, and spices.

Then choose from nine different sauces–marinara, spicy Bolognese, honey siracha, bourbon BBQ, siracha aioli, mushroom gravy, garlic cream, spicy cilantro, and the special. The special the week I was there, was a tahini sauce that perfectly paired with the falafel ball. You can combine any meatball with any sauce.

If you can’t decide on the sauce, it’s not a problem; they’ll bring you tasting samples in metal shot cups with baby spoons so that you can be sure that you’ll get a sauce well suited to your tastes. My favorite was the bourbon BBQ sauce. It was slightly sweet and a nice pairing with the beef meatball, but it really depends on your tastes and mixing and matching to have just what you like is easily accomplished at Mimi Blue.

The chef marks vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options on the menu. Even though meatball is the menu’s focus, they have many options for vegetarian and vegan palates.

Thoughts: The atmosphere is casual elegance without being stuffy. The booths are brown leather, and they decorate the black six-panel walls with gold-framed photos of the horse races. Large globe light fixtures add to the elegance.

The meatballs are of the handmade artisan variety. The elegant square white plates, are ideally suited to the four meatballs serving size. Each divided plate has a quadrant holding one meatball and the associated sauce. The plates were designed so that the sauces don’t mix and ruin the specific flavor of that sauce. If you don’t like your different foods to touch, this is the restaurant for you.

If you’re not in the mood for meatballs, try the brisket. Making it is a two-day process, from a 100-year-old recipe that was more of a list of ingredients than a recipe. First, they marinate the beef brisket for 24 hours in a coffee marinade with onions, ketchup, garlic, and spices. Then they cook the brisket until it almost falls apart. Try some on a brioche slider bun with a pickle chip. If you want more than a sandwich, choose to serve it over or next to linguine, creamy polenta, or mashed potatoes.

After the entrée, you must try one of their house-made desserts. My favorite was the banana pudding sized for two. The banana pudding, a labor-intensive work of art made from three components—the banana mousse, a whipped cream white chocolate topping presented in a full, fluffy swirl, and a house-made nilla crumble. No, it wasn’t just ground up Nabisco vanilla wafers, the crumble is a unique house-made component to add a bit of textural crunch to an otherwise smooth dish. You’ll taste the love in this dessert.

Price Range: Sliders are $3.75 with one meatball and sauce on a brioche bun. Four meatballs, each served with sauce and baguette slices, are $12. Desserts run between $7.50 for the banana pudding to $8.50 for the chocolate ganache, buttercream cake. Dinner for two, including taxes and gratuities, is about $40.

Disclosure: Visit Hamilton County provided the author with a complimentary meal to facilitate this review.

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