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Our 2019 Super Bowl Deserted Restaurant Getaway

Cuban Creme Brulee!

I’m a grown-up and I can skip to the dessert photo if I wanna. Behold the Cuban Creme Brûlée — espresso custard topped with caramelized sugar, Chantilly cream, shaved chocolate, and raspberries. 11/10 would gladly eat first next time.

Each year our family has indulged in our own special Super Bowl tradition: while the rest of the world is watching football and swapping snacks and beers with best friends and chatting about The Sports, we have dinner at a fancy restaurant. Between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., anyplace without a large-screen TV is usually empty and totally ours for the taking.

Usually we’ll try someplace we’ve never been elsewhere in town, but this year we stuck to Indianapolis’ west side and head up the road to Rick’s Cafe Boatyard, where my son and I hadn’t been in many, many years. Once known as Rick’s Café Americain Restaurant, it’s located on the shore of sometimes scenic Eagle Creek Reservoir. Over half their menu is seafood, but they also offer chicken specialties, artisan pizzas, and fancy sandwiches to pacify any fish-haters or tag-along allergic diners.

As expected, only a few other families were on the premises. For lack of competing tables, service was speedy and friendly. We did our best to ignore the half-dozen TVs hanging from the ceiling and threatening to keep us in the loop on a sport none of us follows. We did catch a glimpse of Gladys Knight singing the National Anthem, but otherwise focused on fun conversation and mostly fine food.


Ricks Cafe Boatyard!

We wondered why they’re not called Rick’s Boatyard Café. We have no good theories.

Purple Wine Rack!

Alcohol isn’t our thing, but their foyer wine rack is pretty.

appetizer!

The “Chef’s Combination” appetizer: Tempura’d calamari with ancho chili aioli; jumbo fried shrimp with a jalapeno-mango glaze; and chicken cordon bleu fingers with a creamy, faintly mustard sauce.

Mahi Mahi!

My dinner: mesquite grilled mahi mahi with stir-fried vegetables, Asian pesto, and soba noodles in a black bean soy vinaigrette, all topped with sesame seaweed. For some reason the camera really wanted to focus on the seaweed.

Not pictured: Anne’s or my son’s meals. I didn’t want to go too Instagrammy with all of this, like that one fantastic season-one episode of Atlanta. My son gets a little sensitive whenever we start acting too much like eager tourists in our own hometown, so I compromised by staying on my side of the table.

Eagle Creek Sunset!

Sunset on Eagle Creek Reservoir.

My only complaint: the black bean soy vinaigrette was about 90% salt and swamped a lot of the other flavors on my plate. Otherwise, a lovely meal for all involved.

And then we went home and waited for all the Super Bowl movie commercials to appear on YouTube, also per family tradition. So far the new Avengers: Endgame spot is winning for me, but the night isn’t over yet. And the plethora of Maroon 5 jokes on Twitter make for a fun kind of digestif.

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