Appetizing Beginnings

In the past few months Evansville has enjoyed a variety of new restaurant openings, and one specific area of town that is quickly becoming a culinary destination deserves special mention — Haynie’s Corner Arts District.

The Dapper Pig (1112 Parrett St.) is a new hot spot in the area with a creative and eclectic menu, built around pork. The spring appetizer menu includes homemade pickles and pickled daikon radish; spicy beer cheese, made from their on-tap stout; chicken wings with a smoked fat garlic Ponzu sauce; and roasted bone marrow. There’s no comparison to the earthy, grainy, meaty flavor, and the gelatinous texture of roasted bone marrow. It’s absolute heaven spread over a fresh crostini or baguette.

Also near Downtown is a staple of Evansville for almost 30 years, Dilegge’s Restaurant (607 N. Main St.). Their slightly sweet red sauce is a source of debate between its fans and “traditionalists.” With many existing variations, and the earliest recipe for tomato sauce referenced in Antonio Latini’s 1692 cookbook, “Lo scalco alla moderna,” I would argue there is no incorrect way to prepare it. Try it with an order of their Toasted Ravioli.

Ninki Japanese Bistro (4222 Bell Road), a new restaurant in Newburgh, Indiana, features an inventive and fresh take on sushi and Japanese cuisine. One of my favorites is The Rock, which is thinly sliced strips of filet mignon marinated with sweet garlic soy and cooked by you on a 400-degree Japanese river rock. This is the only restaurant within 100 miles where you can experience this.

The newest restaurant to open in the Haynie’s Corner area is Walton’s International Comfort Food (956 Parrett St.), operated by Chef Tim Mills of Madeleine’s Fusion Restaurant. The Pho bowls, Shrimp Po’ Boy and Pork Belly Melt sandwiches, Asian rice bowls, and brick oven pizzas are just a few of the unique menu items being highly touted by local “foodies.” Pictured is the Fried Alligator, a special Mardi Gras appetizer that was so popular it recently joined the regular menu. The alligator is slathered in a sweet Cajun chili sauce.

At Jimmy Gao’s (formerly Jeng’s at 669 N. Green River Road), order their Peking Duck and Szechwan Dumplings, which are legendary. One of the must-have appetizers is the Hot and Sour Squid cold salad. The squid is perfectly prepared — neither chewy nor rubbery — and the mix of ginger, coriander, lemon juice, and red peppers give it a perfect flavor balance with more than a little heat.

Keep savoring life one bite at a time!

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