I was excited to try Sangrita after hearing some buzz about a new tequila and tapas bar in Broad Ripple. Our friends, Dan and Lisa wanted to treat Jerry and me to dinner because we watched their daughter. I thought this would be a perfect new place to dine after their trip.
Because I had a feeling Sangrita would be busy, we arrived early (about 6:15 on a Wednesday). Erin promptly seated us at the big rustic wooden community table for 8. Another couple was seated a few minutes after us at the end of the table. The restaurant is cozy. The main room may seat 20. The walls are covered with different colors of wooden planks. The occupancy permit sign stated no more than 100. That most likely included space on the large deck. The bar had a large L shaped table. There weren’t any seats at the bar which I thought was strange, maybe they haven’t come in yet. I could easily enjoy sitting at the bar and watching the bartender prepare a premium craft drink for me. The wall behind the alabaster looking bar look like a work of art. It featured shelves lined with bottles of premium tequila.
At our table I was seated next to Lisa. It was difficult to hear what Dan and Jerry were saying because the speaker in the ceiling was directly above me. The music was a bit loud. The waiter quickly took our drink and starter orders. The starters were delivered to the table in about 15 minutes and it took about 20 minutes for the drinks to arrive.
We ordered the fundido. It’s an ooey gooey, cheesy bowl of wonderfulness – a perfect starter. Melted queso blanco topped with sautéed peppers and drizzled with red pepper oil and served with tortilla chips. You can’t go wrong with melted cheese top with something from Goose the Market. In this case, it was topped with Smoking Goose chorizo. There’s an additional charge to add the chorizo but the extra $2 won’t break my bank (or in this case Dan and Lisa’s bank).
We also tried the starter combo which wasn’t listed on the menu. The combo included the two house salsas, cowboy caviar and pickled carrots. Portion sizes of the salsas were on the small side. Even though the sweet orange helped tame the heat from the habanero, the roasted habanero & orange salsa was too much heat for me to eat by itself. I mixed in a little of the milder tomatillo & pasilla salsa and it was perfect. The pickled brine for the carrots was great and the carrots had a nice crunch. Black-eyed peas, corn, avocado, shallots are mixed together with Captain Jim’s hot sauce for the fresh tasting Cowboy Caviar.
We ordered our tacos about 6:45 and it took over an hour for them to be delivered to our table. The waiter informed us that the kitchen is really small and everything is made from scratch and takes longer. The ingredients for the tacos may be made from scratch but I’m sure they are made in advance and just have to be assembled after ordered.
Between the four of us, we ordered the skirt tacos, carnita tacos and the pollo mojo con tequila. We all agreed tacos were good but not great. Each taco was served in two soft corn tortillas which tasted freshly made. The meat was tender but under seasoned. I added some of Captain Jim’s hot sauce and a spoon full of the borracho beans to my tacos and they were yummy. My favorite part of the meal (besides having dinner with our great friends) was the borracho beans and the elotes.
Borracho in Spanish means drunken. In the case of borracho beans at Sangrita, Tecate beer is used in the pinto beans along with jowl bacon from Smoking Goose. Lots of flavor in the beans and they were perfectly seasoned.
The elotes are Mexican grilled corn on the cob which is slathered in a creamy paprika spiked mayo with lime and cumin then topped with queso cotija cheese. The plump ears of corn were beautifully charred and perfectly cooked so that with each bite the kernels explode with a sweet, nutty flavor from being grilled. The cobs are jammed onto a stick which makes it easier to eat but extra napkins are still necessary.
I’m currently giving Sangrita a 4 out of 5. Although the time to receive the food after ordering was too long, music a little loud, the hostess and waiter were great, the food overall was very fresh and flavorful. I attribute the time to receive the food to the fact that the restaurant is new. I look forward to going back to Sangrita. I think this restaurant could definitely be a 5 out of 5.