Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
The Library
Indianapolis, IN
Review by Diana, Csillag, MaceVindaloo, SuSu, Bunchbox

We'd spent all day juggling cancelled flights and rescheduled ventures and overturned tractor trailer trucks. We straggled into the motel many, many hours after we'd originally scheduled to be there. Miraculously, we all arrived within 30 minutes of each other, and we were all hungry and exhausted, but happy to have survived the trip! What we really needed was something "restorative." A prime rib and steak place seemed to be a good idea; we'd previously observed that this is a steak town. Asking the woman at the front desk resulted in recommendations for Indy's and the Library. Both were very nearby. There was a lot of snow on the ground, and we could walk instead of hazarding getting onto the road again!

The entrance had a big sign up front, reminiscent of a gas station. We got closer and were confused by the quasi-Roman-style statue in a frozen fountain. And the "Absolute Mortgage" and "Key Liquidators" ... were they descriptions? It did make us wonder if those businesses actually had anything to do with the food?

The building has a central corridor with what could be described as "party rooms," and the decor consisted of wallpaper drawn to look like shelves of books and arched windows with 1980s era window treatments. The pub is in the back and the restaurant was a bunch of tables scattered around one of the party rooms. There was a salad bar against one wall. The tables and chairs are faux wood formica standard cafeteria issue, the type you see in just about every college food service. In a way, it's like grandma had set up some card tables in the newly decorated and empty basement of a too-big house.

We all ordered the prime rib, medium rare, with either bleu cheese potatoes (which turned out to be mashed), or baked potato. It came with jus, sour cream, and a dill roll which seems to have been heated up in a dry pan so that it browned only in one spot. The food was rather bland, but cooked properly — the steaks came out medium rare and tender.

The meal came with the salad bar offerings, and we all found it rather lame. It's not that the offerings weren't fresh. They were okay in that regard, but it was the offerings themselves. There were the run-of-the-mill standards of lettuce, eggs, beets, pasta salads, beans, bacon, tomatoes, grated carrots, etc. But the "features" of the salad bar were things like "cookies and cream" — crumbled oreos in a fluffy creme — and "seafood salad" which was a sliverred up surimi in a relish and mayonnaise dressing. A rather insincere looking employee declared those were the "best things on the salad bar!" We didn't believe him. We tiptoed around it, getting the stuff we tend to eat without being reminded of having to eat something disgusting at the table before getting to the actual good stuff. Chosen prudently, it did go well with the prime rib dinners.

The service was not great ... actually, it was rather bad, though maybe that's not quite fair. It was more like it was minimal, as if they had some idea of what service was supposed to be like, but didn't care or respect the customer enough to do even a lukewarm job of it. They weren't unfriendly, but neither were they helpful. They did their job, nothing more.

We concluded this attitude was endemic to the restaurant. Upon ordering dessert, we were told that there were no more coffee cups, and that we'd be getting our coffee in take-out cups. WTF?? But at the last moment, someone must have found some Irish coffee cups and served the coffee in that instead. Alas, a spoon did not come with it, so we pretended that the coffee and creamer was supposed to look like that!

We tried a lemon drop cheesecake and key lime pie for dessert. The former looked like it got its name because a lemon was dropped onto the slice. The latter looked like someone had stuck her spoon into the pie to taste it before it could be served, and then tried to cover the missing bit with whipped cream, but had missed and had instead cracked it into pieces, which they reconstructed on the plate. The key lime pie slice was abysmally small, too. It made one think that they had simply run out of slices, and these were the leftovers. They never should have left the kitchen, and instead we should have been told they were sold out for the night.

The bill came to $32 per person, including tax and tip and soft drinks. Not bad, but more than we felt the meal might have been worth. The prime rib was okay, but very pedestrian and ordinary. So we're still in search of a great prime rib place. At least this was not as much as some of those places downtown, where $32 would not even get you the steak itself!

Didn't Mama warn us about eating at a place which called itself a "pub" even though it had Greco-Roman statuary out front?? And a few hours after, that steak was a big knot of meat in the gut. Oog.

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