While visiting Indianapolis, we had numerous delightful experiences in the various establishments that have sprung up, focusing on local and organic ingredients. One unexpected and most surprising visit was discovering Cerulean, which is attached to the Alexander Hotel.
Upon entering, you pass a birdcage-like room for private parties, which was ideal, being nice and cozy, with walls acting as an attractive acoustical barrier. The rest of Cerulean’s décor was more contemporary and open.
New to the Indianapolis scene, Chef Caleb France and his team deserve to be watched and followed. As I explain our meal, you’ll understand a little why.
Rather than explain in detail our entire evening, I’ll let the photographs speak for our culinary adventure.
Norm and I frequently like to start with a Kir Royale and this was not an exception.
Our appetizers started with duck pastrami with rye macaroon, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing; and an Indiana cheese board with mostarda, fig, and house crackers.
Chilled peach soup which was a real winner with both of us.
I opted for scallops with snap pea purée, yellow squash, almonds and guancial. We both savored the chilled peach soup; zucchini, and lemon verberna.
Norm was eager to taste the duck breast with lemon fettuccini carbonara, crackling, tessa and marjoram, followed by a dessert too challenging to explain.
When we visited the kitchen to meet Chef Caleb, we were able to see his team in action. Its mission is, “Cerulean, at its best and at every level, is about communication, communion, and joy, while encouraging a modern sensibility that inspires.” The back of its menu lists suppliers and where their Indiana growers are located.
Having interviewed multiple hundreds of chefs, including many of Michelin star fame, I feel Caleb will bring a different type of recognition to Indianapolis. I’ve witnessed rising stars at Bocuse d’Or and feel Chef Caleb has the makings of one who will achieve being recognized by the James Beard Foundation. Hopefully, he will achieve Michelin status in his career. Gayot has named Cerulean as one of the ten best restaurants in the United States and we certainly agree. Having been on a press trip with Mrs. and Mr. Gayot, I will tell you that is not a designation that comes lightly. It is one requiring the highest measures of taste, service and innovation.
We did speak to some locals who were hesitant to try Cerulean, as they heard it was too different. However, those who did loved it. We’re certainly not local, but when we return to Indy, Cerulean will be on our list.
It seems The Alexander has put together a winning combination with its hotel, Plat 99 and Cerulean. It is certainly worth your time checking it out, should you find yourself in Indy. If you do, I hope you take time to send in comments. Luxe Beat likes to know what our readers discover.
Fortunately, we talked Chef Caleb to share his duck pastrami recipe. I was happy that he shared this particular recipe, as frequently you will be instructed to brine something, but not told how. Chef Caleb provides the insiders instructions.
Cerulean Duck Pastrami
Duck pastrami, rye macaroon, sauerkraut, Thousand island.
We corn the duck for 2 days and then vacuum it and sous vide for 3 hours.
Corned Duck Brine
56g TCM (TCM is a pink curing salt or tinted curing mix)
3 Tbsp pickling spice
Combine everything in a pot.
Bring to a boil.
Submerge whole skinless ducks.
2 Tbsp red pepper minced
2 Tbsp shallot minced
2 Tbsp smashed tomato
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 ½ Tbsp mae ploy chili sauce
1 Tbsp worchestchire sauce
1 Tbsp Dijon
1 Tsp salt
½ C fermeniti relish
1- ½ C mayo
Combine everything, add more mayo if necessary.
On a closing note, please let us know if you have tried Cerulean or try his recipe and let us know what you think. All of us at Luxe Beat Magazine appreciate your comments. We like to hear where you go and your suggestions for us to try.
All photography by Maralyn D. Hill.