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Chef Joseph's in the News.

Chef Joseph's - The Password is Swanky
Muncie Magazine - December 2014

Chef Joseph’s at the Connoisseur Room
Elizabeth J. Musgrave

What’s old is new once again in Indianapolis. The once most desired place to be seen and dine in Indy, The Eagle’s Nest at the top of Hyatt Regency downtown became a been-there-done-that spot. The décor remained unchanged and the menu suffered.

Hopping out of a cab I dart under an elegant burgundy awning just as the soft raindrops become a torrential downpour. Opening the polished wood door I step into another era. Sweeping a glance across the Rat Pack-esque room, I smile gently ~ this will do for dinner and waiting out the Midwest thunderstorm.

Chef Joseph’s at the Connoisseur Room breathe another generation ~ another lifestyle. A style of living in which gentlemen wore jackets, hats and shined shoes; they opened doors, offered an arm and held wraps for their lady. And oh the women … they loved being women. And the men loved them for it.

Shaking free the daydreams I bring myself back to the moment and request a table, preferably near the bar. A handsome gentleman whisks me to an upper level overlooking the elegance of the main dining area, opens my linen napkin and suggests a cocktail before dinner.

Glancing over my shoulder surreptitiously, I expect to spot Dean Martin lounging against a friend’s table or catch Rosemary Clooney at the gleaming baby grand belting out a torch song. Settling back against the garnet upholstery, I decide to order a drink created by the award-winning mixologist Sara Yager and request the wine list for dinner drink options.

Chef Joseph Heidenreich brings his extensive global culinary experience to Indy, earning a loyal following of his casually elegant fusion style. Keeping things noncomplicated and allowing the flavors to speak for themselves has earned him numerous stars, awards and positive reviews.

The appetizer menu offers a nice variety without getting too lengthy. The Baked Goat Cheese ($11.95) proved to be a great success due to the in-house made roasted pepper tomato sauce, with grilled pizza crust wedges and sliced almonds. Other selections I tried include Lamb Conflit Taco with onion, cilantro, feta and tomatillo sauce ($10.95), and Crab Cakes topped with sushi glaze and mango pickled ginger salsa ($12.95).

Entrees, again, give options without trying to be too many things to too many people. Sautéed Trout with butter crab, kale slaw, bacon and green apple ($21.95), Shrimp with fried polenta, zucchini, tomato, peppers, onion lime tequila cream sauce ($24.95) and Grilled Filet Medallions accompanied by roasted fingerling potatoes tossed with Asiago and truffle oil, asparagus and brandy demi ($38.95) are a few dinner items.

Desserts are ever changing based upon the season and Chef Joseph’s whimsy.

Being seen here is kin to being in the right spot of any metropolitan city. All the tony theatergoers stop by for after-performance beverages and live musical talents. An insider’s spot to be certain, and once you have been you will want to become a regular.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a dining and wine columnist for two magazines; a food, wine and travel features magazine writer and the Travel & Leisure Adviser on FOX 59 Morning News Show. She provides her expertise for discreet inspections with full reports of all hospitality and tourism businesses of all sizes and levels. Contact: ElizabethJMusgrave@gmail.com or Elizabeth@gottago. us. Connect with her at GottaGo. us, Twitter @gottago, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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For Valentine's Day dining, try these romantic spots
Indianapolis Star - February 6, 2013

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If you want to impress your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day, the best place to start is the perfect dinner reservation. We’ve rounded up 10 of Indianapolis’ most romantic restaurants to get you started. The flowers, gifts and cards are up to you.

Chef Joseph's at the Connoisseur Room
115 E. Ohio St., (317) 600-3577, www.chefjosephs.com

Dark wood accents and red-velvet banquettes contribute to the romantic atmosphere at this restaurant, housed in a historic building from the 1920s. “It’s like a speakeasy,” said general manager Jan Robertson. There’s no special Valentine’s Day menu, but the regular menu includes entrees such as steak, sauteed chicken and Tuscan eggplant ravioli.

Dunaway's Palazzo Ossigeno
351 S. East St., (317) 638-7663, www.dunaways.com

If you opt to spend Valentine’s Day here, ask for a table in the cozy Fireplace Room, said general manager Connie McDonald. The Indiana Oxygen Building “just has a lot of history to it,” she said. The menu focuses on culinary classics such as crab cakes, filet mignon and veal chops. Also look for special Valentine’s Day cocktails.

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Chef Joseph's on Real Scene TV
June, 2013

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Top Five of 2012: Local Dining
Nuvo NewsWeekly - December 28, 2012

This list offers a mixture of establishments that opened up in the past year, as well as restaurants that have been around a little longer, but were recently reviewed for the first time in NUVO. They all come highly recommended.

5. Jamaican Style Jerk
Situated next to a liquor store on the east side of Keystone Avenue, Jamaican Style Jerk serves a short menu of deliciously authentic island dishes in generous portions. There's only one table outside, so unless you're either a fan of traffic fumes, or have no other choice but to eat in the parking lot, grab your to-go bag and either head home or to the nearest park. You'll want to carry off the exceptional pork ribs, cooked low and slow to a dark, almost caramelized ochre, not quite falling off the bone. And come back for the slow-cooked jerk chicken, which is little short of perfect, and spicy, savory patties.

4. Bru Burger
Excellent burgers and a first-rate beer list from the folks who brought us Mesh. Everything at Bru is prepared in-house, including the bread, ketchup and mayonnaise. The burgers are all made to order from a proprietary blend of hormone-free sirloin, chuck and brisket. The chicken is Amish-raised. Certainly you pay a little more for meat of this quality ($8 to $11 for a burger), but it's worth every penny if you care about provenance. Appetizers are substantial, so count on sharing. Burgers are ideally proportioned, so that every ingredient can be tasted in a single bite.

3. DeeGusto's
Located a few blocks west of the Indianapolis Zoo, DeeGusto's offers a great deal of pleasure for not a lot of money, turning out lively, fresh dishes designed to bring a smile to your face and a grin to your wallet. The flavor doesn't come from the overdose of salt and sugar usually found in southern comfort, but from top notch ingredients and masterful application of seasoning. And the price is right - $10 gets you a generously portioned main course, cornbread and a choice of two sides, and for $3 you can savor the selection of house-made desserts.

2. Chef Joseph's at the Connoisseur Room
Unconstrained by the former limitations of a strictly Italian menu, Chef Joseph Heidenreich is now able to let his imagination run wild. Open for lunch and dinner, this sumptuously-appointed dining room offers a concise menu drawing upon wide-ranging global influences. Expect anything from a duck meatball sandwich to a perfectly roasted flounder, or Memphis-style pulled pork with Puerto Rican black beans. This is very high quality comfort food with nicely judged portions, harmonious and yet seemingly disparate ingredients: the kind of food you think might not work at first, but then turns out deliver an explosive punch of flavors and textures. It's also reasonably priced.

1. Matt the Miller's Tavern
The third iteration in a mini-chain (the other two being in Ohio), Matt the Miller's is a bustling and pleasantly noisy joint in the Carmel Arts and Design District that does an excellent job of skirting the obvious choices in favor of a more adventurous and refreshingly complicated menu. Standouts on the appetizer menu have to include the cheddar grits with sautéed shrimp in a spicy cream sauce and the sweetly spicy calamari in a crunchy peanut, chili and lime sauce. Save room for a really splendid, and quite enormous, banana bread pudding, fashioned from a mixture of brioche and croissant and served in a boozy whiskey sauce.

by Neil Charles


Holiday dining: Try these Indy-area spots
Indianapolis Star - November 28, 2012

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Capture the nostalgia of the holiday season with these 10 historic dining options, from Victorian holiday teas to down-home farmhouse feasts.

L.S. Ayres Tea Room
Indiana State Museum, 650 W. Washington St., (317) 232-1637, www.indiana museum.org

The L.S. Ayres Tea Room at the Indiana State Museum -- a re-creation of the department-store tearoom that served diners from 1905 to 1990 -- offers breakfast with Santa on most Saturdays and Sundays in December ($26.50 for adults, $16 for children). Enjoy a buffet meal with characters such as Mrs. Claus and Raggedy Ann. Afterward, visit Santa, ride the Santa Claus Express, and explore galleries focused on Indiana history.

A Candlelight Evening on Delaware Street
Multiple locations, (317) 631-1888, www.bhpsite.org

This Dec. 28 fundraiser combines fine dining with a historic holiday home tour ($75). Start with hors d'oeuvres at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site (1230 N. Delaware St.), then head down the street to the University Club (970 N. Delaware St.) for a dinner of pork roast and port sauce, new potatoes and asparagus. Additional stops include the Bals-Wocher Home (951 N. Delaware St.) and the home of one of Harrison's law partners (1101 N. Delaware St.).

Chef Joseph's at the Connoisseur Room
115 E. Ohio St., (317) 600-3577, www.chefjosephs.com

Located in a 1920s building that originally housed the Indianapolis Philharmonic Orchestra, Chef Joseph's at the Connoisseur Room is known for its monthly wine dinners. The holiday-themed Dec. 13 dinner, "Holiday Bubbles and Big Reds," is a six-course meal that includes sausage-stuffed pasta shells, root-vegetable risotto, peppered lamb chops and candied-ginger crème brulee ($60).

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Dinner + Date: Chef Joseph's + 'The House That Jack Built'
Indianapolis Star - November 24, 2012

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Date: The House That Jack Built

It's the last weekend to see Indiana Repertory Theatre playwright-in- residence James Still's new drama about a Thanksgiving gathering in Vermont and what the participants learn about each other -- around the table and away from it. 4 and 8 p.m. today, Upperstage, IRT, 140 W. Washington St., $25-$55, www.irtlive.com, (317) 635-5252.

Dinner: Chef Joseph's at the Connoisseur Room, 115 E. Ohio St.

Lush and masculine, Chef Joseph's ostensibly exists for the business lunch, though it serves a great dinner, too. The titular chef is Joseph Heidenreich, who helmed Agio, the beloved Massachusetts Avenue restaurant, until it closed in 2011. Chef Joseph's menu is an ever-changing lineup composed of small plates, salads, sandwiches and heartier entrees: beef brisket with mashed potatoes ($16.95), New Zealand mussels ($15.95) or Tuscan eggplant ravioli ($16.95). Dinner is served until 10 tonight; for reservations, call (317) 600-3577.


New noshing options surround the Circle of Lights
Indianapolis Star - November 20, 2012

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The crowds arrive, the music plays, the lights come on and the Circle of Lights celebration kicks off another holiday season.

But what then?

Here are a few new Downtown Indy options to keep your evening going.

The kid-centric Circle of Lights crowd disperses pretty quickly, but if you've got young ones in tow, go ahead and let them drag you into Rocket Fizz, the candy and soda shop that opened last summer at 52 Monument Circle. You'll find all sorts of unusual and retro candy, plus such soda flavors as cotton candy, gingerbread, candy cane and Christmas mint -- not to mention bacon soda and a green apple jalapeno variety.

But those looking to light up their evening with adult libations should head to The Libertine Liquor Bar, open for more than a year at 38 E. Washington St. The cocktails are complex and delicious (though admittedly pricey), and the recently expanded menu now goes well beyond small plates. To drink, try the gin-focused Screw & Bolt ($11) or the bourbon-based Lonely in a Limo ($11). As for apps and dinner, start with bacon flight ($8) or deviled eggs ($8), then opt for P.E.I. mussels ($15), chanterelle pot pie ($17) or baby octopus a la plancha ($14).

Just looking to grab a burger and a beer?

Try the recently opened Punch Burger, 137 E. Ohio St., where prices start at $5.25 for a build-your-own burger. The most expensive option is the triple-cheese "burnt cheese burger," ($6.95), served with a ring of burnt cheese around the patty. You'll also find such varieties as Texas- and Thai-inspired burgers, all made with local, grass-fed beef. Wine and local craft beer is available as well.

Speaking of beer, Ralston's DraftHouse, 635 Massachusetts Ave., offers plenty of craft beer options. Located in the former Agio spot at 635 Mass Ave., Ralston's, which opened in September, seats 170 and features 24 beers on tap, including local brews. And the menu of appetizers, flatbread, sandwiches and entrees is designed to pair with the beers. Prices prove reasonable, with appetizers ranging from $5 to $10, sandwiches from $8 to $10.

Another burger-centric option, Bru Burger Bar, opened last December at 410 Massachusetts Ave. with a menu of gourmet burgers, salads and sandwiches (as well as fries, onion rings and milk shakes), with prices ranging from $8 to $11. Bru also offers more than 16 local craft beers on draft, plus 40 bottled varieties.

If you've got a breadsticks and pizza crowd, check out Coal Pizza, which opened early this year at 36 E. Washington St. With a 900-degree coal-fired oven, the restaurant offers breadsticks, calzones, sandwiches and pizzas (from $8 to $15), with the characteristic Neapolitan char. And it's open late -- well past midnight -- on weekends.

If you're looking for something a little more luxe, Chef Joseph's at the Connoisseur Room, 115 E. Ohio St., offers a small menu but plenty of atmosphere. Open for just about a year, the restaurant features dark wood, white tablecloths and cushy banquettes that add to the upscale vibe, but prices on the globally inspired menu aren't outrageous. The small-plates menu tops out at $9.95; entrees range from $15.95 to $26.95.

Contact Star reporter Jolene Ketzenberger at (317) 444-6755, follow her @JKetzenberger on Twitterand subscribe to her updates on Facebook.


Midwest Living Magazine Review
October 11, 2012

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This "Mad Men"-inspired eatery offers delicious, locally sourced meals at 1960s prices.

Located in the historic Indiana Music Company building, swanky Chef Joseph’s at the Connoisseur Room looks plucked straight out of the 1960s—dark oak furniture and red velvet decor, Sinatra wafting from hidden speaker.

The menu at this executive-dining lunch and dinner spot changes monthly but always emphasizes local ingredients. Chef Joseph Heidenreich’s whimsical new takes on old favorites successfully marry ingredients you wouldn’t normally expect to see together. For instance, the sushi burger is a hamburger topped with avocado, cream cheese, peppered bacon and wasabi mayo, and a simple flatbread appetizer features jamlike tomato chutney, roasted garlic puree and blue cheese.

The freshness of the food shines through in every course. A chicken breast with prosciutto and Swiss cheese was good, although the cheese got a bit lost in the red wine sauce. Corn polenta was smooth and slightly sweet thanks to an unexpected orange garnish. Desserts include the likes of custard topped with perfectly ripe berries and Godiva chocolate cheesecake. Prices are reasonable for food of this caliber: Expect to pay $5 to $10 for an appetizer or salad, $10 to $17 for an entree. Desserts ring in under $10.

Robert Annis - Food Critic


Nuvo NewsWeekly's - Dining 2012 - Best New Restaurant
October 11, 2012

Chef Joseph's at The Connoisseur Room
"Unconstrained by the former limitations of a strictly Italian menu, Chef Joseph Heidenreich is now able to let his imagination run wild. Open for lunch and dinner, this sumptuously appointed dining room offers a concise menu drawing upon wide-ranging global influences. Expect anything from a Duck Meatball Sandwich to a perfectly Roasted Flounder, or Memphis-Style Pulled Pork with Puerto Rican Black Beans. This is very high quality comfort food with nicely judged portions, harmonious and yet seemingly disparate ingredients: the kind of food you think might not work at first, but then turns out to deliver an explosive punch of flavors and textures. It's also reasonably priced.

Neil Charles - Food Critic


Avanti Ratings, Locally Outstanding Selected and Deserved - A+ Rating
September 6, 2012

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This dining establishment is interesting. The restaurant’s features one of the City’s most respected chefs with proprietor John Mays overseeing this unique restaurant concept. They are clearly focused on lunch but now are serving limited evening dining hours. The wine list is fair but limited but they do have an outstanding bar. The owner chef inspired menu is good. They’re building a good following and also seem to be doing well with their banquet and private meeting services. The atmosphere has a business European feel with beautiful dark wood paneling throughout the dining room that is extenuated by a very nice bar area for cocktails or an after meal or work drink. They also at times have some interesting live entertainment. Very interesting and worth a try – especially for lunch


Reader Recipe: John Mays' Country Minestrone
May 4th, 2012

John Mays owns Chef Joseph's restaurant (115 E. Ohio St.), but as the name implies, he leaves the restaurant cooking to someone else.

That doesn't mean, though, that he doesn't have his own culinary skills. His minestrone recipe takes some effort -- it needs stirring every five minutes -- but the tasty results are well worth the time.

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Indianapolis Best New Restaurants -2012
May 1st, 2012

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In the category of new restaurant venue that has revitalized a chef’s talents, Chef Joseph’s definitely wins this year’s award. But what chef wouldn’t shine in this clubby, brick-and-mahogany throwback to the mid-century glory days of executive dining? A sleek granite bar behind a brass rail might just inspire you to lounge on a crushed-velvet banquette and enjoy a three-martini lunch. When Joseph Heidenreich’s former employer Agio closed last August, this onetime up-and-coming culinary wizard quickly found a new showcase for his talents, reminding local diners he’s still got plenty of tricks hidden under his toque. Now he’s plating up such dainty jewels as puff pastry empanadas plump with duck and goat cheese and lacquered in a scarlet tomato jam, and crispy stuffed artichoke hearts budding in a pool of red-pepper jelly.

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Five Things I Love: Sharon Gamble
April 12th, 2012

Sharon Gamble, vice president for development at Indiana Landmarks, is preparing for the inaugural Rescue Party at Indiana Landmarks Center (www.IndianaLandmarks.org) on April 28. The party will celebrate endangered places rescued over the past year and highlight the newest additions to the annual "10 Most Endangered" list.


Chef Joseph's offers Downtown Indy dining decadence
April 9th, 2012

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So dramatic is the interior at Chef Joseph's that it drew new identities for my lunch date and me. Deceptively rugged high-stakes gamblers and ninja pirate ballerinas demand wood paneling and red tufted banquettes. Or vice versa.

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Chef Joseph’s is newest downtown hot spot for dining and entertainment
April 9th, 2012

John Mays, owner and operator of Chef Joseph’s at the Connoisseur Room, says that whenever he traveled to other cities in the past he liked to dine at places that offered music, and as far as Indianapolis was concerned, he felt there weren’t enough places where one could listen to cabaret music while having dinner.

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22 Indianapolis Businesses You Should Know
January 18, 2012

How many times have you had a business lunch and couldn’t hear anything? Rest assured that this will never be an issue at one my favorite new local businesses! Chef Joseph’s at the Connoisseur Room features Chef Joseph Heidenreich, formerly of Agio. The food he prepares is unique and palate-pleasing, and the ambiance the proprietors have created allows you to enjoy a great lunch while getting things done.

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A Night of Sophisticated Bar Hopping!
March 25th, 2012

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Food Meets Fashion is that part of Midwest Fashion Week where a group of us venture to different restaurants and eat a bunch of fashion inspired food and sip on fashion inspired cocktails…rubbing it into the models faces who’ve been starving themselves for the finale runway show the following day. Haha…just kidding! But seriously…

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Chef Joseph's
March 15th, 2012

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Seems like lately there isn’t a lot of new stuff opening which has been kind of bumming me out so I was excited to try Chef Joseph’s which is pretty new. When I went, with the BFF, they were still only serving lunch, but since then I have heard they have added dinner service to their menu a few days a week. When you walk in, it is hard to imagine why they would not serve dinner, as it is an extremely upscale dining room—white tablecloths, lots of dark wood. Feels much more in line for dinner to me than lunch. Although to be fair, they are catering to a business lunch crowd according to their menu. I just hope this doesn’t scare people off because it is worth checking out, even if you’re wearing jeans, like I was.

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Chef Joseph's: High-quality Comfort Food
January 25, 2012

This is very high quality comfort food with nicely judged portions, harmonious and yet seemingly disparate ingredients, the kind of food you think might not work at first, but then turns out deliver an explosive punch of flavors and textures which less accomplished chefs might eschew out of sheer fear of failure.

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Heidenreich resurfaces at Chef Joseph's
January 21, 2012

With chef Joseph Heidenreich leading the culinary charge, the one-time cabaret venue opened for weekday “executive” lunches and special evening events— including pre-symphony dinners, beer-and-tapas suppers, and wine and bourbon tastings.

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Candidate For Indy's Best Power Lunch
January 15, 2012

Service was seamless and unobtrusive. And the menu unpredictable. The Fried Alligator with Chipotle Tartar Sauce small plate ($9.95) is more than a starter; it’s an ice-breaker. As any practiced power-luncher knows, these initial meetings are first and foremost about making a human connection. You might, or might not, talk business. But you should make a first-rate impression.

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2011 in Review: The Best in Food
December 28, 2011

The newest addition to the power-lunch dining scene (a la Mad Men), Chef Joseph lets his palate and talents loose with a constantly changing lunch menu that reflects his many culinary interests. This is the place for an unhurried three-course meal and a couple of glasses of wine, or the hearkening of the old three-martini business lunch. The décor is striking, but the menu prices extremely fair. Evenings are reserved for private dinners and special events.

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Chef Joseph's Provides Sophisticated Dining
December 21, 2011

Have you ever walked into a restaurant and thought, “Wow, I really could spend the afternoon here sipping sophisticated wine or drinking sophisticated drinks while chatting it up with friends about sophisticated stuff and acting all sophisticated?” I found that cozy and inviting place right around the corner from the courthouse at Chef Joseph's.

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Chef Joseph's Adds Some Elegance to Downtown Lunch
Noember 25, 2011

With its two-story wine cellar, plush banquettes, black tablecloths and baby grand piano, Chef Joseph's at the Connoisseur Room certainly delivers on the elegance.

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Chef Joseph Offers a Great Food Experience at The Connoisseur Room
November 18, 2011

The name may suggest that this restaurant is for serious foodies, however Chef Joseph manages to create culinary magic by combining local, fresh and humble foods in exciting ways pairing them with beverages that take your senses to the next level.

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