Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Road Trip: Bloomington, IN - Janko's Little Zagreb

223 W. 6th St.
Bloomington, IN 47404
(812) 332-0694
Little Zagreb
I have been pretty excited to come back to eat at Janko's Little Zagreb. I never had the pleasure of eating there during my 4 years at IU. This is mainly because as a college student, the only time I really got to experience the nicer restaurants is when my parents came down to visit, as most of my money went to the Busch Light fund. Now that I am all grown up, it has been a treat to go back down and finally go to the expensive dining hot spots. As I have mentioned before, Bloomington is a food mecca. There are endless dining options for every palette. Little Zagreb is renowned as one of the best steakhouses in the state. I always pictured the restaurant to be a pretty classy joint, but it is the exact opposite. It is very casual. There are two dining areas which seat a fair amount of people. We were seated in the further dining room which is near the grill and food prep area. This was a unique experience in that you rarely see the food actually being cooked. The decor is typical of Bloomington in that the walls are full of IU memorabilia. The tables are covered with the old school red and white checkered table cloths. You kind of have a nostalgic feeling when you eat there, like you are eating in the past (minus the LCD tv's on the wall). The restaurant sponsors IU athletics, so you may have the pleasure of rubbing elbows with the past and future IU legends. My friends and I have been running to Todd Lindeman when we go down there. I recommend making reservations during home football weekends, Little 500, Graduation, or any other big weekend down there. Our food came out quickly, our water was always full, and our waitress was very knowledgeable of the menu.

My logo creator had never eaten at Zagreb before and he is planning on moving this summer, it was a perfect opportunity to dine there. @RFSchaffner and I had eaten there before, so we kind of knew what was good. Since there were 3 of us, we decided to get the most bang for our buck. We ordered the sirloin dinner for 3. It is over 3 pounds of sirloin, rolls, and salad. We also opted for the half order of spicy meatballs. Just a forewarning, they are surprisingly more spicy than any meatball I have ever had. You get about 8 or so in a half order. I couldn't really pin point where the heat came from. When I make my own spicy marinara, I use sriracha (or Sir ChaCha as it has been commonly referred to amongst my group of friends), and the sauce reminded me of that same flavor. I decided to get creative with my food, and I made a mini meatball slider with half a roll and a meatball. The rolls were warmed on the grill, and had a nice crusty outside and fluffy inside.

I would have to say that if there was a downside to the meal, it was the salad. The dressing was good, but the lettuce is just an average hand torn ice berg lettuce salad. We were all talking how a wedge would have been better, but you also don't go to Zagreb's for the salad. I'm pretty sure the dressings are made in house, I went with the Bleu Cheese. I think there could have been more Bleu Cheese crumbles in the dressing.

The star of the meal was the steak. We kind of had a bet before the steak came out. I was convinced the steak for 3 would be 3 different sirloin cuts. The other two said it was going to be one big steak. They were right. Our waitress did mention that there is a smaller piece of sirloin that could be cooked to a different temperature than the main cut. We ordered the main cut to be cooked medium, the small cut medium rare. It was a test to my butchering skills to divvy up the steak between us. I know you are supposed to cut against the grain of the beef to have more tender bites, but with a steak that large, I had to go against traditional methods to get equal pieces. The steak was tender, juicy, and flavorful. I'm sure it was only seasoned with salt and pepper. My only issue was there was a little more fat than I had expected on the cut. It was only along the outer edge of the steak, so it was easy to trim. We had a good amount of steak left over, so we left it for our wonderful host to reconstitute into a steak sandwich. We didn't have room for dessert, but the options sounded amazing. We ordered them to go. I went with the lemon berry cake with Mascarpone cheese. We all ordered a different dessert. All were very good, and I recommend that you order a dessert if you go. Our waitress said that the lemon berry cake and the chocolate mousse cheesecake were her favorites. She said that the lemon berry was more of a morning food and she could eat it for breakfast. I'd have to agree, it tasted like a blueberry muffin with a cool creamy center. The chocolate mousse was more rich and decadent. The NY style was your typical cheesecake with a buttery graham cracker crust. When I go back, I'd like to try the steak burger.

You have 3 days to take advantage of the Groupon for a steak dinner for 2:

"Not EAting meat is a decision, EAting meat is an instinct." -Denis Leary


Janko's Little Zagreb on Urbanspoon

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