Considering the smallish size of my Indianapolis circle of friends from The Region, I’ve heard a shocking amount of positive feedback about a new restaurant back home called Octave Grill. Foodie friend Kristin was the first to tell me about Octave, and when my sister suggested “a place in Chesterton,” I crossed my fingers they had the same place in mind. This little spot is in the sleepy, quaint main street of Chesterton, IN and can’t possibly seat more than 30 people. I love where I’m from, but it’s hardly what you’d call a bustling food scene, so I was a little skeptical whether Octave would be good or just relatively good.
The interior is just right for what Octave is. One wall of exposed brick, apple green plaster, plank floors with more personality than a lot of people I’ve met. There is definitely a cute factor-specials written in chalk, kitschy salt and pepper sets-but it’s not cutesy. If you’re planning on coming in with any more than 4 people, I would 100% recommend making a reservation because there are only about 4 fourtops in the building.
Octave (and everyone else) makes a big deal about being a burger place, although it’s not at all your average beer and burger joint. They have about ten burgers on the menu plus a monthly special, which this month was “Tallgrass beef stuffed with mushrooms duxelle, aged white cheddar, greens, tomato and onion with a Wiconsin cream sauce on an onion roll.” If that seems like a mindful, take a read through Octave’s menu before you go, because every burger description is like that. Every burger is also made from Tallgrass Beef, which I had never heard of prior to this and would have been a massive eye roll had it not been so damned tasty.
I opted for the chanute, which featured grilled cremini mushrooms, bacon, Fair Oaks Farms Habanero Havarti cheese, and a bleu cheese sauce on a brioche bun. The burger arrived perfectly medium rare and with just enough of each cheese and bacon to not overpower that delectable beef. Fair Oaks’ Habanero Havarti is a frequent flier in my fridge at home, so I was glad to taste its spicy bite through the pungence of the bleu cheese sauce.
I also got tater tots on the side instead of fries, which kind of set me over the edge of happiness.
We also ordered the diana, a salad of dried cranberries, bleu cheese, mixed greens, cucumber, tomato, and candied walnuts in a citrus vinaigrette. Those who know me will know how reluctant I am to even consider a salad, let alone enjoy it. Those who don’t will have to imagine the gravitas of this approval. I’m not at all a fan of…leaves, and I don’t really care for bleu cheese mixed with sweet things, but I liked this salad as much as I have ever liked a salad. Including the ones drenched in really awful-for-you creamy dressings.
Sadly, it was not to be a beer-drinking day, but Octave has a nice compact set of interesting taps and cocktails. More and more I’m appreciating a dining experience that doesn’t involve listening to a server list 800 available brews. A little bit of executive decision making on the part of the house steers diners in a good direction and keeps the focus on execution and quality rather than stocking a million ingredients and beverages.
If you are ever in the region and need a wonderful and interesting lunch or dinner, I’d recommend stopping by Octave Grill. The niche for independent eateries is markedly unoccupied up here, but Octave could absolutely hold its own against the stiffest of competition. But don’t take my word for it, ask the help…