Staying in the northeast Indianapolis suburbs on a recent trip to the area, I decided that I needed some comfort food on a cold winter's evening. Indian food has become my "go-to" for comfort food, but I felt that I needed something more than that this particular evening. Doing some searches for comfort food in the area on both Yelp and Urbanspoon, I found a place in Fishers by the name of Sahm's Restaurant and Pub. I took off to find the place and get something to eat.
In 1986, Ed Sahm bought an Irish pub in a strip shopping complex that had recently closed. One of the reasons it went out of business was because it's location - 116th St. and Allisonville Road (see map) - was literally out in the country. But Sahm, who along with his wife Lisa owned the Penn Street Food Emporium, took a chance on the location and it turned out that the urban sprawl of Indianapolis soon built up around the location.
Sahm came from a big family and his mother along with 8 brothers and sisters and various other family members all worked in the restaurant at some point in time. Over the years, Sahm closed the Penn St. Food Emporium in 1992 as he expanded Sahm's in different parts of Indianapolis. Today there are 10 Sahm's restaurants that feature everything from full service restaurants to breakfast and lunch only establishments. Sahm's also has a catering business that is pretty popular around the Indianapolis area.
I got into Sahm's around 7:30 that particular evening. As you walk in there's the main dining area on the left and a door leading to the Flying Horse Lounge, the bar area at Sahm's. I contemplated going into the bar, but decided to sit in the dining room in a booth.
My server for the evening, a pleasant lady by the name of Rose came over to ask me what I wanted to drink. I asked what kind of beer that they had to offer and she said, "There's a beer list right over..." Then she stopped for a moment and realized that I didn't have beer menu on my table. She ran back to the hostess stand to grab one. I found a Bell's Two Hearted Ale on the beer menu.
As I looked through the extensive dinner menu that evening, they had a number of specials that evening that included a couple fish platters, a steak dinner and a pasta selection, but I was immediately smitten with the description of their meat loaf that was served with mashed potatoes and gravy. Even tempting dishes such as pot roast with roasted veggies, a number of burgers and a sandwich called the Italian Goose Melt made with Italian meats from Indianapolis' Smoking Goose Meatery couldn't sway me from the meat loaf dinner. I had my choice of two sides - mashed potatoes and gravy were a given, but I was sort of at a loss as to my second side. I thought about getting a salad or mac and cheese, but then I noticed a fried mushroom side that was served with a creamy horseradish sauce. I had to give those a try.
A few moments before Rose brought out my meat loaf dinner, she brought out a small loaf of warm fresh baked dark rye bread. I'm a sucker for fresh dark rye and this bread was very good. When the meat loaf came out, I was ready to eat.
The meat loaf was topped with a tomato brown sugar dressing that was sort of like ketchup, but better. The disappointing part of the meal was that they put white gravy on the mashed potatoes. It was like a chicken gravy, not a beef gravy that I think should accompany mashed potatoes with a beef dish. It wasn't a deal breaker for me, but I thought it would have been better with the brown gravy.
The meat loaf was very good - a spot hitter for comfort food on a cold night. The pieces weren't large, but it was enough for me. However, the fried mushrooms were, in my estimation, excellent. The mushroom slices were fresh, dipped in a breaded coating and deep fried. The horseradish sauce had a bit of a bite to it and went extremely well with the taste of the mushrooms. I even took some of the mushrooms and put them on top of the meat loaf to get that dual taste sensation going. It was simply a very good meal.
While Sahm's Restaurant in Fishers isn't fine dining, it's comfortable enough for family dining or as a single diner like myself. The ambiance of the dining room was fine, although it was a 2/3rd wall that separated the lounge from the dining room and the boisterous conversations from the lounge easily carried into the dining area offering a bit of a distraction. Rose's service was efficient and pleasant, and the comfort food I had was well above average. The only quibble had to do with the gravy, but that didn't deter from the overall culinary experience.