I am ashamed to admit that, until recently, I hadn’t visited Catablu since it moved to its new location in Covington Plaza years ago, even though it was my go-to special occasions dining establishment for many years. I loved its former location in an old theater on Broadway and just couldn’t bring myself to make the trek to the southwest side of town.
Over the past few months, I’ve visited a few times for lunch and dinner and have been extremely impressed. The new location, with outside seating available and its dressed up menu, exceeded my expectations. Inside, the ambiance is upscale and cozy, with a huge horseshoe shaped bar as the dining room’s main focal point. The outdoor patio is quaint and comfortable, even though it’s simply an extension of the sidewalk that runs in front of the shops at Covington Plaza.
The staff is friendly and helpful; they always answer my extremely obnoxious questions about the menu with patience. Catablu features rotating daily specials like slow-roasted tuna steak with frisee salad, green beans, oranges and an orange sherry vinaigrette; and flatbread with rosemary-smoked chicken, caramelized onions and goat cheese and topped with arugula and fresh grapes, then finished with a drizzle of truffle oil, for example.
The drink menu at Catablu is a lot of fun too. I tried the Angry Ginger which features Domaine De Canton Ginger Liquer, apple cider, Captain Morgan Rum and lime for $10. It was the perfect cocktail for a summer dinner on the outdoor patio.
Here are some of my favorites from the menu.
Fried Brussels Sprouts ($8) – Served with bacon and miso glaze. This prepared dish was not what I was expecting. The miso glaze translated more as a barbecue sauce than a glaze, but the flavor was outstanding. I shared this appetizer with my dinner companion, and we were fighting over the last sprout. I liked this dish so well, I tried to replicate it at home to no avail. That miso glaze/barbeque sauce holds some magical secrets.
Smoked Duck Flatbread ($12) – Catablu offers several flatbread options which are great for sharing. My favorite from the list is the Smoked Duck, served with fresh spinach, cilantro sour cream, roasted mushrooms (I asked for mine without due to allergies) and balsamic vinaigrette. The flavor combinations in this dish are so unique, I have a hard time comparing it to anything. The smoky flavor from the duck goes well with the punch from the cilantro sour cream and balsamic vinaigrette. It is definitely a must-try for adventurous eaters.
Kale Salad (small $5, large $11) – Kale is all the rage right now and can be found on most upscale restaurant menus in many forms. The Kale Salad at Catablu was light and fresh, kicking off the meal just right. It is served with romaine, peppers, smoked cheddar, sweet corn, sunflower seeds and buttermilk vinaigrette. I dare say it is the best Kale Salad I’ve had.
Grilled Pork Chop ($24) – Served with a blackberry glaze, broccolini, cherry wood bacon, fingerling potatoes and smoked onion rings. I don’t typically order pork at a restaurant. Heck, I don’t typically prepare pork at home. It’s a difficult meat to cook just right without getting too dry. This pork chop is the best pork chop I’ve ever consumed, and I made sure to send that message with our waiter to the chef. Perfectly cooked and juicy, the savory pork chop was complemented well by the sweet blackberry glaze. The broccolini and fingerling potatoes were scrumptious too, but the real star of this dish is the smoked onion rings. With just a slight smoked flavor, the onion rings paired with the sweet from the blackberry glaze on the pork chop resulted in a taste that is out of this world. Really, I went on and on and made such a ruckus about this delicious dish that other tables started to gawk at me.
Grilled Filet Mignon (6 oz. $23, 8 oz. $28, larger cuts available $3 per oz.) – Filet served with roasted garlic Parmesan smashed potatoes, asparagus and red wine veal jus. There’s nothing particularly extraordinary about this filet: no hidden special ingredient. It simply stands alone in its perfection. Cooked to medium rare, the filet was a mouthwatering, extremely tender piece of meat which was boosted by the simplicity of the sides with which it was served.
Lobster Mac ’n’ Cheese ($29) – Orzo pasta, sweet peas, black truffles, lobster and mascarpone cheese. Don’t let the price tag deter you from ordering this dish. It is worth it. Though a bit rich, this is absolutely a must-try. It is decadent, rich and oh so good. I even scraped the large bowl with my fork to make sure I consumed every last bit of cheesy goodness.
While I haven’t ordered a burger from Catablu yet, I have dined with several who have, and they had rave reviews. As an added bonus, you can add a fried egg to any burger for $1.50. While dining on the outdoor patio, I saw many people enjoying a casual dinner of upscale burgers and fries. Here are the two currently featured on the menu.
Grass Fed American Kobe Burger ($18) – Served with grilled peach, ancho honey glaze, goat cheese, wheat bun and hand cut fries.
BBQ Ranch Burger ($13) – All natural beef patty, apple smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, Tabasco onion rings, ranch dressing and BBQ sauce, served with hand cut fries.
Whether you’re looking for a place to celebrate a special occasion or simply enjoy a casual dinner with friends on the patio, Catablu has you covered. Its innovative menu, with regularly rotating specials, gets an A-plus in my book. I can’t wait for the next special occasion to roll around so I have an excuse to visit again.
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Josh Johnson — Comedy at Calhoun Street Soups, Salads & Spirits, Fort Wayne, 7 p.m., $10, (260) 456-7005
Vince Gill — Country at Embassy Theatre, Fort Wayne, 7 p.m., $39.50-$79.50, 424-5665
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Community Orchestra — Mussorsky's Pictures at an Exhibition at Auer Performance Hall, Rhinehart Music Center, IPFW, Fort Wayne, 7:30 p.m., $4-$7, 481-6555
Open Mic Night — Variety at Checkerz Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 7-10 p.m., no cover, 489-0286
Scratch N Sniff 2.0 w/1/4 Kit Kurt — Variety at Deer Park Irish Pub, Fort Wayne, 6:30-8 p.m., no cover, 432-8966
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Fort Wayne Karaoke — Karaoke at Latch String Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 483-5526
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/TJ — Variety at Office Tavern, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., no cover, 478-5827
Three Rivers Karaoke w/Rob — at Wrigley Field Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 485-1038
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41st SOCA Student Exhibition — Works from students currently enrolled at USF’s School of Creative Arts, daily thru April 30, Weatherhead Gallery, USF Rolland Art Center, University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Fort Wayne Artist Guild Exhibitions — Works by Alice Siefert at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Jennifer Caudel at Allen County Retinal Surgeons, Anita Trick, Citizens Square (2nd and 3rd floors), Darlene Selzer Miller at The Einhaus Group for Women’s Health, Patricia Weiss at Heritage of Fort Wayne, Emily Jane Butler at Ophthalmology Consultants (Southwest), Linda Binek at Ophthalmology Consultants (North), Carolyn Stachera at Rehabilitation Hospital of Fort Wayne, John Kelty at ResCare Inc. Adult Day Service, Wiletta Blevins at Town House Retirement, Karen Bixler at Visiting Nurse Hospice and Barb Yoder and Karen Harvey at Will Jewelers, thru April 30, fortwayneartistguild.org.
Glass: A Medium in Art and Automobiles — Dale Chihuly blown glass and fiberglass auto, daily thru Sept. 8, Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, Auburn, $7.50-$12.50, 925-1444
Outdoor Sculpture Invitational — Fifteen outdoor sculptures from regional artists, daily thru April 30, School of Creative Arts campus, University of Saint Francis North Campus, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Rhoda Gerig: The Hope of Eagles — Photographic images of eagles, daily thru June 4, Clark Gallery, Honeywell Center, Wabash, 563-1102
Spring 2017 BFA Exhibition — Exhibition of works by IPFW graduation seniors, daily thru May 3 , Jeffrey R. Krull Gallery, Main Library, Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, 481-6709
Spring 2017 BFA Exhibition — Senior thesis projects from Bachelor of Fine Arts candidates Brenda Drayer (sculpture), Derek Hibbs (printmaking), Ellen Mensch (painting), Nathaniel Morris (sculpture) and Kyle Snodgrass (sculpture), daily thru May 7, Visual Arts Gallery, IPFW, Fort Wayne, 481-6709