“…it tasted like I might need to go to confession…” 605 Grille in Madison, Indiana

I have a crush on a restaurant. Really, it’s more like love. Sure, I might weigh a couple bucks and change, but this is one Pooh-Bear-bellied woman who is not afraid to be seen with her head stuck in the honeypot. I seek out interesting places and tasty dishes.

I knew I would find delicious cafes and coffee shops, because great sandwiches, coffee and pie do, by God, thrive in small town America. But in Madison, Indiana, the last thing I expected was to find a gourmet dessert to rival that of my favorite, at Geoffrey’s, in Malibu, California. I was happily, happily mistaken to find its challenger at 605 Grille.

It all started with that bookstore I keep telling you about, Village Lights. I’ve gotten to know the owners a little, and trust them for recommendations on things I care about, like businesses owned by people who are interested in community and historic preservation as well as embracing tourism and innovation that drive the local economy. I feel good about spending money on things grown, made and sourced in a way that best supports the area where I live.

So when they told me about the 605 Grille in Madison, with its locally sourced, organic produce and its homegrown black angus beef from Indiana ranchers, I was there the very next evening. Kurt, however, is another story.

While both taste and conscientious ownership* rule my selections, Kurt, well, just likes a good burger.

Kurt (“Just give me a great burger!”) Druzgal

Thankfully, the recommendation was perfect, and we both got exactly what we wanted. Intentionally “uncomplicated” to match its small town charm, the 605’s menu stays as fresh as its produce. As promised on their website, they “concentrate on doing a few things well.” And that, friends, is an understatement. They do a few things…perfectly.

Marla (“blah blah blah”) Druzgal, only quiet when deciding on food.

Kurt ordered the Bleu Cheese and Bacon Burger, and I opted for the more spicy El Fuego. As we waited, Kurt kept his drink simple, while I opted for a smooth glass of Pinot Noir. We chatted up our server, Steven, whose demeanor had both the hipness of a big city restaurant, and the sincere friendliness we’d come to love about Madison.

The El Fuego burger, and the Bleu Cheese & Bacon Burger (inset)

The burgers were made exactly as ordered and incredible. We swapped bites, and I savored Kurt’s carmelized onions and bacon and cheese over his well-done beef as much as my own feisty blend of habanero, white cheddar, homemade guac’ and tortilla strips over medium angus.

We each tried hard to maintain some composure and not to inhale our hand-cut fries.

Then, it was time for dessert.

Oh dear Lord it tasted like I might need to go to confession after eating it.

605 Grille Madison Indiana

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with peach compote and balsamic reduction

Kurt and I shared the Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta, with its peach compote topping and balsamic vinegar reduction. The organic cream they used for the custard made it so light and smooth I thought my mouth would never actually allow me to swallow. I didn’t want it to end.

When it finally did end, with my wonderful husband letting me scrape the last bits of peaches and cream from the bottom of the dish, I asked if we could meet the chef. Sherry and Tom Moore could have easily been any one of my country family members.

Owners Sherry and Tom Moore

They were friendly and casual, answering questions and patiently listened to my jawing on about my own obsession with having a “Pittsburgh salad” made in other locations. (I’ll tell you about that sometime in another blog. We Pittsburghers are crazy about our fries and/or slaw on a lot of strange things 😉

We left feeling satisfied and appreciated, and couldn’t wait to go back again. Kurt had his amazing burger, so that’s all he needed to know. We signed up for the upcoming wine tasting and promised to return many times before this journey in Madison comes to an end. If you are at the wine tasting, please come tell me hello and tell me what 605 food crushes you have that I should try before leaving.

Love, Marla

For those of you who are wondering about my asterisk, this post originally contained a longer segment about food choices. I decided to make it an asterisk, with the information at the end, because I don’t want my own opinions on food-sourcing to detract from the fact that the food at this restaurant is kick-ass amazing!!!
So here, friends, is the missing section from above…
*Kurt generally gets his burgers fast and cheap. Fast and cheap is the way many restaurants serve. “Sysco’ing” is what’s known as the practice of buying commercially processed food in bulk (Sysco, as the most prominently known food conglomerate, is where the term is derived). Huge, heavy trucks can be seen rolling into downtown Madison, depositing child-size cans of gravies and condiments, and bulk-packaged foodstuffs.
I don’t know Sysco, or their buyers, and they have a promotional website that reminds me a lot of Monsanto, whose genetically modified foodstuff is discretely tucked away on their PR-minded site which touts American-ism, environmental conscientiousness and social change.
American. American? I come from hillbilly stock, and I think of myself as pretty down-home, rural American. But I guess for me, I can’t imagine anything more American than shopping from a truly local source, from farmers who make their own choices of what and how to grow, to sell it to their neighbors and area towns, who aren’t bossed around by a company that seems to be larger than Christianity itself.
And I can’t imagine anything more environmental than saving on transportation and production cost of all that bulk foodstuff. And what is more socially conscious than making a small change in where I choose to dine out? It might mean I skip one morning’s latte for the extra few bucks of an organic meal, but I know I’m eating healthier, supporting the local economy better, and feeling better about how and why I’m spending my money. I know, blah blah blah. Just tell us about the food, Marla!
That’s what Kurt said to me – C’mon, honey, just give me a great burger!!!
And we both got exactly what we wanted.

7 Comments on ““…it tasted like I might need to go to confession…” 605 Grille in Madison, Indiana

  1. Pingback: Old Court Days, Granny’s Knits and Gifts, and 605 Grille | Traveling MarLa

  2. Pingback: Traveling Marla Blogger Visits Madison Indiana

  3. mmm, Grille 605 sounds amazing, Marla. It’s always wonderful to find good restaurants in places you wouldn’t expect. And I love the “…it tasted like I might need to go to confession.” Nice post!

      • I’ll add it to my restaurant list! A place you might like to try (if you haven’t already) is North Country Brewery in Slippery Rock, PA. Small town restaurant, great food, and even better beer (it’s homemade!). Kurt will like the burgers and you’ll appreciate the farm-to-fork beef option
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