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Restaurant Reviews --> A Visit to The Eagle's Nest

A Visit to The Eagle's Nest
A Little Downtown Nostalgia....

On a whim, the week before the New Year Linda suggested we venture downtown, not to visit one of the many new restaurants, but instead to indulge in a bit of nostalgia and eat dinner at The Eagle’s Nest. I must admit, my fear was hotel food at Anthony's Chop House prices.  To my surprise, on a crystal clear night in late December, we spent the evening admiring a panoramic view of the city’s downtown lights while also enjoying a surprisingly good dinner.

In case you don’t know, The Eagle’s Nest is the revolving restaurant located at the top of the Hyatt Regency PNC Center, formerly known as Merchants Plaza when it opened in 1978. At the time of its development, it was the largest single privately developed project in the state’s history. When it was built, the Atrium – a 19-story-tall inner lobby which is a Hyatt trademark – was one of the largest enclosed spaces in the country.

It was toward the end of the disco decade and from Dallas to Seattle, revolving restaurants and lavish Sunday brunches in the Atrium were the hottest tickets in town. Seattle had the Space Needle, Dallas had the Reunion Tower, and Chicago had Cité in Lake Point Tower. And now Indianapolis had arrived with the Hyatt and The Eagle's Nest.  Circle City Center, the Colts and the Hoosier Dome were still six years away, so the Hyatt and The Eagle's Nest were the most exciting thing that had ever happened in downtown Indianapolis.  So, as you can imagine, I was not quite as excited as I was the first time I visited in 1979, but I was surprised at how fresh everything looked. 

After riding the glass front elevator to the 20th floor, we stepped off to be warmly greeted by the hostess and escorted to our table. The Eagle’s Nest has certainly kept up with the times with an elegant but contemporary decor of neutral colors and ambient lighting throughout. And in an interesting switch-up from the standard white tablecloths, dark woven placemats are used on the tables. Much of the restaurant is “tiered,” with an upper and slightly lower level allowing a panoramic window view for all diners. We just happened to sit in an area that was not tiered, so we really enjoyed the feeling of privacy.

The wine list was underwhelming, leaning toward the safe side of mostly recognizable domestic names and very heavy on California offerings. There was a category called interesting reds, with just a handful of Argentinian and Italian labels. Prices were pretty standard restaurant pricing of about twice retail, but not unreasonable. We did appreciate that the by the glass options were offered in either a six-or a nine-ounce pour and were priced proportionally with the bottles.  We chose glasses of Talbott Kali Hart Chardonnay before and with the appetizer and the Louis Martini Cabernet with dinner. Not very exciting, but certainly solid wines.

We started by sharing a first course of shrimp “Cargot,” gulf shrimp in a roasted garlic lemon butter sauce, prepared as a gratinée of Swiss and Asiago cheese and served with crostini for $21. And they actually provided enough crostini to enjoy the garlic butter sauce after eating the shrimp.

Linda opted for the thick Duroc pork chop with a truffle demi-glace, garlic mashed potatoes, and accompanied by lightly crisp broccolini. Her request that the chop be cooked toward the rarer side was accommodated. I shared a taste and have to say I was impressed since I can not remember ever having a tender pork chop in a restaurant.  A good pick for $44.

I chose one of the specials that night – a beef Bulgogi dish featuring thinly-sliced seared flank steak in a Korean BBQ sauce, served with julienned broccolini and baby bok choy. Again, the vegetables were fresh with just the right amount of crunch. A side of jasmine rice rounded out the entrée at $42. All in all, both of us were very pleased with our choices, and impressed with the preparation.

Our server was pleasant, attentive, and efficient, and everything came out in a timely but not rushed manner. We noted some other reviews varied on this point, and maybe going during the week and after the holidays helped. And since the full revolution of the restaurant takes just about 90 minutes, we enjoyed the entire 360-degree view plus a little repeat while we enjoyed dessert.

Speaking of dessert, we thoroughly enjoyed the pineapple rum cake, a fresh take on an old favorite, pineapple upside cake. It featured roasted cherries, brown sugar-cream cheese mousse, and pineapple in a brown butter sauce for $10. Sharing it was a perfect ending to a fun evening out.

Valet parking is available but appallingly expensive, but there is also plenty of available parking in the underground parking garage. Maybe we don’t get out enough, but it was our first experience where access and exiting, as well as payment, was all done online on a cell phone, so don’t leave it at home!

Sure there are lots of new interesting restaurants to try in both downtown and the suburbs, but sometimes it’s just fun to visit an old friend

The Eagle's Nest (Hyatt Regency Indianapolis)

One South Capitol Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46204
(317) 632-12340