Duck, duck… Goose!

There’s a neighborhood deli here in Indianapolis called Goose the Market that’s been on my radar for awhile now. Lunch today with my friend Amy seemed a great excuse to give it a test drive.

Goose the Market is a tiny place nestled into a storefront along Delaware at 25th Street, right along the way home for many downtown commuters. There’s a liquor store directly across the street that was doing a stonking business during our noontime visit, and although the area is still what you’d consider urban, it’s undergone a ton of renovation during the past decade to improve housing opportunities. Part of those efforts included the addition of a handful of local businesses.

Goose is celebrating its second anniversary, and appears to be doing just fine in this location. The place seems to bill itself as a market first and restaurant second. The claim-to-fame is obviously the cured meats; there is an impressive selection behind the glass counter priced by the pound, along with a small but well-considered array of cheeses, fish and olives.

In addition to all that, Goose offers local produce, the freshest baguettes I’ve seen this side of France, and a soda fridge full of out-of-the-ordinary offerings. Bottles of Abita root beer, Traders Point Creamery milk and Sprecher sodas. Nice touch! Don’t miss a visit to the cellar to browse Goose’s creative inventory of beer, wine and gourmet foodie spices, sauces and other items. I may have to make a special trip back just for some of the bourbon smoked paprika…

Glancing at the store’s web site, I see they manage a “Bacon of the Month Club.” Hello! It’s the gift that keeps on giving!!! They’ll be glad to cook up a holiday turkey for you as well, and home cooks (like myself) will be pleased to hear that you can drop off your knives there for sharpening once a month.

But back to lunch. The menu is limited to a handful of sandwiches, a soup and some baked goods. The owner knows what he does well and sticks to it. No fault there. This is a perfect example of a business that’s found its niche. As my friend Amy is a vegetarian, though, I worried for a second that she wouldn’t be able to find something to order amid all that meat. However, the staff was very friendly and accommodating, and able to steer her toward appropriate options. She ended up with a baguette filled with smoked salmon, but said it could have used a little something to kick up the flavor just a bit – dill or capers perhaps? She vowed to go for the salmon pastrami next time.

Named for Mario’s dad, a meat-curing master in his own right who operates a shop in Seattle, the “Batali” seems to be the sandwich of choice here. That’s what I got, and it’s a doozie consisting of three kinds of Italian salami, provolone, lettuce, spicy giardinara, sweet tomato preserves, mayo and pickled onion. If that sounds like a lot to cram onto one narrow swatch of baguette, it is, but it works.

The meats and cheese are sliced super thin and the fillings aren’t slathered on so thickly that you have to unhinge your jaw to take a bite. The giardinara has an addictive kick of heat; I kept picking pieces off to nibble as I made my way through the rest of the sandwich. Apparently, the culinary powers that be agree – the Batali made a top 10 short list of best sandwiches across the country in Bon Appetit magazine.

Is it the best sandwich I ever ate? I don’t know that I’d say that, but it was certainly good. And at $6.95, the value was very fair – it was a filling two-parter full of fresh, delicious ingredients. For my next visit, I’m already daydreaming about the “Goose,” a concoction of Prosciutto di Parma, basil, fresh mozzarella and extra virgin olive oil.

Can’t forget the gelato – there’s a mouthwatering collection of 10 or so gelato flavors, and samples are allowed before you decide on your choice. I got a small cup of the limoncello flavor; Amy chose the Swiss chocolate. Both were scrumptious in totally different ways. The chocolate was rich and creamy, while the lemon was light and nearly floral. It’s hard to find gelato in Indy, and I’m glad to know it’s available here.

Space is tight at Goose the Market if you plan on eating in. Like, five-barstools-lining-a-window tiny, along with a scattering of outdoor tables. Too cold to consider al fresco today, so Amy and I ended up eating our sandwiches standing up. We did snag two vacated stools as we lingered over our gelato. Most customers got their orders to go.

I will definitely come back here again with hubby in tow. He loves proscuitto, and will think he’s died and gone to ham heaven. (Don’t tell him, but I picked up a six-pack of Kolsch beer for him as a surprise…)

http://www.goosethemarket.com

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