Hollyhock Hill Redux (April 22, 2017)

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rumaki
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2017/04/24 12:08:16 (permalink)

Hollyhock Hill Redux (April 22, 2017)

I was in Indianapolis for a board meeting this weekend, and on Saturday, went to lunch with a friend at Hollyhock Hill (which has been an annual "thing" for us for many years, except last year when I was in Latvia on my Fulbright).  As many of you know, Hollyhock Hill was sold in late December, and there have been mixed reports about what's going on there under the new ownership.
 
So, we were a little dubious.  But much of the place remains essentially unchanged:
 
1. Decor -- no differences as far as we could tell, including the wonderful hollyhock wall murals. Table settings, china, and mixed water goblets were still in place, as were small vases of fresh flowers on every table.
 
2.  Clientele -- when you go on Saturday at noon, at least in the Spring, there are birthday parties, showers, etc. galore, and this was still the case.  Looked like big family gatherings mostly, and they filled up much of the several rooms at the restaurant. All the groups seemed happy.
 
3. Food -- virtually the same as before, at least for what we ate. We each ordered the full fried chicken dinner (all white for me, mixed for my friend).  We were offered a glass of tomato juice to start, and assorted "salads" -- cottage cheese, pickled beets, lettuce with their house-made sweet-and-sour dressing), apple butter -- and biscuits were served almost instantly. Apparently you can still get the relish tray, but it wasn't offered, and we didn't think to ask for it, and it didn't materialize. None of the "salads" seemed at all changed from the past. The portions may have been a mite smaller than before, but were certainly adequate.
 
They have additional choices for sides now, including mac 'n' cheese, but we decided to stick with the traditional accompaniments:  green beans, corn, mashed potatoes and chicken gravy.  Everything was very good, and in fact, I thought the green beans were better than on my last visit in November 2016.  The fried chicken was delicious, clearly freshly fried with good-sized pieces -- and they still cut the breast in two crosswise, so you get a "pully bone" which is my very favorite piece.  I have to say that it did not seem EXACTLY like the chicken was previously, but my friend detected no difference.  If I had never had the original version of Hollyhock Hill chicken, I would have thought this was outstanding -- and indeed, it is, but it is not exactly like it has been for the past 50-odd years I've been eating it. The crust is a little different -- it flakes off more (in a good way), and actually reminds me a bit of my own version of pan-fried chicken.  This seems really nit-picky, but I mention it for you purists out there (if there are any).
 
After we finished the entree, they brought us the small basket of warm rolled-up damp terrycloth towels to wipe our hands -- again, a Hollyhock Hill tradition.
 
Dessert was a small dish of vanilla ice cream -- a slightly less generous portion than before. And instead of having a choice of three toppings (butterscotch, chocolate, and creme de menthe), you get a small pitcher of room-temperature chocolate sauce. It was perfectly fine.  I can't compare it with the chocolate sauce during previous management because I always had the creme de menthe.
 
We both drank iced tea -- perfectly acceptable quality, but not as good as the iced tea I had last March when we were in Kentucky for a few days.
 
The prices look the same (or very close).  The only thing I didn't care for were the biscuits.  But I've never thought they got the biscuits right at Hollyhock Hill.  Years and years ago, they served a fabulous homemade white bread loaf for each table, but that went by the wayside a long time ago.  They aren't bad biscuits -- but they just aren't as good as they could be.
 
Service was, at least at Saturday lunch, a crew of young, cheerful and attentive waiters and waitresses.  I can't tell you whether the Old Guard waitstaff (many of whom were there for years) is gone, or whether they don't do the Saturday service and only show up at dinner times.  
 
So for me, and those who love Hollyhock Hill, I'd say the news is good.
 
 
post edited by rumaki - 2017/04/24 15:31:20
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4 Replies Related Threads

    ann peeples
    Porterhouse
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    Re: Hollyhock Hill Redux (April 22, 2017) 2017/04/24 12:50:30 (permalink)
    Good to hear, my friend. Its on my bucket list..
    #2
    ScreamingChicken
    Sirloin
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    Re: Hollyhock Hill Redux (April 22, 2017) 2017/04/24 13:24:47 (permalink)
    Sounds like the ownership transfer is by and large a success - and that doesn't always happen, as we know all to well.
     
    Is it possible the chicken batter/breading formula is the same but the oil has changed?
    #3
    rumaki
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    Re: Hollyhock Hill Redux (April 22, 2017) 2017/04/24 13:40:37 (permalink)
    Is it possible the chicken batter/breading formula is the same but the oil has changed?
     
    It is possible. Hollyhock Hill always used to use lard to fry the chicken.  Perhaps they have changed that.
     
    #4
    ScreamingChicken
    Sirloin
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    Re: Hollyhock Hill Redux (April 22, 2017) 2017/04/24 15:27:53 (permalink)
    Maybe it's the organic flour!  No mention of the frying medium, though:
     
    https://hollyhockhill.com/menus/
     
    This year's Indiana crossing is routed well to the south of Indianapolis so hopefully I'll get the chance to visit next year.
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