It's not every day that you get to sample high quality food, but I surely could get used to the lifestyle. Topo's was the perfect place to start my (hopefully) long career of world class samples. I had the pleasure of sampling some new items on Topo's winter menu.

Topo's is tucked into the hustle and bustle of downtown Bloomington. The facade is unassuming of what awaits the local diner inside. The inside is warm, welcoming but emphasizes class and most importantly, good food.

wine, tea, pizza, coffee, beer
Brogan Dearinger

I took a seat at the bar with a few regulars who knew their way around the menu. It was challenging to choose what enticing Mediterranean dish I would indulge in, but luckily for me Chef Doug Petersen had prepped a sample platter of goodness. It is said that you eat with your eyes as much as with your mouth, and after seeing the platter I could not wait to dig in.

The Samples

One: A beautiful lamb chop was nestled in a farro risotto with a deep red fig-cabernet demi-glace that truthfully changed my life.

Two: Next was a vibrant green chermoula shrimp linguine with an herb cream sauce. Now, shrimp of this size and quality are not usually found in the middle of Indiana, but Chef Doug takes pride in finding the best ingredients, no matter his location. The dish itself was light and fresh—the herb sauce brightened the entire dish.

Three: Lastly, and probably the bread and butter of the restaurant, was the lamb and pita. The braised lamb was perfectly tender, and the pita is a perfect vessel to soak in all of the flavor. 

Brogan Dearinger

After being completely stuffed and totally satisfied, I was able to reflect about the overall experience. At Topo's, the emphasis is on food as the connector between people. The owners often come in and dine with friends, and it is that connection that makes the diners trust the staff with recommendations and conversation. The building feels warm and homey, but you don't feel crushed in between tables. It is a more upscale place, so it is a great place to take parents (or someone else's wallet).

potato, steak, salad
Brogan Dearinger

Some other highlights that I cannot wait to try are the grilled octopus and the stuffed peppadews. Both are appetizers, and they sound simply amazing. The overall style is mostly Greek and Mediterranean—who wouldn't want to try everything? Topo's menu has gone under a remodel for a more wintery style, but the ingredients showed that a good chef must find the best ingredients regardless of the season. Chef Doug likes to cook with local and seasonal ingredients, but he is willing to search far and wide for the highest quality ingredients.

Personally, I cannot wait to go back and try more dishes from Topo's. They have transitioned beautifully to their new winter menu, and it should be at the top of everyone's list when they are tired of holiday cooking.