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Dining with Doyle

Dining with Doyle: Anju Above – September 15, 2017

Dining with Doyle: Anju Above – September 15, 2017

Going up a flight of stairs isn’t so bad if you’re heading to Anju Above.  Located at 220 East Front Street on the upstairs of Epiphany Farms in Bloomington, Anju Above is part of the Epiphany Farms Hospitality Group.

The EFHG has been in business since 2009, featuring three different restaurants and two farms that make them a farm to table option.

Each restaurant in the group is unique in its on way, with Anju Above bringing a mixture of different cuisines in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.  With two different cooking stations it makes the meal more intriguing.

Guests can watch while their food is being made, whether that’s the old DJ booth that was converted into the sushi station, or the pizza oven where the pizzas take only 90 seconds to make.  It’s such a lively and friendly atmosphere it makes you want to just hangout all day.

The menu consists of dishes such as classic Neapolitan pizzas, sushi crafted for the midwestern palate, and Asian dumplings.  The great thing about this menu is that everything is shareable.  With such a wide variety of options it makes it more enjoyable to order two or three different dishes to share amongst several people.

I got to sit and eat with Owner, Chefarmer, and Executive Chef Stu Hummel who helped to build the EFHG.  This has all been a learning process for Hummel even though he previously worked in some very high profile restaurants.

“This was all new and having to learn how to farm was a new experience,” Hummel said.  “We had to develop techniques…if one method didn’t work we scratched it and tried another.”

Hummel even hinted that sometimes days of farming and running a restaurant means days of 20 hours.  For most this would be an unbearable feat, but this doesn’t faze him.  It’s what drives him and the rest of his team to want and be the best.

Chef had me try the gimbap, which is one of the sushi rolls with marinated tofu, pickled vegetables and teriyaki.  For those not so sure about sushi, I would suggest trying it, especially here.  They try to make sushi more tasteful for those of us here from the Midwest who might not be acquainted with what sushi is.

The Anju pork dumplings stuffed with pork shoulder, ginger, garlic, and Asian chive.  These little nuggets of goodness are a great option, very light and bursting with fresh flavor.

From the bowls section of the menu I had the pork belly ramen, a gigantic bowl of piled with soft poached egg, Napa cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, seasonal vegetables, scallion, and moyu.  For most, when they think of ramen it’s the stuff that costs a dollar at the grocery store.  This is so far from that; with a broth that is cooked for more than 16 hours it is such a satisfying dish.  The care and love that goes into cooking something for that long shines in just the broth, but then with all the other ingredients added this was by far my favorite dish.

Lastly, I indulged in the margherita pizza with fresh mozzarella and basil.  The pizza is fired in a blazing hot oven, which allows it to be cooked in less than two minutes.  With a slight char on the crust it has such a great taste it isn’t hard to want and eat the entire thing.

Some might ask, well this place seems really nice and if I’m a college student I can’t afford this.  That is very false.  With this food being so shareable it keeps the cost at a very reasonable price for the quality of food you’ll receive.

I would highly suggest giving this place a visit, whether it’s going out for lunch or dinner, grabbing a drink after work, or looking for a new date night spot.  Anju Above receives a score of 4.7 out 5.

Tune in every Friday at the bottom of the hour on 103.3 WZND and WZND.com for a new edition of Dining with Doyle with WZND reporter Neil Doyle.

Scott Beyer

September 26th, 2017

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