Industry Standard - Marsha Lynch

Is perception reality?

Sometimes perception is reality. If a group of diners comes into your restaurant and has to wait a bit longer to be seated than they’d like, they will often naturally exaggerate that wait time when they relate the experience to other people. Their “45-minute” wait for a table might in reality have been 20 minutes, but they will still stick to that 45-minute testimony. Once things have gone this far astray, all bets are off.
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Toast on Market's spicy chipotle grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup.

Toast on New Albany’s Market lights our fire

I should have known that Toast on Market’s spicy chipotle grilled cheese sandwich was going to be hot, because spicy chipotle.

But I didn’t quite expect flames to come shooting out my mouth while my endorphins took off in a wild and crazy rush around my brain. Wooee! That sandwich is HOT! In fact, even the accompanying bowl of roasted tomato soup boasted a distinct kick of cayenne. Let me tell you, that was one feisty lunch.
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Jesse and Liz Huot and their Grind logo

The daily Grind pays off for Liz and Jesse Huot

The simple black logo that adorns Louisville’s popular Grind Burger truck and its new sibling, Grind Burger Kitchen, speaks volumes about owners Liz and Jesse Huot’s brisk journey from corporate life to the uncertain joys of running a popular food truck.

Well … actually, Grind is not exactly a food truck. It’s a concession trailer towed by a pickup truck. And that, like the black, gear-like logo, is part of their story.
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Marsha Lynch

Artisanal, anyone?

I guess it’s been about six to eight years ago that “artisanal” became the hot new menu adjective. Artisanal this, artisanal that. But let’s get down to brass tacks: We can’t even get people to pronounce it consistently. Merriam-Webster Dictionary has posted a pronunciation that is like the word “artisan” with just “uhll” on the end: ART-izz-an-uhll. Other sources say: ar-TIZZ-uhn-uhll.
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Indonesian peanut saute at Noodles & Company

This locavore makes an exception for Noodles & Company

If you’ve been reading my gustatory musings for any time, you know that I bring a strong locavore sensibility to this work. I like to eat local food, and I prefer to dine at local restaurants. When I do business with a bank, grocer, optician, investment adviser, newspaper and, most definitely, restaurant, I like to know that the owner herself is available for a conversation, will look me in the eye, shake my hand, and offer me a fair deal.
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Corbett's Filet

The ordinary becomes extraordinary at Corbett’s

Who’s up for a steak dinner? A juicy, sizzling chunk of cow flesh, pink and rare, with all the trimmings?

The “steak” part of this equation is fairly easy to fill. Start talking about “all the trimmings,” though, and things get complicated. Head for an executive-style steak house, and you can get a slab of cow on your plate with no muss or fuss. Choose your own sides.
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The St Matthews at Coals Artisan Pizza

We enlist in the war for Coals. Pizza, that is.

There are just 28 days left before Election Day 2014 as you read this, and that means we must endure 672 more hours of television, radio, robo-call and Internet advertising time. In this market, a great deal of this mind-numbing noise will be devoted to Senator-since-forever Mitch McConnell and his feisty challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Okay fine, I get it, that’s how the system works in 21st century America. Well, that, and limitless contributions by anonymous corporate interests, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.

I have made my decision and probably won’t stray from it, so I’m doing my best to tune out the constant drone. But sometimes it’s hard to ignore.

For instance, why in the heck do they keep talking about coal? Continue reading

The ruby trout at Anoosh Bistro.

Anoosh is back! Now, what is he going to do?

Here’s a pro tip for restaurant servers: Don’t suck up. Even if you think you’ve spotted a food critic in the house, don’t do it. It can lead to no good end.

Or maybe you don’t reserve the obsequiousness for suspected food writers. Maybe you fawn over everyone who comes in the door, thinking that bowing and scraping like a rug merchant in a Middle Eastern bazaar will prompt everyone to shower you with big tips.

Take this clue: It doesn’t work. Or it sure as hell doesn’t work for me, anyway.
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The fish taco at El Mundo

El Mundo: Still a favorite after 20 years

It’s hard to believe that it has been more than 20 years since we moved back to Louisville after a sojourn in New York City. This town has changed a lot in the past two decades, and certainly the Frankfort Avenue restaurant row has evolved almost beyond recognition.

“You’ll like Frankfort Avenue,” a friend told us as we packed the moving van to head west from Gotham. “There’s a great new place called the Irish Rover!” And she was right. Along with Deitrich’s, which had been a pioneer in the neighborhood, and more recent arrivals Porcini and a local coffee shop that preceded Heine Bros’ Crescent Hill branch, the avenue was looking pretty exciting.

And then in 1995 came El Mundo, and the “new” Frankfort Avenue was on its way. Continue reading

On feeding firefighters

On the anniversary of 9/11 the other week, I was watching a 2002 documentary that began as a profile of a rookie firefighter in New York City and ended up as a film about the larger events of the day. There were lots of scenes from the firehouse in the weeks leading up to the attack; many were of the firehouse kitchen, where the probationary firefighters (or “probies”) were tasked with preparing the shift meal. I was instantly fascinated, but I had a lot of questions the film didn’t answer, so I wanted to ask an actual firefighter how it all goes down.
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