Category Archives: Outer East End

Sonal masters Indian vegetarian cuisine

By Robin Garr

Louisville has three all-vegetarian Indian restaurants, and to tell you the truth, the question isn’t why there are so many, but why it took them so long to arrive.

We have about 15 Indian restaurants now, and I’m happy to pull up to a table at every single one.

But all-vegetarian Indian? That’s new. Shreeji Indian Vegetarian Street Food opened in November 2018. Honest Indian Restaurant opened just about a year later, at the end of 2019. And somewhere in that same brief window of time – “three years ago,” the guy behind the counter told me – Sonals Kitchen Homemade Authentic Indian Vegetarian Restaurant popped up in a former Moby Dick shop on Chamberlain just north of Westport Road. Continue reading Sonal masters Indian vegetarian cuisine

A happy return to El Mariachi, a favorite taqueria

By Robin Garr

Hola! I finally got back to a favorite taqueria, El Mariachi, last week, and oh, did it make me happy.

Now I wish it hadn’t taken me so long, but I felt uneasy about the idea before I finally got fully vaccinated. There’s typically some language barrier for me at the storefront places I love best – I can read Spanish fairly well, but I’m not good with conversations en español – so I couldn’t gear up to investigate a favorite spot’s takeout and curbside delivery options.

Now that’s over, and I hope it’s over to stay. Continue reading A happy return to El Mariachi, a favorite taqueria

Old School NY Pizza adds authenticity to Norton Commons

By Robin Garr

If you can’t make it to Southern Italy to indulge in traditional Neapolitan-style pizza at the source, New York City’s take on pizza is arguably second-best: And you won’t find a better slice in Louisville than at Old School NY Pizza.

A round of thin, crisp crust bearing portions of spicy sauce, melty cheese, and topping toppings discreetly applied so all remains in balance, fired in a high-temperature gas or wood oven until the cheese bubbles: That’s the recipe for Gotham’s finest, and Old School does it right. Continue reading Old School NY Pizza adds authenticity to Norton Commons

We dine well at a proper distance on Selena’s patio

I’ve never been tempted to sample fugu, the Japanese pufferfish whose internal organs are filled with poison so powerful that even a speck left in your sashimi by a careless chef can drop you dead after a few horrifying hours of pain. Plenty of Japanese gourmands will pay upwards of $200 for a fugu meal, but not me.

Why bring this up? Because the idea of sitting down for a meal at a local restaurant during this pandemic felt way too much like bellying up to a fugu bar. I needed to think it over before sitting down to something that’s sounds like fun but that could kill you.

And yet we did it anyway, settling in on the pretty, shady and very properly distanced patio at Selena’s at Willow Lake Tavern this week. We had a good meal and a good time, too, albeit against a backdrop of nervous unease perhaps similar to the emotions that fugu aficionados must feel. Continue reading We dine well at a proper distance on Selena’s patio

Yes, there is such a thing as a free lunch, at Dakshin

When the pandemic abruptly shut down all the restaurants in March, Dakshin Indian Restaurant’s owner Sanjay Taxak took many of the same steps as other local eateries: He started offering takeout service and curbside pickup, and he began offering his restaurant’s Indian fare delivered via Grubhub, Postmates, and Uber Eats.

But that wasn’t enough. Taxak was making and serving the food that he loves, but the situation left a hole in his heart. A lot of people were suffering. Furloughed, out of work, families would have a hard time feeding themselves. He couldn’t imagine his two children going hungry, and he didn’t want to think about it for anyone else. Continue reading Yes, there is such a thing as a free lunch, at Dakshin

Las Margaritas isn’t just about the margaritas

It came as no real surprise when I discovered that Las Margaritas Mexican Cuisine features margaritas at its well stocked bar. After all, lots of Mexican restaurants do. But this place takes it to the next level, offering a choice of a dozen house margaritas, from traditional models built with tequila or mezcal to hibiscus, prickly pear or jalapeño models and – wait for it – a bourbon margarita. Continue reading Las Margaritas isn’t just about the margaritas

More biscuits? Brunch at Gracious Plenty

Speaking of biscuits, we stopped by Gracious Plenty’s Prospect location on a Saturday recently with our friend Ann, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover its weekend-only brunch menu. Continue reading More biscuits? Brunch at Gracious Plenty

The 502 Bar & Bistro, a jewel in Norton Commons

For any chef, an invitation to come cook at James Beard House in New York City is an honor devoutly to be wished. To get there before turning 30 marks a young chef as a rising culinary young gun. Now meet Louisville’s Chef Ming Pu, 29-year-old executive chef at The 502 Bar & Bistro: This king of the kitchen is heading for Beard House this coming Tuesday, July 16, for his third visit in the past two years. Continue reading The 502 Bar & Bistro, a jewel in Norton Commons

El Mariachi is so good that even the chips excel

Let me tell you why I love El Mariachi so hard: Even the chips and salsa that drop on your table the moment you take a seat are exceptional. These thick, deeply corn-flavored treats, fashioned on the premises from fresh-made tortillas, are positively addictive. They’re so crunchy that I had to look twice to persuade myself that they weren’t lightly breaded before they were fried.

Yes, the salsa is first-rate, too, a finely mashed reddish-brown puree of red chiles, tomatoes, and herbs, just spicy enough. But those chips? Perhaps the best I ever ate, I really could make a meal of them, if that didn’t involve missing out on the rest of the menu. But I can’t do that. It’s too good to skip. Continue reading El Mariachi is so good that even the chips excel

Meet the new Pine Room, something like the old Pine Room

Spring was in the air on the morning of March 10, 1977, when the Harrods Creek Volunteer Fire Department rolled out to an alarm at the old Pine Room restaurant on Upper River Road. A fire that began in the beloved restaurant’s kitchen quickly involved the rest of the building.

Before fire fighters could contain it, the building was gutted by fire, smoke and water. The restaurant, a local landmark since the 1940s, closed forever. In its heyday it had been a popular destination, known for its friendly saloon atmosphere, comfort food, and lounge pianist named Mable who kept a candle burning atop her grand piano.

Now, 40-some years later, the Pine Room is back, or something a lot like it, anyway. Continue reading Meet the new Pine Room, something like the old Pine Room