Category Archives: St. Matthews, Westport Village, and environs

Chef Dan seeks out the little donkey

Salsarita's
Salsarita’s chicken burrito with black beans, medium salsa, guacamole, lettuce, cilantro, red onions and cheese. Photo by Robin Garr.

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes
(Qdoba, Moe’s, Salsarita’s)

When a top chef takes a break from cooking for other people and ventures out to dine on someone else’s fare, what goodies is he likely to choose? Ethereally trendy foams and smears and other cutting-edge num-nums of molecular gastronomy?

Well, maybe.

But if you ask Chef Dan Thomas, sous chef at Big Spring Country Club and late of City Café, Café Metro and Equus, about the casual snack that smacks his piñata, a fond, distant look comes into his eyes and he literally licks his chops.

“Burritos,” he said. Continue reading Chef Dan seeks out the little donkey

Plus ça change at Café Lou Lou

Cafe Lou Lou
One of the reasons Café Lou Lou’s new locale works is the retention of the original look, including striking art pieces. LEO photo by Nicole Pullen.

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes

The 19th century French satirist and polymath Alphonse Karr was not, as far as we know, a food critic. But when he penned the lines, “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” (“The more things change, the more they stay the same”), he might as well have been talking about Louisville’s Café Lou Lou.

A lot of us obligate urbanites were horrified to learn earlier this year that Chef Clay Wallace and co-owner Helen Ellis planned to move the popular eatery’s quarters from Frankfort Avenue in Clifton to St. Matthews, literally across the street from where Sears used to be.

Leaving the artsy, hippy-dippy diversity of Clifton for almost-suburban St. Matthews? How can this be, we wailed! Café Lou Lou can’t possibly stay the same! How can it survive in the whitebread land of SUVs?

As it turns out, the answer to these questions turns out to be, “Very nicely indeed.” Or, if you prefer, “Plus ça change.”
Continue reading Plus ça change at Café Lou Lou

It’s fast … it’s casual … it’s Asian!

Lettuce wraps
The lettuce wraps at Yang Kee Noodle (top) and I Ching Asian Cafe are similar, but Yang Kee provides more lettuce and goodies on the side. Photos by Robin Garr

(Yang Kee Noodle, I Ching Asian Cafe, Voice-Tribune, July 12, 2007)

If you like the fresh, healthy and enticing flavors of the colorful cuisines of East Asia, but feel a little wary about dining at ethnic eateries where the menu is printed in a language you can’t speak, then fast-casual Asian dining may be just right for you.

Coming from the West Coast, as so many modern food trends do, this spreading development is largely carried by franchise chains like Pei Wei (P.F. Chang’s little brother), Rice Boxx, Pick Up Stix Fresh Asian Kitchen, Chef Martin Yan’s Yan Can and Tokyo Joe’s.

Like the similarly swelling wave of “fresh burrito” chains, competition is keen in this niche, and the concepts are so similar that sometimes the only way to tell where you’re dining is to look at the corporate logo.

None of the Asian chains have reached Louisville yet, but the concept is going strong in the East End, with two independent properties competing from shopping-center venues just a mile apart on Shelbyville Road.
Continue reading It’s fast … it’s casual … it’s Asian!

Something’s fishy at Seafood Connection, and we like that

Seafood Connection
Seafood Connection’s salmon taco (left) is topped with peach salsa; fried capers light up the flavor of the fish taco. Neither is your grandmother’s Tex-Mex. Photo by Robin Garr

(Voice-Tribune, June 14, 2007)

Travel around the Mediterranean and through the Latin countries, from Greece past southern Italy, Provence in France, Spain and on around Gibraltar to Portugal, and you’ll find wonderful seafood and fish restaurants in just about every port.

To my mind, the best of these places are the most informal, and it just doesn’t get any better than when the “menu” is a pile of fresh fish and shellfish, still briny from the ocean, piled on ice near the entrance. Pick the fish that appeals to you, point to it, and someone will whisk it away, soon to return it sizzling on your plate.

Louisville is a long way from the Med. Indeed, we’re about 600 miles from the nearest seacoast. But you can eat like this – or a little bit like this anyway – in the heart of St. Matthews at Seafood Connection in Chenoweth Square.
Continue reading Something’s fishy at Seafood Connection, and we like that

Built like a Brix House Special

Bar at Brix
Brix Wine Bar, on Lagrange Road, is an attractive, worthy addition to the suburbs. Photos by Robin Garr.

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes

(Brix Wine Bar, Diamante)

As soon as I saw the name of Brix Wine Bar, I knew I had to try it.

Brix – pronounced “bricks,” not the Frenchified “bree” – is a serious techno-wine word, a vineyard term for the level of sugar in wine grapes, a measure of ripeness at harvest. The higher the brix, the riper the grapes, the more sugar, the greater potential alcohol.

Only a real wine geek could come up with an oenophiliac name like that. It’s not like calling your wine bar “Merlot” or something.
Continue reading Built like a Brix House Special