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

This drink’s for Fido

Tyler Dorsett
In a rare display of common sense, Kentucky recently made it OK to take home an unfinished bottle of wine from a restaurant. Tyler Dorsett of the Bristol-Downtown shows the first step, re-corking the bottle … Photos by Robin Garr

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes
(Wine doggy-bagging, Cutting Board Café, Aldi’s)

You order an excellent wine to go with your restaurant meal, and when dinner is done, the bottle is half empty. Or half full, depending on your worldview. What do you do?

Common sense would dictate that you poke the cork back in the bottle and take it home to enjoy another day. But common sense, by and large, does not inform alcoholic-beverage-control laws. In Kentucky, restaurants are generally not licensed for “package liquor” sales and, historically, have risked a fine or loss of their drinks license if they permit customers to carry out wine.

In a rare display of common sense, however, Kentucky’s legislature this year passed a new law allowing consumers to take the partially consumed bottle home. The law requires that restaurant staff re-seal the bottle, place it in a closed bag and provide a dated receipt. The consumer must keep the bottle in the trunk, a locked glove compartment or other place “inaccessible to the driver” during the trip home, a rather bureaucratic set of requirements apparently aimed at ensuring that thirsty motorists won’t slug their Chateau Gotrocks right out of the bottle while speeding along the Watterson.
Continue reading This drink’s for Fido

Chains – Was Mr. Marx right?

P.F. Chang's
Long waits were common when P.F. Chang’s opened in Louisville last year. Photo by Robin Garr

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes
(P.F. Chang’s, Cheesecake Factory)

“Unite,” Karl Marx urged the workers of the world. “You have nothing to lose but your chains.” And speaking of chains, my experiences with dining at the franchised variety too often remind me of another Marx – Groucho – who famously said, “I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.”

Please note that I’m not simply bashing all chains, sight unseen. I’ve had splendid meals at quite a few, and published glowing reviews. But whether you’re looking at a restaurant chain like Cheddar’s or a newspaper chain like Gannett, simple logic argues that when corporate bean counters rule spending, corner-cutting and diminished quality are likely to follow. Chains simply operate under different constraints than an independent local business run by an owner-chef whose passion drives him or her to excel regardless of costs.

This seems to work, most of the time. Consider the popularity of the Louisville Originals restaurants and similar locally owned eateries: You’ll find few chains knocking the locals out of any critic’s list of Top 10 places to dine.

And yet … some chains clearly do something right, because hungry crowds fairly knock down their doors. Take the suburban culinary meccas P.F. Chang’s and Cheesecake Factory. The three-hour waits of the early days may have diminished a little since they opened last autumn, but eager diners still line up hungrily at dinner time.

What is their secret? Continue reading Chains – Was Mr. Marx right?

Fast food follies

Corn dog nuggets
How does A&W get those little dogs to roll around in corn? Photos by Robin Garr

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes
(A&W’s corn dog nuggets, White Castle’s chicken rings; also Primo and more)

The life of a food critic is not all white tablecloths and fawning service and foie gras for breakfast. Take it from me, folks, sometimes I do these things so you won’t have to.

Occasionally it becomes necessary to follow a food trend wherever it takes us, even when it takes us down a road that I would just as soon avoid.

Let us consider, then, the corn dog nugget.

As I reported in our State Fair feature in August, I feel a once-a-year craving for corn dogs that can only be satisfied with one, annual dog-on-a-stick. OK, maybe two.

But what if these crunchy, fatty delights were available year-round, as close as a familiar fast-food spot?
Continue reading Fast food follies

Attack of the killer chains

P F Chang'sPardon me if I seem dense, but I’m still having a hard time figuring out just why so many people are willingly lining up for a wait of two to three hours to dine at the two hottest new spots in suburbia – P. F. Chang’s and The Cheesecake Factory.

We’ve checked them both out now – Chang’s twice – and while I’ll grant that they’re both well designed, staffed with competent people and serving food that ranks well above the median for corporate chain fare, still … three hours? Give me a break!
Continue reading Attack of the killer chains

Earlier reviews of restaurants in the St. Matthews (and points Northeast)

The links below go to our older restaurant reviews:

Asiatique
Austin’s
Los Aztecas
Bazo’s Fresh Mexican Grill
Bluegrass Brewing Co.
Brandon’s Barbecue
Bravo!
bw-3 Buffalo Wild Wings
California Pizza Kitchen
Captain’s Quarters
Carolina Shrimp & Seafood
Cheddar’s Casual Cafe
Corner Cafe and Pizzeria
Del Frisco’s
Dynasty Buffet
Emperor/Empress of China
Equus
The Fishery
Fuji Japanese Steakhouse
Gasthaus
Goose Creek Diner
Graeter’s Ice Cream
Havana Rumba
Heine Brothers’ Coffee
Jack’s Lounge
Jade Palace
Jucy’s
Lonnie’s Best Taste of Chicago
Martini Italian Bistro
Meridian Café
Mitchell’s Fish Market
Napa River Grill
El Nopal
Papa Murphy’s
Prospect Fish Market
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
Rick’s Ferrari Grille
Sakura Blue
Sonic Drive-In
Stan’s Fish Sandwich
Starlight Frozen Custard
Stoney River Legendary Steaks
Thai Cafe
Tokyo Japanese Restaurant
Tony Boombozz Pizzeria
211 Clover Lane
Vince Staten’s Barbecue
Yang Kee Noodle
W. W. Cousins
Whole Foods Market