Category Archives: $$ Modest ($20-$40)

Maido: Not just another sushi bar

Maido
Maido Essential Japanese is Louisville’s only example of “izakaya” dining, a combination of pub, sake bar and eatery. Pictured are owners Jim and Toki Masubuchi Huie. LEO Photo by Nicole Pullen.

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes
(Maido Essential Japanese)

Here’s a dining critic’s dilemma: I live in Crescent Hill, so I drive past Maido Essential Japanese often. Every time I do, I look over and feel a warm, loving feeling pass over me as I think, “I love that place.” Yet, because duty calls me to dine somewhere different every week, I rarely get to come back to Maido and other favorites … and that’s just wrong.

So it was to my great delight that I turned over a calendar page the other day and saw that enough time had passed since Maido’s 2004 opening to justify a return trip. Hai!

Maido, it should be noted, is Japanese, but it is not just another sushi bar. In fact, it’s not a sushi bar at all, although sushi is made in the kitchen. It’s something much more interesting: Louisville’s only example (and one of the few between the coasts) of “izakaya” dining, a combination of pub, sake bar and eatery that’s beloved by “sararimen” (“salary-men” or business workers) in Japan’s second city, Osaka, and the Kansai region around it.
Continue reading Maido: Not just another sushi bar

Always popular Rick’s

Rick's

(Rick’s Ferrari Grille, Voice-Tribune, Oct. 11, 2007)

According to long-established wisdom, one good way to detect an excellent Chinese restaurant is to look for the places where Chinese people eat. In much the same way, a happy, diverse mosaic of American diners generally signals an excellent American restaurant.

And so it is with Rick’s Ferrari Grille, an established St. Matthews tradition that rarely fails to attract a crowd.

After a series of moves over the years, restaurateur Rick Dissell has been back in his original Chenoweth Square location for 2 1/2 years now, and it looks like he’s back to stay. Continue reading Always popular Rick’s

We go Malaysian in the autumn heat

Satay
Whether you go for the Malaysian dishes or prowl the East on August Moon’s eclectic menu, this 20-year-old eatery remains a favorite. The chicken satay recipe comes from Chef Peng Looi’s hometown of Ipoh, Malaysia. LEO Photo by Nicole Pullen.

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes
(August Moon, Festa Italiana)

When the weather forecast for the first weekend of autumn calls for high temperatures in the middle 90s, something just plain isn’t right.

What can we do about it? I’ll leave the big picture details to Al Gore, but as for me, I’ve got a plan: We’ll go with the climate flow, but gradually switch over to dining on tropical cuisines. I figure folks who live within shouting distance of the equator probably know something about eating to beat the heat.

Happily, it’s not hard to find tropical cuisines in Louisville, where warm-climate dining options range among such favorites as Vietnam Kitchen, Mayan Café, Thai Taste, Queen of Sheba, Taste of Jamaica, the recently relocated Chez Seneba and many more.

The other day, though, sitting around with the air-conditioning cranked up and nursing an appetite, I found myself craving authentic Malaysian satay. Continue reading We go Malaysian in the autumn heat

The quality factor: Three local gems

Caffe Classico
Caffé Classico stands out on Frankfort Avenue for its cool, sophisticated Euro-style atmosphere and excellent coffee and espresso drinks. Owner-chef Tommie Mudd recently introduced a full dinner menu. Photo by Nicole Pullen.

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes
(Caffé Classico dinner, Mojito brunch, Original Impellizzeri’s)

In a world where MBAs rule and where economic terms like “monetization” and “quarterly balance sheet” and even the blunt “bottom line” hold sway, it sometimes seems as if the simple concept of succeeding through high quality and honest service at a fair price has become old-fashioned and even a bit naive.

Happily for local food lovers and the restaurant-going public, though, these sweetly antiquated concepts remain alive and well among many of Louisville’s excellent local, un-chained restaurateurs.

We’ve stepped up to the dinner plate and had three home runs smacked directly at our taste buds in recent weeks. Continue reading The quality factor: Three local gems

Amerigo discovers Louisville

Amerigo

(Amerigo Italian Restaurant, Voice-Tribune, Aug. 9, 2007)

Amerigo Vespucci, a minor mapmaker of fifteenth century Italy, may have visited the New World briefly a decade or so after Christopher Columbus set foot ashore in 1492.

Yet, thanks to another mapmaker who named the new continents after his cartographic colleague, the Americas are forever known by Vespucci’s slightly altered first name; while Columbus’s moniker attaches only to such relatively little-known patriotic hymns as “Hail Columbia” and, well, the capital of Ohio.

Now Amerigo gains a 21st century connection on the sign over the door of a six-unit, Nashville-based Italian-style restaurant chain that recently opened its first Louisville property. Housed in the building that was formerly home to Harper’s, Amerigo Italian Restaurant has built a substantial word-of-mouth buzz since its opening last month.

We’ve found a lot to like on early visits: Continue reading Amerigo discovers Louisville