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

Critic yells ‘beer me’ as suds go upscale

Mussel soup
Bistro New Albany and New Albanian Brewing Co. teamed up for an “Extreme Belgian” dinner that paired Belgian beers with various dishes, such as this succulent mussel soup. Photos by Robin Garr.

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes
(Extreme Belgian at Bistro New Albany; CarlyRae’s)

If you don’t think there’s any class distinction between wine and beer, you might consider whether you’ve even seen a drunk slouch into a bar and yell, “Wine me!” Beer, let’s face it, owns a downscale, blue-collar image that contrasts with wine’s perceived position as the drink the beautiful people sip.

But need this be so? In an age when artisanal brewpubs and microbreweries abound and the term “quality American beer” is no longer an oxymoron, it’s arguable that beer – fine, crafted beer made in a wide variety of styles – deserves as much connoisseurish attention as wine enthusiasts are accustomed to lavishing on their grape juice.
Continue reading Critic yells ‘beer me’ as suds go upscale

Mimi’s: Popular chain lands on Hurstbourne

Mimi's
Mimi’s occupies the renovated former quarters of Don Pablo’s on Hurstbourne. Photo by Robin Garr

(Voice-Tribune, March 8, 2007)

When it comes to dining out, I’m usually inclined to look for a well-run locally owned and operated eatery, where the chances are that the person who has to meet the payroll is the same individual who cooks your dinner or greets you at the door.

In the practical reality of today’s corporate world, however, franchise and chain restaurants abound; in the suburbs, it’s fair to say that chain eateries significantly outnumber the locals. Drive the length of Hurstbourne, for instance, and once you’re past Tony Boombozz, the elegant Limestone and the Bristol, you’ve pretty much exhausted your independent-owner options.

But let’s face it: Bean counters and quarterly balance sheets to the contrary notwithstanding, the chains must be doing something right, as these eateries generally pack in crowds of seemingly happy customers. Continue reading Mimi’s: Popular chain lands on Hurstbourne

A video tour of Caffè Classico

Play video
Click the image link to watch a 2-minute video tour of Caffè Classico

In a town that’s virtually awash with fine artisan coffee shops, it’s hard to declare a single favorite among so many good ones. I’m such a regular at Heine Bros. on Frankfort that the baristas all know just how I like my latte; I love the commitment to handmade quality at Sunergos in Germantown and the new Jackson’s Organic on Lexington Road and Blue Mountain on East Main; and there’s a lot to like at Day’s, Highland Coffee and many more.

But if you put together quality and mood and add a point or two for excellent food and a good wine list as a serious option for those evening hours when coffee doesn’t seem quite right but a glass of vino does, it’s hard to beat Caffe Classico on style points. Continue reading A video tour of Caffè Classico

QuickBytes: Konnichi-wa at Caviar

Caviar

Komban wa,” I told the sushi chef, bowing politely and doing the best I could to get out the Japanese words for “good evening” with at least marginal fluency.

He gave me a friendly but very puzzled look.

“I guess I just can’t speak Japanese,” I said, switching back to English.

“No,” he said. “I can’t speak Japanese. I’m from Korea.”

Whatever. He was a heck of a nice guy, and over the course of our first dinner at Caviar, the sleek new Japanese spot next door to the Seelbach on Muhammad Ali, he would fashion us more than $50 worth of sushi, all of it creditable and much of it splendid.
Continue reading QuickBytes: Konnichi-wa at Caviar

Lentini’s is back, again, and it’s better than ever

Three pastas
Lentini’s tris di pasta sampler: risotto con asparagi, thin and dense lasagna and wide tagliatelle in a light cream sauce with Portobello mushroom slices. Photo by Robin Garr.

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes

The red neon sign out front of this Highlands landmark isn’t retro, it’s real. It takes us right back to the ’60s, still luring us in to Lentini’s “Little Italy” just as it did when it opened 45 years ago when JFK was president, Elvis was King and girls wore beehive hairdos and poodle skirts.

When the last Lentini (“Sonny”) retired in 2001, a partnership with a Vietnamese entrepreneur followed and we got banh mi and pho alongside lasagna and pizza. This strange experiment didn’t last long. Lentini’s closed, reopened under new management in 2003, then closed again. New owners tried again and promptly went bankrupt. Now it’s ba-aa-ack for a third try, or is it a fourth?

This time, though, the signs look good. Continue reading Lentini’s is back, again, and it’s better than ever

Westport General Store cuts the cheese, but it’s no Cracker Barrel

Westport General Store
Westport General Store: about 30 minutes from Louisville, is down-home, innovative and urbane. Photos by Robin Garr.

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes

A rustic country store in a tiny rural village, it boasts a breezy veranda, an oversize wheel of fine cheddar cheese, and a down-home bill of fare that includes such goodies as stone-ground grits and country-fried pork chops and even, occasionally, fried bologna.

Why, it sounds just like Cracker Barrel.

Not!
Continue reading Westport General Store cuts the cheese, but it’s no Cracker Barrel