Category Archives: $$$ Upscale ( $40 – $60)

80/20 @ Kaelin’s makes the old tradition new again

Kaelin’s is back, and it’s got cheeseburgers!

Well, let’s parse that a little: Meet the new 80/20@Kaelin’s. It’s not like the old Kaelin’s, but it’s certainly rooted in the mystique of the beloved old eatery at Speed Avenue and Newburg Road.

The original Kaelin’s was a Louisville favorite for most of the past century, family-owned from 1934 until its family owners sold the business in 2004. Owner Carl Kaelin was allegedly inspired to invent the cheeseburger on a brisk October day in 1935. Continue reading 80/20 @ Kaelin’s makes the old tradition new again

Ikebana fills long-vacant Red Pepper space

I still mourn the 2010 departure of Red Pepper, Louisville’s best Chinese restaurant ever. As good as it was, Red Pepper owner Yuan Hua told me when it closed, the combination of a $5,000 monthly lease payment and a respected Sichuan chef who required fair payment for his skills, sent it on to restaurant Nirvana after a short, bright two-year tenure.

Now, eight years later, the exotic-looking building on Lower Brownsboro is lighted up again: Ikebana Japanese Restaurant & Sushi has come to fill the space. Continue reading Ikebana fills long-vacant Red Pepper space

Artesano bounces back from spring flood

Certainly no one expected the monsoon-like rain storm and hail that smashed across Westport Road in February, dealing Artesano Vino Tapas y Mas a damaged roof and flooded dining room. The repair job took about two months, and the occasion for a reboot prompted a new look, some new dishes, and a new executive chef, Brian Curry, who came over from Napa River Grill to tweak the menu and oversee Artesano’s April reopening.

We dropped in the other night with a group of friends, and I’m delighted to report that the new Artesano is just as good as ever, maybe even a small step up the evolutionary ladder. Continue reading Artesano bounces back from spring flood

Appealing Sarino carries Vincenzo’s DNA, but it’s no clone

Vincenzo and Agostino Gabriele reinvented the Louisville dining scene a generation ago. Now Agostino’s sons, Carmelo and Michael Gabriele, have opened their own Italian restaurant in Germantown, named Sarino after the family nickname for another uncle, Rosario.

Will Sarino be something like Vincenzo’s Jr., then? I’m going to say no. But that’s no slam. Sarino is delightful in its own right, but it is as different from Vincenzo’s as millennials are different from baby boomers and as different as downtown is from Germantown. Continue reading Appealing Sarino carries Vincenzo’s DNA, but it’s no clone