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

Grilled oysters at LouVino

LouVino? LOUVINO? What? I can’t heeeaaarrr you!

We stepped into the high-ceilinged room that had housed De La Torre’s for so many years. It looks … different. And very cool. There’s wood all around, and glass and some brass, too, and a bar so long it goes back to there, backed by an awe-inspiring wall of wines housed in high-tech argon gas dispensers that keep the vino fresh.

Also, it’s loud, and by “loud,” I mean LOUD! as in “I can’t hear a frappin’ word you’re saying!”
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La Parrillada at Palermo Viejo

Please your palate, polish your Spanish with Palermo’s Parrillada

Psst! Señoras y Señores! Want to practice your Spanish? Here’s a tip: Go to Palermo Viejo and order the classic Argentine meat platter, La Parrillada.

The name of this dish (literally “The Grill Platter”) offers the Spanish-impaired student a double challenge, as it mashes up two of the toughest consonant pairs in Español: double-r and double-l.
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Veggie pizza at Harvest. LEO photo by Frankie Steele.

Harvest inspires our critic’s rant

For a change of pace this week, let’s start with a rant. A political rant! A rant about food politics!

I don’t want to say Michael Pollan or Mark Bittman are latecomers to the party. But I’m sure I’m not the only Boomer who woke up to the issues of food justice a generation earlier when I read Frankie Moore Lappé’s “Diet for a Small Planet” and “Food First” back in the ’70s, when being a “foodie” -a name not yet invented -was just becoming a thing.

The idea that there was a connection between stuffing our faces, feeding hungry people locally, fighting hunger around the world and pushing back against the food industry’s excesses from Frankenfood chemistry to horrific concentrated animal feeding operations came as a new and exciting notion back then.
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Seared snapper at The Brewery. LEO photo by Frankie Steele.

We study Reinheitsgebot and good eats at The Brewery

I like to think I’m a bit of a beer geek, but our friend Don puts me in the shade when it comes to knowledge of things malty and hoppy. I’ll bet he could recite the rules of the ancient Reinheitsgebot beer laws forwards and backwards, and our multilingual pal Anne could help us do it in the original German.
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Veggie pot pie at La Coop.

You Don’t Have To Speak French To Love La Coop

You don’t need to know nearly as much French as you used to do in order to enjoy dinner without assistance at La Coop. Well, you don’t need a French dictionary much, anyway, once you translate the moniker “Bistro à Vins” to discover that it means something like “unpretentious eatery and wines.” Continue reading

Jäger Schnitzel at Gasthaus.

Real German comfort food at Gasthaus

If you grew up in Louisville and have roots here more than three or four generations deep, it’s likely you have more than a few Germans perched on the branches of your family tree. Indeed, Louisville’s identity is shaped in substantial part by a German heritage that dates back to the 1840s, when a tide of German refugees from political and religious persecution came over to America in search of freedom.

Few of us speak German now; and if we do, we probably learned it in school, not at home. But when we think of comfort food, chances are that our family favorites have German roots. Continue reading

Rotisserie duck at Loop 22. LEO photo by Frankie Steele.

Loop 22 is a fine addition to the Highlands restaurant scene

When baby boomers were kids, our parents overcooked our veggies until they were mushy and bland. A generation later, baby millennials got their veggies crisp and barely cooked, reflecting the then-trendy restaurant style. You’d think that by 2014, some kind of balance might have been achieved between the extremes of ’70s mush and ’90s crunch, but noooo … Continue reading

Bowl o' Pho at Roots. LEO photo by Frankie Steele

No meat, no booze, no matter at Roots

Roots, with its next-door companion Heart & Soy, is coming up on its third anniversary this summer, and both spots appear to be going strong, filled with happy diners nightly.

So how does that work, when neither upscale Roots nor street-food Heart & Soy offer so much as a bite of meat or a sip of booze? I think it has something to do with what restaurateur Huong “Coco” Tran calls Roots’ “mindful, compassionate cooking,” a plant-based cuisine so good that even the most obligate carnivore can chow down without even missing animal flesh. Continue reading

Cornish hen at The Place Downstairs. LEO photo by Frankie Steele.

No “I” in the winning t-e-a-m at The Place Downstairs

Just weeks after smacking a home run with El Taco Luchador, their tiny taqueria-style eatery in the midst of the Baxter Avenue fun zone, the team of Fernando and Christina Martinez and Fernando’s cousin Yaniel Martinez have slammed another rocketing blast high over the left field bleachers with The Place Downstairs. The place, specifically, is downstairs (via a quick elevator ride) within Mussel & Burger Bar, another of the Martinez’s growing list of restaurant success stories. Continue reading

Spaghetti and meatballs at Martini Italian Bistro

Times change, Martini Italian Bistro carries on

“Oh, times, oh customs.” as the ancient Roman philosopher-politician Marcus Tullius Cicero said. (Well, okay, actually, Cicero said “O tempora O mores” in the original Latin, but that’s another story for another day.) Cicero’s ringing phrase tells us, simply, that as time passes, things change. Continue reading

Polenta and black-beanfritters at Exchange Pub + Kitchen.

Exchange Pub + Kitchen, a Pillar of Its Community

How good is Exchange Pub + Kitchen? Why, it’s a Pillar of its community.

I mean that literally: This month the popular spot in New Albany’s buzzing downtown dining scene won one of the city’s Pillar Awards, which recognize contributors to downtown restoration and renovation. Exchange Pub won the Horizon Award, honoring co-owners Ian and Nikki Hall for their 2012 move from the Grant Line Road area into the historic 1875-era Shrader Stables building downtown, the New Albany Tribune reported.
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