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

A full plate from the lunch buffet at Shandaar Indian Restaurant.

Something old, something new

Let’s touch down for a couple of quick hits on the metro dining scene this week. Uptown Café has been a Bardstown Road landmark for 20 years, serving always reliable fare in a friendly setting that keeps bringing people back for more.

Shandaar Indian is so new that its well-crafted Facebook page still has that new-page smell. So far out in the East End that it feels closer to downtown Shelbyville than downtown Louisville, it proved to be well worth the trek.
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Cafe Lou Lou's Mediterranean Pizza

The pizza caper goes down at Cafe Lou Lou

Who’d like to get in on a caper? I’m not talking about a hilariously wacky criminal plot. Even if it were victimless and presumably foolproof, I’m naturally nervous about activities that could land me behind bars. Nor an ancient Celtic jumping and bounding dance, either. I’ll take my exercise in milder doses, thanks!

No, I’m mentally munching into an edible caper, those little green BB-shaped things made from the pickled bud of a Mediterranean lily-like flower, an item that most of us buy in little briny jars from Lotsa Pasta and stash on a refrigerator shelf, never to be seen again.
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Mitchell's Fish Market's Atlantic Cod Shang Hai

Mitchell’s Fish Market re-chains, stays about the same

Here’s one reason why I don’t often review corporate chain eateries: They’re generally predictable. Even the good ones don’t change much, unless the stockholders scream for change, and nothing good generally comes of that.

Take Mitchell’s Fish Market: I last reviewed it in November 2001, when it and its then-corporate partner Martini Italian Bistro had just arrived as anchor restaurants the new Summit shopping center. Continue reading

Bistro 1860's Colorado Rack of Lamb

Hate winter? Warm your soul and tummy at Bistro 1860

I try hard to be open-minded. I really do.

Consider the evidence: I’m a U of L grad, but I’m willing to root for UK or even IU, assuming that they aren’t playing the home team. I’m male yet feminist, straight yet affirming. And even as a card-carrying liberal, I voted for at least one Republican on last month’s ballot. Hey, it’s something!

But all this tolerance stops when we talk about the seasons.
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Tarte de tomates

Brasserie Provence soothes the savage critic

“Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast.” Or maybe “beast.” Everybody thinks the Bard wrote this, but it was actually William Congreve, a decidedly lesser poet who lived a century or so after Bill Shakspear trod the boards.

Whatever.

My breast was savage, and so was my beast, the other day. I was crabby. I’ll admit it. And I showed few signs of getting better. What was gnawing at my liver? Let me count the ways. (The Bard really did say that.)
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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