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

Sushi is good in the neighborhood

Oishii Sushi
Word of mouth has quickly built a good reputation for Oishii Sushi in the Highlands, and it’s drawing crowds with its friendly, outgoing sushi chefs and wide selection of sushi treats like these. Photos by Robin Garr.

LEO’s Eats with LouisvilleHotBytes.com

A few weeks ago, I had occasion to nosh my way through Sushi In The City, a sociable fundraising event at which a random selection of local sushi bars (and a few other eateries) provided samples of their wares.

The experience was so tasty that it left me craving even more of the stuff, so in recent weeks, I’ve made it my business to check out a couple more recent arrivals on the metro sushi scene.

Some people are still a bit wary of sushi – the concept of eating raw fish does take some getting used to. But as I said in the previous report, 125 million Japanese can’t all be wrong, and enough of us have acquired the taste to support more than 20 good sushi restaurants around town.

Two more have arrived recently: Oishii Sushi in the Highlands opened last month and Hanabi Sushi & Japanese Cuisine in Prospect around the end of the year. A third arrival, Hiko A Mon in Westport Village, opened just last week, and I’ll take my chopsticks and get out there, too, one day soon.
Continue reading Sushi is good in the neighborhood

Meeting John Barleycorn at Bourbons Bistro

Bourbons Bistro
Chef Michael Crouch of Bourbons Bistro offers thoughtful, creative dishes that may be rooted in down-home Ohio Valley flavors but travel around the world for inspiration. Photo by Robin Garr.

LEO’s Eats with LouisvilleHotBytes.com

We did an odd thing at Bourbons Bistro the other night. You might expect a place named after Kentucky’s native nectar to feature steak, potatoes and red wine, but we ended up with a delicious selection of seafood and vegetarian dishes.

That’s the delicious secret (although it’s not much of a secret) at Bourbons Bistro: Bourbon has outgrown its reputation as the potent, old-style liquor that your Old Grand-dad used to sip and has moved into the modern era. Bourbons Bistro, arguably bourbon whiskey’s No. 1 temple in the metro, provides fare to match, with Chef Michael Crouch turning out thoughtful, creative dishes that may be rooted in down-home Ohio Valley flavors but travel around the world for inspiration.
Continue reading Meeting John Barleycorn at Bourbons Bistro

Four people drove up the hill …

RockWall
Long known for its lovely setting tucked into an old rock quarry on the Floyds Knobs hills high above Louisville, RockWall has kicked things up a notch or two under Chef Alex Bomba, who arrived last summer. Photo courtesy of Guy Sillings/RockWall Bistro.

LEO’s Eats with Louisville HotBytes

So the other night, four people drove up a hill in Southern Indiana to enjoy a classy evening of fine Indiana wine and upscale cuisine.

What’s the punch line? Get ready for it …

OK, there isn’t any punch line. This is no joke. It’s no surprise to find a touch of comfortable class at RockWall Bistro. Long known for its lovely setting tucked into an old rock quarry on the Floyds Knobs hills high above Louisville, RockWall has kicked things up a notch or two under Chef Alex Bomba, who arrived last summer.
Continue reading Four people drove up the hill …

Eat the veggies first at Club Grotto

Club Grotto
Club Grotto head chef Mike Driskell doesn’t give the humble vegetable short shrift. And you don’t even have to be a vegetarian to appreciate their trademark all-vegetable dinner course, the aptly named “Vegetable Orgy.” LEO Photo by Nicole Pullen.

LEO’s Eats with Louisville HotBytes
(Club Grotto; Old Town wine totes)

Eat your vegetables!

This exhortation, so often directed at children, for many of us leaves lingering psychic echoes that ring down the years into adulthood. Veggies? Who needs them? Real men eat meat and potatoes … don’t they?

I count myself among the willing but vaguely reluctant vegetable eaters: I’ll force down a portion, knowing that I should, but rarely get the same kind of excitement out of it that I naturally derive from a great steak, shellfish or even a cheese or pasta dish.

Frankly, I think some of Louisville’s top chefs share this aversion. Too often, even at the city’s finest restaurants, I’ll get a great meal with a careless blob of reheated frozen veggies right out of the bag, tossed on the side of my dinner plate as an obvious afterthought.

This doesn’t happen at Club Grotto. Continue reading Eat the veggies first at Club Grotto

By any name, Varanese is a winner

Varanese
Varanese – named for chef John Varanese, who’s been chef at the Cardinal Club and the late, great Azalea – opened last month in the old Red Lounge on Frankfort Avenue. The space has been completely renovated, and the food recalls Azalea. Photo by Robin Garr.

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes

I was really excited when I heard about this new restaurant. Its name sounded like “Veronese.” Verona! The legendary home of Romeo and Juliet is one of my favorite cities anywhere, and Veronese food and wine rank among my favorite cuisines. If this new place was going to feature the delicious dishes of Northeastern Italy’s Veneto region, I would be a happy boy.

Duh. I wasn’t listening close enough. That’s VarAnese, not VerOnese. Never mind!

In fact, this new dining room – it opened Aug. 20 in the former Red Lounge – is named for its owner and chef, John Varanese; and that’s not a bad thing, not bad at all.
Continue reading By any name, Varanese is a winner

We take Rivue for a spin

Rivue
On the 25th floor of the Galt House, the hotel’s former idiosyncrasies have yielded to the elegant furnishings of Rivue, a brand new upscale restaurant with an amazing 360-degree view of the city. LEO Photo by Nicole Pullen

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes
(Rivue; Caffe Classico’s new pizza)

The late developer Al J. Schneider, never a man to pay much attention to negative counsel, pretty much went it alone when he built the Galt House on Louisville’s then-moribund waterfront in 1973.

Schneider lived long enough to enjoy vindication as a vibrant redeveloped downtown scene rose around his venture, which bore the name of a historic 19th century hostelry where Charles Dickens once stayed.

But if the truth be told, a lot of people are still chuckling at the combination of hard-headedness and wacky design sense that inspired him to create the place in a style that can only be described as “idiosyncratic.”

Shocking pink met pukey green, and plaid introduced itself to paisley in an odd high-rise that used to boast the simple letters “H-O-T-E-L” running vertically down its river facade, surmounted by a pair of oversize, revolving view restaurants that from the outside resembled nothing so much as bulging bullfrog eyes.
Continue reading We take Rivue for a spin