Category Archives: Ethnic & Eclectic

And still more cheap eats: Breakfast at the Meridian Cafe

LEO’s Eats with Louisville HotBytes

The metro area is blessed with a surprising number of first-rate spots for a casual, comfortable soup, salad or sandwich lunch, and I try to make my way around to all of them regularly. One of my favorites is Meridian Café, and I’m apparently not the only person thus smitten – this place almost always has a big crowd.

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South India to West China: two hot new ethnic spots

Royal India's masala dosa
Indian brunch: Masala Dosa, a South Indian vegetarian treat, is the large lentil crepe at lower left, folded around curried potatoes; also pictured are three white rice-based idlys, a cup of spicy sambar lentil soup, and a pool of green coconut chutney. Photos by Robin Garr.

LEO’s Eats with Louisville HotBytes
(Royal India; Red Pepper Chinese Cuisine)

You don’t have to be as old as the (Tuscan) hills to remember the days when “Northern” Italian fare first became a local craze, serving dishes like fettuccine alfredo and veal piccata. Before long, “Northern” was in, “Southern” was out, and to this day, as much as we may still love pizza and spaghetti with meatballs and other hearty red-sauced Italian comfort food, we don’t think of it as, well, upscale anymore.

Now get ready to broaden your culinary horizons with a couple more ethnic compass points. Two fine new restaurants are breaking new ground for Louisville with exotic, spicy South Indian and West Chinese cuisine.
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Rising trend for ’07: fine dining comes to suburbia

Veal at Corbett's
Plated on a seductive, creamy puree of house-smoked sweet potatoes, the butter-tender Sonoma veal cutlets at Corbett’s “An American Place” are a work of culinary art. Photo by Robin Garr.

LEO’s Eats with Louisville HotBytes
(Seviche – A Latin Bistro; Corbett’s “An American Place”)

Here’s a vignette that captures the year 2007 on the local dining scene for me: I’m enjoying lunch in the new Seviche – A Latin Bistro on Goose Creek Road. The room is packed, but I’m the only male in sight, and I’m the youngest person in the place except for the servers. I’m enjoying a wonderful Chinese-Latino “fusion” seviche … and all the ladies lunching around me are having guacamole and quesadillas and talking about what a marvelous new Mexican place this is.

In fact, the year 2007 has seen a lot of action on the Louisville restaurant scene, including some disappointing closings (Bistro New Albany, Azalea, Diamante, Harper’s) and some exciting openings (Mojito, Basa, Varanese, Wild Eggs, Original Impellizzeri’s), not to mention a closing-but-reopening (Nio’s at 917) and even a closing-opening-closing-opening-again-then-really-and-truly-closing (the ill-fated Oscar Brown’s/La Rouge/Bobby J’s).

Perhaps the most intriguing developing local restaurant trend, though, is the first shaking of a seismic shift: The arrival of Seviche and other top-echelon, locally owned and independent white-tablecloth restaurants in the chain-rich East End.
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Seviche comes to the East End

Crispy fish at Seviche
Seviche’s crispy fish was a deep-fried red snapper about a foot long, served head and tail on, set in swimming position atop a bed of subtly flavored macadamia-nut rice. Photo by Robin Garr.

(Seviche – A Latin Bistro, Voice-Tribune, Nov. 29, 2007)

When Anthony Lamas’s son, Ethan Diego, turned 4, Lamas and his wife, Samantha, made the same decision as a lot of young parents before them: They moved from the Highlands to the East End, seeking a quiet, suburban setting with good schools for the youngsters.

It wasn’t long before Lamas made another important decision: With the strong encouragement of his wife and his father-in-law, Dr. Bruce Gaddie – longtime Oldham County residents – he brought his workplace out to the suburbs, too.

Lamas, chef and owner of Louisville’s immensely popular Seviche – A Latin Restaurant – now presides over two restaurants, having opened Seviche – A Latin Bistro last month in the quarters vacated by the short-lived Cutting Board on Goose Creek Road.

With the exception of locally owned and operated Limestone on North Hurstbourne, Lamas said he was startled to discover how much the East End’s fine-dining scene has been dominated by corporate chain eateries.

The arrival of the new Seviche, though, coupled with Equus chef-owner Dean Corbett’s planned opening of Corbett’s An American Place in Brownsboro Crossing on Dec. 15 and Napa River Grill’s planned move from Dupont Circle to Westport Village early next year, may signal a coming tide.
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Wild Eggs hatches breakfast … and lunch!

Wild Eggs

(Wild Eggs, Voice-Tribune, Nov. 8, 2007)

Who doesn’t love breakfast? The resounding success of a series of fancy yet comfortable breakfast and brunch spots around Louisville strongly suggests that most people in the Derby City do.

First there was Lynn’s Paradise Cafe, which has all but become a local institution in nearly 20 years of serving us pancakes, french toast and more. A couple of years ago, Toast on Market opened to rave reviews and has been packed ever since.

And now, in the East End, Wild Eggs seems poised to make it a morning trifecta.
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Dr. Livingstone would have loved Chez Seneba

The world has shrunk a great deal since the days when the journalist Henry Stanley found Dr. David Livingstone, we presume, in what was then known as darkest Africa. Curiously enough, that famous meeting occurred only a few short years before Steinert’s was to open its doors in New Albany.

To this day, most Americans remain a bit iffy on African geography, not to mention African cuisine. For the record, then, Chez Seneba represents West Africa in Louisville’s world atlas of eats: The owners hail from Senegal, which is pretty much directly across Africa from Ethiopia on the continent’s eastern side, a nation whose spicy cuisine is represented locally by Queen of Sheba on Bardstown Road. More about that another day.
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