Category Archives: Pacific Rim & Other Asian

Maido: Not just another sushi bar

Maido
Maido Essential Japanese is Louisville’s only example of “izakaya” dining, a combination of pub, sake bar and eatery. Pictured are owners Jim and Toki Masubuchi Huie. LEO Photo by Nicole Pullen.

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes
(Maido Essential Japanese)

Here’s a dining critic’s dilemma: I live in Crescent Hill, so I drive past Maido Essential Japanese often. Every time I do, I look over and feel a warm, loving feeling pass over me as I think, “I love that place.” Yet, because duty calls me to dine somewhere different every week, I rarely get to come back to Maido and other favorites … and that’s just wrong.

So it was to my great delight that I turned over a calendar page the other day and saw that enough time had passed since Maido’s 2004 opening to justify a return trip. Hai!

Maido, it should be noted, is Japanese, but it is not just another sushi bar. In fact, it’s not a sushi bar at all, although sushi is made in the kitchen. It’s something much more interesting: Louisville’s only example (and one of the few between the coasts) of “izakaya” dining, a combination of pub, sake bar and eatery that’s beloved by “sararimen” (“salary-men” or business workers) in Japan’s second city, Osaka, and the Kansai region around it.
Continue reading Maido: Not just another sushi bar

We go Malaysian in the autumn heat

Satay
Whether you go for the Malaysian dishes or prowl the East on August Moon’s eclectic menu, this 20-year-old eatery remains a favorite. The chicken satay recipe comes from Chef Peng Looi’s hometown of Ipoh, Malaysia. LEO Photo by Nicole Pullen.

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes
(August Moon, Festa Italiana)

When the weather forecast for the first weekend of autumn calls for high temperatures in the middle 90s, something just plain isn’t right.

What can we do about it? I’ll leave the big picture details to Al Gore, but as for me, I’ve got a plan: We’ll go with the climate flow, but gradually switch over to dining on tropical cuisines. I figure folks who live within shouting distance of the equator probably know something about eating to beat the heat.

Happily, it’s not hard to find tropical cuisines in Louisville, where warm-climate dining options range among such favorites as Vietnam Kitchen, Mayan Café, Thai Taste, Queen of Sheba, Taste of Jamaica, the recently relocated Chez Seneba and many more.

The other day, though, sitting around with the air-conditioning cranked up and nursing an appetite, I found myself craving authentic Malaysian satay. Continue reading We go Malaysian in the autumn heat

Asian adventures, New Albany style

The Onion
The Onion Restaurant and Tea House has built quite a following since it opened in New Albany a few years back. LEO photo by Nicole Pullen

LEO’s Eat ‘n’ Blog with Louisville HotBytes
(Onion Restaurant and Tea House, Tran Japanese Steakhouse)

It’s been a great pleasure, in recent years, to see such a surge of restaurant-related activity on the north side of the Ohio. The arrival of a growing variety of eateries in Southern Indiana is good news for “foodies” on both sides of the river.

In addition to the obvious – the boomlet of chain eateries on the riverfront and across the Clarksville strip – the region has been gifted in recent years with interesting, locally-owned independent restaurants that range from taquerias and Asian spots to casually sophisticated dining rooms. We’ll have more on that, and a deeper look at the New Albany restaurant renaissance in particular, coming soon.

One of the many epicenters of Southern Indiana eats activity, perhaps just a bit out of sight and out of the way for Kentucky diners, lies along Grant Line and Charlestown roads near I-265 on New Albany’s north side. Continue reading Asian adventures, New Albany style

Cravin’ Asian at Shah’s Mongolian

Shalimar
Two build-your-own stir-fries at Shah’s Mongolian Grill. Photo by Robin Garr

(Voice-Tribune, April 12, 2006)

I love Italian food and wine and sometimes feel that I can’t get enough of it. But after spending over two weeks in Northern Italy, enjoying the real thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I came home last week just about ready for a change of pace.

But what, exactly, would fill the bill? Instinctively, I emulated the Italian nobleman Marco Polo, who headed for the exotic East in 1266 and found all manner of good things: I headed for Louisville’s East End to check out a favorite Asian eatery that I was overdue to visit because of ownership changes and new offerings since my last review.
Continue reading Cravin’ Asian at Shah’s Mongolian