Category Archives: Seafood & Water’s Edge

Mushroom cheesesteak and elote at Mussel & Burger Bar

Mussel & Burger (& Elotes) Bar

Okay, I have to admit, I was dubious at first about the idea of this new place in J’town bringing together mussels and burgers as its signature dishes.

When I heard that Cristina and Fernando Martinez and his cousin, Yaniel, were going to build a bill of fare around two such disparate edibles, my imagination pushed back: “One of these things is not like the other.”
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Buffet plate at Captain's Quarters

Sunday brunch tough choice at Captain’s Quarters

Ahh, Captain’s Quarters! From its striking ski-lodge-style wood and glass building to the decks that ramble over its scenic riverfront slope just up the Ohio at Harrods Creek, within skyline’s view of downtown Louisville, what’s not to like? Continue reading

Fried scrod on rye at Fish-Fry House.

Sincerest form of flattery at Fish-Fry House

Fried scrod on rye at Fish-Fry House.
Fried scrod on rye at Fish-Fry House.
When the Fish-Fry House opened in the Highlands last year, it generated a lot of excitement among local fried-fish lovers (who, of course, are legion), but not entirely for the right reasons. People emailed, they called, they stopped me on the street to pronounce the good news: “The Fishery has opened a branch in the Highlands!” Actually, not so much. In fact, when this purveyor of fried fish and other fried things changed its name from Blue Lagoon about a year ago, it hoisted a logo that looks an awful lot like The Fishery’s: Same fat serif font, same big F at the start and big Y at the end; the only difference is a little “-f” replacing The Fishery’s little “e” in the middle of the word. Drive out Bardstown just past Kroger and check it out. Chances are it will fool you, too.

In fact, the tenuous connection reportedly goes back to an old franchise agreement for a different location. The similar sign was not exactly welcomed by the original Fishery folks, or so I’m told.

But the argument has apparently abated, as the sign still stands. Live and let live. It takes plenty of fish to satisfy all the fish lovers in this fish-happy town, anyway, and that goes double when it’s Lent, the season when a lot of believers, in the spirit of sacrifice, switch over from delicious red meat to delicious fried white fish during the 40 days before Easter.

You don’t have to believe a thing beyond “I believe I’ll have me a fish sandwich” to enjoy the goodies here, though; and I’ll testify that Shahram Pouranfour (who also operates Sharom’s Fishery Station on Outer Loop) is a master of breading and frying. In a recent visit, we didn’t taste a fried item that wasn’t crisp, golden-brown and delicious. The offbeat venue only adds to Fish-Fry’s curb appeal: It’s located in the ‘20s-era gasoline service station that was lovingly renovated for restaurant use by the late, lamented Diamond Station.

The menu, as noted, depends substantially on frying, with fried Boston scrod, chicken, shrimp, chicken livers, oysters, salmon croquettes; even fried alligator tail and fried shark bites, along with a few tasty non-fried items such as oven-baked scrod, on a family-friendly menu topping out at $12.95 (for a fried oyster platter with choice of two sides). The bar is currently shut down, a sign on the door announcing that wine, beer and liquor won’t be available “until further notice.”

We made do with iced tea and filled up on a well-made fried scrod on rye ($6.50), an oversize rolled oyster ($5.75) that resembled a giant hush puppy with tiny fresh oysters baked in, and sides of outstanding fried green tomatoes, standard-issue green beans and, reflecting Pouranfour’s Persian heritage, Iranian-style dilled rice.

Our fried lunch for two, filling enough to set aside any plan for a serious dinner that evening, came to $27.78, plus a $6 tip.

Fish-Fry House
2280 Bardstown Road
632-2583
fishfryhouse.com

fish on rye and onion rings

The Fishery satisfies in Lent and all year ‘round

If you like seafood and fish, dine in a city that’s close to the water. This seems like good advice, but for reasons lost to history, Louisville has always been an exception to this rule.

The city is, and has been, crazy for seafood – particularly fried mild white fish – and we reportedly rank second only to Boston in cod consumed per capita, even though we must look hundreds of miles farther than the muddy Ohio for our source of supply.
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rolled oysters and sauce

This rolled oyster hits a Home Run

The demise of Flabby’s Schnitzelburg in July 2010, following on the heels of its sibling eatery, Mazzoni’s, which failed in the autumn of 2008 at the ripe old age of 124, seemed to spell the death of a great Louisville culinary tradition — the “rolled” oyster.
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A thigh and a wing for Captain Ahab?

I’ve long been a fan of Moby Dick. The local mini-chain with the cartoon whale logo may look fast-foodish, but they’ve been frying quality cod for nearly 45 years, and they know how to do it right. But the news of a recent addition at the Moby Dick in St. Matthews (4848 Shelbyville Road, near Whole Foods) made my head snap back. Fried chicken?
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We get scrod, and haddock too, at The Fish House

Scrod and Haddock sandwiches

So what’s a scrod? I’ll spare you the notorious Boston cabbie joke (although if you’re desperate to hear it, email me.) Anyway … scrod – or “schrod,” an older variation that’s dying out – is a foodie term that’s hard to pin down. Its definition varies depending on where you look it up.
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Recession-busting dining, cheap but fine

Fish tacos at Bazo's
Bazo’s, which recently moved to new quarters off Dupont Circle, serves one of the city’s best fish tacos. Photo by Robin Garr

LEO’s Eats with LouisvilleHotBytes.com
(Bazo’s, Caffe Classico, J. Gumbo’s, Stan’s)

OK, everybody listen up. I’ve told you this before, and chances are you’re going to hear it again: There’s a recession on.

Yes, a recession, and a lot of us are hurting. We’re cutting back on luxuries and hoping we won’t have to cut back on necessities.

For those of us who love food and drink and dining out, we’re whipsawed: It’s harder to justify dropping a pile of bucks on a big evening out, so fine dining may be one of the first indulgences to drop off the budget. But this decision puts a hurtin’ on Louisville’s local, independent restaurant community, the Louisville Originals and Keep Louisville Weirds that make our city an exceptional place to dine for its size.
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No need to roll your own at Mazzoni’s

Rolled oyster
Mazzoni’s, the 125-year-old Louisville tradition, is still going strong in its new Middletown digs. The fried oysters should not be missed. Photo by Robin Garr.

Mazzoni’s, the 125-year-old Louisville tradition, moved out to Middletown from its longtime quarters on Taylorsville Road earlier this year. I wandered out the other day for a couple deep-fried delights and found its new shopping center quarters virtually indistinguishable from the old, complete with the trademark 27-foot-long walnut serving bar (which dates all the way back to its old downtown location) and gallery of old Louisville pictures on the walls.
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Unchained Macca’s delights at Westport Village

Macca's
Macca’s Florida Seafood Grill & Bar holds down a prime spot in the Westport Village center. Outside seating, clean restrooms and a full bar, with plenty of scurrying employees wearing matching attire, put Macca’s squarely in the upscale-casual realm. Photo by Robin Garr.

LEO’s Eats with LouisvilleHotBytes.com, with Guest Critic Kevin Gibson

If Macca’s Florida Seafood Grill & Bar, with its clean, corporate, angular design and requisite marine-centric décor, looks like it could be part of a chain, that’s probably more than coincidental – this sleek, family-friendly restaurant was originally going to be an R.J. Gator’s franchise, but corporate expansion plans by the Florida-based restaurant chain got put on the back burner, reportedly for economic reasons.
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Why did the foodie cross the river?

Market Street Fish House
Market Street Fish House in New Albany. Photo by Robin Garr.

LEO’s Eats with LouisvilleHotBytes.com

I went across the Ohio to New Albany last week and had me a big old batch of fried oysters, and they were fine, even though the month of May doesn’t have an “R” in it.

Happily, the old wisdom about avoiding oysters from the end of Aprrrril through the first of Septemberrrr has pretty much been repealed, allowing aficionados of the tasty bivalve to enjoy them year-round.

What’s the story? The old R Rule stemmed from two issues, one related to health and the other to enjoyment.
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Mazzoni’s moves east

Mazzoni's
Mazzoni’s will celebrate its 125th anniversary next year in new quarters in Middletown. Inset: Chili, fish sandwich, rolled oysters. Photos by Robin Garr.

(Mazzoni’s, Voice-Tribune, Feb. 14, 2008)

Mazzoni’s, one of Louisville’s oldest restaurants, will celebrate its 125th anniversary next year. It’s also brand-new.

This seeming contradiction is easily explained: Founded in 1884 in downtown Louisville by Philip Mazzoni, a recent arrival from Genoa, Italy, Mazzoni’s remains in family hands a century-and-a-quarter later, ranking it as the city’s second-oldest eatery. (Only Cunningham’s, founded about a decade earlier around the time Aristides won the first Kentucky Derby in 1875, boasts a longer local heritage.)

But Mazzoni’s as also as new as last week, when it reopened in shopping center quarters in suburban Middletown, having moved from the spot across Taylorsville Road from Bowman Field that it had called home since the 1980s.
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