Category Archives: Commentary

Robin Garr’s musings about food and restaurant matters that don’t fit neatly into the “review” category.

Shine on, August Moon

“Nobody goes there any more. It’s too crowded.” Yogi Berra purportedly said that, making the aphorism famous even if he didn’t say it first. Now I want to take an unlikely shot at similar fame with this Yogi-style observation: “I go to August Moon so often that I haven’t been there lately.” Continue reading Shine on, August Moon

Simply Thai comforts us with flavor and spice

When you need comfort food, nothing else will do. When you’re feeling down, pulling up to a plate full of comfort may be the best thing you can do for yourself. So it was for me last week when I had to say good-bye to my beloved cat Spike, a ginger-color furball buddy who’d been my special friend and constant companion for more than 17 years. It was either ugly-cry or fill up on comfort food, so I decided to do both.

But here’s the funny thing: When I needed comfort food, I realized that comfort for me does not come from the nurturing culinary memories of a Louisville childhood. No, my culinary comfort needs are filled with the bright, potent flavors of Southern and Southeastern Asia. Make mine Indian, Vietnamese, Indonesian or Thai, and I can feel the tension and sadness quietly draining away.

I hadn’t been to Simply Thai in St. Matthews for quite a while, so it felt like the perfect destination for a bittersweet yet consoling dinner in memory of Spike. Continue reading Simply Thai comforts us with flavor and spice

We are Hooked on Frankfort

For many decades before the first pizza came to Louisville in the 1950s or the first real taquerias arrived in the 1990s, this town has had a love affair with seafood and fish.

It wasn’t long after the Civil War when Mazzoni’s started shipping fresh oysters up from the Gulf in railroad cars filled with ice; fried fish couldn’t have taken much longer in a city with a large Catholic population expected to consume fish on Fridays. Mike Linnig and his family were selling fish sandwiches out of their produce stand on Cane Run Road as early as the late 1920s; the first Kingfish restaurant greeted the dawn of the Baby Boom in 1948.

Nowadays there’s a source of fried fish just about everywhere you look, and the latest entry is a good one, too: Please say hello to Hooked on Frankfort. Continue reading We are Hooked on Frankfort

Psst! Want to know our Derby dining secrets?

Welcome, Derby visitors!

No, really! I understand that the ubiquitous banners that hang on bar and restaurant windows during this exciting season, welcoming you and hawking industrial beer brands, don’t entirely pass the sincerity test. I know, you can reasonably translate them as “Come in heeeere and spend your moneeeey!”

But seriously, we really do mean it. Continue reading Psst! Want to know our Derby dining secrets?

Cry Havoc and let slip the Hot Browns of War

For hospitality workers, Derby means war.

It’s not a contest against the sea of festive diners. It’s a battle against time and against mistakes, against anything that tries to keep us from the summit of a perfect service. After weeks of preparation, it’s a brief war, lasting at most two days; but a crucial one on a couple of fronts. Continue reading Cry Havoc and let slip the Hot Browns of War