Category Archives: Commentary

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

Our Restaurant Bubble Tea Party

There has been news over the last month or so of a cluster of local restaurant closings. I’ve heard a lot of different reactions, including “Well, only the strong survive!” and “There are too many restaurants in Louisville as it is!” and “Competition is good!” and of course that old chestnut, “Their prices were too high for what they were serving, anyway.” Continue reading Our Restaurant Bubble Tea Party

Joe’s Older Than Dirt is back, and we’re glad

The first sign that Joe’s Older Than Dirt had returned from its two-year absence was the reappearance of its fabled moose statue out front, overlooking the busy traffic on New La Grange Road.

Yes. Joe’s is back, moose statue and all, and, in some respects, it’s better than ever after its brief closure for renovation and 19-month tenure as the Ole Group’s Red Barn Kitchen. Continue reading Joe’s Older Than Dirt is back, and we’re glad

Down One Bourbon Bar, two thumbs up

Thoughts upon an evening of snacking and sipping rye whiskey in Down One Bourbon Bar: Bourbon has been around for well over 200 years, and its history has been tied to Kentucky for all that time.

What’s more, bourbon is booming, with the state’s distillery roster almost quadrupling from 18 to 78 properties in the past 10 years..

So riddle me this: Why do you suppose that Louisville, stuck with a shabby downtown that closed up at night since white flight, expressways and suburban malls shelled it out during the ‘60s, took until now to figure out that bourbon makes a great fuel for tourism and urban development? Continue reading Down One Bourbon Bar, two thumbs up

What’s the Hubbub, Bub?

I see and hear a lot of restaurant goers discussing the noise levels they encounter when dining out. I get it. As I age it’s harder and harder for me to hear my companions’ conversation in the midst of a noisy crowd. However, I have yet to cross a restaurant off my to-visit list simply because I heard someone, or even several someones, say it was “too loud” in the dining room. Continue reading What’s the Hubbub, Bub?

Intriguing, creative Ostra wins with sustainable fare

Let me tell you three important things about Ostra, the stylish restaurant that opened last summer in Clifton:

  • It is very loud, so loud that a sudden shout can – and often does – spike its noise level into the potentially hazardous zone above 90 dB.
  • It is very dark, so dark that it’s not always easy to make out what’s on your plate.
  • It is very, very good, so good that I really don’t mind that it’s loud and dark. I’d go back in a heartbeat.
  • It also serves, among other things, a chocolate brownie made of crickets. Continue reading Intriguing, creative Ostra wins with sustainable fare

    Shreeji brings street-style Indian fire and flavor

    Even if you think you know something about Indian food, the chances are that the first time you see the menu at Shreeji Indian Vegetarian Street Food, you’re going to be bewildered by a lot of names of dishes that you don’t recognize at all.

    Only seasoned travelers or natives of the subcontinent are likely to be familiar with such deliciousness as vada pav, dabeli, methi gota, or bhel.

    But here’s great news: It doesn’t matter. Not only will the friendly people behind the counter explain it all for you, but even if you simply dive in and choose at random, you really can’t go wrong. It’s all delicious, bold, aromatic and colorful, so good that you won’t regret any choice you make. Continue reading Shreeji brings street-style Indian fire and flavor