Category Archives: Commentary

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

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

Louisville Cafe India brings Indian delights

Once upon a time, not all that many years ago, the closest Indian restaurant to Louisville was in Cincinnati. I know, because I used to make that trip as often as I could. Indeed, as recently as the turn of the millennium there were still only about three Indian eateries in town.

But those days of deprivation are past! The recent arrival of Louisville Cafe India, popped up in the Middletown quarters abruptly vacated by Peking City Bistro last winter, pushes the metro’s count of Indian restaurants past a dozen, all of them on the Kentucky side of the river. Get with it, Hoosiers!

I was already feeling pumped by the arrival of Shreeji Indian Vegetarian Street Food on Hurstbourne last winter, so when I learned that Louisville Cafe India also features a substantial selection of Indian street fare – and more substantial entrees from many Indian regions as well – it didn’t take me long to race over there. Continue reading Louisville Cafe India brings Indian delights

El Mariachi is so good that even the chips excel

Let me tell you why I love El Mariachi so hard: Even the chips and salsa that drop on your table the moment you take a seat are exceptional. These thick, deeply corn-flavored treats, fashioned on the premises from fresh-made tortillas, are positively addictive. They’re so crunchy that I had to look twice to persuade myself that they weren’t lightly breaded before they were fried.

Yes, the salsa is first-rate, too, a finely mashed reddish-brown puree of red chiles, tomatoes, and herbs, just spicy enough. But those chips? Perhaps the best I ever ate, I really could make a meal of them, if that didn’t involve missing out on the rest of the menu. But I can’t do that. It’s too good to skip. Continue reading El Mariachi is so good that even the chips excel

Come to Sal’s for the pizza, stay for the fish

I must have passed by Sal’s Pizza & Sports Pub in Lyndon a hundred times without ever being motivated to stop in. This was a mistake. In retrospect I really miss all the good meals that I might have enjoyed there.

Don’t be like me. Go, soon. You’ll like it. Continue reading Come to Sal’s for the pizza, stay for the fish

J. Gumbo’s feeds our Mardi Gras faces.

If you woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed this morning, ready to get to work, you probably did not celebrate Mardi Gras in the traditional way last night. Lent starts today, and for those who observe the penitential season, there’ll be no more joyful excess until Easter arrives on April 21.

But we’ve got you covered! Even if you missed Mardi Gras, J. Gumbo’s is still good and affordable. Even after Fat Tuesday has come and gone, it stands ready to meet your Cajun dining needs. Continue reading J. Gumbo’s feeds our Mardi Gras faces.