Category Archives: Commentary

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

What’s New Around Town – Winter ’06

Food & Dining

The Winter 2006 edition of our sibling print publication, Food & Dining Magazine Louisville Edition, is now available on news stands and local groceries and food specialty stores. (Click the cover image for more information and a great subscription offer!) Here, as a free preview, is our quarterly report on openings, closings and changes on the local restaurant scene:

Every three months, Food & Dining reviews restaurant openings, closings and other dining-industry changes in the metro area during the past quarter. This time around, like the quarter before it, saw considerable activity, with the good news that openings (including more than 30 new-business starts and about 10 additional locations for existing businesses) again significantly outnumbered the bad news of 20 restaurant closings.

As Food & Dining went to press, perhaps the loudest restaurant-news buzz of the season accompanied plans for several hot new spots that were set to launch during the early months of the new year.
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Old chop suey house goes authentic

Voice-Tribune
I’m delighted to announce a new partnership between LouisvilleHotBytes and The Voice-Tribune, Louisville’s suburban weekly newspaper. We’ll publish monthly restaurant reviews and wine-tasting reports in The Voice, which is available on East End news stands and by subscription.

For many years, Westerners who craved a taste of truly authentic Chinese food have been pretty much out of luck. Even if we followed the traditional wisdom for tracking down the finest Chinese fare (“look for the places where Chinese people eat”), our round eyes and pink complexions gave us away.

Invariably, even the most impassioned request for those exotic, delicious-looking dishes we could see all around us would meet kind but firm resistance. “You won’t like that. Try this.”

But the times are a’changing as a new generation of Chinese-immigrant entrepreneurs comes into the restaurant business; and nowadays at least a few Asian eateries are willing to give diners of European heritage a peek at the Chinese-for-Chinese menu.

Here’s news that may surprise you if you haven’t been paying attention: One of the best places in Louisville to find genuine, home-style Cantonese fare the way the Cantonese like it is the Oriental House in St. Matthews.

Oriental House

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Look who’s reviewing restaurants!

Rick Pitino

U of L basketball coach Rick Pitino, whose flashy new Website, RickPitino.com, has become a must-visit bookmark for Cardinals hoops fans, has added an unexpected feature: A series of restaurant reviews, currently featuring his thoughts on a number of Louisville steakhouses and high-end Italian eateries in New York. Now online are Rick’s comments on Morton’s, Ruth’s Chris and Pat’s steak houses, as well as reviews of the trendy Babbo, Campagnola and Bravo Gianni in New York. An earlier report on Louisville’s Porcini appears to have scrolled off the list.

His reviews are light, bright and consistently positive (“I have never had a bad meal there,” he says of Morton’s, and of Ruth’s Chris he goes on, “You’ll find it difficult to find a bad meal”). But he’s got an unerring eye for value, correctly zapping both chain steak houses’ wine lists as “extensive and overpriced.” Speaking of Morton’s, he advises, “Make sure you bring plenty of money or plastic …”
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What’s new around town

Our sibling print publication, Food & Dining Louisville Edition, will be on the streets with its Fall 2005 edition in a few weeks. Here’s a free preview, our quarterly report on openings, closings and changes on the local restaurant scene:

As we do every quarter, Food & Dining comes up with a quick, rough-and-ready diagnosis of the health of the local restaurant business by tracking recent restaurant openings and closings. This round, the doctor’s report is good, amid considerable activity: A total of 30 new restaurants have opened for business around the metro area, while only about 20 (including, unfortunately, a disproportionate share of mom-and-pop ethnic spots) closed their doors.
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New look!

Notice anything different? We’ve made some changes at LouisvilleHotBytes, changes that we hope will make Louisville’s top spot for information about local restaurants and the city’s food scene a little more useful and even more fun. The top change should be immediately apparent: We’ve converted to a “blog” format to facilitate quick and frequent updates, and to make it easier than ever for you to talk back.

One thing won’t change: You can continue to rely on LouisvilleHotBytes.com for the kind of fair, accurate and knowledgeable restaurant reviews that you’ve counted on me to deliver since the 1980s, and you’ll continue to find the region’s premier interactive online restaurant community here.
Continue reading New look!