Category Archives: LEO’s Eats

LEO’s Dining Guide 2013: What helps one helps all

Garage Bar in NuLu

Good eats make good neighbors in ‘restaurant clusters’

Birds of a feather flock together, it is said. And now it appears that maybe restaurants do, too. For many generations, after all, the dining scene that our parents and grandparents knew required a trip downtown for that special dining-out occasion. Neighborhood dining was largely limited to your friendly corner bar and grill, a diner or cafeteria or maybe a Woolworth’s lunch counter, or perhaps one of the city’s early pizzerias or chop-suey joints.

But then the Baby Boomers grew up and things changed. The ’70s and ’80s brought us Bardstown Road as the city’s first “Restaurant Row.” A decade later, the Frankfort Avenue renaissance took off. And now there’s an even newer trend, not only in Louisville but around the nation. “Restaurant Row” is so ’90s now. Say hello to the “Restaurant Cluster.”
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Brasserie Provence shows grace and good eats in dinner rush

Je vais avoir le canard,” said my friend Anne, summoning a French teacher and one-time expat’s easy fluency.

Our server looked puzzled, though. “Maybe you could point it out on the menu,” he said, blushing a little. “I’m still learning the dishes.”

I’m not picking on the guy, though. He showed Hemingway-esque grace under fire as our party of four spent the evening on a lavish meal at Brasserie Provence. We enjoyed his service, a fine Loire Cabernet Franc and an excellent, mostly authentic Provencal meal while allowing plenty of slack for a kitchen slammed by capacity crowds on its first full weekend. Continue reading Brasserie Provence shows grace and good eats in dinner rush

Rye will make you eat your brussels sprouts and beg for more

Somewhere out there in this wonderfully diverse world, there is bound to be at least one human who truly loves, loves, loves brussels sprouts.

I have not yet met this person. Let’s face it, a brussels sprout is nothing but a tiny cabbage, with all of the faults that its bigger sibling is heir to, but – in my opinion, at least, and apparently that of many others – few of the virtues. Overcook them and they get stenchy. Undercook them and they stay hard, without the saving grace of crunch. And no matter what you do with them, it seems, they remain, well, tiny cabbages.
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We sing the praises of Shady Lane Café

I’d like to sing the praises of Shady Lane Café, but I expect that café owner Susi Smith, an outstanding professional singer, could warble it far better than I; and her husband and co-owner Bill Smith, who’s not only a mean hand on the short-order grill but also a poet of some repute, could probably sling some better verses on the topic than I, iambic pentameter or free verse, either way.
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Food Network loves The Coach Lamp, but who loves Food Network?

Okay, I am just going to come right out and say it: I am so over Food Network. Have been for years, really.

She’s like an old flame, full of bad memories of a romance that I try to suppress now that I’m no longer quite so young and stupid. Oh, I loved her back then, I truly did. It was late coming to Louisville, and I lusted after it in my heart when I read my friends’ stories online about her seductive wiles. And when she finally came to town, sometime around the turn of the millennium, as I recall, I was smitten, so smitten. Continue reading Food Network loves The Coach Lamp, but who loves Food Network?

Vibrant Village Anchor Pub & Roost thrives in old Anchorage

When Village Anchor Pub & Roost and its companion watering hole, The Sea Hag, opened three years ago this past summer, I thought they were pretty cool. But I wondered if they would stick.
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