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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Artemisia owner Gail Schwartz dies

Saffron's

Gail Schwartz, co-owner of Louisville’s Artemesia restaurant, died on Jan. 7 after a long battle with cancer. Gail was one of the people in the Louisville restaurant community who people seemed to genuinely appreciate. She’ll be missed. Expressions of sympathy may be directed to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society c/o Finance Department, 1311 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, NY 10605, (800) 955-4572, http://www.LLS.org/donate.
Click for her obituary in The Courier-Journal.

Saffron’s, Part Deux

Saffron's

Springing back into action after way too long a break (forced by the demands of my WineLoversPage.com website and wine-related travel to Portugal early in the holiday season), I resume this journal with excellent news for local fanciers of good things to eat: Saffron’s, veteran restaurateur Majid Ghavami’s classy Persian spot that I rank among the city’s best places to dine, is about to open a second downtown location.

Saffron’s Buffet will open soon in the space at 558 S. Fifth St., just north of Chestnut Street, that had housed Manoosh’s until the latter put up the shutters last autumn. (It was originally scheduled for opening in January, but significant renovation needs have prompted some delay. Watch this space for more news.)

Saffron’s Buffet will feature many of Saffron’s popular Persian dishes, styled for buffet service and priced to enjoy at $7.95 for all you can eat. Continue reading Saffron’s, Part Deux

Jay’s is back, better than ever

Jay's

Kevin Nelson, the new executive chef at the just-reopened Jay’s Cafeteria, got a few chuckles when he told a Courier-Journal business reporter, “My goal here is to make it the African-American Vincenzo’s.”

I’ve got news, folks: Based on the polished and professional service we received when we dined here at midday today, Vincenzo’s might just want to start thinking about trying to be the Italian-American Jay’s. The food was excellent, too: Urban soul food, served cafeteria-style – at least for now, it’s an all-you-can-eat deal at $10.99 a person for adults and teen-agers on Sundays – very well prepared by skilled chefs, several of whom I noticed proudly wear the Sullivan University culinary school logo on their whites.
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Café Glacé opens for business

Cafe Glace

I’m updating this report with the happy news that Café Glacé has quietly opened its doors in a “soft opening” this week, looking to a more formal “grand opening” (and, with any luck, the arrival of its sign) next Friday.

We spotted activity in there today, popped in and found the genial proprietor, Aziz Ghazipour, in attendance with his staff (including his brother and partner Azim and his wife), and a dozen gelato pans all filled brimful with seductively rich Italian ice cream made in a fancy, imported-from-Italy Carpigiani gelato machine. (Pink grapefruit was a grown-up ice cream, more tangy than sweet; mocha was gently coffee-and-cream, a great match with an iced lattè from Heine Bros. next door. They’re $2.35 for a small cup.)
Continue reading Café Glacé opens for business

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