Potstickers comes unglued

Potstickers closed Jan. 17, 2010, after the Jan. 20 edition of LEO had gone to print. This review appeared in that edition of LEO. We publish it here in memoriam, and to help explain why we think it didn’t last.

When I heard that Chef Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia was behind a new fast-food noodle shop that opened last autumn in the midst of the club zone on Baxter, I was excited. I’ve got a lot of respect for Lee and his work, and 610 has been one of my favorite Louisville restaurants for 25 years, under Lee and his predecessor, Ed Garber.

After a couple visits to Potstickers, though, I’m puzzled and bemused. If Lee is really behind it — and I have no reason to doubt that — it’s got to be a hands-off operation.

They’ve done a great job of repurposing a tiny Baxter Avenue storefront as a fast-food noodle shop with an artful Asian sensibility. The concept — something like an Asian spin on Quizno’s or Moe’s — is inventive. The ingredients are quality, counter workers are friendly and helpful, and pricing is more than fair, with most meals in the $5 range.

But the food? Alas, Potstickers presents an unexpected culinary equation in which the whole is less than the sum of its parts.

A ginger soy pork noodle bowl ($5.45) was bountiful but sloppy, and the flavors spoke mostly of salt, with hints of ginger and spicy heat.

The namesake potstickers ($4.15 for eight) were even more disappointing. Pre-made, small and flat, they were reheated in something that looked like a toaster oven and sent aloft a cloud of smoke and a burning smell. Drowned in a mix of heavy sauces, they were crunchy, scorched and indeterminate in flavor.

Presentation was lovely, and the price was right: $10.18 for two plus $2.50 for the tip jar. But despite its lofty heritage, Potstickers, I’m sorry to say, needs work. If you go, I suggest sticking with noodles, with firm instructions to go light on the sauce.

938 Baxter Ave.
Robin Garr’s rating: 73 points