Wrapping it up in The Grape LeafApril 2, 2008
LEO’s Eats with LouisvilleHotBytes
Back over on the Louisville side, we were feeling the need for a little affordable comfort, too. I keep talking about hitting The Grape Leaf, a popular Clifton spot, for dinner, but until I get around to that, lunch seemed like a mighty good idea. Grape Leaf is generally crowded at noon, and service is sociable, friendly but not particularly quick. No matter, if you’re not in a hurry. The Middle Eastern food is worth the wait.
The decor has been through a fix-up since my last visit – it seems a bit more upscale now – and large, leatherette-bound menus bear out this impression. We’ll devote serious attention to its Levantine charms on another visit. This time the pick was simple: Good and easy lunch. Did I say “comfort”?
Lunch specials cover the standard range of regional specialties such as kibbeh, kufti, schwarma and falafel, and come with a Greek salad or green salad. (What’s the difference? “Feta cheese,” the waiter said.)
Said salads were estimable, and so generous that they barely left room for the main dishes. Cool, crisp lettuces, olives, red onions, tomatoes and the requisite feta were dressed with fresh vinaigrette, with a small mound of creamy, garlicky hummus and fresh pita wedges on the side.
Kufti is a savory treat of seasoned ground lamb and beef loaded onto a skewer and grilled juicy and moist. Imagine a hamburger or meatball stretched into the shape of a sausage a good 8 inches long, stretching the length of my plate. Accompanying rice pilaf was studded with raisins and lentils, so much that I took a lot of it home; with a small helping of a tangy pickled vegetable condiment on the side. Aromatic Earl Grey-style hot tea was delicious, served properly steaming hot with its own pot. Extra kudos for fine tea service.
We were way too full to even inquire about desserts, but affordable comfort we had aplenty.
The Grape Leaf
2217 Frankfort Ave.
Rating: Wait for dinner!