More thoughts from the critic’s table

By Robin Garr

Here’s an existential question about the art of the food critic: Should a restaurant review stick to the simple basics of food, mood, and service? Or does a review gain texture and meaning by bringing in a broader range of history, culture, culinary arts and other trips down fascinating rabbit holes?

If you follow my food writing at all, you won’t have much trouble finding me sitting unobtrusively at a dinner table behind Door No. Two. I love those culinary rabbit holes, and I suspect it shows. Continue reading More thoughts from the critic’s table

We chaat it up at Shreeji Indian

By Robin Garr

I’m not great at small talk, but I love chaat. Okay, I can hear the chorus of boos from here. I’ll just show myself out.

Seriously, though, the Indian street food delight known as chaat appeals to me, so much so that a search on the word in the Louisville HotBytes archives brought up references at a dozen different local Indian eateries. I’ve eaten plenty of chaat, and I’ve spent plenty of words trying to describe it. Continue reading We chaat it up at Shreeji Indian

We just can’t stop talking about pizza

By Robin Garr

If you’ve long harbored a wish to go viral on social media but didn’t know where to start, here’s a modest proposal: Speak of your undying love for pizza topped with pineapple … and anchovies.

That should do it, and if it costs you a few lost friends and followers, well, that’s the price of fame.

What is it about pizza that makes it such a natural topic for conversation and even debate? Continue reading We just can’t stop talking about pizza

Nami: Korean-style fare with a side of Ed Lee

By Robin Garr

If you haven’t heard about Chef Edward Lee’s new Korean restaurant Nami by now, it’s probably only because you haven’t been paying attention. The news about this Korean-American top chef opening his first Korean restaurant since his 20-something youth in New York City has been all over the place.

Nami, which opened on May 2, has been jammed since the start. If you want a seat, especially on weekends, you should get a reservation will in advance or plan to arrive before 6 p.m.

Regardless, you should definitely go. Continue reading Nami: Korean-style fare with a side of Ed Lee

Overcoming food aversions, restaurant-style

By Robin Garr

Refusing to eat a disgusting dish may be one of the first things that we as humans can do to claim our individual agency, our right to yell “No!”

“It’s broccoli, dear.” “I say it’s spinach, and I say the hell with it.” Carl Ross’ classic 1928 New Yorker cartoon captured the concept perfectly. We don’t like it. We say the hell with it. And more often than not, that childhood response evolves into a lifelong aversion.

Until it doesn’t. Continue reading Overcoming food aversions, restaurant-style

The Goose has landed, and we’re happy about that

By Robin Garr

Two popular East End restaurants did a kind of corporate musical chairs this fall: It all started when Goose Creek Diner closed its shop on Goose Creek Lane after more than 20 years, and Sal’s Pizza & Sports Pub on Lyndon Lane closed last December after a dozen years.

Neighbors promptly begain grieving the loss of their familiar watering holes, but the events seemed unavoidable. Goose Creek Diner’s landlord decided to raze its building. Sal’s owner simply decided it was time to retire. Neighbors at both places wondered where they were going to go for down-home fare in a friendly environment.

It didn’t take long for Goose Creek to answer that question. Continue reading The Goose has landed, and we’re happy about that

Invisible disabilities: A challenge for restaurant accessibility

By Robin Garr

Think about accessibility for disabled people in restaurants and other businesses, and you’ll probably visualize that familiar blue-and-white stick figure in a wheelchair.

That’s not too surprising. The Americans With Disabilities Act, popularly known as the ADA, passed in 1990, is a civil-rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. Continue reading Invisible disabilities: A challenge for restaurant accessibility

New Uptown Cafe, a lot like the old Uptown Cafe

By Robin Garr

As autumn 2020 chilled into the first Covid winter, one of the hardest hits of a run of bad restaurant news came when Uptown Cafe announced that it was closing on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, seemingly ending a 35-year run as a fixture on Bardstown Road’s Restaurant Row.

Uptown was comfortable, cozy, reasonably affordable, yet stylish, more a bistro than a diner. If it wasn’t a place where everyone knew your name, at least it was a place where your face was always familiar. Continue reading New Uptown Cafe, a lot like the old Uptown Cafe

What’s an influencer? Is there money in it?

By Robin Garr

I was putting on my disguise and puffing up my wig, getting ready to go review a restaurant, when a New York Times headline caught my eye: “The 21st-Century Shakedown of Restaurants.” (The Times’ headline is pictured above.)

“This isn’t a joke,” opinion essayist Karen Stabiner wrote. “This is a 21st-century shakedown. Here is how it works: An influencer walks into a restaurant to collect an evening’s worth of free food and drink, having promised to create social media content extolling the restaurant’s virtues.” Continue reading What’s an influencer? Is there money in it?

Blue Dog achieves perfection, or comes mighty close

By Robin Garr

Blue Dog Bakery celebrated a quarter-century of making great bread for Louisville’s people this year, and it’s hard for me to believe that it has been that long.

It feels as if it was only recently, but it was actually way back in 1998 that I knocked on Blue Dog’s back door in the dark hours before dawn and met owners Bob Hancock and his wife Kit Garrett. Continue reading Blue Dog achieves perfection, or comes mighty close

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