All posts by LEOs Eats with Robin Garr

Secrets of the burger chefs

Some days you feel like a burger. Some days you feel like a steak. But let’s make one thing perfectly clear: This is not a matter of better and best. The simple, honest burger in no way takes second place to the faux nobility of the tenderloin, rib eye, strip, or porterhouse. Sometimes, when you’re in a certain mood, nothing but a burger will do.

Feeling like a burger and having a burger on your plate can be two different things, though. Do you get out and buy dinner, or do you make your own? There’s a lot to be said for making your own: You save costs, and you control the ingredients, the preparation, the heat, the toppings, even the decision whether to add a slice or two of cheese.

But how do you make your burger as good as it can be? To find out, we asked for advice from a half-dozen local burger experts, restaurant chefs who’ve earned the people’s ovation and fame forever for the quality of their grilled ground-beef patties. Continue reading Secrets of the burger chefs

You can’t beat the pho at NamNam Café

It’s easy to overlook NamNam Café. It’s tiny, you don’t hear a lot about it, and it’s off on a St. Matthews side street.

But you really shouldn’t miss it. It’s one of my favorite Vietnamese restaurants, even among a dozen strong competitors.

[During the Covid-19 closure of dine-in restaurants, NamNam is offering carryout and curbside pickup for phone orders. Diners may also arrange delivery via Postmates or DoorDash.] Continue reading You can’t beat the pho at NamNam Café

Agave & Rye brings a new generation of flavor

OK, Boomer, buh-bye. Yo, Millennial, come on in! That’s the sound of generational change on the north end of the Baxter Avenue strip, as the classy Bittner’s furniture and upscale fare of the defunct Ward 426 makes way for the bright street murals and fancy tacos of Agave & Rye.

Ward 426, a venture of former Jack Fry’s Chef Shawn Ward and the late Dean Corbett, held on for a good five-year run after supplanting the Brewery, a popular bar. But perhaps upscale fare and quiet class weren’t an ideal match for Baxter Avenue, while street art and what they call “chef-inspired” tacos fit right in. Continue reading Agave & Rye brings a new generation of flavor

Fork & Barrel’s brunch soothes and satisfies

There is something indulgent about brunch that we don’t often experience at even a lavish dinner. It’s not necessarily a matter of gluttony: I’d rather choose from a selection of chef-created morning and midday dishes rather than dive into a gigantic buffet spread under plastic hoods known as sneeze guards. Ick.

No, the joy of brunch has something to do with comfort food – breakfast for lunch – elevated by culinary touches that we aren’t likely to replicate at home. Continue reading Fork & Barrel’s brunch soothes and satisfies

Around the world on a plate at Diamond Street Grub

I’m generally a bit skittish about restaurants that offer a mix of different world cuisines that extend well beyond the chef’s personal DNA. How can one chef master so many culinary arts?

So I wasn’t sure what to expect when Diamond Street Grub & Hops came to town last summer: Its international menu draws randomly from the street-food traditions of an edible United Nations. Continue reading Around the world on a plate at Diamond Street Grub

Galan’s offers a tasty oasis in a West End food desert

Many of Louisville’s West End neighborhoods are defined as food deserts, places where low-income neighbors don’t have easy access to supermarkets. But Carlos Galan is trying to do something about that.

Galan, who came to Louisville from Florida five years ago with his wife, Kim, saw potential in the West End, and he is taking practical steps to bring food to the Market Street neighborhood where Russell meets Portland. Continue reading Galan’s offers a tasty oasis in a West End food desert

Noche, the church of Mexican BBQ

The tall gray stone sanctuary of Calvary Lutheran Church was approaching its 90th anniversary when its congregation, aging and declining in numbers, regretfully decided to pack it in. “Emptying the building. Sad work,” the Rev. Austin Newberry wrote in February 2016 in the final post on Calvary’s Facebook page.

But now the lofty nave is filled with a new kind of spirit as Noche Mexican BBQ, opened early in August, settles in. Continue reading Noche, the church of Mexican BBQ

What’s a bhaji pav? Honest Indian’s new delights

Way back in 1975, when hardly anyone around here knew what street food was, Vijay Agrawal took his first steps toward culinary success when he added bhaji pav – a popular Mumbai veggie curry dish served with white rolls – to the selection of his outdoor chaat (snack) cart in downtown Ahmedabad, India’s fifth-largest city.

People loved it, and before long Agrawal opened his first sit-down restaurant. He called it “Honest,” and the food was honest, and before long he had shops all over Ahmedabad, then all across India, prompting jokes about “The Indian McDonald’s.” Continue reading What’s a bhaji pav? Honest Indian’s new delights

Butchertown Grocery Bakery bakes up deliciousness

The funky, stylish storefront offers European-style artisan breads, pastries, desserts, and an intriguing menu of creative sandwiches, salads, greens and grains, plus espresso drinks, beer and bourbon out front of its expansive bakery space. Nope, it’s not Blue Dog, but it follows a similar path to deliciousness as the Crescent Hill icon: We’re looking at you, Butchertown Grocery Bakery. Continue reading Butchertown Grocery Bakery bakes up deliciousness