Category Archives: White tablecloth, deluxe

The ordinary becomes extraordinary at Corbett’s

Who’s up for a steak dinner? A juicy, sizzling chunk of cow flesh, pink and rare, with all the trimmings?

The “steak” part of this equation is fairly easy to fill. Start talking about “all the trimmings,” though, and things get complicated. Head for an executive-style steak house, and you can get a slab of cow on your plate with no muss or fuss. Choose your own sides.
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Anoosh is back! Now, what is he going to do?

Here’s a pro tip for restaurant servers: Don’t suck up. Even if you think you’ve spotted a food critic in the house, don’t do it. It can lead to no good end.

Or maybe you don’t reserve the obsequiousness for suspected food writers. Maybe you fawn over everyone who comes in the door, thinking that bowing and scraping like a rug merchant in a Middle Eastern bazaar will prompt everyone to shower you with big tips.

Take this clue: It doesn’t work. Or it sure as hell doesn’t work for me, anyway.
Continue reading Anoosh is back! Now, what is he going to do?

The more Jack Fry’s changes, the more it stays the same

Jack Fry’s! The very name of this Highlands landmark makes many of us smile. Fry’s feels like an enduring landmark, a piece of Louisville culinary history that always stays the same. Which is kind of funny when you consider that it has changed both owner and chef since my last review.
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No “I” in the winning t-e-a-m at The Place Downstairs

Just weeks after smacking a home run with El Taco Luchador, their tiny taqueria-style eatery in the midst of the Baxter Avenue fun zone, the team of Fernando and Christina Martinez and Fernando’s cousin Yaniel Martinez have slammed another rocketing blast high over the left field bleachers with The Place Downstairs. The place, specifically, is downstairs (via a quick elevator ride) within Mussel & Burger Bar, another of the Martinez’s growing list of restaurant success stories. Continue reading No “I” in the winning t-e-a-m at The Place Downstairs

Brasserie Provence shows grace and good eats in dinner rush

Je vais avoir le canard,” said my friend Anne, summoning a French teacher and one-time expat’s easy fluency.

Our server looked puzzled, though. “Maybe you could point it out on the menu,” he said, blushing a little. “I’m still learning the dishes.”

I’m not picking on the guy, though. He showed Hemingway-esque grace under fire as our party of four spent the evening on a lavish meal at Brasserie Provence. We enjoyed his service, a fine Loire Cabernet Franc and an excellent, mostly authentic Provencal meal while allowing plenty of slack for a kitchen slammed by capacity crowds on its first full weekend. Continue reading Brasserie Provence shows grace and good eats in dinner rush

Old-school comfort and fine dining at St. Charles Exchange

Americans have long formed a ready market for new things made to look old. From suburban tracts full of “colonials” to the Ethan Allen furniture company, we love the feeling of historical things around us, as long as we don’t have to live with sketchy wiring, noisy heating systems and plumbing that requires frequent professional assistance.

But now and then something that was old becomes new again and it works just right. I submit in evidence St. Charles Exchange, the lovely, appealing dining room and watering hole that appeared last spring in one of the oldest buildings on West Main Street.
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Lilly’s was locavore before locavore was cool

Turn the hands of your food-memory clock, if you will, back to 1987 or 1988. It was a very good time for Louisville restaurants – and when hasn’t it been?

The upscale bistro movement that had started with the Bristol, Formally Myra’s, Jack Fry’s and others a decade earlier had matured and blossomed. Our chop suey Chinese-American tradition had evolved into spicy regional eateries serving fare from Hunan and Sichuan. Fine French dining was here in the form of Le Relais. Authentic New Mexico cooking had arrived with Chico’s; our first sushi with Sachicoma, our first Korean hidden in the back room at Lee’s, and our first Thai at Thai Siam.

Frankly, local food lovers figured that we’d gone about as far as we could go. Continue reading Lilly’s was locavore before locavore was cool

How is Le Relais like a high-school reunion?

Imagine, if you will, a high school reunion. A seemingly ordinary reunion, perhaps 25 years after you graduated and left town for new challenges. You return, eager to see old friends again. Hey, Jack hasn’t changed a bit! Trent and Joanie got married, gained a few pounds as they slouched into middle age. Ronnie is bald!

And then, across the room, a tall, slender form appears. It’s Lizzie! The cheerleader you had a crush on. She must be a beauty still. You walk over to say hello. She turns, smiles and … oh.
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Dress up and dine well at Henry’s Place

Want to go someplace classy for dinner and you don’t mind dressing up a bit to enjoy it? Consider Henry’s Place, which arrived last month with a “business casual” dress code in tow.

“We hope the ladies will want to dress up a bit and that the gentlemen will occasionally throw on that blue blazer that’s always handy,” advises its website. Shorts, T-shirts, ball caps, torn blue jeans and flip-flops are on the no-no list: “We would really like it if you saved your blue jeans for the more casual dining spots,” the dress code rules state, warning would-be style offenders, “Patrons who are not suitably attired will be offered space in the bar area, if available.”
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Elegance is made easy at St. Charles Exchange

What could be more elegant than the classy confines of a turn-of-the-century hotel bar? Turn of the last century, I mean – a scene more familiar through classic cinema than personal experience. I’m not that old!

Take Louisville’s new St. Charles Exchange, for example. Pull open the tall, heavy doors, and it’s like stepping back into another era – you suddenly hear the clop of horse hooves and the creak of buggy wheels replacing the drone of traffic on Seventh Street.
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