Category Archives: White tablecloth, deluxe

Go West … to St. Charles Exchange

FVK Swizzle. Jolea Brown @Creative Photography.
Go west, they said. So St. Charles Exchange did. This new spot bucks the recent trend to Nulu (East Market Street), opting instead to open up on Seventh just off Main, across from the entrance to 21c. The concept is “1900s hotel lobby bar,” and by Jove, they’ve done it. After a couple drinks at the bar, you’ll find yourself looking toward the grand set of double doors as if they lead upstairs to your honeymoon suite. The suspendered, vested and newsy-capped waitstaff appear as though they’d procure a carriage for your ride home, if only you asked. Sweeping mustard-gold curtains cascade down the ceiling-height windows, which, during a recent grand opening, let in just enough sunlight to illuminate the dining room’s dusky ambience. The flooring is refurbished wood from an old Kentucky barn, and the ceilings are paneled in deep brown-black wood. Mirrors run the length of cushioned banquettes, while small gold lamps add an air of mystery: this is the restaurant I go to in New York for a bite to eat and a Bellini at midnight.

I’ll make a late night stop at St. Charles Exchange for snacks from the Larder – cheese, olives and pickles, ham, crudités – and an artfully mixed cocktail, such as the FVK Swizzle. The picturesque gin-based drink, featuring citrus flavors and a hit of absinthe to keep you honest, is brightly slashed across the top by pink grapefruit syrup.

A die-hard Springsteen fan, my husband was obligated to try the Darkness on the Edge of Town, a stormy rum drink served over one massive hunk of ice. Had I sampled any of the punches, my pick would have been the Well-Deserved, simply for the name. Exclusively American wines and beers round out the beverage program.

A variety of delectable deviled eggs was offered – curry, truffle, barbeque – the selection will change daily. But the winning hors d’oeuvre, by several lengths, was Elvis on Horseback: peanut butter-stuffed dates, wrapped in bacon, atop a smoked banana vinaigrette. A list of five Plates (“Mains”) range from $22 to $29, and a lamb burger is offered for $15.

Listed hours are Mon. – Sun., 5 p.m. – 2 a.m. A private room is available, and they anticipate opening their cool, shaded below-ground-level outdoor patio July 1.

St. Charles Exchange
113 S. 7th St.

Z’s and a lesson in steakhouse economics

Let’s consider the economics of steak. Hungry for a sizzling rare boneless strip? Meijer had USDA choice for $7.99 a pound this week. (Kroger had flatiron, a chunk of chuck, for just $5.99 a pound, but let’s keep things upscale with strip or rib eye.) Bring it home, slap it on the grill, add a potato and a salad, and you’ve got steak dinner for two for $10. Such a deal.

Now let’s tinker with this scenario. Continue reading Z’s and a lesson in steakhouse economics

Seviche grows and keeps getting better

Seviche has been around for 10 years now, if we count Jicama, its predecessor in the same Highlands space, and Chef Anthony Lamas just keeps making it better and better. This sets a mighty high standard for an eatery I’ve been raving about since the start. I gave Jicama a 93-point rating in its first incarnation. Then when it reopened as Seviche in 2005, I kicked the number up to 95.
Continue reading Seviche grows and keeps getting better

Dining like an ‘Iron Chef’ judge at 610 Magnolia

By Robin Garr

I’ve always been a big fan of “Iron Chef,” both the Japanese original and the American imitation it spawned.

Some find its campy concept over the top, with the wacky über-rich Chairman in his Kitchen Stadium yelling “Allez Cuisine!” in bad French, but just about every foodie I know can see past the yuks to the serious competitive restaurant-chef cookery.

After an hour of an intense, timed cooking competition, in which the competitors make the best use of the week’s secret ingredient, comes the best part of the show: when the chefs bring their finished dishes forward to a panel of judges, a group that on the original show invariably included a food critic plus such skilled experts as a movie starlet, perhaps a Japanese athlete, sometimes a member of the Japanese parliament.

How I wished I could have been up there at the table sampling all those amazing, creative dishes.

So when Chef Edward Lee of Louisville’s 610 Magnolia turned up on “Iron Chef America” last month, taking on Iron Chef Jose Garces in an offal battle featuring “tongue and cheek,” and Lee won, I realized I could get a similar effect right here at home by presenting myself for a dinner of Lee’s inspired cooking. Continue reading Dining like an ‘Iron Chef’ judge at 610 Magnolia

Say hello to the new Equus, sort of like the old Equus


Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years …

Yeah, right. Now that I’ve successfully planted that earworm, let me say I can’t believe it’s been so long since I first reviewed Equus, a then-new restaurant in St. Matthews that was buzzing under a new owner and chef, Dean Corbett, for the old Louisville Times in 1985.
Continue reading Say hello to the new Equus, sort of like the old Equus

Rivue brunch goes round and round

Chocolate spinner at Rivue

If you haven’t been up to the revolving top of the Galt House for a while, you may be surprised to see how much things have changed. Gone is the faux sailing ship look, with its blocks and tackles and green, purple and gold running lights.

Exit the elevators on the hotel’s 23rd floor now, and you step into a series of sleek rooms decorated in stark black and white. Light fixtures made from stacks of clear globes look like bubbles rising in champagne. But the real eye-catcher, as it has always been, is the lofty view of the Ohio River and the city all around.
Continue reading Rivue brunch goes round and round

Classy Equus drops prices and tablecloths but keeps high style

Warm sparagus salad at Equus in The Voice-Tribune

Okay, who wants organ meat? Internal organs, that is, livers, kidneys, hearts and even more unmentionable selections.

All together now: “Eeeeuuuuwwww!”

But wait! People around the world have been enjoying organ meats for millennia, and those who shun them on the basis of the “eeuuww” factor are missing something good.

This is one of the many reasons I love dining with my wife, Mary, and our good friend Lucinda. They’re adventurous foodies, and showed it the other night when we spotted sweetbreads on the menu at Equus.

“I’m having that,” Lucinda said with a happy smile. “Can we share?” asked Mary. Me, too.

What’s a sweetbread? It isn’t bread, and it’s not a dessert. It’s a calf’s thymus gland, or perhaps a bit of his pancreas. Vegetarians please look away.
Continue reading Classy Equus drops prices and tablecloths but keeps high style

Corbett’s joins the region’s top tables

Housed in the 150-year-old farmhouse that was originally home to the Von Allmen dairy operation, Corbett’s “An American Place” opened in the winter, joining the ranks of the region’s top tables. Photo by Robin Garr.

LEO’s Eats with

Chef Dean Corbett, who made his mark on the Louisville food scene with his excellent restaurant Equus in St. Matthews, has created one of the most outstanding restaurants in the region with this latest venture. Corbett’s “An American Place” opened in the winter in the far-east end of Jefferson County, in the growing Brownsboro Crossing shopping center east of the Snyder Freeway. It has already joined the ranks of the region’s top tables.

Housed in the 150-year-old farmhouse that was originally home to the Von Allmen dairy operation, Corbett’s has been renovated from cellar to ceiling, the gracious lines of a prosperous country estate now girded with every high-tech restaurant bell and whistle imaginable, from special air-conditioning for the comfort of chefs on the hot stations to a 21st century television system that allows, among other things, guests in the private “chef’s room” to interact with kitchen staff while their dinner is being prepared ($150 per person) and later receive a souvenir DVD recording of the experience.
Continue reading Corbett’s joins the region’s top tables