Category Archives: World Food

Bahn Thai & M returns Thai flavor to Holiday Manor

By Robin Garr

It’s not usually difficult for a restaurant critic to learn about new eateries around our town. Either the owner or chef clues me in with an email, text, or news release, or I’ll hear about it on social media or the Louisville HotBytes forum.

Now and then, though, an appealing new place will fly under the radar until, like Columbus “discovering” America, I stumble into it myself.

So it was the other day when I rolled into Holiday Manor, planning a quick run to Kroger, when I suddenly noticed a bright new storefront sign: “Bahn Thai & M.” Continue reading Bahn Thai & M returns Thai flavor to Holiday Manor

Tasty Vietnamese fare and cool cocktails elevate District 6

By Robin Garr

Not long after the turn of this century, I’m not sure that many of us would have predicted the rise of St. Matthews as one of the city’s most active bar and nightlife zones.

So I guess it shouldn’t surprise us that this suburban village has suddenly become a go-to zone for Asian eateries with estimable bars.

Say what? Continue reading Tasty Vietnamese fare and cool cocktails elevate District 6

Please, sir, may I have Smør? And a Maya Bagel too?

By Robin Garr

Within less than a mile of each other on Poplar Level Road, two splendid new bakeries beckon the hungry pilgrim. Neither is a traditional Louisville bakery with its echoes of 19th century German immigrants, and that’s all right.

One – Maya Bagel Express – is turning out the best Louisville-made bagels I’ve tasted yet. The other – Smør Nordic Bakeri – offers a warm sense of Scandinavian hygge to surround its Nordic treats. We found our way to both on the same day last week, and I came home with a happy carbohydrate buzz that lasted for hours. Continue reading Please, sir, may I have Smør? And a Maya Bagel too?

Señora Arepa serves delicious Venezuelan street food

By Robin Garr

Covid-19 has been rough for NuLu restaurants. The pandemic has taken at least partial blame for the loss of Harvest, Rye, and most recently, Decca.

For the Martinez family’s Olé restaurant group, though, challenges create opportunities. They opened the Cuban restaurant La Bodeguita de Mamá in July 2020, early in the pandemic, in the former headquarters of Creation Gardens at 725 E. Market St.

Señora Arepa came next, opening in the spring of 2021, serving Venezuelan street food in the smaller building behind Bodeguita at 721 E. Market St., once the home of Ghislain on Market. Continue reading Señora Arepa serves delicious Venezuelan street food

Vietnam Kitchen stayed, and we are so happy

The rumors started more than four years ago, and they spread quickly: “Vietnam Kitchen is going to close! The owner wants to retire! Next time they close for vacation, they won’t open again!”

The fear was real. Vietnam Kitchen – VK, as its fans invariably abbreviate it – is the longest-standing Vietnamese restaurant still open in Louisville. It was founded in 1993 by Vietnamese immigrant Alex Lam and his family. Continue reading Vietnam Kitchen stayed, and we are so happy

Currito impresses with flavorful grains, greens, and more

By Robin Garr

I don’t review chain restaurants often. I’d much rather talk about Louisville’s great independent local eateries. But when a new corporate shop like Currito comes to town and people tell me the food is really good, I’m willing to take a look.

I believe the last time I did such a thing was in November 2018, when I finally got around to sampling the amazingly tasty fried free-range chicken at The Eagle on Bardstown Road, one of the first ventures of its Cincinnati-based corporation outside its home town.

Here we are, three years later, and I’m doing it again, this time at Currito. Continue reading Currito impresses with flavorful grains, greens, and more

Travel on a plate with our critic’s favorite world restaurants

Robin Garr

A lot of people call Vietnamese or Nigerian eateries “ethnic,” but they look at you funny if you use the same word to describe a pizzeria or a fancy French dining room. What’s up with that?

“Immigrants’ identities are deeply tied to the foods we bring with us,” Washington Post features writer Lavanya Ramanathan wrote in a 2015 story that explained it well. Added Krishnendu Ray, a New York University professor of food studies: “We use the descriptor ‘ethnic’ for a category of things we don’t know much about, don’t understand much about and yet find it valid to express opinions about.”

That’s enough for me. When people tell me how they’d like me to talk about them, I’ll listen. So let’s call them “world” restaurants in this week’s excursion into good things to eat, a round-the-world trip without leaving Louisville. Continue reading Travel on a plate with our critic’s favorite world restaurants

Sonal masters Indian vegetarian cuisine

By Robin Garr

Louisville has three all-vegetarian Indian restaurants, and to tell you the truth, the question isn’t why there are so many, but why it took them so long to arrive.

We have about 15 Indian restaurants now, and I’m happy to pull up to a table at every single one.

But all-vegetarian Indian? That’s new. Shreeji Indian Vegetarian Street Food opened in November 2018. Honest Indian Restaurant opened just about a year later, at the end of 2019. And somewhere in that same brief window of time – “three years ago,” the guy behind the counter told me – Sonals Kitchen Homemade Authentic Indian Vegetarian Restaurant popped up in a former Moby Dick shop on Chamberlain just north of Westport Road. Continue reading Sonal masters Indian vegetarian cuisine

Seviche always satisfies

By Robin Garr

More than a year later, when the local food critic finally heads out to a fine local restaurant for a relaxing sit-down dinner, where does he go? For me, the answer is simple: It has to be Seviche.

I’m always reluctant to name any restaurant my Number One, as any of five or ten favorites could wear the crown on any given day. But Seviche always makes me happy. Continue reading Seviche always satisfies

We celebrate our immigrant neighbors at Alwatan

Within hours after taking office on January 20, President Joe Biden moved quickly to sign executive orders make life much better for immigrants and refugees. He halted construction on the border wall, stopped family separation at the border, and pushed for an end to mass deportations.

These good things merit celebration with a meal at an immigrant-owned eatery, so I headed for Alwatan. This little spot, which is operating for takeout only during the pandemic, is owned by Palestinian immigrants. It offers a good variety of Palestinian, pan-Arabic, and Mediterranean food, taking full advantage of fine Mediterranean breads from its sibling bakery next door. Continue reading We celebrate our immigrant neighbors at Alwatan