Category Archives: LEO’s Eats

What pandemic? El Mundo Highlands is up and running

It takes a certain bold spirit and lack of risk aversion to open a new restaurant during a pandemic when, at best, restaurants face an extraordinary burden of regulation for our health and safety.

That didn’t slow down the folks at El Mundo, though. Not only did they open their second restaurant – El Mundo Highlands – last month, but they did it in the oversize (4,000 square-foot, four-levels) space that long housed Asiatique and much more briefly its successor, Flavour Restaurant. Continue reading What pandemic? El Mundo Highlands is up and running

Get your sushi on the go from ToGo Sushi

One of the great pleasures of sushi for me is the opportunity to sit down at the sushi bar, admire the artfully arranged rows of beautifully cut seafood and fish, and talk with the chef about what’s interesting and good.

But I have to be honest: During the pandemic, the idea of joining a few neighbors and a chef or two in such close quarters does not appeal, not even with masks and social distancing in play.

Happily, many of the city’s sushi bars offer a takeout option. But one stands out: ToGo Sushi, as its name implies, does most of its business – you guessed it – to go. Continue reading Get your sushi on the go from ToGo Sushi

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

Pizza, beer, and more at Union 15 in Colonial Gardens

Some say that pizza goes with wine. Some say beer. I’m firmly on both sides of this argument. Want to run a taste test? Let’s head for the South End and check out Union 15, the appealing pizzeria that opened last summer in Colonial Gardens.

Colonial Gardens, the historic beer garden on the fringe of Iroquois Park, nearly fell to the wrecker’s ball after it closed in 2003. But it’s bouncing back, clean and bright and maybe better than ever. Union 15 joins El Taco Luchador, the first eatery in the renovated facility. Continue reading Pizza, beer, and more at Union 15 in Colonial Gardens