Look who’s reviewing restaurants!

Rick Pitino

U of L basketball coach Rick Pitino, whose flashy new Website, RickPitino.com, has become a must-visit bookmark for Cardinals hoops fans, has added an unexpected feature: A series of restaurant reviews, currently featuring his thoughts on a number of Louisville steakhouses and high-end Italian eateries in New York. Now online are Rick’s comments on Morton’s, Ruth’s Chris and Pat’s steak houses, as well as reviews of the trendy Babbo, Campagnola and Bravo Gianni in New York. An earlier report on Louisville’s Porcini appears to have scrolled off the list.

His reviews are light, bright and consistently positive (“I have never had a bad meal there,” he says of Morton’s, and of Ruth’s Chris he goes on, “You’ll find it difficult to find a bad meal”). But he’s got an unerring eye for value, correctly zapping both chain steak houses’ wine lists as “extensive and overpriced.” Speaking of Morton’s, he advises, “Make sure you bring plenty of money or plastic …”

In the humor department, he adds a slightly embarrassing mini-rant about French restaurants that suggests he should probably stick to basketball or high-end eats. Like all of us, Rick does best when he stays with topics that he knows well.

The site has a lot of basketball info, of course, with seriously deep content, although its design suggests that it was put together for him by kids in the university’s Web 101 class. It’s all Macromedia Flash, forces an endless loop of U of L cheers through your speakers, and the “splash page,” inscrutably, has much of its content in black type on a black background – i.e., invisible. To save you mousing around in the dark, use this link, which bypasses the mostly-black home page. To move from there to Rick’s restaurant reviews, click “Restaurant Reviews” on the lower left.

We’re glad to see Rick Pitino join the ranks of local food critics. I’d rather read his stuff than the CJ’s.