For a good pho, call Eatz Vietnamese

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

Last week I had to try calling Vietnam Kitchen a half-dozen times before I could break through the busy line. I guess I wasn’t the only Louisville foodie aching to find out for sure if they were really back from a month-long vacation.

But one reality remains: Vietnam Kitchen, the beloved South End storefront eatery that introduced many of us to Vietnamese cuisine, isn’t going to stay the same, assuming it stays at all. The shop is definitely on the market as a turnkey operation, and owner Alex Lam will eventually either hand it over to new owners or close it.

We wish the Lam family and Vietnam Kitchen’s many fans well, but let’s face it: If you haven’t done this already, it’s past time to begin exploring the metro’s other Vietnamese restaurants. There are at least a dozen, and each has its own particular pleasures. But when I’m hankering for pho, the traditional and soul-consoling Vietnamese soup, I head for Eatz Vietnamese. Continue reading For a good pho, call Eatz Vietnamese

Faces wins with creative food and drink

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

When Chef Eric Morris opens a restaurant, I pay attention. I loved his Hull and Highwater and Gospel Bird eateries in New Albany, and I loved his citizen journalism and photography during the Breonna Taylor demonstrations (#SayHerName), although that’s another story.

So when Morris opened his eclectic new spot Faces Bar/Bistro in Louisville’s Highlands last year, I was eager to check it out. Continue reading Faces wins with creative food and drink

Noosh Nosh satisfies at any time of day

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

Here is the eternal question about dining out: Do we want to go someplace excellent but pricey, or shall we hit an eatery with great affordable fare?

Thanks to the wit and wisdom of Chef Anoosh Shariat, you can jump in the car and hold that decision until you swing into your parking place. Continue reading Noosh Nosh satisfies at any time of day

A happy return to El Mariachi, a favorite taqueria

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

Hola! I finally got back to a favorite taqueria, El Mariachi, last week, and oh, did it make me happy.

Now I wish it hadn’t taken me so long, but I felt uneasy about the idea before I finally got fully vaccinated. There’s typically some language barrier for me at the storefront places I love best – I can read Spanish fairly well, but I’m not good with conversations en español – so I couldn’t gear up to investigate a favorite spot’s takeout and curbside delivery options.

Now that’s over, and I hope it’s over to stay. Continue reading A happy return to El Mariachi, a favorite taqueria

Pints & Union, a London pub in New Albany

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

Let’s head over to New Albany for a London pub experience at Pints & Union! It’s the real deal: They’ve got great beers, ales, porters and stouts! They’ve got that dark and cozy British pub vibe! They’ve got great fish and chips! And they’ve got Indian tikka!

Wait! What?

Yes, you heard that right: The most characteristic British pub-style dish is not the fish and chips that I can hear you assuming, but chicken tikka, the spicy chicken curry dish that Indian immigrants brought to Britain and shared with the world. Continue reading Pints & Union, a London pub in New Albany

Stevens and Stevens fills us up with deli delights

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

Just about everyone likes a good New York deli, but judging from my mailbox, an awful lot of people around Louisville don’t know where to go to find one. Here’s the bad news: Purists, unfortunately, will have to drive 110 miles to nosh at Shapiro’s Deli in Indianapolis.

But if you’re not a stickler for 100 percent authenticity and are willing to be satisfied with consistent high quality in New Yorkish deli fare with a mix of Jewish and Italian traditions and a distinct Louisville accent, here’s your option: You can’t go wrong with Stevens and Stevens, the popular 30-year-old deli tucked into the back of Ditto’s Restaurant on Bardstown Road. Continue reading Stevens and Stevens fills us up with deli delights

We find our way to good eats at Joy Luck

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

It doesn’t seem reasonable to say that it’s hard to find good eats on Bardstown Road on a Sunday afternoon, but I was sure feeling that way the other day.

Trekking through this usually busy restaurant row on a sizzling afternoon, I struck out at three places before we got to Joy Luck. Success! Heck, I really wanted Chinese food anyway, or so I told my easily convinced self. Continue reading We find our way to good eats at Joy Luck

Wild Eggs scores with every plate

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

One cloudy, stormy looking March afternoon last year, when lockdown had just begun and we all were starting to reckon with the scary reality that the pandemic was here to stay for a while, I got out and walked through a completely deserted Westport Village.

I walked up to the big windows at Wild Eggs and saw an eerie scene, chairs perched upside down on tables in the empty room, and a vacant expanse of empty parking lot reflected in the big plate glass windows.

In that moment I decided to come back for a meal, or maybe a few, when things returned to normal. Continue reading Wild Eggs scores with every plate

La Suerte serves a fine Latin-style brunch

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

In the joy of this almost post-pandemic summer, diners are rushing back to local restaurants. But servers, line cooks and other restaurant workers aren’t in such a hurry, so if you’re dining out in Louisville these days, you may encounter a wait.

You’ve heard the stories: A three-hour delay at a popular riverside fried-fish eatery. Two hours for seating at a popular watering hole, with many open tables in sight. Kitchens so backed up that you can’t even place an order. Harried staffers pulling multiple duty as greeter, server, cook, and cashier.

Indeed, a host warned of a “15-minute hold” at La Suerte recently, when the brunch crowd was apparently slamming the kitchen and slowing the pace of orders coming out. Continue reading La Suerte serves a fine Latin-style brunch

We welcome Half Peach back after a rough spell

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

It has been almost two years since a maintenance-related roof collapse abruptly closed four popular restaurants in the Gallerias at St. Matthews strip on Oechsli Avenue in St. Matthews.

The roof remains unrepaired, the building is up for sale, and litigation is pending. Under the added weight of the Covid-19 pandemic, each of the four eateries – Del Frisco’s, Havana Rumba, Charim Korean Restaurant, and Half Peach Bakery & Cafe – has struggled to deal with insurance and legal issues as they fought to recover and relocate. Continue reading We welcome Half Peach back after a rough spell

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