Shalimar stands the test of time

I fell in love with Indian food a mighty long time ago, when the curry houses that surrounded London’t Victoria Station offered me a delicious – and cheap – refuge while the very young me was seeing London on £5 a day.

But it took a lot longer before Indian food came to Louisville, a gap that Indian-food-loving friends and I had to fill, sort of, with occasional trips to the region’s only Indian eatery in Cincinnati.

That drought finally ended during the ‘90s, when Shalimar opened in the Hurstbourne Parkway quarters that it still occupies. As one of the first Indian restaurants in Louisville, it has earned a loyal following with consistent presentation of authentic Northern Indian cuisine. Continue reading Shalimar stands the test of time

Simple, delicious American fare at Cheddar Box Too

Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

I don’t guess it comes as a major surprise to disclose that I’m a huge fan of world food. Follow my foodie trail and you’ll usually find me checking out another Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, Mexican, Venezuelan, African or other delicious immigrant-cuisine meal. That goes double during these pandemic-remnant times when simple economics have me looking for good, cheap eats.

But sometimes I’ve just got to have a good old-fashioned American repast like my mother used to make. Or maybe a little better. Sorry, Mom!

So it was this week when I happily eased into a comfy booth at Cheddar Box Too. Continue reading Simple, delicious American fare at Cheddar Box Too

Memories! Recalling the restaurants we loved and lost

Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

If you have lived in Louisville for more than a year or so, you’re surely mourning at least one favorite restaurant that isn’t with us any more.

A lot of us are mourning dozens! The restaurant business is a rough road, and success is far from guaranteed in a business with very narrow margins for profit. A 2005 study by Ohio State University concluded that 60 percent of new restaurants didn’t make it past the first year, and 80 percent go under within five years. It’s not a venture for the weak. Continue reading Memories! Recalling the restaurants we loved and lost

Currito impresses with flavorful grains, greens, and more

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

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
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

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
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

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

What’s the critic’s favorite restaurant? It’s complicated.

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

“What is your favorite restaurant?” “What’s the best restaurant in town?” As a frequent diner who writes about my experiences, I get these questions often.

My stock answers, though, aren’t as simple as you might expect: My favorite is probably wherever I ate last. The best? I won’t name just one. I might name ten, but which ten? They change often. And that’s without considering the pandemic, the favorites that have closed, and new favorites still finding their footing. Continue reading What’s the critic’s favorite restaurant? It’s complicated.

Kayrouz Cafe does food and safety right

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

Show me a fourth generation family restaurant that traces its heritage back through several locations to the 1920s, and I’ll show you a restaurant that’s doing things right. That would be Kayrouz Cafe, and it should come as no surprise that the current generation is handling Covid safety with style and grace too.

“Our entire kitchen and wait staff have been fully vaccinated,” a sheet on the front door assures customers. There’s ample outdoor dining, with a half-dozen patio tables offering a significant boost to the tiny eatery’s interior seating. Continue reading Kayrouz Cafe does food and safety right

Dining and the Delta variant

Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

When I got my Covid vaccination a few months ago, I thought this long national nightmare was over,. Ha! The nasty Delta variant has brought Covid roaring back.

“This is the worst the pandemic has been,” a masked Gov. Andy Beshear told Kentuckians last week, as more than 4,500 new cases were reported daily, and the state’s 13.66% positivity rate set a grim new record. “Please, at least take the same precautions you did earlier in Covid,” Beshear said.

But let’s face it: It doesn’t look as if that’s going to happen. The numbers may look as bad as they did in 2020, but we aren’t all huddled in our houses, again, living on takeout and delivery. Why not? Continue reading Dining and the Delta variant

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