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Thai-Siam calls it quits

Posted by on Sep 2, 2014

According to a post on Louisville Hotbytes, the city’s oldest Thai restaurant, Thai-Siam, at 3002 Bardstown Rd. in the Gardiner Lane Shopping Center, closed abruptly at the end of last week.  The notification of the closing was a type-written note from the owners on the door of the restaurant, a photo of which Hotbytes posted.

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Modern Caribbean dinner at Seviche

Posted by on Sep 2, 2014

Wednesday, Sept. 3 at 6:30 p.m. Seviche’s owner/chef Anthony Lamas will collaborate with chef Tim Tibbits of Flying Fish restaurant in Freeport, the Bahamas, for create a 9-course dinner featuring re-imagined Caribbean and Latin cuisine. Flying Fish sommelier Rebecca Tibbitts will work out the wine pairings. 

The event will be held in Seviche’s private dining room, 1538 Bardstown Rd., with seating limited for 20 guests. The nine-course menu with wine pairings is $135 For reservations, call (502) 473-8560; credit card information is required.


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Honey Do

Posted by on Aug 30, 2014

When my wife first got invited up to Providence by the National Honey Board to attend a Honey Summit as an all-expense paid guest chef, I thought it was some kind of trick. Nobody is that lucky, I said. They probably want to sell us time shares in Rhode Island or advertorial space in an obscure, bee-related trade publication. Out of an abundance of caution I decided to accompany her despite the fact that I was not, technically, “invited.”

As it so happens I had my own ulterior motives. I love honey in ways that would shame a bear. So my suspicion of them was merely a projection of my own insecurities and the Honey Summit was exactly what it professed to be — a professional outreach program to promote the use of honey as a natural sweetener in bakeries across the US. It was held at Johnson & Wales in a lecture hall overlooking the Providence River. Such a beautiful setting might give the aspiring culinary student the misimpression that a restaurant career involves academic workshops and PowerPoint presentations rather than chefs throwing pots at one’s head and pointing out one’s physical shortcomings, I joke to my wife, who ignores me. I kick back at our table, systematically gnawing my way through the honey-flavored lollipop centerpiece as I soak up the nuances of various grades of honey. Then I hear the dreaded phrase, “We will now assemble in teams for bench time.”

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“Bite This” features Louisville restaurants this Monday

Posted by on Aug 29, 2014

Several weeks ago F&D  reported that a Cooking Channel TV show was filming in Louisville.  Monday, Sept. 1, those of you who watch such stuff can see the results on “Bite This,” hosted by someone called Nadia G., who first came to a modicum of what passes for fame on TV food shows with another so-called cooking show, ‘Bitchin’ Kitchen.”

In Louisville, Nadia and her crew visited Milkwood to sample some smoked pork shoulder, Harvest to dig into a bowl of burgoo, and Eiderdown, whose dish was not described on the press release.

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Tuscan wine dinner at Lilly’s

Posted by on Aug 28, 2014

Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 27 and 28, 1147 Lilly’s, Bardstown Rd., will host special guest chefs Gina Stipo and Lea Ann Vessels who will create a 5-course Italian dinner featuring the foods and wines of Tuscany.

Gina Stipo has lived for 14 years in Siena, and runs Ecco La Cucina, a cooking school there. Gina has recently relocated to Louisville. Lea Ann Vessels imports premium olive oils and balsamic vinegar under the Oliva Bella label.

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Bourbon and Broadway dinner at Varanese

Posted by on Aug 28, 2014

Thursday, Aug 28, 6:30 p.m., Varanese, Frankfort Ave., will  celebrate the start of the new Broadway in Louisville theater season with a 4-course dinner inspired by shows on the new season’s schedule. During the meal, diners will sample tastings of Four Roses Bourbons, or cocktails made with Four Roses.

Four Roses Brand Ambassador and Historian Al Young will be the featured guest speaker. Door prizes will be given, including  season tickets to the Broadway in Louisville 2014/15 Season.

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Ham dinner at Corbett’s celebrates Coomes’s book

Posted by on Aug 27, 2014

Thursday, Aug. 28, at 6:30 p.m., Corbett’s: An American Place will host a 7-course dinner to celebrate the publication of “Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke,” written by local author, Steve Coomes.

Six Kentucky chefs–Dean Corbett, Shawn Ward, Mark Stevens, Ouita Michel, Richard Lewis and Jay Denham–will collaborate on the dinner, which will, of course, feature country ham in each course.

Coomes’s book details the American South’s centuries-old country ham culture and the people who still practice the ancient art of curing hindquarters. Special guests at the dinner will be Ronnie and Beth Drennan, owners of Broadbent’s Country Hams and 2014 Kentucky State Fair Country Ham Grand Champions. Jay Denham, formerly chef at Park Place and most recently hog farmer, ham maker and master charcuterie maven, will comment on the nuances of each ham dish during the dinner.

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Long-time chefs move on to new challenges

Posted by on Aug 26, 2014

Two chefs long associated with iconic Louisville restaurants have made some career changes in recent days.  Troy Schuster, who for 12 years has been the chef at 211 Clover Lane in St. Matthews, will become the executive chef at Hurstbourne Country Club, and Michael Paley, who has kept his finger in the Louisville restaurant pie, so to speak, as nominal executive chef at  Garage Bar is turning over that position to his chef de cuisine there, Richard Sible.

After opening Garage Bar, Paley moved two years ago from Proof on Main to open Metropole in 21c Museum Hotel’s Cincinnati location. But he is leaving his executive chef post there too, for unspecified “other opportunities.”

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Three new restaurants to join the scene

Posted by on Aug 25, 2014

A flurry of activity in the local restaurant world has seen two new eating places open, and another one set to open for November.

Dark Star, Crescent Hill’s favorite dive bar, has relocated to 6325 Upper River Road, in the former home of Eva Mae’s on Harrod’s Creek.The new Dark Star has several comfortable rooms, as well as a deck overlooking Harrod’s Creek.

Lee Mayfield, who has worked for Blind Pig, North End Café and Café LouLou, has come aboard as chef of Dark Star. The menu includes shrimp cocktails, mussels, oyster fritters, a variety of burgers and other sandwiches, a spinach and goat cheese salad and a fresh catch of the day.

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Comings & Goings – Fall 2014

Posted by on Aug 23, 2014

A recent vacation road trip to the East Cost and back unreeled one green vista after another — the Bluegrass, West Virginia’s forested mountains, the rolling lush fields and tree-covered hills of the Southern Tier across lower New York State, and thick, billowing stands of corn in Ohio and Indiana. Where we traveled, the country looked healthy, robust, full of vitality.

As does the restaurant scene in the Louisville Metro area. Just the numbers suggest a quarterly surge of restaurant business optimism. Twenty-five new restaurants have opened or soon will open in Louisville and Southern Indiana, and three other businesses have added new locations since the last issue of F&D. By comparison, 15 restaurants that have closed during that time, and three multiunit brands closed one location. So, after a cold, challenging winter for eateries, the pleasantly mild weather seems to have brought new energies.

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Louisville restaurateurs move south for new venture

Posted by on Aug 22, 2014

Louisville chef Bobby Benjamin, of La Coop: Bistro a Vins and restaurant concept guru Brett Davis, one of the owners of DC Management Corp. which owns Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse & Raw Bar, have opened a new restaurant, Union Common in Nashville, Tennessee.  The “modern steakhouse concept” opened its doors last week at 1929 Broadway in the Music City.

Benjamin started his restaurant career in Nashville before moving to Louisville to cook at the Oak Room at the Seelbach Hilton, from whence he was tapped to create La Coop. Now that he has established the bona fides of that NuLu hotspot, he’s taken the reins as executive chef at Union Common, a steakhouse with an emphasis on small dishes and shared plates. 

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Incredible Dave’s closes abruptly

Posted by on Aug 21, 2014

In F&D’s listings, Incredible Dave’s, 9236 Westport Rd., was shelved under “Entertainment Dining,” with places that offered performances, like The Bardstown and Derby Dinner Playhouse, or amusements, like Joe Huber’s Family Farm.

Incredible Dave’s offered a wide-ranging menu and a full bar, but before, after or while dining, you or your kids could bowl a few lines, run an obstacle course or play video games. Alas, all that fun in now kaput; Incredible Dave’s has closed two years after trying to reorganize after a bankruptcy.

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Spirited cooking class at Moonshine U.

Posted by on Aug 20, 2014

Thursday, Aug. 21 from 6 to 8 p.m., Moonshine University, 801 S. 8th St., will offer a cooking class, Bourbon in the Kitchen with Albert Schmid, a Sullivan University professor and author of “The Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook.”

Schmid will discuss and demonstrate bourbon’s culinary appeal in the during the two-hour class, where he will will give students tips on pairing bourbon with food and creating bourbon-infused dishes.

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Cocktail tips from a mixology pro

Posted by on Aug 20, 2014

Thursday, Aug. 21, at 7 p.m., Sean Thibodeaux, mixologist from St. Charles Exchange, will lead a class on concocting a few of his favorite cocktails mace with Woodford Reserve Bourbon.

The class will be held in the teaching space at Bourbon Barrel Foods, 1201 Story Ave., in the Butchertown Market Building. Along with the cocktails, guests will also enjoy appetizers made with Bourbon Barrel Foods products.

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BBC set to release its first bottled brew

Posted by on Aug 19, 2014

BBC Taproom, 636 E.Main St. will launch its first commercially-packaged lager, a modern first for a local craft brewery. Louisville Lager has been brewed to be “an everyman’s/woman’s lager for everyday drinking,” according to Phillip Dearner, BBC Beer Co. President.

Although most of the popular mass-market beers are lagers, BBC decided to brew a better one, one with the “fresh delicate flavors of a living beer.” Brewmaster Joel Halbleib said, “I was inspired to turn professional brewer when I started tasting beers that I knew I could make better versions of at home.”

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King Estate Wine Dinner at Varanese

Posted by on Aug 18, 2014

Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 18 and 19, 7-9 p.m. Varanese, 2106 Frankfort Ave. will host its monthly wine dinner, this month featuring wines of King Estates, of Willamette Valley, Oregon, all of which will feature the pinot grape. Todd Vice will be on hand to discuss the wine pairings. The event has already proved so popular chef John Varanese has added a Monday dinner to his original Tuesday offering.

The dinner will begin with Backbone Pinot Gris, which will accompany a cheese course. The second course will be poached red shrimp with a salad of arugula,sorrel, rhubarb, strawberries and watermelon, with strawberry and cracked pepper vinaigrette. The wine will be Acrobat Pinot Noir Rosé.

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Calling all chili chefs!

Posted by on Aug 15, 2014

If you are a restaurant chef and have a chili recipe that you have been hoarding, here is your chance to show it off and get muchos kudos.

On Oct. 11, Sam Swope Auto Group, 10 Sam Swope Auto Drive in the East End, is throwing its first annual Crime Stoppers Chili Cook-off, inviting restaurants and firehouses to compete for bragging rights for making the best chili around.

The Swope Group intends this to be a big family party day, with clowns and bouncy houses, live music, a fire truck to climb on and other assorted fun. Crime Stoppers will also stage a Family Security Awareness event, providing information about how family’s can be secure against crime and house fires.

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Recent restaurant nostalgia

Posted by on Aug 14, 2014

An outbreak of restaurant nostalgia seems to have broken out recently, if a couple of posts that sprang up on my news feeds recently is any indication. Various social media posts mooned over once-popular and now-defunct restaurants that loom large in the gustatory memory of local dining patrons.

One such posting listed Kaelin’s,  Azalea (with a cursory mention of one predecessor, La Paloma, but not the grand-daddy on that Brownsboro Rd. site, Bauer’s), L&N Wine Bar, Alameda, Mamma Grisanti’s (but not Casa Grisanti, nor Ferd Grisanti). 

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Hot off the presses

Posted by on Aug 13, 2014

The new issue of Food & Dining Magazine is on the street.

The racks are being filled now, and distribution should be complete by the end of the day. Click “Find A Copy” to find the distribution point closest to you and go grab your free copy!

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Bourbons Bistro to fete distiller Jimmy Russell

Posted by on Aug 13, 2014

Tonight, Wednesday, Aug. 13, Bourbons Bistro, 2255 Frankfort Ave., will host a four-course Wild Turkey Bourbon dinner to recognize Wild Turkey’s master distiller Jimmy Russell’s 60 years in the industry.

At the dinner, Russell will sign bottles of Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary commemorative Bourbon, which has been released in his honor. Bottles may be purchased at Liquor Barn St. Matthews, 4301 Shelbyville Rd.

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Lamas to use a cookbook for special dinner!

Posted by on Aug 12, 2014

Of course, it will be his own cookbook, the forthcoming “Southern Heat” written with Gwen Pratesi, who will be a guest at the event. The dinner marking the publication of Anthony Lamas’s first cookbook will be Monday, August 25 at 6 p.m. Seviche–A Latin Restaurant, 1538 Bardstown Rd.

Special guests will include Chris Morris, Master Distiller of Woodford Reserve, Nancy Newsom of Col. Bill Newsom’s Aged Kentucky Country Ham, Matt Jamie of Bourbon Barrel Foods, and Brooke Eckmann of Ambrosia Farm, all of whom get kudos in the cookbook, and whose products will be used on the menu.

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My father would have approved of this

Posted by on Aug 11, 2014

My old man was a laboring man, a skilled welder who fabricated and repaired big machinery. When he would stop in at a bar after work, there was only one drink for him, a boilermaker–a shot and a cold beer. Exactly what everyone else in that working-man’s bar was drinking.

Blame it on hipster nostalgia for a more authentic time, or a reaction against the too-thought-out cocktail menu trend, but boilermakers are making a comeback (though knocking them back like the guys in the bars my dad went to is not a good idea, generally). Now, Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse & Raw Bar, 127 W. Main St., has jumped onto that bandwagon by collaborating with Louisville-based Apocalypse Brew Works to develop Whiskey Chaser Lager, brewed to be “the perfect complement to refresh the palate while drinking whiskey.”

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Cooking With Ron: Bountiful Berries

Posted by on Aug 10, 2014

To show you how old I am, I remember when fresh berries were markers of the seasons. Strawberries appeared only at the height of spring, in late May or early June, and heralded the coming of summer. Blueberries and blackberries were high summer fruit, and when they were gone, we knew fall was fast approaching.

Today, of course, fresh berries are available at the supermarket year-round, grown, when winter is upon us, in warmer climes. (Mexico is a prime producer of blackberries; California has industrialized the production of strawberries.)

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Profile: Exchange Pub + Kitchen

Posted by on Aug 9, 2014

With the Exchange Pub + Kitchen, Ian Hall has taken a historic New Albany building and transformed it into a stylish restaurant that would fit right into SoHo. With the Exchange as an anchor, the future looks bright for New Albany’s once-sputtering downtown revival.

Ten years ago, New Albany native Ian Hall — then in his late 20s and already a 10-year veteran of the restaurant business — made a vow to himself. “If I’m going to be in this business, by the time I’m 30 I’m gonna own my own place,” he remembers deciding.

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Restaurant scene tid-bits–August edition

Posted by on Aug 8, 2014

I. Limestone, 10001 Forst Green Blvd. will be ending its 11-year run at the end of the month, when the lease on the property runs out. Owner-chef Jim Gerhardt has not been able to negotiate acceptable terms to continue at his East End location, and so will close his handsome dining room and kitchen that has served modern Southern cooking for over a decade. As of this writing, Gerhardt’s future plans are uncertain.

II. Dinner service returns to Shady Lane Café

After a two year hiatus, prompted by some health problems, Bill and Susi Smith are again serving dinner at Shady Lane Café, 4806 Brownsboro Ctr. The popular East End lunch spot had many fans clamoring for dinner as well, and the Smiths even had an offer to help them run dinner service. “But we thought, if we just did it a few nights a week, it wouldn’t be so bad,” Susi Smith said. “So we are back doing dinner on Thursday and Friday nights from 5 to 8 p.m.”

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Shariat returns to Louisville with purchase of Henry’s Place

Posted by on Aug 7, 2014

 A press release Thursday caught most of us by surprise.  Chef Anoosh Shariat announced that he take over operation of Henry’s Place, 4864 Brownsboro Rd., Monday, August 11.

“I am excited at the opportunity to get back to a location on Brownsboro Road,” said Shariat, who owned and operated Shariat’s Restaurant on Brownsboro Road for ten years.  “It will be like coming home.”

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Mentor and mentees join forces for Bourbon dinner

Posted by on Aug 7, 2014

On Aug. 18, Seviche chef Anthony Lamas and three other chefs who worked under him as sous chefs and then went on to start restaurants of their own, will reunite at Loop 22, 2222 Dundee Rd., to host a Buffalo Trace Bourbon dinner.

Lamas will be joined in the kitchen by Chase Murcino, Adam Burress and Eric Morris, all alumni of Seviche,who have gone on to open Hammerheads, Game and, most recently  Loop 22.

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Varanese beer dinner to feature Against the Grain brews

Posted by on Aug 6, 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 6:30 p.m., Varanese, Frankfort Ave., will host a 4-course dinner pairing special dishes with a variety of beers concocted by Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St.  Brewery Owner and General Manager Andrew Ott will be on hand discuss the pairings and how they enhance the meal.

At the reception, Brettish Bulldog Old Ale with be served.  The first course beer will be Bay and Pepper your Bretts Saison Ale, to accompany Low Country beer boil with shrimp, corn on the cob and house-made sausage. 

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August is Lobster Month at Limestone

Posted by on Aug 5, 2014

Continuing their summer monthly menu specials, Limestone, 10001 Forest Green Blvd., will offer a special lobster celebration Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights through the end of August.

The dinner will include a cup of lobster bisque, a deconstructed 1 1/2 pound Maine lobster (that means the meat has been removed from the shell), served with whipped potatoes and corn on the cob and a broiled shrimp, with Key lime pie with cream and berries for dessert.

The meal will be $36.95.  Phone reservations only can be accepted; call (502) 426-7477.


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National accolades for El Camino, Comfy Cow and Mussel and Burger Bar

Posted by on Aug 4, 2014

Three national publications, one analog print and two digital, have recognized three Louisville restaurants in a “Best of” category. The South’s premier upscale slick, Garden & Gun, listed El Camino, 1314 Bardstown Rd. in a recent story about “The South’s Best Breakfast Joints.”  BuzzFeed’s recent post, “27 Ice Cream Shops You Need To Visit Before You Die,” gave second place to Comfy Cow, and Yahootravel’s site ran a piece entitled “Restaurants Worth Waiting For,” rating Mussel & Burger Bar, 9200 Taylorsville Rd. number two on the list.

The brunch dishes conceived by El Camino chef Brian Enyart were the focus of the listing, which cited the enchiladas with sesame pipián, buttered chayote squash, and Chihuahua cheese; and the house chilaquiles, described as “a hearty scramble of eggs, grass-fed beef chorizo, and corn tortilla chips with lashings of crema.” 

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Bring your dog to brunch

Posted by on Aug 1, 2014

Saturday, Aug. 2, 7:30-9:30 a.m.,The Café, 712 Brent St., will host the first Bark Brunch, described as “a fun event for food and pet lovers.” The first 25 dogs to accompany their owners will get a special doggie bag with a Max doggie bandana and other goodies, put together by co-sponsors radio station 102.3 The Max and The Flea Off Market.

Other sponsors of the brunch event are Southern Indiana Animal Rescue, Duffy’s Dog Training Center and Bluegrass Kennels. The event will take place on the patio of the Café. Sensing the pent-up demand for such a dog-friendly event, The Café suggests that reservations are advised.  Call 589-9191.


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Not really a review, just a personal note

Posted by on Jul 31, 2014

My wife and I had the pleasure of wandering up the street where we live to Louvino, 1060 Bardstown Rd., last Tuesday, to check out the new neighborhood joint on its opening night. We were plenty pleased with what we experienced.

We had enjoyed Maggie and Miguel de la Torres and their Spanish restaurant, and their adjoining tapas place, La Bodega, and, while certainly understanding, regretted their decision to retire after a solid 25-year run.

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Ramsi Kamar to be feted as Food Hero

Posted by on Jul 30, 2014

Ramsi Kamar, who is owner, along with his wife, of Ramsi Cafe on the World, Bardstown Rd., is one of three farmers to be honored as Local Food Heroes of 2013 at a Farm to Table dinner Aug. 18 at Ramsi’s restaurant.

Kamar and his wife own a farm on the Jefferson-Shelby County line where they grow much of the produce they use int heir restaurant.  Kamar has been working with the UK Agriculture Department to devise more economical and ecologically sound ways to abate weeds, keep crops watered, and encourage longer growing seasons.

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Puccini’s Smiling Teeth closes only Louisville store

Posted by on Jul 29, 2014

A 7-year run for the fast casual Italian restaurant Puccini’s Smiling Teeth has come to an end as the home office of the chain closed its Shelbyville Road Plaza location at 4600 Shelbyville Road.

The Indianapolis-based Italian restaurant chain served pastas, salads and pizza, including one with a gluten-free crust.

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A noble tradition continues: Winston’s annual tomato dinner

Posted by on Jul 28, 2014

Tomatoes garden grown, warm from the vine, waiting on the kitchen windowsill for dinner, is the quintessential image of summer that I take from my childhood. That must be why I look forward to the announcement of Winston’s tomato dinner every August.

Diners can indulge in a four-course tomato extravaganza Friday or Saturday, Aug. 8 or 9, 6:30 p.m. at Winston’s Restaurant, on the Sullivan University campus,. 3101 Bardstown Rd. Wines chosen to complement the flavors of each dish will be available for an extra charge.

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Restaurant news tid-bits–July edition

Posted by on Jul 25, 2014

1. Mark’s Feed Store upended the normal cycle and introduced its own food truck last weekend. Usually food trucks are efforts by fledgling chefs to establish their bona fides with a rolling kitchen, with the dream of settling down between stable walls soon rather than later.  But the recent Forecastle Festival saw the rollout of a food truck dispensing the familiar delights of long-established BBQ favorite Mark’s Feed Store.

General manager Gary Dean reported reasonably encouraging customer response, saying that the Forecastle Festival was the perfect opportunity to try out the new endeavor. Mark’s re;portedly invested $175,000 in the food truck, which was purchased new from Mag Specialty Vehicles.

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BBQ the focus of Limestone’s July menu special

Posted by on Jul 24, 2014

Each month during the summer, Limestone, 10001 Forest Green Blvd., adds a seasonally-themed special three-course prix-fixe menu option, available for dinner on Thursday, Friday or Saturday.

July’s special will be fresh tomato gazpacho with a garlic crouton and sour cream, BBQ baby back ribs with cole slaw and roasted corn on the cob, and grilled fresh pineapple on butter rum sponge cake for dessert.

The special menu will be $18.95.  Call (502) 426-7477.

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Roux to replace La Gallo Rosso

Posted by on Jul 23, 2014

Long-time Highlands stalwart La Gallo Rosso,1325 Bardstown Rd. will close on July 26, the business sold to Dustin Staggers, chef at The Monkey Wrench. Staggers will begin renovation of the space, shooting for a fall opening of Roux, where he will serve “classic New Orleans food.”

Staggers said that he wants to pay homage to “some of those classic places in New Orleans…We’re going to have smoked duck and smoked chicken gumbo, very classic BBQ shrimp.”

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Cena to replace The Place Downstairs

Posted by on Jul 22, 2014

New brooms sweep clean, they say, and newly appointed executive chef at The Place Downstairs Allan Rosenberg has swept away owner Fernando Martinez’s original fine dining concept, and with Martinez’s blessing will inaugurate the space below Mussel and Burger Bar later this summer as Cena, an Italian concept.

“Cena”, which means dinner in Italian, will be a slightly more casual Italian restaurant. Rosenberg’s experience has been largely with Italian food, and he and his staff are already working on the new menu, which is likely to have shareable sized portions.

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Brasserie Provence – Traditional southern French brasserie lands in Louisville

Posted by on Jul 17, 2014

When he was just a 16-year-old serving tourists on the beach in his home city of Cannes, Guy Genoud knew that one day, he would open his own restaurant.

He could envision every detail: It would be a warm and welcoming place where the service was professional but not stuffy, with a large menu of good food at affordable prices. Of course, he never imagined that it would be located in a strip shopping center in Louisville, Kentucky. But as the French say, “C’est la vie.”

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