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Plenty of special dinners; all worth a look

The next week or so will see several restaurants offering special dinners, focused on Bourbon and wine. All will offer multi-course meals paired with alcoholic beverages. The menus will show off each chef’s talents and interests that extend beyond the regular menus, each will offer cocktails or wines, chosen in collaboration with chefs and beverages specialists, paired with the dishes, and each will boast an expert guest to comment on the choices for the pairings. The result is an entertaining dinner, out-of-the-ordinary food and new wine or whiskey knowledge to bandy about. And all for a very reasonable cost, considering all that you get. Here are the dinners upcoming:

  • Varanese Restaurant’s annual Tradition vs. Innovation wine dinner, in which each course is paired with two representative wines made in the Old World and in the New World styles, using the same grape varieties, will be offered twice, on Wednesday, Feb. 24 and Thursday, Feb. 25, both days at 6:30 p.m., at the restaurant at 2106 Frankfort Ave. A total of 12 wines will be tasted, paired with a 6-course tasting menu. John Johnson of The Wine Rack, 2632 Frankfort Ave. will be the guest speaker to discuss the wine pairings.

The menu will include dishes such as oyster on the half shell with green apple puree, smoked chicken risotto, slow braised pork osso buco and espresso flourless torte served with raspberry, cracked pepper and marshmallow ice cream.

The cost is $65. Call (502) 899-9904 or email letsdine@varanese.com.

  • 8UP Elevated Drinkery and Kitchen, atop the Hilton Garden Inn at 350 W. Chestnut St., will offer the first of a series of 3-course, 4-cocktail Bourbon dinners on Thursday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m. Master distiller Harlen Wheatley of Buffalo Trace will present cocktails made from a select barrel of Weller 107.

The menu will feature a warm spinach salad with goat cheese and maple-bacon vinaigrette, duck Wellington, and a dessert of chocolate fudge cake. The cocktails will include a boulevardier cocktail, an Old Fashioned, a Manhattan (“Harlen’s favorite drink”) and a whimsical bourbon cream made with Weller, blood orange and cream. Cost of dinner and cocktail pairings will be $65. Call (502) 631-4180  or go to www.8uplouisville.com.

  • Also on Thursday, Feb. 25, at 6:30 p.m., Ruth’s Chris Steak House, 6100 Dutchmans Ln. will host a “Taste of Spain” Wine Dinner. The 5-course dinner will be accompanied by a tasting tour of the wines of the Torres family vineyards. Cost will be $95. Call (502) 79-0026.