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Special dinners, Lent specials and menu changes–lots of doings in local restaurants

March promises several restaurant events and menu changes to will either harken the imminence of spring, or at least make the lingering winter less depressing. Diners can check out special dinners (always a great value), sample new menus or feel righteous by eating according to religious custom during Lent.

  • We are in the midst of Lent, a season of spiritual preparation that has eased its dietary requirements since the olden times of rigorous abstentions from meat for the whole 40 days. Nowadays, fish on Fridays is the minimal sacrifice, and restaurants offering fish dishes make the sacrifice easy to take.

Manny and Merle’s, 122 W. Main St., is offering a Friday Lent special of crispy fish tacos all day for $2 each. They are making that offer hard to resist by accompanying it with $2 PBRs too.

  • For those who want a bit more substance to heir meatless Fridays, Varanese, 2106 Frankfort Ave, is offering its annual Lenten prix fixe Friday menu featuring three course fish dinners. The menu, which is $50 for two people, will be available until April 3.

The menu includes a choice of two salads, a choice of entrees, such as pecan-encrusted corvina with whipped sweet potatoes, grilled salmon or pan-seared shrimp with cream cheese grits and lobster butter sauce.

Dessert is a small bites trio. Call (502) 899-9904 or email letsdine@varanese.com.

  • Winston’s, 3101 Bardstown Rd. at Sullivan University is adding some new small plates to their menu choices.  Look now for New Orleans-style oysters,  the classic Filipino noodle dish pancit and Caribbean smoked duck with repollo on tostones and papaya sauce.

For brunch, Winston’s Chef John Castro offers American flavors with banana split pancakes, Nutella-raspberry French toast and a country ham omelet. Even the long-time favorites like the Not Brown and herb roasted chicken can be ordered in small or large plates, according to diner’s preference.

  • Against the Grain, 401 E. Main St., has been busy opening its new production facility is Portland, but it has also launched a  new menu, highlighted by new tapas-style appetizers, and a new approach to ordering meat, with an option of ordering pork by the half-pound to share with the table as diners wish. The new menu will also feature Southern-influenced foods like pimento cheese hoecakes, a ham and cheese sandwich made with picnic-cured ham and Southern-style (not sweet) cornbread. Though Against the Grain’s kitchen focuses on meats, there will be vegetarian and vegan options still available.