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Louisville, KY to be devoured by Portland food nerds over a four day period

Game and Hammerheads come to mind. Also can't go wrong with Milkwood. Haven't been to Eight Up yet but it gets rave reviews. Holy Grale and Gralehaus (just behind it) are good as well and should definitely be on your radar for craft beer. Or just go to Decca or Rye and swing by the Louisville Beer Store (same owners as the Grales).

For more local beverages Apocalypse Brew Works and Against the Grain. Also Cooper and Kings for brandy and of course the mandatory Bourbon suggestions.

For more higher end 610 Magnolia or Proof on Main. Or just go to Proof's bar after Milkwood.

Hope you have fun.

Jan 11, 2015
etonian in Kentucky & Tennessee

Phila CH looking for recommendations near Louisville Convention Center

No problem, glad I could help!

Just had a great progressive dinner in Louisville tonight. Started out at Rye on Market. Had a Perico cocktail with Kumamoto & Wianno oysters. The Perico was very refreshing on this steamy afternoon and loved both oysters. Wianno wins out with the perfect balance of brine, sweetness, and overall size and texture. Oysters were served nice and cool. Wife had The Shit to drink which always pleases. A bit more heat couldn't hurt, though. Cucumber honeydew gazpacho was also very light and refreshing.

Off to Bistro La Coop. Had the Lavender Room to drink, very tasty and floral. Bartender was very nice and accomodated a request for a non alcoholic mocktail for the wife without hesitation. Pecan salad with blue cheese ice cream tasted great but the presentation was a bit uninspired. Basically a small ice cream scoop of the wonderful ice cream on top of a pile of greens on a retro metal plate. The pile of candied pecans were as tasty as the blue cheese ice cream but were hidden underneath the pile of lettuce. The Wed night special, chicken and waffles with rosemary, was very tempting but had to stick to the progressive nature of the evening and we left and went to Decca.

Had the El Scorcho to kick it off. A bit heavy handed on the tequila but that seems to be by design based on previous experience with other drink selctions at the bar here. Nice selection of non alcoholic beverages on the menu kept my DD/wife happy. Duck terrine with cherry mostarda and pickled veg was excellent. Blueberry and arugula salad with buttermilk dressing was equally wonderful. Summer corn risotto with lemon and mint was very yummy. Corn clearly fresh and sweet. Almost too much corn to call it a risotto and texture slightly too stiff for a proper risotto but that is probably being too picky as it tasted great. The wife's grilled pork chop and polenta was very good.

Coffee at Gralehaus with a perfect Black Cat espresso. Wife had a watermelon soda. Great ending to a wonderful evening. Need to come back here to stay at the B&B.

Aug 20, 2014
etonian in Kentucky & Tennessee

Phila CH looking for recommendations near Louisville Convention Center

Milkwood and Doc Crow's are very close. Proof on Main, Rye on Market, La Coop Bistro, and Decca are all in the downtown area. Gralehaus is a cab ride away but has a nice grits with lamb sausage and various crepes for breakfast or lunch. They also serve Intelligentsia coffee with probably the only Modbar equipment in the area.

Louisville bound!

Proof on Main is very close. Anywhere in Nulu which is a short cab ride away. And just a bit further is Hammerheads for an early dinner, but get there before the crowd comes. Atlantic No 5 is across from Proof and has a tasty inexpensive lunch menu.

Jan 22, 2014
etonian in Kentucky & Tennessee

Would Appreciate Lexington, KY Recommendations

Great to hear about Husk. If you make it to Enoteca let me know how it goes. I don't make it to Lexington much but it is next on my list with my next visit.

Sep 26, 2013
etonian in Kentucky & Tennessee

Would Appreciate Lexington, KY Recommendations

The Holly Hill chef recently opened what looks like a casual fish joint. Not been but would love to go based on experiences at Holly Hill Inn.

Been to Table 310 once and had good service at the bar with a knowledgable bartender. Kumamoto oysters seemed less than fresh and somewhat bland. Don't remember other specifics but food seemed less impressive than the menu read. Might go back at some point for another visit.

Wine + Market is great for French inspired lunch sandwiches. Enoteca is across the street and same owners. It is new but may be worth trying for tapas and wine bar.

Looking forward to visiting Nashville in Nov and have reservations at Husk as well. Have fun!

Bar in Louisville

St. Charles Exchange

Sep 21, 2013
etonian in Kentucky & Tennessee

Labor Day weekend in Louisville-- please critique

Sounds like a lot of good ideas. Milkwood in Actor's Theater is close to the Galt House and you should be able to walk in on a Friday and at least sit at the bar if not easily get a table if you plan on arriving after 8p (after the diners with reservations leave to go to the show). The "Milkwood" cocktail is great. It is a newer restaurant developed by Ed Lee of 610. I would also still keep reservations at 610 as well.

Hammerheads is good and very hole in the wall-ish. But you'll probably have to wait for a seat. Also would consider contacting Rye on Market, Garage Bar, Decca, Bistro La Coop to see if they are open on Labor day. These 4 are also almost next door to one another and all have very good bars.

Here is a link that may help with bourbon event planning:

Have fun

Jul 06, 2013
etonian in Kentucky & Tennessee

Moderately priced cocktail lounges in Louisville

Haven't been yet but Match Cigar Lounge in Jeffersonville looks pretty interesting.

Apr 13, 2013
etonian in Kentucky & Tennessee

Australians in Louisville - Please critique

Just a couple of other thoughts to confuse you even more. Decca which is a block or so from Rye/la coop/mayan cafe has had a band playing in the basement bar area the times I have been there on weekends if you're interested in music. I believe they have always been bluegrass bands most times.

If you have any interest in beer the Louisville Beer Store is also right this area as well and offers bar service as well as retail sales. They sell only craft/ non mass produced beer from the US and around the globe. They also have a gastropub, Holy Grale, which is just a couple blocks away from Jack Fry's which has plenty of interesting beers on tap.


Apr 04, 2013
etonian in Kentucky & Tennessee

Australians in Louisville - Please critique

I'll take great food and drink over museums any day. Incidentally, however, if you have any interest in modern art Proof is actually just next door to the 21c museum. You have to walk through the museum to get to the restrooms and the restaurant typically has various 21st century artwork on their walls which rotate throughout the season.

Its been a while since I've eaten at Jack Fry's so its kinda hard for me to say with much certainty but I would expect it to be similar quality. It has been around much longer than a lot of other restaurants and is a local favorite for sure. That area of town is more densely packed with local bars and hangouts than most other areas in the city and can make for an interesting evening in its own right.

Let me know how it goes!

Apr 03, 2013
etonian in Kentucky & Tennessee

Australians in Louisville - Please critique

Sounds like good plans so far. Milkwood is a good choice. The hot and sour soup and potatoes with octopus bacon are both very tasty. I also had the 2 day veal which had great flavors but the presentation made it somewhat difficult to eat and the textures seemed a little disjointed. Still looking forward to going back soon. The "Milkwood" cocktail is also very nice.

Proof is really nice but I haven't been since the new chef took over. Sounds like it is still very good or even better. Probably more expensive than Milkwood but more typical fine dining atmosphere if that is what you're wanting. Actually it isn't far from Milkwood and you could drop by Proof for drinks at the bar and hit St. Charles exchange as well which is just a block away from Proof. Also Doc Crow's is just 2-3 blocks away from Milkwood and has a nice bar.

If you're looking to do some bar hopping just a few blocks to the east is Nulu district which is closer to Meat. Here I would stop by Bistro La Coop if you can find room at the bar and maybe hit Rye for "the shit" cocktail with some raw oysters if you're so inclined. The food at La Coop and Rye are also very good but dinner only. Hammerheads and Game restaurant may also be worth considering for dinner.

Lunch at Harvest (in Nulu) is another option and they have burgoo on the menu at the moment. I haven't been for brunch but it sounds like Garage bar and Silver Dollar are doing brunch now. Mussles and Burger Bar also serves a good lunch but is on the east end of town hidden in a shopping center.

Hope you have a fun trip!

Apr 02, 2013
etonian in Kentucky & Tennessee

Louisville Restaurants, $-$$

What part of town will you be in? Here are some suggestions:

Havana Rumba (cuban)
Mojito's (tapas)
Guac a mole (mexican)
Taco Punk
Doc Crow's
Garage Bar
Vietnam Kitchen
Roots/Heart and Soy

Feb 20, 2013
etonian in Kentucky & Tennessee

Staying and eating on the Bourbon Trail

I didn't know Black Maple Hill had a visitor's center or tour, especially since they don't distill their own bourbon. There aren't a lot of smaller distilleries along the main parts of the trail. Although it seems that there are some newer smaller bourbons that have come out of Lexington recently. Maybe some smaller and newer ones in Cincinatti and Owensboro, KY also. I haven't gotten around to trying them yet.

There is a small craft distillery in Bowling Green, KY by the name of Corsair. They have some bourbon in the works but I don't think it is released yet. And they are the only place in KY you can get James Pepper bourbon which they produce for an out of state company. They specialize in small craft spirits like gin aged in oak and some really interesting whiskeys from off the wall grains and infused with hops, etc. The Rasputin hopped whiskey is really worth a try especially if you like imperial stout and ipa as much as whiskey.

Midway has several good restaurants. Holly Hill is great for fine dining. Circa in Bardstown and plenty of options in Louisville or Lexington.

solo (but delicious) dining in Louisville

I would think Jack Fry's would work out well. Not been to 610 since the new menu/format changes but last I recall there was a bar that might work.

I tend to prefer Bistro La Coop for eating at the bar but it can get crowded on weekend nights. It is open and easily accessible at the bar for lunch. Rye also is another option and they also offer a tasting menu with seating at a counter next to the open kitchen with advance notice.

St. Charles Exhange is also another option with a large bar area.

Oct 27, 2012
etonian in Kentucky & Tennessee

Louisville Long Weekend

I have 2 kids so I feel your pain. The lobby bar at The Brown seems like it could be baby friendly if you go early. I obvioiusly wouldn't sit near the bar but there is a large lobby with a lot of seating areas. People are passing thru so noise isn't too big of an issue and you can make a meal with the bar menu. Also, Proof on Main has a good bourbon menu as well (not for babies though).

Jun 19, 2012
etonian in Kentucky & Tennessee

Louisville Long Weekend

1. I recently had Plehn's bakery do my daughter's b-day cake and it was great. They are in St. Matthews area.

2. Bourbon's Bistro, The Lobby bar in the Brown Hotel has a great bourbon menu and you can order the original Hot Brown there as well. The Haymarket sounds good but I haven't been yet.

3. Hammerheads

Jun 19, 2012
etonian in Kentucky & Tennessee


Some others to consider:
HIgh end: Corbett's
Moderate to high: Bistra La Coop, Decca, Doc Crow's, Garage Bar
Inexpensive: Hammerheads, Taco punk

Jun 15, 2012
etonian in Kentucky & Tennessee

visitors seeking bourbon and hiking

Not sure what kind of distribution you get in N. England but Heaven Hill and Buffalo trace are both great tours. If you have a large budget Heaven Hill has a few bottles they only sell at the distillery (or in Japan). Buffallo Trace has some limited bottlings as well but they are usually distributed to local shops in Frankfort. In Bardstown Toddy's has a good selection of bourbon. Limited bottlings of Four Roses are also something to keep your eye out for.

Jun 15, 2012
etonian in Kentucky & Tennessee

Need good eats and drinks for Derby Day in Louisville and Bardstown

Of course "cocktail nerd" was a term of endearment. Aficionado works too.

Something to keep in mind: it seems I remember that Circa may have been closed on Derby Day in the past. Also, a restaurant that is scheduled to open in April is Bistro Voliere at 732 Market St. It should be worth a visit if open in May. Too bad you missed 732 Social before its untimely demise.

Also if you're a craft beer aficionado (or nerd) a visit to Holy Grale or Louisville Beer Store (same owners) is a must. The upscale bar food at the Grale is worth the trip alone.

For other tips on the Louisville scene check out this site:

Mar 25, 2012
etonian in Kentucky & Tennessee

Need good eats and drinks for Derby Day in Louisville and Bardstown

Your best bet in Bardstown is Circa. Bourbons Bistro is good for a more casual meal. Go to Toddys to load up on bourbon to take home.

Jack Frys can be good but I tend to prefer the East Market/ Nulu area. Rye has great cocktails and good food. Haven't been to Decca yet but it looks tasty. For the true cocktail nerd a visit to Meat should be on the list.

Mar 24, 2012
etonian in Kentucky & Tennessee

Where to eat during long weekend in Louisville?

The one time I've been to Doc Crows on a Thursday it wasn't too crowded but its tough to count on that. It would be highly dependent upon if there are any major events in downtown Louisville that night, especially at the Yum Center which is next door. Just keep in mind Doc's closes at 10pm. I believe Garage Bar has a late night menu on Thursdays if you end up getting here late.

I haven't met anyone yet who doesn't like Vietnam Kitchen. Good recommendation on Wiltshire on market. It may also be off the radar enough to be a good choice to gamble on walking in without a reservation.

One of the reasons I prefer Corbett's for fine dining is they don't seem to get as caught up with too much of the molecular gastronomy just for the sake of being trendy. Sure they are in the Costco parking lot but it is a beautifully restored historic home with a brick wine cellar.

If you like charcuterie Proof is worth a stop.

Feb 23, 2012
etonian in Kentucky & Tennessee

Where to eat during long weekend in Louisville?

You have quite a bit of good options listed. One place you might want to also consider is Rye on market. It is very new but we had a nice dinner there a week ago. Corbett's is also very good but in the suburbs. Its not too far up I-71, however, from downtown. Taco Punk just opened too and could be good for a quick casual lunch. The chef is from 610 Magnolia and although I haven't been yet I plan on going soon.

I wouldn't think 610 would be difficult to get reservations right now but with the Top Chef fame it could be more difficult that usual.

Most places downtown have street parking available without too much trouble. There are also some with parking lots or you may want to find a garage. Doc Crow's might be the hardest to find parking. The garage at The Galt House is just a couple of blocks away on 4thst. and it makes for a good pre dinner or post dinner place for drinks overlooking the city at Rivue.

Hillbilly Tea makes a good breakfast/brunch but you'll probably feel like you get more for your money and equal quality if not better at Wild Eggs or Toast.

I generally avoid Lynns but it can be good. If you like that type of atmosphere I would recommend it but you can get equal or better food elsewhere. I haven't been to Garage for brunch yet but let me know if you make it.

It has been a long time since I've been to Ramsis but the last few times the menu was way too long and they seemed to spread themselves very thin.

Roots is vegetarian but I definitely recommend it even for carnivores like myself. Also has the best tea menu around.

The Blind Pig is good but I would definitely choose Garage, Doc Crows, other listed if you have to keep the list short. I mainly go for the drinks and bar menu. There is also a prohibition styled bar above the Pig called Meat if you are into craft cocktails. Don't expect to see a sign for it but it is up the back starway on the outside of the building.

Hope this helps. Let me know how it goes.

Feb 20, 2012
etonian in Kentucky & Tennessee

2012 Kentucky Derby

Jack Fry's is a good rec. I've had several good experiences there. My last visit I was somewhat underwhelmed with scallops which were more rubbery and steamed when they were supposed to be seared but I wouldn't hesitate to go back again.

I've actually never been to Vietnam Kitchen. I've always wanted to go but from a location standpoint it is never really convenient. I've heard more good things about VK than any other Louisville restaurant so I would put that on your list if you have any interest in Vietnamese cooking. If you do go I would avoid Roots as they may be very similar. Also if you might prefer a more modern take on Vietnamese you may want to consider Basa which is very good but overall I suspect you'll get more bang for your buck at VK.

I can't say much about Vincenzo's. It has been several years since I've been. It has been good in the past and may still be. I just never really hear very much about it anymore. If you are interested in Italian food Proof on Main has a lot of Italian influence and their house made charcuterie is very tasty. I've had some hits and misses but lately it has been more hits. A recent tuna sashimi dish was quite good. Certainly not inexpensive and service can be spotty. I believe a server 'John' took very good care of us the last time we were there but can't be completely sure of his name. Another newer Italian influenced restaurant is Mozz. I've been once and it was decent but service was terrible. It was soon after they opened so hopefully that is better. Also we sat in the lounge as opposed to the main dining room.

The last time I went to the Oakroom was right after Todd Richards left so probably not a good time to judge it. Overall I just thought the quality/price ratio was very low. Like many fine dining restaurants with dishes that shoot pretty high, one missed note really ruins the whole experience. Too many ingredients that didn't work together well and small portions plus very high prices. Like I said that was a transitional time for the restaurant and things may have changed. That said, their sunday champagne brunch has always been excellent. Corbett's and 610 tend to run the same QPR risk but I think they are more consistent on the quality side. Also 610 recently started a more value oriented menu/pricing and although I haven't been since that change I suspect it has helped a lot.

Here is a helpful link:

Also keep in mind going out on Derby night is like going out on Valentine's Day. Restaurants inflate prices and try to cater to a large amount of people that aren't particularly used to going out to eat all the time. A lot of places limit their menu to a "special" prix fixe menu. Also, if you want to try a Hot Brown I'd go to The Brown Hotel's lobby bar in the late afternoon.

Hope this helps

Jan 07, 2012
etonian in Kentucky & Tennessee

2012 Kentucky Derby

For dinner I would recommend Corbett's. Also, 610 Magnolia, 211 Clover, Seviche, Asiatique, or Proof on Main.
Lunch, maybe Mayan cafe, Roots/Heart &Soy (vegetarian), Garage Bar (weekends are open for lunch), Doc Crow's, or Blind Pig. Rye is a new place that just opened but I haven't been and it is dinner only I believe.

Jan 06, 2012
etonian in Kentucky & Tennessee

Louisville Group Dinner - Girls - Downtown

Harvest restaurant is a good choice. Also North End Cafe is close enough to consider.

Jun 29, 2011
etonian in Kentucky & Tennessee

Bourbon and BBQ

I've heard good things about Doc Crow's. I haven't had a chance to make it there yet but hope to go soon.

Jun 20, 2011
etonian in Kentucky & Tennessee

Need Reco for Outdoor Dining with Napa Vineyard Views

Auberge du soleil has a great view.

good veggie burger in louisville?

Zen tea garden has one on the menu. I've had some of their other items which are really good so it should be worth trying. For other veggie options I would check out Hillbilly Tea.

May 03, 2011
etonian in Kentucky & Tennessee

Bourbon Trail & Where to watch the derby

One of the better restaurants in Bardstown now is Circa. It recently opened and we have been very happy with both lunch and dinner experiences. They have a TV area which should be nice for watching the derby. It is just a couple of doors down from Chapeze House. A short walk away is Toddy's where you can find an excellent selection of Bourbon. Don't miss the top shelf choices above the counter.

While you are out at Woodford Reserve or some of the other distilleries you should consider visiting Midway for some good restaurant choices. Holly Hill for excellent fine dining and Heirloom come to mind. Wallace Station for great sandwiches.

Not sure of other lesser known distilleries to visit. There is a newer port finished "bourbon", Angel's Envy. It is distilled in louisville at the louisville Distilling Company but I'm not sure they take visitors or have tours. It might be worth giving them a call. Not my type of "bourbon" but probably worth trying as it seems to be an up and coming product. Also, if you like Four Roses, I would consider visiting the Cox's Creek Warehouses. This is where Four Roses ages and bottles their bourbon. I wouldn't miss the Lawrenceburg site but if you have extra time you might want to at least call and see if their gift shop has any special bottlings. I picked up a couple of anniversary editions signed by Jim Rutledge there a few years ago. The number is 502-543-2264. They also do a good tour there.

Wallace Station
3854 Old Frankfort Pike, Versailles, KY 40383

May 01, 2011
etonian in Kentucky & Tennessee