Some of Louisville’s Favorite Restaurants
(See Cherie’s favorites at the end of the list!)
1767 Bardstown Road
Monday-Wednesday, 5:30-10:30 p.m.; Thursday-Saturday, 5:30 p.m.-midnight; Sunday, 5:30-10 p.m. (Lounge A is open Monday-Wednesday, 5:30 p.m.-midnight; Thursday-Saturday, 5:30 p.m.-2 a.m.) Reservations accepted. $$
The Pacific Rim restaurant made the move to stylish, multistory new digs last year, and chef Peng Looi was honored with an invitation to take his fusion cuisine to New York’s James Beard House. Wok-cooked lamb, fried quail on noodle pancake and other signatures are still wonderful. Among entrees not to be missed are hoisin-marinated pekin duck breast and Vietnamese-inspired citrus-rubbed chicken with grilled tiger prawn.
2269 Lexington Road
Lunch, Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon-4 p.m. Dinner, Sunday-Thursday, 4-9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 4-10:30 p.m. (Bar and lounge open Sunday-Thursday until 10:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday until 11:30 p.m.) Reservations accepted. $-$$
You can sip a Mandarin orange martini at this self-described Chinese bistro before tucking into expertly seasoned stir-fried and noodle dishes.
1314 Bardstown Road
Monday-Thursday, 5:30-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5:30-11 p.m.; Sunday, 5:30-10 p.m. Reservations for five or more. $$-$$$
The striking, pumpkin-hued interior with modern art is hip. Chef Nathan Carlson’s entrees with a Southern accent are too. They include buttermilk-fried free-range chicken breast with mustard barbecue and seared scallops served with bacon and truffle butter.
BAXTER STATION BAR AND GRILL
1201 Payne St.
Tuesday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m.; Sunday, 4-9 p.m. $-$$
It looks like a pub, but Baxter Station has a bistro menu, complete with pasta, steak and seafood dishes (salmon lovers, take note). Vegetable lasagna and red beans & rice are among vegetarian offerings. The draft craft-beer selection is excellent, as is the 30 Wines Under $30 list.
BRISTOL BAR & GRILLE
1321 Bardstown Road
Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-1 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 a.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-midnight. Reservations accepted for parties of six or more. $-$$
300 N. Hurstbourne Parkway
Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Reservations accepted for parties of six or more. $-$$
614 W. Main St.
Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Reservations accepted for six or more for lunch; any number for dinner. $-$$
For more than a quarter-century, the Bristol has been serving up artichoke fritters, the California club salad, a steak sandwich with béarnaise sauce and the eponymous Bristol burger. The reasonably priced wine list is varied and extremely well-chosen.
CAFE LOU LOU
Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday, noon-9 p.m. $-$$
At first glance, Cafe Lou Lou looks like a gallery for pop art, with brightly hued walls and big, colorful paintings. And the casual Mediterranean-Italian menu seems fairly standard — until the food arrives. First-rate ingredients and masterful cooking raise pastas, calzones, pizzas and sandwiches to high levels. Full bar and good table wines round out the experience. Chef/owner Clay Wallace named his place for the two places where he’s cooked the most, Louisville and Louisiana.
CAPTAIN’S QUARTERS RIVERSIDE GRILLE
5700 Captain’s Quarters Road
Monday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday brunch, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Reservations accepted for indoor dining. $-$$
You can watch the river traffic flow by from one of the decks outside the lodgelike restaurant or dine inside and look out the big windows if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Steaks, chops and pizzas anchor the menu.
1114 Bardstown Road
Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-midnight; Sunday, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Reservations accepted for parties of eight or more. $$
This casual cafe is a fine late-night choice when you want to share some wings or indulge in a grilled chop or seafood entree. Seasonal specials are a feature.
1007 Bardstown Road
Lunch, Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Dinner, Monday-Thursday, 5:30-11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5:30 p.m.-midnight; Sunday, 5:30-10 p.m. Reservations accepted for parties of five or more (any number on Sunday and lunches). Smoke-free. $$$
The handsome black, white and brown decor, live jazz and chef Shawn Ward’s New American menu add up to a consistently excellent experience at Jack Fry’s. Ward’s seafood dishes are among the best in the city. Salmon encrusted with almonds and pistachios and halibut poached in court bouillon are typical. But meat eaters shouldn’t miss the grilled lamb chops or veal medallions with Calvados cream. There are many gems on the wine list, and the desserts more than live up to the standard set by the main dishes.
L&N WINE BAR & BISTRO
1765 Mellwood Ave.
Monday-Wednesday, 5-11 p.m.; Thursday-Saturday, 5 p.m.-1 a.m.; Sunday, 5-10 p.m. Reservations accepted for any number Monday-Thursday and for groups of six or more only on Friday and Saturday. $$-$$$
Located on the edge of historic Butchertown in a building that was once a coach stop, L&N’s labyrinth of dining rooms has cozy features such as exposed brick walls and working fireplaces. Wine lovers should make a beeline for the city’s only true wine bar, which serves more than 100 choices by the glass and has a cellar of more than 175 different bottles. But the food is just as outstanding as the vino selection. Duck, aged beef and fresh seafood figure prominently.
at Bowman Field
Tuesday-Thursday, 5:30-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5:30-11 p.m.; Sunday, 5:30-9 p.m. Reservations accepted. $$-$$$
Chef Daniel Stage keeps the tradition of fine French cooking alive with style at this romantic restaurant tucked into the historic air terminal at Bowman Field. The veal chop marinated in sherry and Dijon mustard is a signature dish. The seafood selection usually includes trout or scallops meuniere. The award-winning wine list has a French accent, too, with many bottles from Bordeaux, Burgundy and other French wine-growing regions. The knowledgeable staff is always ready to advise on food and wine pairings.
LYNN’S PARADISE CAFE
984 Barret Ave.
Monday, 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Tuesday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday, 7 a.m.-11 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Reservations accepted. $$
There’s more to Lynn’s than the famous giant omelets and seemingly bottomless plates of biscuits and gravy. The light from the ugly lamps shines on walnut-crusted chicken and a fine grilled salmon at dinner. Plus, there’s a carefully chosen list of craft draft beers, good wines and outstanding mixed drinks, including the signature Bloody Mary, which is garnished with enough veggies to almost qualify as a salad.
NAPA RIVER GRILL
Lunch, Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Dinner, Monday-Thursday, 5-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5-11 p.m.; Sunday, 5-9 p.m. Smoking on patio or in bar only. Reservations recommended. $$-$$$
California and Pacific Rim traditions inform the contemporary menu, complemented by an award-winning, West Coast-based wine list and presented by a highly professional staff. Goat cheese soufflé, oak-grilled salmon with mango-ginger coulis, chicken and veal scaloppine and lobster risotto all provide pleasures for the palate. Vegetarians will be pleased by the farmer’s market vegetable gratinée accented with Boursin cheese.
NORTH END CAFE
1722 Frankfort Ave.
Sunday-Wednesday, 7 a.m.-midnight.; Thursday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-2 a.m. Reservations accepted. $-$$
Meals here range from orange French toast at breakfast to a lunchtime salad to one of the dinner specialties such as crab cakes, beef tenderloin or a dish inspired by international flavors such as curry. A new bar is located in an adjoining shotgun house.
THE OAKROOM AT THE SEELBACH HILTON
500 S. Fourth St.
Lunch, Friday, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Dinner, every day, 5:30-10 p.m. Sunday brunch, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Smoke-free. Reservations accepted. $$$
Chef Walter Leffler is maintaining the Kentucky Fine Dining tradition at the Oakroom with such ingredients as paddlefish caviar, locally raised veal and bison and wild-harvested mushrooms and papaws. Entrees include spicebush-marinated French rib pork chop and dry aged beef tenderloin with smoked cheddar grits. Diners have a choice of the beautiful main dining room or a pair of more intimate, single-table rooms. And the Oakroom’s wine cellar is the largest and finest in the region.
My Favorites: Jack Fry’s, L&N Wine Bar & Bistro, Le Relais (there’s a deck for summertime seating; you can watch planes take off & land!), North End Cafe . . .