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Restaurants & Bars 20

Louisville, KY - long report

Mari | Apr 7, 200509:48 PM

Here is a quick report on the Louisville restaurants I have visited during my long stay for work out here from San Francisco. I am stuck in chain-restaurant hell near my hotel, but I am happy to report that I have managed to eat very well at many non-chain restaurants.

I know about Louisville HotBites, but I think that there are not many reports about this area in Chowhound.

Before you keep reading, I am looking for tips on the following as I will be here for a while:

- where to find homemade Derby Pie (or KY Pie, whatever a non-trademark name is) that is not from the package. Has anyone tried the pie at McAllisters?
- good BBQ. I am a Californian and don't know all the nuances of BBQ, but a rec for a good place would be welcome. How is Mark's Feed Store?
- are there any stellar bakeries out here?

Phlen's Bakery - this is located on Shelbyville Road and I ventured out there for the pumpkin donuts with glaze that were featured in the local paper. These were great! Definitely worth the hike out to the bakery.

Martini House - "upscale" Italian chain restaurant located in The Summit shopping center. The food the first time was acceptable, especially the decent pizzas. The chicken pizza was a bit doughy, but still good. We ordered an antipasto that seemed have chopped Hormel pepperoni - not good. I also had the arrostito di vegetale on another visit - pass this one up. It was a vegetable plate that was memorable only because it was so bad.

Martini's Fish Market - this restaurant is a sister chain restaurant to the Martini House and is located right across the island from the Martini House in The Summit. Wow - this place is pretty good!! My picky co-workers and I have made this one of our favorite spots for dinner. Particularly enjoyable is the seafood stew (shrimp, mussels, fish, scallops in a spicy tomato broth and two cheese breads). Today I had the spinach and pear salad and the seared tuna. The tuna was served with an apricot ale sauce - very light sauce - and was quite nice. The gumbo there is also delicious. Overall, it is an elegant place where one has a wide array of seafood choices. Warm bread (not great but at least they warm it up) is served, so that is an added bonus for me. The wines are super expensive though – but I am a spoiled Californian I guess.

Ramsi's Cafe - eclectic place on Bardstown Road. It was a bit too inventive and fusion-y for me, but I scored with the Shrimp Creole served over rice. The Mediterranean platter was ok, the crackers served with the fried, honey drenched brie tasted stale. Our server was incredibly attentive, but I am not sure whether I would run back there.

Uptown Cafe - nice restaurant located on a corner on Bardstown road. The food was pretty good; it was a nice introduction to dining in Louisville. All I recall are the grits that accompanied my co-worker's filet of beef and the strawberry napoleon.

Lynn's Paradise Cafe - we made a stop for Sunday brunch and had omelettes. The omellettes were nothing stellar, but the fresh orange juice, fat biscuits and cheese grits were great. I will run back there just for the biscuits - delicious!! There is definitely a lack of biscuits in SF. Any recommendations for dinner entrees there?

Palermo Viejo - this is an Argentinean restaurant on Bardstown Road. I was pleasantly surprised that the owners seem to recreate authentic dishes, such as provoleta (grilled provolone drizzled with olive oil and oregano - wo that was good!) and panqueques (crepes stuffed with dulce de leche). Our waitress was attentive as she allowed us to share a Mixed Grill for 3 among 4 of us. The meat was great - flank steak, sausage, short ribs...delicious and pretty light. The empanadas stuffed with tomato & basil were also great. Nice selection of wines from Argentina and decently priced by the glass.

Bristol's - another great find. It is so reasonably priced. I have only been there once and had the roasted chicken - delicious. I liked the added touch of warm rolls served with dinner. However, I was disappointed that their Derby Pie was from a package, although I understand that "Derby Pie" is always of that frozen variety. Any recs for homemade real Derby Pie are welcome.

Rincon Latino - this is a hole in the wall Mexican place located on Goose Creek Road (I think) off of Westport Road. I went with trepidation, but the place was great. The taco de carne asada (grilled beef) was very good when partnered with green salsa. My co-worker had a huge burrito drenched in a chile sauce, melted cheese and sour cream. It was also delicious. The standout for me was the sope - thick corn tortilla-like boats filled with beans, meat, lettuce and sour cream. This was a wonderful find in that area.

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