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May 4, 2006 08:27 PM

Louisville, KY suggestions for visiting SW hound

  • s

Will be staying in downtown Louisville, KY while husband is at a conference during the last week of June. Eight years ago, when I was last in Louisville, I ate at Lilly's and a small place called 610. Perhaps I'm the only person to criticize Lilly's but I wasn't bowled over, and for the price of dinner, I expected some serious bowling. The Oak Room of the Seelbach hotel soared far above Lilly's. Ditto for 610 - but that was a private dinner and excellent.

I cannot find any mention of 610 on this board and have to wonder if it is still in operation. What are the knock-out, not-to-miss meals in Louisville? With Brown-Forman headquarters there, something must be wonderful. Since I'm from the SW, passing on Mexican is OK because we have some great stuff here. I would also appreciate knowing who makes a really tasty hot brown.

Oops, should also mention that we'll have a car and driving is not a consideration for great food.

Thanks all.

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  1. You might try the Louisville restaurant forum.

    Also,Robin Garr's


    8 Replies
    1. re: Tom-Fl

      nios on bardstown road and proof downtown are what everyone is talking about

      1. re: slick ric

        Proof is over rated, they have a sushi bar.. that you can't sit at, over priced too.. for great sushi, try Sapporos on Bardstown Rd, excellent and fresh, for Vietnamese you have to go to Vietnam Kitchen it's sort of out near the race track in the Iroquis Shopping Center, For Italian, got to try Vincenzo's downtown. Louisville is a great food town, as a transplanted CA girl who lived in both LA and SF... it rocks.

      2. re: Tom-Fl

        You're referring to 610 Magnolia. It's still in business and
        you no longer have to have a large party to go. It's superb.

        Proof's is overrated, but it's fun and the food is good. It
        just takes itself too seriously. Personally, I think that
        other local restaurants--211 Clover Lane, Napa River Grill,
        Asiatique, Winston's at Sullivan, e.g.--are better. We really
        like Lily's; have been there frequently and have not been

        1. re: fresh

          Update: Asiatique--a long time favorite--is no longer as good as it was. For Spanish or Cuban cuisine try Mojitos in the St. Matthews area. Louisvillian.

          P.S. There are an exceptional number of local chef-owned restaurants. It's the best place (other than Chicago) to eat well for a good price in the Midwest.

            1. re: mamaciita

              Mayan Cafe is a very reliable and inexpensive excellent lunch or dinner! They use mostly local produce, poultry, bison, and beef.

              1. re: fresh

                Just got back from a business trip to L'ville, and based on various posts we went to the Mayan Cafe. It is the bomb. A stylish, friendly place celebrating fresh, locally sourced food through upscale interpretations of Mayan cuisine. Fabulous. We had scallops with black bean cake and ancho (?) sauce, a great arugula/goat cheese salad (with the goat cheese makers at the next table), the famous cochinita pibil with lima beans (amazing local pork shoulder), and a nightly special of line-caught seabass in a green mole. All wonderful, wonderful. Nice wine list, fair prices, great service, nice art, nothing more to ask for.

          1. re: fresh

            Added later: Asiatique and Napa River not quite as good as they used to be. Mojitos a great Latin addition: mostly tapas and great value.

        2. As a San Franciscan working in Louisville for a large portion of last year, I was really impressed with the Louisville restaurant scene.

          For a hot brown, you should head to the Brown Hotel. I didn't try the hot brown there, but I did try it at another place. It was incredibly rich and I felt rather guilty, but it was worth a splurge just to try it. I know that Lynn's Paradise Cafe also serves it.

          My favorite restaurants were:
          - Jack Fry's for contemporary American and the best grits and shrimp (on Bardstown Road).
          - Seviche for contemporary Latin, not Mexican (also on Bardstown).
          - North End Cafe on Frankfort Ave.
          - Lilly's for a caramel cake that I still think about. I was underwhelmed by the food there in general though (but not by the bread basket).
          - I didn't find that Italian was particularly great in Louisville.
          - Cafe Lou Lou if you are looking for a budget place then head to Lulu's Cafe on Frankfort.
          - Artemisia is worth a visit if you are near downtown.
          - Palermo Viejo for Argentinian grills.
          - There is also a large Vietnamese community in Louisville so you might want to try Vietnamese while you are there.

          If you have more specific questions then please post additional questions. The Louisville Hotbytes site is great too:

          1. Great suggestions from both Mari & Tom-Fl. Thank you so much for your time & thoughts. The food scene website (name escapes me but I think it was louisvillehotbytes ..... have it written in my journal) will also be helpful. You two are the reason Chowhound succeeds like it does. Many thanks!

            1. are you saying you have a car and will drive if so look on a map at indiana. cross the riverdrive up river to madison indiana. you can spend the day in madison and eat at bistro one.

              1. If you haven't had burgoo, it is an "only in Kentucky-soup/stew thing." Out in Owensboro, KY they make it with mutton. It originated as a stew with whatever animal was available. The Kentucky Colonels have a picnic Derby weekend where they make burgoo in an enormous cauldron. (I hope that some Louisville residents will comment on this and add some great places to get burgoo that I don't know about...)

                I first had burgoo at Mark's Feed Store after the derby one year. Mark's is a good BBQ place with a few locations. Their burgoo (although it may be atypical) is AMAZING and quite spicy. At Mark's it is quite thick and chunky with chicken, lima beans, corn, etc.

                I am not a Hot Brown aficionado, but it is also an "only in KY thing." that is worth trying.

                Good luck!

                Mark's Feed Store
                1514 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY 40205