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    VEGETARIAN PLATTER
    at Queen of Sheba

    2804 Taylorsville Road

    “We go to Queen of Sheba a lot, and it’s interesting because it’s a lot of different flavors. It’s kind of fun for us to try new stuff with our kids. I don’t remember when I had it the first time; it’s been so long ago. Now, we go in and they know us. The first time I took the kids there, they were kind of like, ‘What is this place? No silverware? We get to eat with our hands?’ They ate it and were like, ‘This is really good.’ So we went back and back and back. It was cool to see their little faces. I have a five-year-old and a seven-year-old. They were kind of shocked that the food was as good as it was coming out on this little tray. Their faces kind of lit up that they could eat with their hands. It’s one of those places that, once you go there, it’s iconic.”

    — Dallas McGarity, chef at the Fat Lamb (2011 Grinstead Drive)

     

    DUCK CONFIT STRUDELS
    at Bistro 1860

    1765 Mellwood Ave.

    “Chef Michael Crouch at Bistro 1860 makes these amazing duck confit strudels. It’s the type of dish that you (can’t) just make at home. I don’t know of anyone that makes duck confit at home. As good as it is, I always ask them to sear a piece of foie gras and put it on the strudel. It’s decadent — a duo of duck. Sometimes it’s later in the evening, sometimes it’s on the way home from work. When the crave hits me, I need one.”

    — Matt Jamie, owner of Bourbon Barrel Foods (2710 Frankfort Ave.)

     

    BURGER
    at Couvillion

    1318 McHenry St.

    “At MozzaPi, we mill our own grits and sell to chefs. I believe in a local economy, so I try to support the people that buy from us, so that’s usually where I tend to eat. At Couvillion, they use our smoked cornbread mix. I had a really yummy burger there. It wasn’t overly thin and not overly fried either — the thin ones can be overly fried. It was juicy, kind of messy. I just liked the juicy cheesiness of it. I’m a big pickle fan as well. I don’t usually gravitate toward a diner-style cheeseburger; I usually gravitate toward a medium-rare burger, but that one really hit the spot.”

    Tom Edwards, owner of MozzaPi (12102 La Grange Road)

     

    CHEESEBURGER
    at Red Hog

    2622 Frankfort Ave.

    “Medium-rare, dripping. They do this thing where they cold-smoke it, and then they cook it to temp. The bacon on there was awesome. And they use this pimento cheese that was the bomb. I’ve had a couple of pimento burgers; that seems like a Southern thing, to put pimento cheese on a burger. I took my fiancé to Red Hog for his birthday, and it was the first time I’ve had that burger. My fiancé actually ordered the burger, and I had the steak, but we traded. I took one bite of that burger, and I was like, ‘Uh, can I have this?’”

    — Leslie Wilson, co-owner of Hi-Five Doughnuts (1011 E. Main St.)

     

    CAULIFLOWER
    at bar Vetti

    800 S. Fourth St.

    “It’s my favorite place right now. They do this cauliflower that has golden raisins in it. There’s some grapes in there. Acid and there’s a sweetness. And they do this kind of creamy dressing. I really love it. The other thing is — I’m not a pizza lover. I’ve never been. There’s just too much tomato sauce or something. If I did a pizza, I view it more as flatbread, California-style, where they just do a really thin swipe, rub it with olive oil and put cheese on. Bar Vetti has made me a pizza lover. They have their little oven. I could just eat the dough by itself. It reminds me of naan or a tortilla.”

    — Anthony Lamas, chef-owner at Seviche (1538 Bardstown Road)

     

    WINGS AND WAFFLES
    at SuperChefs

    1702 Bardstown Road

    “The presentation is amazing. Everything they put on the plate looks like a work of art. You eat with your eyes first. That’s pretty much everything on the menu. The first time I went — I’ve only been in town for a year and six months, so I would say about this time last year — it was on a recommendation. I had to go and see what the hype was about. I’ve had that dish at other places, but it’s not executed the way that they execute it. Fried chicken and waffles — you never put them together until you go on a culinary journey to see how they match together with the savory and sweet. Simple yet satisfying.”

    — Jerriel Bell, chef at Fredricks in St. Stephen Church (1508 W. Kentucky St.)

     

    LAAB
    at Mai’s Thai

    1411 E. 10th St., Jeffersonville

    “It was about a year, maybe two years ago, back when I was running the taco truck Holy Molé. We went to Mai’s Thai after a weekend of doing gigs. It was me and my taco-truck crew. We wanted to check out this Thai spot we’d heard about because we’d been to all the ones in Louisville. Mai’s Thai is definitely a step above the stuff you can find in Louisville. And it’s fun, because it’s a little bit of a destination. You’re adventuring.
        “The laab is basically like a minced-meat salad. You can get pork or chicken; then they’ll serve it to you in lettuce leaves with shaved vegetables. They do toasted rice that they grind and top the dish with, so it’s got a nice crunch. It’s tossed in a dressing — fish sauce, lime juice, chiles, garlic. The laab is acidic and spicy and rich and sweet and salty. It’s like every one of the taste groups. Really intense, and super-balanced. It’s a cold dish, very light. I associate it with summertime.”

    — Max Balliet, owner of Pizza Lupo (1540 Frankfort Ave.)

     

    LOADED TATER TOTS
    at Feast BBQ

    909 E. Market St.

    “The loaded tots, all day — the quality of the barbecue, their sauces. Tots are the ultimate comfort food. It’s definitely a knife-and-fork dish. Well, a knife and fork if I’m in public. If I’m alone, I’d probably just go at it with my face. I was at the Exchange in New Albany for a while, and Feast was right next door. (That location has since closed.) I went in there one day and they let me try some of the tots. They are opening a Feast like two blocks from where I live in Jerffersontown, and I’ll go there a lot.”

    — Robert Temple, chef at Mesh (3608 Brownsboro Road)

     

    RICOTTA AND SPINACH PIZZA
    at MozzaPi

    12102 La Grange Road

    “I’ve known Tom Edwards, who’s the owner and head guy there at MozzaPi, for six or seven years now. The stuff he does with doughs and breads is on a whole other level for the area. It’s phenomenal. With this pizza, I really like the contrast and the flavors. He puts the ricotta on at the end (of cooking), so it’s just barely warmed through. That with his amazing crust. Whatever magic he does with that makes it the perfect lunch. I always finish the meal with a sweet corn cookie. He mills his own cornmeal, and it’s probably the best cookie I’ve ever had in my life. I don’t know what he does, but it’s just a sneaky little thing that you wouldn’t expect.”

    — Paul Skulas, chef at Couvillion (1318 McHenry St.)

     

    METHI CHICKEN
    at Bombay Grill

    216 N. Hurstbourne Pkwy.

    “I probably eat there two times a month, if not more. I keep going back for that dish. It’s super-flavorful, unlike anything that I cook on a day-to-day basis. After working six or seven days a week, eating the same food, your palate kind of gets tired. I also had never seen (methi chicken) before. I honestly haven’t found it at any other restaurants in town.
        “Like most Indian places, you can choose your heat level. It’s anything from almost nothing to insanely hot. When you get it hot, it’s not blowout. It still has a ton of flavor. It’s chicken curry using the dark meat. I believe it’s usually marinated in yogurt. Lots of methi (also known as the plant fenugreek). And then I believe some cream or butter. I think there was a time at the beginning of the year when I was going every Sunday, just trying different things on the menu, and just kind of picked that one day and just got stuck on it.”

    — Andrew McCabe, chef at bar Vetti (800 S. Fourth St.)

    This originally appeared in the 2018-2019 issue of Louisville EATS. To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Photos by Jessica Ebelhar, jessicaebelhar.com

    Jennifer Kiefer's picture

    About Jennifer Kiefer

    Germantown transplant. Louisville native.

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