Louisville Magazine

MAY 2019

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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68 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 5.19 Ostra A friend recently sent this text: "Best sexy, swanky spot for me to take Scott on a dinner date?" Without giving it a thought, I replied: "Ostra!!" The Clifton restaurant seems more Los Angeles than Louisville. Nothing at Ostra is too trendy (yet, at least), from the wicker pendant lights, to the orange glow accenting the bar in the otherwise dimly lit space, to the rough-edged rock tabletops and serveware that seem to emulate oyster shells (a nod to the prominent menu item and namesake, in Spanish). It's a refreshing change from tired trends like Tolix chairs and subway tile. And the food? Go hungry and adventurous. I'm talking rabbit corn dogs with blueberry ketchup, and oyster shooters with a quail egg, truffle soy and salmon roe. Cricket flour makes its way into some desserts. That's an aphrodisiac, right? 1758 Frankfort Ave. — MCN Couvillion During a night out with friends at this Germantown spot, I'm fairly certain I retreated from conversation entirely as I savored every bite of my duck Creole, interjecting every so often with an, "Oh, my god, this is amazing." Duck legs are braised in Abita beer, then shredded and served in a thick and flavorful tomato sauce infused with a dark roux. The highlight was four plump buttermilk ricotta dumplings — fluffy on the inside, slightly crisp on the outside — that dotted the cast-iron skillet in which they were served. A heaping plate of pork rinds comes fried to order and dusted with some magical seasoning referred to as Cajun Cheeto dust, and smoked cornbread is served with whipped cane syrup butter. The restaurant's motto is "So good, it'd make a rabbit smack a bear," a phrase borrowed from the grandpa of one of the owners. I didn't see any rabbits smacking bears, but I did swat my husband's hand away when he went for a second bite of my dumplings. 1318 McHenry St. — Sarah Kelley Chilakiles Marooned in a strip mall next to a nail salon that's missing half its sign ("Nails" is all that's left), Chilakiles doesn't look like much from the outside. But passing it by would be a huge mistake, not least of all because the closest thing to another sit-down restaurant nearby is a Captain D's. Slick tables with simple orange chairs fill a large dining room with a bar in the back. I'm the first one here for breakfast this rainy morning in mid-April, but my spirits brighten when the waitress brings out my plate of chilakiles, which is how this restaurant spells chilaquiles. If you've had chilaquiles before, you might be picturing a mess, but this dish is artfully plated: a bed of tortilla chips, coated in salsa roja, supports a sprinkling of cheese, a generous helping of not-too-spicy chorizo, and two gorgeous over- easy eggs, topped with pickled onions and a couple pinches of cilantro. I can't help but take a video of the yolks as they burst from my fork. Oh, that golden ooze. 5600 National Turnpike — DJ Shreeji Few things justify traversing Hurstbourne Parkway at rush hour. Shreeji is one of those things. I'm a regular at Kashmir and other Indian restaurants, yet the majority of Shreeji's vast vegetarian street-food menu was unfamiliar — so don't go in expecting the usual tikka masala, saag paneer and naan. The place truly is casual: You fill your own tiny Styrofoam water cups via a plastic jug, and food arrives in waves as it's prepared. My favorite was the Delhi chaat, a savory street snack of puffed rice, garbanzo beans, vegetables, spicy sauces, cool yogurt and cilantro atop a bed of flat fried flour crisps. Think Indian nachos. The one familiar dish we ordered was vegetable samosas, stuffed with spiced potatoes and peas and cooked golden brown. My husband declared, "I don't even miss the meat." 1987 S. Hurstbourne Pkwy. — SK

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