Louisville Magazine

APR 2012

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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[ Dining Out>>Review ] "Edge" Cooking at 610 E dward Lee is walking around 610 Mag- nolia with a giant red-and-white "As Seen On TV" logo flashing above his head. Tis is in my reality-TV-altered mind's eye, of course. Wearing blue jeans and a faded, just-a-bit-tight checked shirt, Lee pours water for a couple seated at a table behind me while my brain does a quick channel-flip between his television and true-life selves. Using patience and some fraternal connec- tions, I managed to snag a couple of reserva- tions at 610, which Lee said is "booking about five weeks in advance" since his appearance as a "cheftestant" on the most recent season of Top Chef. Lee said he's still adjusting to his height- ened media profile. "I try to stay indoors as much as possible. It's weird, the idea that peo- ple want to know everything I do," Lee said. "I love that I'm in this little corner of the city, that for the most part people leave me alone." His restaurant is only open for a single din- ner seating on Tursday, Friday and Saturday, so the schedule for Lee, whose presence is in- creasingly in demand at food panels and fes- [120] LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 4.12 >>By Stephen Hacker Photos by John Nation His new celebrity notwithstanding, 610 Magnolia owner-chef Edward Lee puts an ever-changing menu in the starring role. tivals, has some flexibility. When he's out of town on weekends (he was at a Charleston, S.C., conference during one of my meals) he leaves his restaurant in the hands of chef de cuisine Nick Sullivan. "We talk about what we're going to do, kick around ideas whether I'm physically there or not," Lee said. Currently, 610 offers three- and four-course prix-fixe menus ($55 for three courses, $100 with wine; four courses $65/$120) that change just about every day. One constant is the sig- nature "610 BLT," a tiny sandwich of buttery and grilled nine-grain Blue Dog bread holding a country-ham-tasting hash of smoked bacon, foie gras and tomato. Te tiny sandwich is part of the trio of amuse-bouche (bite-sized hors d'oeuvres) selections that begin every 610 meal. On one of my recent visits, the BLT showed up next to a slice of house-made game sausage and some buttery, tahini-laced edamame. Lee, 39, was born in Brooklyn, the son of immigrants "who were not foodies by any stretch of the imagination." A veteran of New York and European kitchens, Lee remembers his friends "watching Transformers and G.I. Joe" while he preferred Christopher Kimball and Cooks Illustrated. "Tey thought I was a weirdo," Lee said, laughing. In 2004, he took over 610 Magnolia from Ed Garber, the leg- endary and eccentric Louisville restaurateur who opened the place more than 30 years ago. Lee said that Garber saw in him a shared pas- sion to "keep pushing the boundaries of cre- ativity." He remembers Garber "saying some- thing to the effect of, 'You're just crazy enough to keep that kind of attitude.'" His curiosity clearly spans a wide spectrum of flavors and culinary flourishes, his dishes drawing inspiration from many different tradi- tions, as well as a few trends. Sous vide, a mod- ern technique of slow-cooking at extremely low temperatures, can create amazing textures and flavors, like those I found in a main course of beef rib-eye and short rib, with charred broc- coli florets, broccoli puree, horseradish cream and a bit of soy foam, making the dish a fresh take on traditional steakhouse flavors. Bour- bon brown butter bedazzled the more classic

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