Have you ever taken a bite of something and immediately dropped your shoulders, looked up to the sky making one of those faces like “how could it be so amazing”, and involuntarily started making noises to celebrate the huge freakin’ flavor party that’s happening in your mouth? No? Just me? Well, thanks for not judging me last week as I did this very thing at Louvino on Bardstown Rd in the Highlands. My wife and I had a chance to get away from the baby for a date night last Friday, and we weren’t even planning to go to Louvino at all. Not because it’s not delicious, but because we doubted that we could get in. I’m sure that you may have thought this before: you’re driving down Bardstown Rd and you see the restaurant busting at the seems, so you think that there’s no possible way that you will get a table. On this occasion we had some time and we knew it would be worth it if we had to wait for a table.
Since you already think that there’s no way you will get a table, there has to be no chance that you will get a parking spot in Louivino’s dedicated parking lot, right? We pulled in the small rear parking lot just in case there was a spot, and there was. We knew that it was meant to be because that parking lot never has a vacancy. ALWAYS CHECK THE PARKING LOT. We put our name in with the greeter, and two people immediately got up from the bar to leave. We figured we would sit at the bar until our table was ready. On a side note, I’m a huge fan of dining at the bar when I go out to dinner, but often with my wife we will choose a table over the bar. Nonetheless, we sat down at the two seats against the wall on the corner of the bar and began looking at the wine menu. We were both pretty excited to pick out a flight of wine that looked the most enticing to our very different palates. She went with the Lewis and Clark White, and I went with the Muhammed Ali, a huge red flight beginning with an incredible old vine Zin that brought the house down. We decided that we were quite comfortable at the bar where we were, and decided we would just stay there for the duration. It was wise. Our server was great. He offered suggestions when we were stuck, he knew all about the wine flights, and he was always there when we needed him, even though the bar was wrapped with people, most of whom were eating dinner as well.
We started with the pretzel. When you order the pretzel, you’re given the choice of Louvino’s house made beer cheese or port cheese. I had never had port cheese before, and our bartender highly recommended it, so that’s what we ordered. It was, in fact, amazing. The port adds a nice sweetness to the cheese spread that balances the saltiness of the pretzel, all while maintaining the creamy texture that you would expect out of such a starter. Although it’s listed under the “snacks” section of the menu, don’t let that title fool you. It’s a great size, and perfect to split.
All of the entrees at Louvino are considered small plates, however I don’t feel that they’re all that small. They are not huge, but the idea is to share, and trying a myriad of different items for dinner is one of my favorite ways to dine. My wife got the fried chicken tacos and I ordered the scallops, knowing that we may actually order another dish later if we felt the need. The chicken was fabulous with mashed potatoes and gravy in a flour tortilla. I mean, it was really great. Chicken is one of those things that needs to be fried properly with some great flavors in order to impress me. It did just that. Moving on to the scallops. I love scallops. I also have pretty high standards when it comes to scallops, not because I’m that cool, not because I’m some Gordon Ramsey wannabe, but because I formerly worked for two different restaurants that had the two best scallop dishes in the world on their menus. The scallops at Louvino can be classified as fabulous and perfectly prepared. When I first looked at these delectable scallops on the plate, I noticed that they’re not of the “U-10” variety. “U-10”, being the largest available scallops, means “under 10”, which tells you that there are less than 10 scallops that make up a pound. I was thinking, “man, some u-10’s should be on this plate”. What I found out was that… I was wrong. You don’t always need u-10 scallops to make an incredible dish, in fact the size seemed to be carefully considered in making all the flavors proportionate within the dish. The scallops, the fried green tomato, the sauce, everything was incredible. I could eat these scallops every day. Seriously.
Although it wasn’t completely necessary, we ordered the Garey Farms Pork to share after we finished our entrees. I was pretty sure that it would be hard to compete with the scallops I had already eaten, but again…I was wrong. This pork dish was packed full of flavor. The gravy is something to dream about, and the cheddar grits round it out very nicely. I can’t believe what we just ate. This meal has already been one of the best meals ever, and we haven’t even ordered dessert yet. So we decided to order the chocolate chunk cookie beignets and the apple streusel. The creativity and complementary flavors just kept coming the whole night. I’m convinced that you can’t go wrong with anything on this menu. Thank you Louvino for making some of the best food I have ever eaten…ever.
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