If you’ve been reading us long enough, you’ll note that I make my way to Louisville Kentucky every year, and have been for about five years now as part of Louisville’s Idea Festival, a magical innovation event that aims to educate and inspire new ideas that can make a lasting positive impact on the world. Be sure to read our Kentucky Restaurants on other great gems and where to eat in Louisville. They also have a fabulous event as part of Idea Festival every year called TASTE OF INNOVATION, one of my favorite parts of the festival. See last year’s round-up which includes several restaurant picks and photos.
This year, I was introduced to a newly opened restaurant in downtown Louisville — Brendon’s Catch 23, which only opened its doors around Derby time this past year. Known for their seafood and oyster bar, I was excited to see what they had to offer, so much so that I splurged on a half dozen oysters before I even got started! BRAVO! They had Blue Points from Connecticut and Chesapeake from Chesapeake Bay on the menu, as well as a plate served southern style — Oyster KentuckyFeller, which they serve with spinach, Kentucky ham and Parmesan. Can you say “I just died and went to heaven?”
Since seafood is their specialty, we all ordered a fish dish. Valerie, my host went for her favorite — the Whole Fried Crispy Catfish which they get in from South Carolina. I absolutely loved the creative preparation of this dish, so unique we didn’t want to dive in. That said, every plate went around the table at least once.
We also tried the Seared Chilean Seabass, the Seared Yellowfin Tuna and a few of their salads. The arugula salad was so delicious I ordered a double — in traditional Southern style, you could bacon on nearly everything and so I did, with plenty of goat cheese of course. You can order the seafood solo (sides are all shareable if you order the fish separately and include Haricot Verts, Mac n’cheese, Apple-Cabbage Slaw, hushpuppies and brussels sprouts with bacon jam, to name a few. (YUM!)
So worth trying is their uniquely prepared Jar of King Crab and Butter served with grilled sourdough bread. This was a stand out!
If you want to leave out the butter and go for a little less calories, you can get their simple Shrimp Cocktail which they serve with classic cocktail sauce and a redeye remoulade sauce. Other things that jumped out at me on the menu included the Tuna Tartare with avocado and crispy togarashi wontons, fried calamari with pickled veggies, Pimento Cheese Spread and Bourbon-glazed Country Ham (WOW!), Surf & Turb Combos, their Shrimp Pesto Linguini with basil pesto cream and fontina cheese, a Seafood Mixed Grill, which you can get with shrimp, salmon, jumbo lump crab cakes and whipped potatoes and their Seared Georges Bank Scallops with a split pea risotto. Had I not been refraining from carbs, I may have had to try that one! Scrumptious sounding to say the least.
For dessert, they insisted on this pecan concoction with homemade ice cream. I paired my main with a Sonoma Cutrer and a Melville Chardonnay “Estate” from Santa Rita Hills though they had a lovely Riesling from Columbia Valley, a Paul Hobbs Chard, a Biohof Pratsch Austrian white and a Michel Dutour Pouilly-Fuisse La Roche from Burgundy France which also caught my eye.
Two thumbs up – only wish we had more time. A great surprise of the night came at the end of our meal when we learned that Muhammed Ali was dining in a private room in the restaurant AND that we would have an opportunity to go in and say hello. And so we did. His career is astonishing and while it is sad to see his health deteriorate given his condition, it was emotional and thrilling to be in his presence despite the fact. See my Instagram post in the moment.
Brendon’s Catch 23
505 S 4th Street
Louisville, KY 40202
Not new on my radar was Rye-on-Market, but I had such a fabulous time sipping and tasting last year (I actually sat at the bar), that it was great to return. See last year’s write-up on the restaurant. This year was a pre-fixe menu since it was part of a group dinner, but the dishes were so scrumptious, I thought I’d post a few images so you can get an idea of their presentation, style and selection. Last year’s review will give you a better idea of the menu itself, the cocktails and drinks and the service.
To start, we had a cheese and charcuterie plate — oh so delicious!
Fresh Poached Icelandic Turbot anyone? This was a special one and so tender, it literally melted in your mouth. They served it with green grapes, Bechamel, white wine and Swiss Chard.
The vegetarian Masa Cakes were also out of this world — grilled fresh carrots, crushed avocado, feta and garden herbs with red chili.
Then came the Bone-In Ribeye (OMG), which they served with Grilled Lemon and Bernaise Sauce (on the side thankfully). This was my favorite!
Given my low carb diet these days, I didn’t opt for their Triple Cooked Fries but everyone else happily obliged. They served them topped with Chile-Lime Aioli and there was also a lovely Borlotti Beans dish with smoked Shiitake Mushroom dish, sweet peppers, Hemp hearts and scallions. Below, a toast of Champagne, thanks to the fabulous folks at Delta Dental Kentucky.
Dessert? You better love chocolate! Salt of the Earth is a chocolate cremeux, salted caramel, coffee rocks and toasted hazelnut. Take note of the exquisite presentation as well.
Two thumbs up for RYE the second year in a row!
900 East Market
Louisville KY 40206