Last year during my first visit to Louisville Kentucky, I explored a bit of Bardstown Road, also known as Restaurant Row. It’s one of those neighborhoods that not only has great restaurants but quaint shops and art galleries as well.
When you ask a local what their top three restaurants in Louisville are, Seviche consistently comes up again and again. Latin cuisine at its core, there’s a southern twist to what award-winning chef Anthony Lamas has created in his ambiance-rich restaurant along Bardstown Road.
I first met Anthony at the annual Taste of Innovation at Churchill Downs towards the beginning of my trip, where I sampled one incredible dish after another from some of Louisville’s finest. Proud of everything he creates, he also was proud to tell me about his heritage which about a third Puerto Rican, a third Mexican and a third Spanish.
This wonderful cultural blend shows up in many of his dishes, which are praised by many and not just locals. Anthony has been featured on the Food Network, in Southern Living and Bon Appétit and was a semi-finalist in the James Beard Foundation Awards for Best Chef for the past three years.
By helping prepare meals on his family farm and participating in Future Farmers of America, he was practicing the “farm-to-table” philosophy before it was a national movement.
All of their seafood is fresh from Oregon or Alaska and caught wild from the Pacific shores. “When fish is out of its ‘natural season,'” says Anthony, “its no longer on the menu.”
They get a lot of their produce from Fred Holden, a local farmer who brings them radishes, heirloom chillies, garlic, greens and tomatoes. He started me off with ponce island shrimp from Florida, served with a jalapeno puree and avocado followed by Big Eye Tuna ceviche. They serve the ceviche in a half coconut with red sesame broth.
There’s also the crab ceviche which is lined with sea salt and jalapeno. Take a look at the halibut and spicy crab ‘cigar,’ which is served with macademia nut, red chile ginger butter and bluegrass soy, which btw, is a bourbon soaked soy sauce they buy locally. This dish was probably favorite and the sauce was so delicious that I tracked down the bourbon soy sauce from “all things sustainable” Grasshoppers in town before I left town.
While this photo (taken on an iPhone in less than ideal lighting conditions) doesn’t do the skirt steak justice, Anthony raved about it, insisting I have a taste (or two) even though by the time the red meat rolled around, I was incredibly full. Happy but full. His promise lived up to the “must try” category and in fact, I’m still thinking about the flavors he used in the sauce: chimichurri, sour cream and cheddar in the potato.
And this? You can tell that the greens and tomatoes are from a local farmer by their color, even in an overexposed photo such as this one.
One of my neighbors (I sat the bar again) had the Ashley Farms natural chicken dish, served with tacu-tacu, aji rocoto, and manchego tostada.
Then suddenly, my eyes, ears and nose perked up again. My neighbors on the opposite side of me ordered some oyster shooters, which is dishes up in mini glasses with horseradish, tomato chili broth and vodka.
They also serve east coast oysters with spinach, bacon, green chile crema and manchego. I tasted a small portion of a dish they call FIDEO, which is a sea scallop with artichoke, asparagus, goat cheese, pine nuts and roasted tomato. It was topped with a lobster truffle cream sauce. YUM! Whoah Nellie, this man knows how to cook.
What else did I try? My second favorite, which was the Macadamia crusted sustainable grouper served with a cranberry scallion couscous (to die for), and a passion fruit habanero. The grouper was accompanied by arugula greens (from Grateful Greens, another local farm), served in a bourbon barrel sorgum in a mustard vinagrette tomatoes. More of that Kentucky bourbon again and somehow it just seems to keep working in so many dishes. While they certainly have a diverse choice of bourbon, they also brought out their homemade recipe: Mamajuana from the Dominican Republic.
There are so many spices and herbs in the unlabeled bottle that the bartender held up with pride. Anthony, a generous soul, decided that everyone still sitting at the bar by the end of the night should try a shot. And, that was all before he insisted I try one of their signature desserts: a deconstructed avocado with bourbon dolce de leche (like I said, they use bourbon in everything in Louisville), borage editable flowers. They paint the outside of the truffle “pit” with chocolate btw.
Take a look at a couple of videos I shot at the restaurant of their ‘special sauce’ and Anthony’s magic behind their avocado chocolate dessert.
If your mouth isn’t watering yet, then I’m not sure I can help you….if it is, you know where to go. Head to Louisville on the next available flight, tell the cab to take you to 1538 Bardstown Road, ask for Anthony and tell him Renee from We Blog the World sent you. Also see my write up on Proof-on-Main Restaurant in the 21c Hotel, Decca Restaurant and the annual Taste of Innovation event at the Churchill Downs. Photo Credits: Bar shot taken from Seviche’s site. All other photo credits: Renee Blodgett.