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Louisville Critics Liked Every Restaurant They Reviewed Last Month Because of Course They Did

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Not only did the Louisville Courier-Journal's Marty Rosen award Relish 3.5 stars (out of 5), but his experience there inspired him to join the ranks of Simon Bolívar, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and André Breton and draft a manifesto: "'We believe in the power of fresh citrus, herbs and healthy fats.' That's part of what you might call The Relish Manifesto." Viva la River Road revolution! "All the soups are addictive. A spicy lentil chili ($3/$6) with chunks of tomato and flecks of cilantro delivers a pleasant burn; white runner beans (big, beige and creamy) join with Swiss chard and smoky bacon in a great Southern-style soup ($3/$6); and shredded chicken, mushrooms, lemongrass and coconut milk come together in a colorful, compelling rendition of tom kha, Thailand's contribution to the canon of great world soups ($4/$7)." [Metromix Louisville]

LEO Weekly's Robin Garr declared Banh Mi Hero "a lovable new spot in the Highlands," rating it an 87. A high school English teacher, however, likely would give Garr a lesser score for taking 367 words to even mention the restaurant's name and for opening his review with the conceit, "It's no longer hip to claim colonialism was cool." "[Host Lee] Tran's banh mi menu features eight variations on the basic sandwich, all competitively priced at $7 or $8, variously stuffed with beef, pork, chicken, tofu, eggs and more. It's all made with fresh breads, local produce and house-made condiments and spreads. The aforementioned Saigon Hero is a classic of the genre, flawed if at all only by a fresh but rather bland baguette but elevated by a house-made aioli with a kick from a dollop of Southeast Asian hot sauce." [Louisville Hot Bytes]

Louisville Magazine senior editor Jack Welch dug Marketplace's Italian sausage burger, but it sounds like his dessert might have given him the gurglies. "Like a deconstructed, reconstructed pizza with ricotta subbing for mozzarella, it came on a high-quality poppyseed roll (the crust)...I just wish I hadn't capped it with a key lime cheesecake." [Louisville Magazine]

For the Voice-Tribune, Garr checked out Cafe Lou Lou's St. Matthews's location, which as almost half of the review discusses, is located in an old Sears building. "The extensive menu offers appetizers and salads, calzones and pasta dishes, a good selection of admirable pizzas and oversized sandwiches. Most dishes offer the choice of small or large portions, with small portions priced at $11 or less; larger sizes top out around $15. The bar offers a first-rate beer-on-tap selection and a well-chosen and affordable wine list." [Louisville Hot Bytes]

The C-J's Rosen gave Manny & Merle both 3 stars (out of five) and a helluva backhanded compliment: "Tony Palombino's newest venture, Manny & Merle, is perfectly designed to fulfill its mission. And a big part of that mission is serving folks headed to (or from) the KFC Yum! Center, which is just a few steps away." For folks looking for more than a $9 souvenir bucket of popcorn at the game, Rosen recommends "a guacamole trio ($13), a cheery assortment of dips [Does it say hello and inquire where you went to high school? - Ed.] and fresh, crisp chips that would easily appetize a half-dozen diners. The three guacamoles include a traditional guacamole ($4.50, on its own) a creamy dip with a whipped, chunk-free consistency and a mild flavor; and an inventive twist that dolls things up with grilled pineapple ($5.50); and our favorite, a colorful, spicy version that enhances the base with the texture and flavor of roasted corn and poblano peppers ($5). [Metromix Louisville]

In LEO Weekly, Garr scored the East End Ghyslain an 85 (eight points higher than what he rated its Market Street spot in 2011). Why the change? "I put my expectations on the shelf and went in with an open mind and palate, and ? Hey, now! This food is good!" Amongst the good food, Garr singles out "the French dip 'au jus' sandwich ($13), a traditional rendition with tender, thin-sliced beef, browned onions and Provolone with a rich broth for dipping; Scottish smoked salmon ($13) with capers, lemon and cream cheese served open-face on baguette; the chicken curry naan ($12), built like an Indian gyros with sweet-spicy curry rolled in toasted flatbread; and a rich, golden Quiche Lorraine ($10)." [Louisville Hot Bytes]

Rosen returned to Proof on Main to review it for the first time under newish executive chef Levon Wallace, awarding it 4 stars (out of 5). "The cooking is inspired and authoritative, but never self-consciously fussy — it's just deeply satisfying. A case in point: a plate of ricotta gnocchi ($20). I think it's fair to say that all gnocchi-lovers harbor in their imaginations a gnocchi-fantasy. That fantasy revolves around a physical impossibility. What we imagine is an engineering miracle along the lines of a suspension bridge built from spider webs — a dumpling so light that it barely supports itself, but is somehow substantial enough to carry all the flavor in the world." Gnocchi-lovers, please share your gnocchi fantasies with Eater Louisville in the comments. [Metromix Louisville]

Louisville Magazine's Stephen Hacker also raved about Proof on Main under Wallace: "I found playful and sophisticated touches at Proof [You also can find those at Theatair X.—Ed.] amid dishes emphasizing flavor over fanciful presentation. A plain white plate held my roasted chicken ($26), its delicate meat adorned with bits of fatty confit, thinly sliced Brussels sprouts and a sweet touch of dates within a chicken broth-cider jus." [Louisville Magazine]

Garr was so enthralled with Cheddar Box Too that he broke with tradition and recommended it immediately after it opened. "A cup of tomato-artichoke soup ($3) was warm and filling, rich with cream. A Reuben sandwich ($8) was pretty good, piled high with deli corned beef but not so high with a small portion of sauerkraut. It was toasty on top but soggy underneath, a fault perhaps attributable to the kraut. The menu said sandwiches came with kettle chips, but our bill showed a 50-cent chip charge, perhaps an opening-weekend glitch." [Louisville Hot Bytes]

AP Crafters Kitchen & Bar tallied 88 points in Garr's LEO review for bringing a little Highlands, Crescent Hill or NuLu flavor to Westport Village. "More and more, though, diners are flocking to AP Crafters for the entrees, a short but interesting list of nine items from $10 (for chorizo and pulled-pork tacos or fish tacos) to $28 (for blackened beef filet medallions with blue cheese Mornay). Twenty craft beers on tap plus shorter selections of bottled domestics for those who insist give Crafters a brewpub feel; there's also a short but well chosen wine list and a good mix of creative cocktails." [Louisville Hot Bytes]

Proof on Main

702 W Main St, Louisville, KY 40202 502-217-6360 Visit Website

The Marketplace

651 S 4th Street, Louisville, KY 40202 502-625-3001 Visit Website

Ghyslain at Westport Village

1215 Herr Lane, Louisville, KY 40222 502-690-6001

The Cheddar Box Too!

109 Chenoweth Square, Louisville, KY 40207 502-893-2324

Relish

1346 River Road, Louisville, KY 40206 502-587-7007