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Garr Imagines Meals at Clay Oven; Anselmo's Lox Make Rosen 'Uncomfortable'

One swallow does not a summer make, but apparently several swallows at one lunch make a review for Robin Garr. A visit to Middletown's Clay Oven Indian Restaurant buffet convinces Garr the establishment is "tops in town for Indian fare." Insisting "all-you-can-eat buffets pretty much jumped the shark in the 1970s (for American food) and in the '90s (for Asian buffets)," Garr goes on to say that any restaurant running a buffet "with competence and pride" has him "ready to tie on my bib and hunker down for a lavish lunch." Seems "the other big advantage to buffet service is that you can try a good variety," buttressing his decision to review a restaurant using only "the $8.99-per-adult lunch buffet."

Cutting and pasting from Clay Oven's Facebook page, Garr delights that "you'll find a daily post listing what's on the lunch buffet each day," noting the menu "changes frequently, but on the day we dropped in, the posted list was 100 percent accurate!" Virtual accuracy and phoned-in assurances about a "smallish" tandoor seem more important to Garr than actually experiencing dinner ("which I hope to do at Clay oven very soon") or what might be an interesting Nepali angle to the city's Indian offerings ("Saturdays offer a Nepali lunch buffet I really need to check out.") His buffet plate did include tomato soup ("equal to some of the best-made meat stocks I've tried"), cabbage-carrot masala ("hot, not fiery seasoning that kicked the flavor about halfway up the slopes of Mount Everest") and tandoori chicken ("Curiously … mild and plain, good but hardly memorable"). [LEO Weekly]

While Marty Rosen swoons about the meatballs at Anselmo's Bistro & Bar ("light and tender as a spring breeze, just as quick to melt away on your tongue") and lauds the restaurant for its remodel ("gives Anselmo's a genuinely warm feel"), he has a problem with some salmon. He sings the praises of both "traditional dishes … and contemporary twists" such as "a thick, satisfying red sauce that hearkens back to the old days" and "a spicy Rattlesnake pasta." But even though "the flavors were delightful," a few "spindly threads of salmon (and one badly trimmed chunk)" puts him off Anselmo's lox crostini. His recommendation? Order Sicilian sliders ("another way to try those meatballs!").

Rosen says "sandwich lovers" will enjoy Anselmo's Italian roast beef sandwich because it's "designed to pick up and eat," impressed that even with the addition of "piquant giardiniera" people can still "pick it up without resorting to knife and fork." While heaping most of his praise on sandwiches and Grandma Anselmo's saintly meatballs, he also notes "a nicely composed Hot Brown pizza that captures the essence of the Kentucky classic with a rich house-made sauce, bacon, tomatoes, a mix of cheeses and thinly sliced turkey." [Courier-Journal]

· All Eater Week In Reviews [~ELOU~]
· Clay Oven fires up Indian goodies [LEO Weekly]
· Anselmo's Bistro keep tradition of Italian flavors alive [Courier-Journal]
· Clay Oven Indian Restaurant [Official Site]
· Anselmo's Bistro & Bar [Official Site]

Clay Oven Indian Restaurant

12567 Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243