This week Robin Garr once again goes buffet, this time becoming the Egg Man at Napa River Grill. Delving deep into the American Egg Board's website, Garr drops knowledge words like "denaturation" and "gelation" to pad out his earth-shaking observation that eggs are "supremely edible" when prepared correctly, but "raw or overcooked, not so much." He complains that when "pillaging down the line at a brunch buffet, happily loading your plate with bacon, sausage, biscuits, gravy and all manner of brunchy goodness" his "quest for breakfast perfection" is often halted by a bad egg. While "finer buffets" have "a chef to stand on the line and make omelets to order," Garr finds this practice "fancy but labor-intensive." Luckily for the easily gobsmacked Garr, he finds himself "smitten" by the "innovative egg idea launched a couple months ago" at Napa River Grill, involving a menu, a heating element and presumably a chef. Garr swoons that once diners have made "as many trips as you care to take down the buffet line," they can choose from several options on a printed sheet (Garr says Napa calls this an "Egg Menu"). Choices from this "menu" will be "fashioned to your order in the kitchen," an idea that may transform restaurants forever. Even better, says Garr, is that instead of standing around watching some fancy-pants at an omelet station, he can happily "chow down on buffet line goodies" while waiting for his eggs to arrive. And though "a limp pancake failed to satisfy," overall Garr finds his "coarse-grained, creamy grits and crisp-crusted, flaky biscuits, … fresh fruit and healthy veggies, salads, ham, bacon, sausage" and more "well curated," which is a fancy way of saying "labor intensive." [LEO Weekly]
Marty Rosen thinks "the heart of suburbia" doesn't go for "tattoos on every arm." (Hurstbourne Lane's The Hornet's Nest would beg to differ.) And though he asserts the "quintessential Baxter Avenue" atmosphere of Papalino's NY Pizzeria ("where finding a table a peak time might well involve sharing with a stranger") won't translate to the stranger-danger scaredy-cats of the suburbs, "it turns out you can definitely take the pizza." Rosen notes owners Allan and Shelly Rosenberg "haven't flagged in their focus on artisanal techniques and materials," calling out the restaurant's charcuterie room and the "tender but sturdy" classic crust. While Rosen "made short work of The Forager, an extravagant celebration of mushrooms bedded down with goat cheese," he notes his party of four, including some "strapping youngish lads," had "food left to take home." This was likely due to starting "with a half-dozen steamy, aromatic garlic knots … stone oven flatbread with a trio of spreads" and a couple of salads. That's living La Vida Suburbia! [Courier-Journal]
Todd Zeigler takes Robin Garr's usual place at the trough for The Voice-Tribune, and produces a gushing torrent of praise from a recent visit to Corbett's—An American Place, where "every sprig of fennel or drip of glaze is chosen with the utmost taste and care." Zeigler seems to revel in every dish presented by Chef de Cuisine Michael Dunbar, from a braised pork belly appetizer ("meat pulled apart with minimal effort") to the "roasted pearl variety" onions in a pork cheek ravioli ("lively under the fork and disintegrating between the teeth") through "a pair of chocolate indulgences" presented by Pastry and Sous Chef Shelley Yoder.
"Wild boar" may indeed be "a rarity among Louisville menus," which may explain why Zeigler would think a chop so tough it would "take teamwork to secure the plate while you go to work with your table knife" is an acceptable way to serve it. The accompanying "Worcestershire glaze parsnips" are appreciated for their "sweet crunch" as Zeigler wrestles with his boar, but he feels the bleu cheese and cranberry bread pudding is "the standout of this dish."
"Nestled away from the bustle of the grand dining strips in NuLu, on Bardstown or Frankfort," Zeigler declares Corbett's "has fashioned an identity based around a single characteristic: excellence." That, and the need for a sharper knife. [The Voice-Tribune]
· Napa River Grill's Sunday brunch is eggs-actly delicious [LEO Weekly]
· Same great pies at Papalinos on Springhurst [Courier-Journal]
· Corbett's – An American Place in a Class By Itself [The Voice-Tribune]