I want to know who Gill Holland/Jason Lewellyn/Bruce Ucan/Michael Paley/Michael Crouch/et al bribed to get publicity like this!
Check this mess in the Boston Globe:
Blame the macaroni and cheese. It takes your expectations of a Louisville restaurant and tramples them as mercilessly as a horse’s hoofs on the dirt track of Churchill Downs.
Social is on the ground floor of the Green Building, a brick warehouse built in 1850 that was gutted and turned into a LEED-certified mixed-use facility that also houses offices and a gallery. It’s owned by Gill Holland, a movie and record producer and activist, who has pioneered the transformation of East Market District into an artsy strip steeped in Boho vitality.
In keeping with other urban neighborhoods rechristened when they boost their cool quotient, the area is now referred to as NuLu (shorthand for New Louisville). Here, farm-to-table is the new “meat and three,’’ a Southern term for a heaping plate of protein and three veggies.
The high-ceilinged restaurant embodies NuLu’s ethos to the max, from its menu options to share (they don’t call it “Social’’ for nothing) to the eco-conscious design. The slabs of wood that serve as the bar top, tabletops, and barstools, even the coasters, are made from American oak reclaimed from a Lexington tobacco barn.
On Lewellyn’s recommendation, I stroll down East Market street to the Mayan Café, where Bruce Ucan turns the overlooked, if not maligned, lima bean into morsels of smoked earthiness. For his signature tok-sel lima beans, he roasts them in metal barrels, then flash-cooks them with parsley and pumpkin seeds, and finishes them with scallions and lime juice.
Arguably, Louisville’s culinary transformation started with Proof on Main, the bar in the 21C Museum Hotel that opened in 2006.
We tucked into the bar, where a roster of whiskey cocktails are on offer. This is a fine place to sample Kentucky’s famous spirit. The bartender catches me pondering too long over the list and comes to the rescue. “Do you like sweet? Spicy? Smoky?’’ he says. “Yes,’’ I reply. He nods and puts together a flight of three bourbons.
When it comes to bourbon tasting, nothing rivals Bourbons Bistro, another stop on the bourbon trail and just a quick cab ride away. It opened five years ago, but with its dark wood paneling and antique bar and mantel holding upward of 140 bourbons, it has the air of a neighborhood institution. Chef Michael Crouch whips up whiskey-kissed complements.
Really. Go read it all.
Doesn’t it feel great to be a Louisvillian when you read something like that?
P.S. The Cincinnati Enquirer also heaped praise on Louisville.