In a petite 56-seat eatery, the chefs at Café St. Tropez cull fresh ingredients to craft the classic French sandwiches, pastries, and eats that populate the menu. Early risers can replace lingering memories of wailing alarm clocks with the sensations of a Very Berry crepe, a warm amalgamation of seasonal berries and mascarpone sprinkled with vanilla-infused sugar. In the St. Tropez caprese, tomatoes and avocado huddle next to fresh mozzarella as sourdough or wheat toast or a croissant soaks up garlic-infused olive oil like a teddy bear soaks up the sleep-mumbled poetry of children.
Devoted to the emerging farm-to-table agricultural movement, 610 Magnolia uses local and sustainable foodstuffs to create artful and innovative three-course prix fixe ($50/person) and four-course prix fixe ($60/person) meals. Chef Edward Lee, who was recently named a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef: Southeast and featured in Southern Living, harnesses international techniques to infuse southern cuisine with eclectic flavors. The variability of local and seasonal pickings makes dishes change as often as a carousel, but past offerings have included Angus beef tartar with pequillo peppers, wax beans, and heirloom tomatoes picked just miles away, and a mosaic of grilled octopus slices with red pepper, cucumber, and feta in tomato-water gelée drizzled in kalamata olive vinaigrette and oregano oil. 610 Magnolia’s skilled kitchen crew can accommodate vegetarian preferences if they’re noted at the time the reservation is made.
Justin and Kristin Gilbert spent three years in Italy, visiting gelaterie in more than 20 cities to mine artisanal secrets before opening their own shop. In choreographed musical numbers, the duo handcraft dense, flavor-packed gelato in small batches using local milk and fresh fruit. From a repertoire of more than 100 recipes, Justin and Kristin curate 20 flavors at a time. Past and present flavors include poached-pear zinfandel, orange-ginger dairy-free sorbetto, and chocolate orange?one of Justin's favorites, according to a feature in Louisville Magazine. Delicate cr?pes conceal Nutella or lemon and sugar. The cozy shop also sends forth its mobile cart to cater office snack breaks, weddings with as many as 2000 guests, and Roman legions on the march.
At It’s Just Crepes, you’re encouraged to eat with your hands. That’s because every crepe on the menu is folded into what Soapbox Cincinnati calls "a convenient to-go style," eliminating the need for knives, forks, or tiny plate-side catapults. Instead, diners bite straight into the golden-brown bundles, which are stuffed with fillings both savory and sweet. The smoky BLT, for instance, oozes with pepperjack cheese and chipotle mayo, while sweet crepes pack in classic flavors such as Nutella, strawberries, and brown sugar. Utensils can come in handy, however, when attacking one of the eatery’s fresh salads, which meld fresh spinach, chopped romaine, and other greens with diced veggies, cheese, dried fruit, and slices of meats.
Co-owner Keven Paizannoglou founded the first It’s Just Crepes with his wife and partner, Karrah, after realizing how much he missed the crepes he’d enjoyed in his native Greece. Now, more than 20 employees serve up the delectable treats from three trendy dining spots decorated with blue and orange hues and contemporary white furnishings.
Taste of Belgium follows an authentic family recipe to make its waffles out of thick dough and coarse Belgian beet sugar. A specialized cast-iron press then crushes the dough into its distinctive waffle shape and caramelizes the sugar in the process. This gives the waffle a rich vanilla flavor and a delightful sweetness that doesn't require syrup. As such, you can eat waffles on the go without plates, forks, or Catholic guilt.
La Poste chef, Dave Taylor, has crafted a menu of inventive dishes served with unconventional and delicious sides, as well as myriad quality wines. As in epistolary matters, the menu at La Poste is divided into Postage, Salutation, Body, and Postscript. Fritter away the premeal wait with a "postage" choice of ricotta fritters adorned with candied orange, bathed in black-truffle oil, and served with baby arugula ($7). Hungrier diners can upgrade to the succulent sausage in brioche, served with bacon, frisee, and brown butter ($10), with the option of delivery confirmation from a contented stomach. Amid the trellised windows and casual-but-tasteful arrangements of the restaurant, a glass of pinot noir from Gerard Bertrand ($9) sets off a plate of grilled salmon served with a smoked-paprika ratatouille and simmered in a buerre-rouge sauce ($18).