Executive chef Otis Myer and his team prepare Cajun and American cuisine until midnight each night at Behle Street Cafe, a vibrant spot that pairs sumptuous food and drinks with live music. Choose from specialties such as shepherd's pie or the Steak Shawn—a tender filet mignon topped with gorgonzola cheese, grilled tiger shrimp, and a balsamic reduction sauce—or opt for lighter dishes such as whole-wheat capellini pasta. Sundays bring brunch classics such as belgian waffles, eggs benedict with marinated steak, and bloody marys spiced with white pepper, dill pickle and olive juice, and other seasonings.
In 1997, Shahram Pouranfour, his wife Gita, and their sons Farzan and Arman opened up the first Fishery Station in south Louisville, dishing up familiar favorites such as oysters, catfish, and coleslaw. Like season two of Twin Peaks, the menu became more adventurous and fascinating as time went on, expanding with exotic samples of alligator tail, shark, and frog legs. Shahram adds a cosmopolitan flair to the selection of fried chicken and fish with mediterranean gyros, baklava, and falafel, as well as a special Iranian spread (kashk e bademjan) made with mashed eggplant, whey, caramelized onions, and mint sautéed with garlic.
Bred on Louisiana-style cooking, local restaurateur Grant Gieseler was dismayed by the lack of quality southern fare in the Cincinnati area. He and his business partner Blake Gieseler founded Bayou Fish House to introduce the area to fresh fried fish and hearty gumbo. Diners can grab meals to go or kick back at the bar or seating area and tell exaggerated tales about the biggest fish they ever ate. The eatery's walls sport a paddle, a life preserver, and various aquatic tchotchkes to remind fish of their home.
Named one of the Top 100 Places to Drink in the South by Imbibe, Bourbon’s Bistro fills glasses with more than 130 varieties of rare bourbons including Heaven Hill, Ancient Age, and Old Rip Van Winkle. In the restaurant, located within a 1877 building, diners feast upon bourbon-inspired meals seated at one of many cozy tables lining a brick wall decorated with pictures of the past and midnight blue curtains. The bone-in pork chop exudes the sweetness of bourbon with a topping trio of caramelized apples, country ham, and bourbon glaze, while the Maple-leaf Farms duck breast is paired with roasted fingerlings, caramelized brussels sprouts, bacon lardons, and aged balsamic.
Regatta Seafood and Grille sates seafaring tongue buds with its lunch and dinner menus of oceanic offerings and its nautically themed charm. Take a relaxing seafood tour sans dimwitted skipper and buzz-killing professor with bites of jumbo fried oysters ($9.99) or succulent tridentfuls of grilled swordfish florentine with dollops of bacon-infused creamed spinach and mashed potatoes ($19.99). Pasta patrons can twirl up fiery forkfuls of seafood fra diablo, a linguine-based concoction mingled with shrimp, scallops, mussels, and calamari and glazed with a spicy red sauce ($18.99), and wee eaters can gulp down kid-appropriate orders of filet mignon (8.95) or fish ‘n’ chips (4.95).
As the sun descends over downtown Lexington and gives way to the city’s own twinkling lights, guests take the Chase Building elevator 15 stories up to gaze out the windows of the aptly named Vue Restaurant. Executive chef Ray Cameron can hardly take a moment to enjoy the view, as he presides over a bustling kitchen that churns out creative American fusions alongside traditional steak and seafood dishes.
As Chef Cameron’s creations arrive at their oversized booths, guests shift their eyes from the downtown landscape to artful plates of Kentucky Alltech Angus steaks, bacon-wrapped scallops, and pan-seared pork tenderloin medallions. A wood-burning stove—used for baking the restaurant’s signature pizzas—adds a warm, crackling soundtrack to meals illuminated by hanging lights above. Behind the trapezoidal, granite-top bar, mixologists craft drinks such as the bourbon-based Bluegrass Sundown and Absolut Vanilla–based Godiva Chocolate Kiss. Aside from these and other cocktails, guests may order wines and craft beers to enjoy with views of Lexington’s most famous landmarks and Spiderman impersonators.
Overlooking 400 acres of farmland and vineyards, the Acres of Land restaurant pairs well-crafted wine with hearty dishes that fuse fine dining and traditional country fare. Seasoned crab cakes seared in pans and dipped in roasted-red-pepper rémoulade prove just as amenable to new mouth and stomach habitats ($10). Dinner debaters can point to hand-cut, bacon-wrapped filet mignon topped with garlic-herb butter to show that beef, like monumental architecture, tastes better when enveloped in bacon ($26).