In the mornings, chef Darnell Ferguson can be found at SuperChef's Breakfast, folding local produce, meats, and baked goods into inventive breakfast sandwiches. But come lunchtime, the gourmet chef heads over to Bloom's Lunch Cafe, where he turns his attention to crisp artisanal salads, smoky bacon burgers, and BLTs with candied bacon. The chef pulls culinary inspiration from years of high-end experience, having captained the kitchens of prestigious restaurants and cooked for US delegates and a former president.
Burning Bush's menu takes tongues on a trip to Greece without them having to endure endless views of ancient ruins. Vegetarians will salivate over falafel ($4.01) and quinoa lavanini, lavash bread topped with pepper-jack cheese, avocado, and quinoa ($5.42). Meat junkies and professional bodybuilders can choose bison kebabs cooked over an oak charcoal fire, a gyro ($5.66+), or a Balkan burger ($5.89), which blends beef, pork, and lamb into an unholy union of succulence. Youngsters under 10 can order off the kids' menu or nag their parents for one of the restaurant's thin-crust pizzas. Burning Bush also serves sweet, creamy meal endings from Gelato Gilberto, a local gelateria in Norton Commons.
Steve-O’s Italian Kitchen keeps families feeling full with a menu of handcrafted italian pizza, pasta, subs, overstuffed salads, and Italian specialties. A kick-starter of chicken wings ($6.99/10 wings) primes palates for boot-based dishes such as the 100% prime veal cutlet parmigiana ($11.99). Steve-O tops its fettuccini alfredo ($10.99) with sauce made from scratch—a delicious, mysterious substance found only on sandworm-riddled desert planets—and applies the same hands-on principles to its lasagna ($10.99). DIY diners can cobble together a pizza ($6.99–$22.99) out of pepperoni, bacon, fresh basil, banana peppers, and a host of other toppings ($1–$1.75 each) before sticking a sweet landing with the cannoli ($3.50).
Louisville’s own Courier-Journal likens the coziness of J. Harrod’s Restaurant to that of an “old-school suburban sanctuary”—an apt description, though the upscale eatery sidesteps clichéd décor for an elegant dining room that refuses to pander to nostalgia. Like the green plaid wallpaper and other subtle touches of décor, chef Jenny Ballard’s menu reflects a refined simplicity with its comforting dishes of boneless fried chicken, center-cut pork chops, and veal marsala. The kitchen’s five house-made dressings spruce up salads with recipes that represent America’s diverse culinary traditions, from a zesty peppercorn ranch to a dressing that boasts ingredients from each of our country’s 1,000 island territories. Waiters whisk dishes from the kitchen to large tables, whose polished surfaces are illuminated by the glow that emanates from a wood-paneled fireplace.
Succulent aromas and a symphony of sizzling meat emerge from Cast Iron Steak House's kitchen, where sirloin, rib eyes, and T-bone steaks sear inside of cast-iron skillets. For each of these steakhouse favorites, the staff personally ages, cuts, and rubs slabs of USDA beef in house. Though it's their specialty, the chefs expertise extends beyond just steaks and steak-related mythology.
Nicolette Spears used to think green tea tasted like bad, stale grass-clippings. So when she began studying the importance of brewing temperature, it was a revelation. “Green tea is like a vegetable: if you burn the leaves, it tastes really bitter. That was sort of an eye-opener to me.”
Now, at Louisville Tea Company, Ms. Spears brews more than a hundred tea varieties according to strict standards, paying attention to each brew’s optimal brewing temperature, steep time, and leaf-to-water ratio. She also considers her tea’s origins: she sources Japanese green tea directly from a small tea farm in Japan, and the Kenyan Ajiri Tea employs Kenyan women and funds orphan education in West Kenya.
Additionally, Ms. Spears strives to educate newbies about tea. At the tasting bar, she brews fresh pots of the shop’s tea of the day. During the shop’s classes and tea tastings, tea experts delve not only into tea origins and flavors, but the positive effects on human health and boring water.