- 3708 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY, 40218
- Overall User Rating:
- (2 ratings)
- 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday
- Official Web Site:
Many aspects of John E's in Buechel seem to be suspended in time. The building housing the restaurant has a log house at its center, which has been built over and added onto through the decades. An old cemetery shaded by giant hardwoods, just visible from the parking lot, is also on the property. But the whole complex is bounded by a very busy commercial zone made even more chaotic by a crazy quilt of intersections and traffic lights.
Inside, there's a bar and patio room with live entertainment that could be straight out of the 1970s. Under the rules of the new city smoking ordinance, tobacco is still allowed in this portion of the restaurant.
The main downstairs dining rooms have cabbage rose wallpaper and framed programs and tote tickets from past Kentucky Derbys.
The overflowing parking lot on a recent weeknight was testimony to the popularity of this largely neighborhood gathering place. There was an hour's wait for dinner in any section of the restaurant.
But from the amount of meeting and greeting taking place, no one seemed to mind. And the menu of reliable, if not especially remarkable, fare certainly had the charm of steak-and-potatoes comfort.
The starter menu runs to offerings such as shrimp cocktail and frog legs. A shared rumaki appetizer ($5) did not provide an auspicious beginning to dinner. The chicken livers and water chestnuts wrapped in bacon were battered and deep-fried, rather than being broiled without a coating. They were unpleasantly chewy.
Entrees were much more satisfactory. The prime rib-eye pepper steak ($25) was a very flavorful 14-ounce cut seasoned with ground black pepper that even pleased when it arrived more rare than medium rare.
The crust on a half fried chicken dinner ($12.50) could have used a bit of the pepper from the steak but was appropriately crispy in contrast to the moist meat within.
Flaky baked potatoes accompanied both entrees, which were also preceded by chilled, iceberg-based side salads.
A glass of Kenwood cabernet sauvignon partnered the steak, and King Estate pinot noir was fine with the chicken. Each was $12.