“It was one of those wild moments that turned out amazing,” says chef Dallas McGarity of his beef belly dish on the new Theater Square Marketplace (651 S. Fourth St.) menu.
“Skyrocketing beef prices encouraged me to come up with an alternative to a filet. I cook the beef in an immersion circulator for 21 hours. It has a wonderful buttery texture. It’s better than a pot roast but has a bite like a New York strip.”
McGarity says he tries to experiment with new dishes every week, but a busy schedule often makes that difficult. “It’s a blast to come up with something different,” he says.
But even a professional has the occasional kitchen disaster. Still baffled by a marinade that turned out super salty although there was no salt in the recipe, he takes less-than-stellar results in stride.
Perfected dishes on his recently debuted seasonal menu include a baby spinach salad with shiitake mushrooms, Gorgonzola, bacon and caramelized onions; duck confit with garlic ricotta; pork steak with sweet potato puree, wilted greens and caramelized onions; and Italian sausage meatballs with greens, bacon and tomato sauce.
More information: (502) 625-3001.
Meat owner floored by bar award
No one was more surprised than owner Peyton Ray to learn that Drinks International named Meat (1076 E. Washington St.) one of The World’s 50 Best Bars.
“We were knocked off our feet; it was so unexpected. I’ve never owned a bar before. Our bar manager has never managed a bar before. We really don’t know what we’re doing,” Ray joked with serious honesty.
They must be doing a lot of things right to rank 39th on the list, and to be flanked by establishments in Australia, Spain, Germany, Italy and Russia. Only 12 bars in the United States made the list, some of which Ray says are his heroes in the business.
Ray, once an Imagineer who designed Disney theme park attractions, early envisioned Meat not as a trendy destination, but as a “living room for the city” — a nocturnal version of a coffee house where people could exchange ideas and socialize as they enjoyed their libations.
“We had a visitor from Chicago who said the place has soul and the patina of half a century. We loved that because it’s very unusual for a new bar,” says Ray.
Meat’s Prohibition Era cocktails are created by bar manager Marie Zahn, who traveled to London to accept the top bar award. Ray says the menu also has a few recipes that are solicited from movers and shakers in the bar world.
More information: (502) 354-3212.
‘Pepper Day’ at Lynn’s
“Buddy Pepper Day” at Lynn’s Paradise Cafe (984 Barret Ave.), throughout the day and this evening, will pay tribute to the life of child movie star, composer and Oldham County native Buddy Pepper.
“I found Buddy Pepper to be one of the most colorful characters to have originated in Kentucky,” says owner Lynn Winter. “He wrote the music for ‘Pillow Talk,’ did vaudeville at the age of 13, and arranged and conducted with Judy Garland, Marlene Dietrich, Jane Russell and Spencer Tracy, just to name a few. What started as a fundraiser for the Oldham County Historical Society has blossomed into an entire day to celebrate his life. We encourage everyone to come dressed up as in the ’40s and ’50s and enjoy our party.”
In keeping with the heyday of casseroles and the new Lay’s potato chips, Lynn’s will serve its version of a TV dinner, chips and dip, Manhattans and some specials to be revealed at the last minute. “Pillow Talk” and much of Pepper’s music will be played during the day, with live music at night.
More information: (502) 583-3447.
Restaurants to donate to APRON
Giving back never tasted so good. Twenty-one local, independent restaurants will donate a portion of their dinner profits on Tuesday to APRON. The organization provides temporary, limited financial relief to Louisville-area food and beverage workers who are experiencing financial distress due to illness, injury or other issues.
“Most restaurant workers have no health insurance, and when they can’t work, they have nowhere to turn,” says Luca Bianconcini, APRON vice president. “Restaurants and patrons were so supportive of our first event, which raised $11,000 in June, that we realized there was so much potential for another one.”
Participating restaurants include Baxter Station, Bourbons Bistro, Cafe Lou Lou, Dish on Market, Doc Crow’s, Equus & Jack’s Lounge, Gary’s on Spring, Guaca Mole, Irish Rover, Lilly’s, Majid’s, Martini Italian Bistro, Molly Malone’s, Porcini, Selena’s, Silver Dollar, St. Charles Exchange, Uptown Cafe, Varanese and Volare Ristorante.
Thai Cafe to celebrate with range of country’s cuisine
Thai Cafe (2226 Holiday Manor Center) will observe its 18th anniversary with special regional dishes, such as green papaya salad; pork stew; tilapia with red curry sauce; and larb kai and larb moo, chicken and pork, respectively, with lime and Thai peppers.
“The various regions of Thailand have very distinct cuisines. The southern area is known for its seafood and very spicy dishes,” says chef/owner Chavantee Snow. “Salads and vegetables are popular in the mountainous north region. There’s a lot of Chinese influence in the food in central Thailand, and a great deal of Vietnamese influence in the northeast. We thought it would be fun to introduce diners to the spectrum of tastes of Thai food.”
The anniversary dishes will be offered in addition to the regular menu Thursday through Dec. 8.
Information: (502) 425-4815.
Bourbon Women to host tasting
Bourbon Women, which educates and enlightens women about bourbon, is hosting a spirited holiday soiree on Thursday from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Springhurst Liquor Barn (4301 Towne Center Drive).
The event will offer a tasting of three Four Roses bourbons, holiday cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. “Our board did a tasting of multiple barrels of bourbon to find just the right selection for Bourbon Women,” says founder and President Peggy Noe Stevens. “We will also have a special label package that will be sold that evening.”
A discount on spirits and party goods will give a boost to setting up your holiday bar. The event is free to Bourbon Women members and $25 for others.
More information: (502) 426-4222.
Dish columnist Dana McMahan is taking a break. Nancy Miller is filling in through Dec. 7.