Chef Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia will open MilkWood, featuring “comfort food with an Asian pantry” in the lower level at Actors Theatre, 316 W. Main St., on Feb. 8.
Chef Kevin Ashworth, who has worked with Lee for two years at 610, is “the man in the kitchen making it happen,” Lee says. “It’s nice to be able to nurture that next — hopefully — rock star chef. He’s young, he’s hungry, he’s really creative, he’s brilliant in what he does. So I give him ideas and let him run with it.
“For me it’s so much more of a collaboration,” says Lee. “When you have a team like that you get so much more out of it than everyone looking at me for answers.”
The restaurant and bar menu will be “designated by taste profiles,” according to Lee. The bar “will have a strong presence,” and, Lee says, cocktails will come in categories like sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. The food menu, rather than differentiating dishes by protein, will group foods according to preparation style.
“It’s almost like it’s not so important to pick chicken … it’s not so important what the protein is, but how it’s cooked,” Lee explains. “Chicken roasted is so different than chicken that’s been braised.”
While the menu is still in testing and development, Lee already knows one dish that’s bound to be a favorite — a composed fried chicken dish. “It’s unlike any you’ve ever seen,” he says.
Appetizers will range from $7 to $12 with main courses priced from $12 to $22. The restaurant will be open Tuesday through Sunday with dinner service beginning at 5:30 p.m. MilkWood will begin taking reservations on Feb. 4.
More information: (502) 584-1265.
Vegetarian selection ‘amped up’
New dishes on the winter menu at Theater Square Marketplace, 651 S. Fourth St., offer more vegetarian options, according to chef Dallas McGarity. “We amped up our vegetarian options a little,” he says. “I think it’s a big market in Louisville that a lot of people don’t really hit on.”
McGarity’s favorite new dish on the menu is the local mushroom risotto. “It’s phenomenal,” he says. The risotto is cooked in a house-made mushroom broth. It’s a tricky dish to serve in a restaurant because it takes so long to cook; McGarity handles the risotto preparation by par-cooking it. “We cook it halfway (earlier in the day) and finish it on the line,” he explains. “You have to stand there and stir until it’s good. I refuse to add any heavy cream … it takes a little more time, but it’s definitely worth it.”
Also new: sweet potato gnocchi. “I was doing a ricotta gnocchi before,” says McGarity. “A few people asked if I could do a potato gnocchi. I wanted to play with something better for you nutritiously, and I think sweet potatoes are better for you.”
Other new dishes include a cheese board; artichoke, feta and Kalamata olive salad; white bean and sage croquettes; and a roasted spaghetti and lamb Bolognese that features spaghetti noodles McGarity has roasted.
More information: (502) 625-3001 or http://theatersquaremarketplace.com.
CHOCOpalooza returns to Comfy Cow
For the third year in a row, Comfy Cow will host CHOCOpalooza to raise funds for Make-A-Wish and Boys and Girls Haven.
The event, presented in collaboration with Cellar Door Chocolates, is from 6 to 10 p.m. Feb. 9, with 25 percent of proceeds going to the charitable organizations.
Held at 2221 Frankfort Ave., CHOCOpalooza offers free admission, with 11 different chocolate ice creams available for sampling. Cellar Door will offer chocolate truffles, fudge, peanut butter cups and more. Interactive chocolate stations throughout the store will include a chocolate crepe station, a make-your-own chocolate cotton candy station, and dip-your-own chocolate-covered banana station. There will be live music, magic acts, face painting and door prizes.
“Last year we teamed up with Erika (Chavez-Graziano, Cellar Door Chocolates owner), and I swear it was wall-to-wall people,” says Comfy Cow co-owner Tim Koons-McGee. Even though it’s free to get in, “we really raised quite a lot of money.”
Three new ice creams are on tap for the event: chocolate peanut butter cookie, white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake, and intense dark chocolate.
More information: http://thecomfycow.com.
Four Louisville restaurants have earned a AAA Four-Diamond Award: Corbett’s, The English Grill, Vincenzo’s and Z’s Oyster Bar & Steakhouse. The Oakroom, in the Seelbach Hilton, has once again earned the highest rating, the AAA Five-Diamond Award.
A new restaurant is planned for Butchertown Market (1201 Story Ave.), slated to open in April. The cafe, called Jackknife, is a venture between Cellar Door Chocolates and Work the Metal. Cellar Door owner Erika Chavez-Graziano will lead the kitchen, which will feature sandwiches and other quick-serve items, with catering and boxed lunches also available.
The Mayan Cafe, 813 E. Market St., is looking for suggestions for a “guest chef” dish, a menu item created by a customer. Beginning Feb. 1, email your recipe idea to firstname.lastname@example.org. The cafe will select the top three dishes and give the creators a chance to prepare their dish for the chefs. One recipe will be selected for a feature on the March menu.
Last week, The Courier-Journal reported on some of the chefs named in the new coffee table book “Best Chefs America.” Here is a list of local chefs included in the book: Bobby Benjamin of La Coop: Bistro a Vins; Adam Burress, Hammerheads; Kathy Cary, Lilly’s; Dean Corbett, Corbett’s An American Place; Anthony Lamas, Seviche; Edward Lee, 610 Magnolia; Fernando Martinez, Guaca Mole; Coby Ming, Harvest; Josh Moore, Volare; Hiko Nakaniski, hiko-A-mon; Annie Petty, Decca; Troy Schuster, 211 Clover Lane; Michael Ton, Basa; Bruce Ucan, Mayan Cafe; John Varanese, Varanese; Levon Wallace, Proof on Main; Shawn Ward, Jack Fry’s.
Tell Dana! Send your restaurant “dish” to Dana McMahan at email@example.com.