- 5637 Outer Loop, Louisville, KY, 40219
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- Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday, noon-9 p.m.; Sunday, noon-8 p.m.
- Official Web Site:
“Where Addiction is a Good Thing!”
That’s the motto emblazoned on the menu at Sharom’s, a nifty family-operated restaurant on the Outer Loop in Highview. It’s a surprising motto — but nearly everything about Sharom’s is surprising.
I didn’t expect to step into a restaurant on the Outer Loop and hear the swirling strains of Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” or the lively swing of Dave Frishberg singing “Popsicle Toes.”
I didn’t expect to look around and find a cozy dining room with generously spaced tables, pleasant lighting and a nicely detailed dining room done up with whitewashed columns and textured walls designed to create a bright Mediterranean look.
And I certainly didn’t expect to find such a nice, well-executed juxtaposition of culinary styles. From 1997 until about a year ago, Sharom’s was called the Fishery Station — and as that name suggests, the menu focused on fried fish, seafood and the usual accompaniments.
Last year, owner Shahram Pouranfar (who also owns the recently opened Zaytun Mediterranean Grill on Bardstown Road) changed the name to reflect his Persian origins and to reflect the restaurant’s increasing emphasis on Mediterranean dishes.
Not that Pouranfar has diminished by one iota his focus on fish. The restaurant still has all the trappings of a casual seafood joint: Customers place their orders at a counter, and there’s plenty of fish-related art on the walls. More to the point, Pouranfar still hand-breads cod fillets in a salt-and-pepper cornbread mix and fries them to crisp, moist perfection ($10.99 for a dinner with two sides).
He still offers a fish box for two ($15.95) and a family box ($29.50), and he still offers a full slate of hand-breaded goodies: crab cakes ($8.50), fried shrimp ($11.50), frog legs ($10.75) and catfish ($9.50). He still makes his sandwiches on good rye bread (with a rich, creamy tartar sauce) and serves some of the best fried vegetables in town (zucchini, cauliflower, dill pickles). And if you prefer your cod or tilapia oven-baked, he’ll do that as well.
I haven’t sampled Pouranfar’s vegetable or bean soup, but his clam chowder is superb. It’s an idiosyncratic twist on New England style chowder — slightly beige, with an unusually rich depth of flavor, as if it were based on golden-blond roux ($3/$3.50; $4 for a pint).
A garden salad ($2.50) was meticulously crisp and fresh, and diners with addictive tendencies will be well advised to keep far, far away from the fresh-cooked potato chips.
I can’t say I was terribly surprised by the quality of the fish.
Louisvillians — especially Louisvillians in the southern part of the county — are finicky and knowledgeable about their fish, and a restaurant that can stay in business for 12 years in these parts has to be doing something right.
More surprising was a dish of baba ghanouj ($3.95), a rich, smoky eggplant dip slaked with green-gold olive oil, garnished with a few sprigs of parsley and served with hot, crisp pita triangles for dipping. A vegetarian falafel wrap ($5.95) was superb as well — a cone of oversized pita was stuffed with fried nuggets of creamy, well-seasoned chickpea puree about the size of classic hush puppies.
Like the falafel wrap, my beef gyro ($5.95) was served with a generous allotment of shredded lettuce, red onions and chopped tomatoes.
The beef (and lamb, as I learned in a subsequent phone interview) had been sliced fresh from the rotisserie. It was crisp, juicy and flavorful. So was an accompanying dish of creamy, refreshing tzatziki sauce, every spoonful oozing the homemade flavor of fresh cucumber and homemade yogurt.
The only flaw in an otherwise fine meal was a dried up triangle of baklava — the last portion in the tray, we were told — that probably should have been quietly discarded rather than served. Still, I could tell that when fresh that baklava — studded with pistachios — had been a honey-sweet delight.