I took a short business trip to Louisville, Kentucky last week. My hotel is the downtown Marriott Courtyard, almost right next to the Ohio river. It was not too far from the slugger’s museum. I heard one can make a wooden baseball bat there, but I am not that interested in baseball, plus I didn’t have time, so I didn’t visit.
At the hotel, I searched the web a bit for places to have dinner. Two places got my interest: Chung King Palace and Yaching’s East West Cuisine. They are all close to the hotel, so I decided to check both out.
I walked to Chung King Palace first, hoping that it has some authentic Sichuan food. Based on past experience, I knew my expectation was a bit unrealistic, and my visit confirmed that. This place is a typical Americanized Chinese restaurant, with weekday lunch buffet to draw the lunch crowd from office buildings, and quick, cheap menus to fill the stomach. After inspecting the menu, I left and headed to Yaching’s.
Yaching’s turned out to be terrific. It has tasteful decoration on the wall and throughout the dining room, with easy and soothing music (not the cheesy kind) playing in the background. From what I can see behind the bar and on the menu, it also has a wide collection of beer, wine, and liquor. Most importantly, the food is fantastic.
Since I was in Kentucky, I had one Kentucky Ale, which is excellent. I ordered garlic and ginger infused New Zealand mussels for appetizer, the first item on the menu. There are 6 or 8 mussels in this dish, all looking very fresh and inviting, sitting in a clear broth sprinkled with just the right amount of minced green onions and ginger. Man, it was so good that I also drank all the broth and cleaned up the whole bowl!
For main course, I ordered the Sichuan beef noodle. It came out in a bowl, just the right amount, unlike so many other typical restaurants where they fill a moon-sized plate with obesity-inducing junk. The beef was slow cooked and tender. The bok choy in it was fresh and tasty. Another big thumb up.
There were not too many guests there, so the owner and chef, Laura Tao, came out of the kitchen and chatted with me a bit. I have to say that she and the waitress are terrific hosts. I talked to the waitress quite a bit. She is from Shanghai and came to Louisville recently to study. She has an easy smile and is very friendly and helpful. It was nice talking to her in Chinese and learning something about Shanghai from her, where I will visit this month.
I enjoyed it so much that I came back the next day. I ordered dumplings for appetizer and flank steak with rice for main dish. Once again they are fabulous. I also tried their deserts, something that I don’t normally do. I forgot the name, but it is ice cream sitting on some red rice. Excellent.
Anyway, I highly recommend Yaching’s. It is obviously not the typical Americanized restaurant. I wouldn’t call it an authentic Chinese restaurant either. It is a fusion restaurant with Chinese and South East Asian styles. Here is the address:
Yaching’s East West Cuisine
105 S 4th St
Louisville, KY 40202
I also tried grits for the first time at the hotel breakfast buffet. At first I thought it was made out of couscous, but that cannot be true, as couscous is not a typical southern US grain. Somebody told me it is made out of cornmeal. Anyway, it is pretty good. I tried it plain and mixing it with brown sugar. All in all, not bad.