The Bard’s Town plays to the crowd

Bardstown Road. Bard’s Town. The Bard. Bill Shakespeare! It’s surprising no one has seized the opportunity to pun upon the name of the Highlands’ main corridor until now.

With the Bard above the door and the promise of grand entertainment within, expectations run high for this new establishment at the corner of Speed Avenue.

“Curst be he who moves my bones,” warns the tombstone of Billy Shakes, and forsooth, the bones of previous occupants Big Dave’s, Judge Roy Bean’s and others back to Fat Cats remain perceptible here. However, owners Doug Schutte, Jon DeSalvo and Scot Atkinson have put a new, solid flesh on those bones. Their bottom-up renovation delivers an urbane, artsy feel that is laid-back and accessibly upscale. Local art will rotate in like scene changes. A performance space will open upstairs this month, offering live theater and more.

A recent soft opening introduced the venue and the cuisine of Joseph Gadansky (formerly of Café Metro). The atmosphere was convivial, albeit a bit loud, as a jazz quartet played in a lounge adjacent to the dining room. The food, a solid, moderately priced menu of sandwiches, pastas, steaks and appetizers, will bring people back.

Pasta Diablo ($12.99) came with a salad of local produce that I didn’t want to end. The pasta was not spicy, despite the name. Its pink sauce was lighter and more appealing than a heavy cream sauce, with tender and plentiful chicken pieces throughout. The Tabard Inn ($8.99), a tender and juicy chicken sandwich, included abundant toppings on a
fresh bun.

The bar featured eight draft beers and scores of bottled beers, wines and spirits, many of them local. We’ll be back for dessert — for the next performance, as it were. —Eve Bohakel Lee

The Bard’s Town
1801 Bardstown Road

Peachy keen, summer ice cream

One of summer’s greatest culinary pleasures has to be a fully ripe, juicy peach, sweet and aromatic, eaten out of hand with the juice running down your arms. Fresh, homemade peach ice cream is near the top of the list, too.

I still remember the childhood pleasure of a generous bowl of peach ice cream at my grandmother’s house. I’d like to tell you she made it in a wooden ice cream maker that we cranked by hand, but to be honest, she ran across Bardstown Road to Cherokee Dairy to pick up a tub.

It hasn’t been easy to replicate this pleasure over the years, although the arrival of Graeter’s Ice Cream here years ago brought us pretty close. We watch our nearest Graeter’s (140 Breckenridge Lane, 896-9952, like a hawk in midsummer, waiting for the “Peach is here!” signs.

The other day, I brought a carton home. My wife pried it open and eyed it suspiciously. “This looks different,” she said. Sure enough, this year’s batch lacks the peachy creaminess of past vintages. The remembered tidbits of fresh, juicy peach were replaced by hard, frozen chunks that tasted like canned fruit. The remainder abides uneaten in the back of our freezer, taking up space.

This week, I was delighted to hear The Comfy Cow (1301 Herr Lane, Westport Village, 425-4979, was making peach ice cream. We rushed over to check it out. OK, it’s good ice cream — rich and creamy. I’d expect no less from The Comfy Cow. But I couldn’t find any peach chunks, and the peach flavor was subtle. I’d call it an adult ice cream, not the childish pleasure I wanted to remember.

I guess my grandmother’s peach ice cream will have to remain one of those golden memories of childhood. —Robin Garr