In the joy of this almost post-pandemic summer, diners are rushing back to local restaurants. But servers, line cooks and other restaurant workers arent in such a hurry, so if youre dining out in Louisville these days, you may encounter a wait.
Youve heard the stories: A three-hour delay at a popular riverside fried-fish eatery. Two hours for seating at a popular watering hole, with many open tables in sight. Kitchens so backed up that you cant even place an order. Harried staffers pulling multiple duty as greeter, server, cook and cashier.
Indeed, a host warned of a 15-minute hold at La Suerte recently, when the brunch crowd was apparently slamming the kitchen and slowing the pace of orders coming out.
Should we wait? Of course! If the eye-catching decor of bold red-chile, guacamole-green and Santa Fe sky blue didnt hold our attention, the passing scene on Bardstown Road from our window seat surely would. Not to mention the eclectic playlist that cycled from the early Beatles to reggae to Motown and back.
As it turned out, our cordial server was quick to deliver plates, napkins, tall glasses of ice water and delicious black coffee ($2.99) in sturdy white mugs. By the time we got a good look at Executive Chef Adrian (Jojo) Jimarez Neris menu, she was back to take our brunch order, and everything went smoothly thereafter.
If you dont know Chef Jojos name, theres a good chance that you know his work. He was in the kitchen at North End Cafe for most of its 17-year run in Clifton before it closed last year. The shorter-lived North End branch on Bardstown Road gave way to La Suerte, which he opened in April 2019.
Now its all Mexican and South American, all the time, with a full menu daily, plus Sunday brunch.
The brunch menu offers a tasty range of egg dishes and other Latin-style breakfast dishes. If you go, take note that the current house menu is not as extensive as the menu on La Suertes website, a shift that I assume is pandemic-related. Dont set your heart on a dish featured on the website until you confirm that its currently available.
The names of dishes are given in Spanish, mostly, but descriptions are in English. Thirteen egg dishes range in price from $7.99 (for molletes, which you might describe as an open-face breakfast sandwich with refried beans, chorizo sausage, scrambled eggs, salsa and cheese) to $16.99 (for carne con huevos, an 8-ounce steak topped by two eggs). Save for that one outlier, every other egg dish is under $10.
A half-dozen breakfast specialties are $2 (for a cornmeal buttermilk pancake) to $9.99 (for a breakfast burrito stuffed with beans, rice and chorizo). Twenty sides offer just about anything youd find on a breakfast buffet, such as bacon or sausage ($3.25), plus beans, rice, fries, even your choice of a half-dozen salsas.
If you come back for dinner, the daily menu features salads, taco plates, a half-dozen seviches, tapa-style appetizers, and 14 entrees priced from $11.99 (for a cheeseburger, torta al pastor, or a vegetarian torta).
Huevos divorciados ($8.99) are named after a Mexican joke that you may have heard before: Two fried eggs are placed angrily facing away from each other atop a pile of home-fried potatoes, scrupulously not touching; one topped with green salsa, the other with contrasting red. If youve ever talked to a friend in the midst of an angry divorce or been there yourself youll understand this image right away.
La Suertes rendition of this dish will leave you anything but bitter and angry, though. The skin-on home-fries are tender and just as deliciously greasy as this breakfast tradition should be; theyre topped with thick refried black beans and crumbled queso blanco. The eggs were served over easy, with yolks still runny enough to melt into the dish when you break them with your fork. The green salsa is piquant and herbal; the red is more fiery and redolent of chile peppers. The snipped fresh cilantro adds grace notes to a flavor symphony. Dont want runny eggs? Theyll make them as you like them.
A hearty potato melt ($7.99) started with a pile of the home fries slathered with a mix of Monterey jack and cheddar, run under the broiler until the edges of the potatoes charred and the cheese cloaked the potatoes. It was topped with generous dollops of creamy guacamole, sour cream and fresh-tomato pico de gallo.
A side order of breakfast sausage ($2.50) consisted of two hefty pork patties, juicy and seared with char marks from the grill.
Also ordered a la carte, a cornmeal buttermilk pancake, ($2) was big enough to fill a plate, and cornmeal added a pleasant crunch and corn flavor to the tangy buttermilk batter. A dab of melted butter on top and a splash of maple syrup made it a splendid brunch dessert.
Brunch for two came to $29.11, plus a $7 tip.
La Suerte 2116 Bardstown Road 883-1000 lasuertelouisville.com