May 15, 2007 at 5:11 pm

Joe’s OK Bayou, 4308 Charlestown Rd., New Albany, Ind., (812) 948-2080, This newest location turns a bland shopping-center space into a replica of a Cajun-country saloon. The large menu includes a variety of appetizers (including fried gator tail and fresh flown-in Gulf oysters), salads, sandwiches and a bewildering variety of main dishes. (Reviewed: 2/14; Rating: 88)

Brix Wine Bar, The Shops of Forest Springs, 12418 Lagrange Rd., 243-1120. This new spot is an attractive, worthy addition to the suburbs with a sizable list of well over 200 wines. The food is good, but the menu is not really designed for exciting wine-and-food matching with its focus on bar appetizers and sandwiches. (Reviewed 3/28; Rating: 79)

Diamante Bar & Grille, 2280 Bardstown Rd., 456-1705. One of the best options in town for late-night dining, this spot used to house the Diamond Service Station. Among its fare is tarragon chicken and shrimp and an amazing buffalo chicken sandwich. (Reviewed 3/28; Rating: 89)

Ballyhoo’s Baja Grill, 1702 Bardstown Rd., 452-2559. The newest spot in the Highlands to offer “fresh” Mexican fare, including amazing, must-try fish tacos. Smiling grill cooks fashion your taco or burrito to order, using your choice of flour or corn tortilla and a cafeteria choice of toppings. (Reviewed 4/11; Rating: 86)

Just Fresh Bakery and Café, 1255 Bardstown Rd., 451-2324, The focus here is on light, healthy fare that “never sees a fryer,” a concept that seems a good fit with the crunchy-granola Highlands. Generous portions are served throughout breakfast, lunch and dinner. (Reviewed 4/11; Rating: N/A)

Basa Modern Vietnamese, 2244 Frankfort Ave., 896-1016, This new spot in Crescent Hill is named after a Vietnamese fish. The cuisine is Asian with a twist: Vietnamese “fusion” with a French accent, reminiscent of San Francisco’s trendy Slanted Door, right down to a short, affordable wine list well chosen to match the fare. (Reviewed 4/25; Rating: 90)

Mojito, 2231 Holiday Manor Ctr., 425-0949. Named after the popular Cuban drink, this new eatery features tapas, both hot (“calientes”) and cold (“frias”) along with tablas (Spanish-style snacks served on wooden cutting boards), pinchos (skewers), bocaditos (Cuban-style sandwiches) and paellas for heartier appetites. Everything but the paellas is priced under $10, with many options as low as $3.99. (Reviewed 4/25; Rating: N/A)

L&N Wine Bar and Bistro, 1765 Mellwood Ave., 897-0070, With its majestic wall of wine, a 54-bottle Cruvinet wine-storage facility and dispenser that’s the largest made, L&N boasts a wine program that’s second to none. New chef Mark Purzycki sticks to the old favorites on the menu but puts his own stamp on the cooking style. (Reviewed 5/16; Rating: 95)