May 2, 2006 at 5:01 pm

Quality of Meal: 3 = Good; 4 = Very good; 5 = Extraordinary. Price Range: $ = $10 or less; $$ = $20 or less; $$$ = $30 or less; $$$$ = more than $30. (Per person for a meal without tip or tax.) HA = Wheelchair accessible. Descriptions are summaries of previously published dining reviews by Marty Rosen (MR), Kevin Gibson (KG) and Paul Kopasz (PK).

Rating: 3 $ HA
Mid City Mall, 1250 Bardstown Rd. 451-6033
The #1 Asian Buffet delivers what’s expected with a home-cooked feel that other Asian buffets lack. Healthy food awaits — steamed vegetables, baked and grilled foods and fruits. Of course, the fried dumplings are exquisite and the Crab Rangoon is good, if inconsistent. The egg rolls don’t steal the show but are acceptable. If you like sushi, wait for the fresh sushi is served. 2/22/06 CH

Rating: 5 $$$ HA
211 Clover Ln. 896-9570.
From appetizers to salads and desserts, the meals at 211 are well thought out and beautifully presented. They clearly have one of the best kitchens in the city, with a focus on seasonal ingredients and perfect techniques. As for atmosphere, if you’re looking for a calming, romantic environment, you won’t find better. The atmosphere is enhanced by flawless, thoughtful and generous service. 9/21/05 MR

Rating: 3, $, HA
14126 Dixie Hwy. 937-3722
Nostalgia is just one of the draws of this chain, which was founded in 1919; root beer floats and great burgers have carried A&W through the years. Neither of the staples disappointed, although we recommend requesting hand-dipped ice cream for your float. Curbside service is set make a comeback at this Dixie Highway location for the summer. The “Papa Bear” triple-cheeseburger is still available, but you need to ask for  it by name. New fish and shrimp baskets round out the menu. 4/5/06 CH

Rating: 4 $ HA
3713 Klondike Ln. 454-4406.
When it comes to the ratio between dollars spent and quality delivered, Al Watan significantly outperforms expectations. The menu is full of classic Arab dishes such as tabouli, kebabs and falafel, and sports two versions of baba ganoush. Salad options focus on cucumbers, tomatoes and greens, and can be dressed variously with lemon, mint and olive oil or lemon and tahini. The shawarma is excellent, and the entrees, which focus on chicken, beef and lamb, are very generous. Lunch at Al Watan is also a treat. 8/24/05 MR

Rating: 3 $$$ HA
620 E. Market St. 583-4177.
Artemisia certainly has a lot going for it; but for a restaurant aspiring to fine dining status, there are just too many inconsistencies. The dining room itself is alluring with deep colors, romantic lighting and attractive artwork, and the heated patio allows for al fresco dining well into autumn. The salads are classic and good, but the roasted chicken was cloaked in the kind of flaccid, pale skin you’d expect to find on a chicken fished out of a stock pot. Proving you can’t go wrong with dessert, however, the bittersweet chocolate Cointreau mousse cake is rich and redemptive. 10/5/05 MR

Rating: 4 $$$ HA
2255 Frankfort Ave. 894-8838.
At Bourbons Bistro, the bourbon list is long  and the room is a classy renovated space with exposed brick, black ceilings and tan walls. Appetizers include fried green tomatoes, shrimp cocktail, diver scallops, chicken and country ham dumplings and more. Entrees of salmon, bass, chicken, duck, pork, other meats, pastas and a daily vegetarian dish are available. There’s even a handmade burger with house-made pickles and sweet potato fries. 6/01/05 MR

Rating: 4 $
1327 Bardstown Rd. 456-4500.
Walking into Butterfly Garden, it’s hard not to feel as if you’ve stepped into a China shop universe where lady-like grace and a fanciful tea party atmosphere will insulate you from the harsh realities of the outside world. The menu offers a simple selection of soups, sandwiches, salads and desserts. The salads are colorful and crisp. The sandwiches, served on immaculately fresh bread, are superbly designed and executed — namely the Reuben. And if a bowl of mixed berry cobbler was any indication, Butterfly Garden would be worth visiting just for the desserts. 8/31/05 MR

CAFÉ 360
Rating: 2 $ HA
1582 Bardstown Rd. 473-8694.
Café 360 has an eclectic Bohemian mood that fits well in the stretch of the Highlands. A large, full bar dominates one side of the room, and casually strewn tables give the place a coffeehouse informality that lends itself to long, late-night liaisons. The menu offers a global assortment that draws heavily from Asia and the Mediterranean but also caters to that late-night crowd with a full slate of breakfast dishes, from massive omelets to waffles. And the food, when it’s good, is quite nice: very well prepared and inexpensive. There are issues with inconsistent food and service, which will need to be worked out if Café 360 hopes to catch on beyond its core clientele. 9/7/05 MR

Rating: N/A $$ HA
280 W. Jefferson St. 671-4246.
Champions is casual American dining in a trendy atmosphere with a sports theme. The menu, like the atmosphere, is exactly what you want from a sports bar: appetizers like wings, chicken tenders, spinach artichoke dip and an interesting option of bacon-wrapped shrimp. There are several salads, including a house and a Cobb loaded with ingredients. The menu includes sandwiches ($7-$10) and things like hot browns, fish and chips, ribs and steaks. 6/8/05 KG

Rating: 3, $, HA
7180 Hwy. 111, Sellersburg, Ind. (812) 246-9485.
Located in a pastoral setting — a horse-training center is next door — the Chicken House itself is all country. With a half-chicken dinner, you get a house salad or one of two kinds of slaw, chicken, of course, choice of potato (fries, baked, etc.), green beans, dumplings and a huge yeast roll. The fried chicken is the marquee dish. 2/15/06 DF

Rating: 4 $ HA
909 Swan St. 627-1777.
Located in a charmingly crusty old neighborhood on Swan Street, Come Back Inn offers old-fashioned Italian-American food at its finest with a pub-style comfort. A fully stocked bar, equipped with moderately priced wines, shares the room with a non-smoking dining area where patrons can enjoy massive portions of anything from pizza, hoagies, a bang-up perfect caponata, linguine dishes topped with finely ground meatballs and fancy salads. 9/14/05 MR

Rating: 3, $$, HA
415 Spring St., Jeffersonville (812) 285-1777
The dining experience at the Come Back Inn is worth the trip to Jeffersonville. Located five minutes from downtown, the selections are every bit as good as the Louisville location. Service is outstanding and helpful. The Greco pasta was flavorful and filling, and the specialty pizzas, including the veggie version, were excellent. The coffee lacked kick and the fried wontons were overpowered by lobster taste, but the desserts were rich and worth saving room for.  3/22/06 CH

Rating: 4 $ HA
1207 E. Market St. 282-6561.
The “all-you-can-eat crawfish” Tuesday special at Crawdaddy’s Café in Jeffersonville is worth writing home about. For $12.99, the meal started with a dozen or so plump crawfish, boiled and seasoned, garnished with slow-cooked green beans and thick-cut seasoned potatoes. The crawfish were cooked perfectly — tender, juicy and not at all shriveled. You can ask for more crawfish as often as you like, and they typically come out piping hot in baskets of 15 or so. There’s also an ample menu featuring numerous sandwiches and wraps, salads, appetizers, desserts and dinner entrees. 12/14/05 KG

Rating: 4 $ HA
614 Hausfeldt Ln., New Albany, 948-9118.
This atmosphere is something you won’t see every day — or week, month or year, for that matter. The Creekside Outpost warps customers back into the days of general stores and maintains every bit of old fashioned charm. The Ladyhawk Café serves up lean buffalo, elk and surprisingly good burgers. The Apache soup, combining corn and hominy with herbs and more sundries, steals the show. The menu is great for weight-conscious diners, and all lunch plates are under $10. “Coyote” fries are spiced according to your wants, though the “howling hot” could use a little kick. Exotic foods including Shinnecock ice fish, black bear, ostrich and kangaroo (when available) round out an excellent, traveled menu. 1/18/06 KG

Rating: 4 $$
2905 Goose Creek Rd. 423-9950
Finding the Cutting Board Café is the only taxing part of spending time at the restaurant. Inside, the café has a bakery feel, but the cuisine is Mediterranean. It’s difficult to find fault with any of the food selections, from exquisite crab cake appetizers to the Biscayne Bay Grouper entrée. Chili sauces complement appetizers that are good enough to stand on their own. Small salads are fresh and priced right. An elegant atmosphere and incredible food make the Cutting Board Café well worth a trip. 2/08/06 KG

Rating: 3 $
4908 Poplar Level Rd. 964-5880.
This little carry-out spot on Poplar Level seems to be always packed — and for good reason. The menu consists of whiting, catfish and jack salmon, which is cooked made-to-order. For a very low price, you’ll get a very fine piece of fish encrusted in a sturdy casing of peppery, cornmeal batter. Standard side dishes and rip tips and wings are also available. 2/16/05 MR

Rating: 3 $$
301 W. Market St. 584-8337.
Along with pub standards like chicken wings, quesadillas and onion rings, you’ll find unexpected starters such as pimento cheese and chilled beet-fennel soup. Deke’s offers a half-dozen salads, including one of mixed greens, sun-dried cherries, Granny Smith apples, candied pecans and melted brie, with a caramelized chicken breast and a balsamic reduction sauce. The sandwich menu includes crab cakes, portabellas and more. Pasta, pork chops and fish dishes round out the entrees. 8/17/05 MR

Rating: 4 $$ HA
2345 Frankfort Ave., 899-9930.
El Mundo blazes inside with festive artwork, sounds and colors, but hot food is not the order of the day. Pan-fried fish tacos impress, while roasted lamb carnitas were a bit pricey. El Mundo strives to serve fresh ingredients with a culinary edge not found in other Mexican dining spots. Patrons can order food at a counter downstairs, or opt for traditional waited dining on the second floor, where more than 40 tequilas are offered. Less can be more; steamed mussels in a chipotle sauce delights. 1/11/06 MR

Rating: 3 $ HA
12907 Factory Ln. 243-0000
EuroMarket is a nice change of pace for lunch. It’s not far from The Summit and lots of traffic, but the out-of-the-way location helps you forget that other stuff exists. The interesting mix of wine store, café and bakery is just the start — there are also four lunch menus. Daily specials like chicken marsala are listed on a blackboard. The roast beef melt comes with chips, and it’s worth the extra buck to add greens. Portions are ample and orders are served to patrons seated in a quaint, quiet area. Definitely try the desserts; the homemade rum balls were very tasty. 3/1/06 KG

Rating: 4 $$
1360 Veterans Pkwy., Clarksville, 282-3283.
Famous Dave’s offers the usuals — barbecue sandwiches, ribs, brisket and lots of combos — but has an expansive menu otherwise, complete with appetizers like catfish fingers and smoked salmon spread, numerous soups and salads as well as fish dinners, burgers and desserts. Essentially, it’s like Applebee’s gone barbecue. Five different sauces are on the tables — Rich and Sassy, Sweet and Zesty, Texas Pit, Georgia Mustard and Devil’s Spit. The service is impeccable and geared toward the dining experience. 6/29/05 KG

Rating: 3 $$ HA
302 Bullitt Ln. 394-7620.
Sure, it sounds like an English pub. But then again, O’Charley’s sort of sounds Irish, now doesn’t it? Kidding aside, Louisville’s Fox and Hound is clean and bright, housed in a nondescript but friendly looking building. The menu is extensive with starters ranging from cheese sticks to Asian chicken lettuce cups. The fish and chips is a gargantuan serving, and the pizza is especially good. Also, the extremely friendly service lends itself to family dining. 10/19/05 KG

Rating: 4 $$ HA
4812 Brownsboro Rd. 899-7177.
Gasthaus German Restaurant is like the perfect male fantasy: good beer, plenty of beef and pork on the menu, and a waitress who looks like Daryl Hannah in a dirndl who is ready to bring you anything you need. The chef, influenced by a mix of French and German, creates a formidable alliance of continental cuisine that translates into brilliantly engineered dishes, meticulous techniques, lovely sauces and a focus on house-made dishes prepared from hand-selected ingredients. Excellent potato-based dishes include kartoffelknodel and bratkartoffeln, while pork, beef, chicken and veal dominate the menu. 7/13/05 MR

Rating: N/A $ HA
222 S. Seventh St. 583-8183.
Gavi’s is humble and self-effacing, nearly everything is done just as it should be. Lunches and breakfasts are bargain-priced, and the staff is friendly. You’ll hear the lilt of Russia in the voices of the staff, and find specials like beef stroganoff, Russian baked fish in carrot sauce, Russian vegetable soup or borscht. The menu describes the food as “home-style Russian and American cooking,” and the description is borne out, quite well, in dishes like meatloaf, baked chicken, cabbage rolls, soups made of lentil or split peas, and a list of sandwiches. 5/25/05 MR

Rating: 4 $ HA
2109 Frankfort Ave. 896-4046.
There’s no need to miss New Orleans with Gumbo A Go-Go in town. This quaint restaurant’s simple décor mirrors the exquisite simplicity of the menu — everything is $5. Appetizers like crawfish cheese dip and spinach and artichoke dip are available. Entrees include red beans and rice, crawfish etoufee and the spiced-up drunken chicken. Be sure to wash it all down with an Abita — Amber or Turbodog — or with a $1 Bud Light draft on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 8/10/05 MR

Rating: 4 $$ HA
117 E. Main St., La Grange, 222-2286.
Irish Rover Too’s a sprawling spot with an airy bar, a large, divided dining room, mustard walls, ancient hardwood floors and the burnished glow of an ancient tavern. Except for afternoon tea, with tea sandwiches, scones and quality loose-leaf teas (2-5 p.m.), the menu here looks like the menu at the Frankfort Avenue location, but the overall the execution and service at the La Grange location was actually a notch better. The menu includes Irish standards like Guinness beef stew, fish and chips, leek and potato soup, Shanagarry fish cakes, a mix of cod and salmon, Scotch eggs and more. Then there’s the cinnamon-infused bread and butter pudding, with its hefty dose of plump raisins and a sauce that’s mostly caramel, with a nearly undetectable hint of whiskey. 6/22/05 MR

Rating: 3 $ HA
1812 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd. 583-2534.
In an area dominated by fast food outlets and rib shacks, Jay’s is one of the few restaurants west of the downtown area that offers a truly comfortable dining atmosphere. The menu includes standard cafeteria fare: fried and baked chicken, meatloaf, barbecued ribs and chicken, fried cod and catfish, side dishes like greens, macaroni and cheese, yams, spinach and tossed salads, soups and the like. As for desserts, the peach cobbler ($2) is more savory than sweet, and alone is well worth a visit. 11/09/05 MR

Rating: 2 $ HA 9609 Dixie Hwy. 937-6332
Jessie’s Family Restaurant boasts home cooking, and for the most part, sticks to its guns. While nothing really sticks out as great, dinner selections are passable. The meatloaf is a nice surprise, although the sauce detracts slightly from the overall flavor. The baked cornbread is so-so, while the fried variety seems to be the specialty. The service is friendly but the place needs some polish and scrubbing, possibly because the place gets a lot of traffic. 3/08/06 CH

Rating: 3 $ HA
1801 Newburg Road 451-1801.
The brand new patio at Kaelin’s, the supposed birthplace of the cheeseburger, is a lovely place to enjoy both a plate of comfort food and a leisurely, guilt-free cigarette. The quality level is consistent, which explains why the place has been around so long. The menu is short on exotics and long on heartiness and quantity. There are plenty of meat-free options, but who are we kidding? Kaelin’s is mainly about the cheeseburgers, the ribs and the steaks. There is also a modest offering of desserts, including homemade pies. 9/28/05 PK

Rating: 3 $ HA
1285 Bardstown Rd. 473-8765.
Nestled in an old house across from Mid-City Mall, Kashmir dishes up spicy, brightly colored food served in hearty portions at moderate prices. The prevailing culture seems to emphasize the hot and serious, and the service is more business-like than personal, but it’s worth a visit. Plenty of vegetarian options are available. The dessert menu can end a meal wonderfully. Kulfi ($2) is an excellent ice cream with the grainy texture of ground pistachios, almonds and cashews, and lassi, the Indian yogurt shake, is available in sweet and sour variations for $2.50. 12/7/05 MR

Rating: 3 $ HA
2535 Charlestown Rd. 948-0401.
La Rosita is a nifty postage stamp-sized place nestled against a produce stand, serving tacos, burritos, huaraches (those little sandal-shaped sandwiches), tortas and the like, filled with the usual assortment of sausage, beans, beef, chicken, tongue and ribeye. But even the usual assortment seems special at La Rosita, where fresh cilantro is sprinkled all over the place, and where curds of soft white Chihuahua cheese melt into the warm ingredients, lending everything a delightfully creamy texture. Urns of freshly made red and green salsa and bowls of pickled jalapenos are available for those who want to kick up this fresh, flavorful food with extra flavor. 10/12/05 MR

Rating: N/A $$ HA
1941 Bishop Ln., 456-9714.
Lee’s, a calmly lighted sanctuary for Korean food, has been around for 25 years and continues to impress. The menu includes lunch options, and the dinner menu includes a mix of rice and noodle-based dishes and soups that will serve vegetarians or carnivores with a taste for seafood, chicken, pork or, the menu’s most prominent meat, beef. There are hot and cool dishes to meet your temperature needs, and a Chinese menu if you’re not up on Korean cuisine. 7/06/05 MR

Rating: N/A $$
1025 Barret Ave. 582-2433.
Artful walls and lighting fixtures, and a curtain that can be drawn around the bar area to reduce secondhand smoke in the dining area, give this restaurant a nice look. One starter, the breaded asparagus spears, was crisp, tender and flavorful. White bean soup, salads, pierogies, fried fish and roast beef au jus are just some of the choices offered; the latter two being served with crisp homemade potato chips. One oustanding dessert option was a fried banana encrusted with brown sugar and drizzled with honey and chocolate. 5/18/05 MR

Rating: 4 $$, HA
1616 Grinstead Dr. 569-1122
After a two-year hiatus, Pita Delites is back and it’s upped the ante. Diners can still purchase a pound of baba ganoush and hummus, some of the best in town, and pita bread to boot. Spotty service appears to be a thing of the past, and the lentil soup offers a good kick at a nice price. The shawarma lacks punch, but falafel appetizers were fun to eat, and the roasted lamb accompanied by tzatiski sauce just might convert you to ethnic food. 1/25/06 MR

Rating: 5 $$$ HA
445 E. Market St. 583-1808.
Bim Deitrich’s newest venture instantly leaps into the elite ranks of Louisville restaurants as he pulls together the best themes and variations from his long experience as a restaurateur. Although the focus is on fine dining, it is fine dining with a populist edge. The seafood salad is flawless while the salmon is simple and perfect. The rack of lamb looks like a Flemish masterpiece; it seems almost a shame to slice into it. Also, wine connoisseurs will be intrigued by a wine list that spans the Italian landscape. 10/26/05 MR

Rating: 4 $, HA
3315 Bardstown Rd. 451-6301
What’s better than quality meats and exquisite veggie dishes? Mammoth portions of both, of course. Expect to leave full of flavorful, spicy food after dining at the Queen of Sheba. Appetizers like the beyaynetu sampler, kosta or fossolia taste great for less. Sambussa rounds out the impressive list of appetizers, though the timatim fit-fit lacks the expected depth of flavor. Vegetarian combos offer two entrees. Exotic atmosphere combined with great value and festive food. 2/01/06 MR

Rating: N/A, $
558 S. Fifth St. 587-8679
Saffron’s Buffet serves up dinner like Mom used to make — except using foods that American Moms probably have neither seen nor heard of. The offerings are a nice hodgepodge of Persian, Indian, Asian and Middle-Eastern cuisines. For $8 the buffet is yours. Dishes vary daily, but favorites include grilled salmon, saffron-scented braised chicken thighs and herbed beef stew, a classic Persian dish. And do not overlook the Persian chicken-breast salad with potatoes, eggs, green peas, pickles, olive oil and mayo. Expect to be full for a fair price. 4/12/06 RG

Rating: 4, $$, HA
9114 Taylorsville Rd. 493-3944.
Sala Thai looks like any other restaurant from the outside; however, the inside décor is modern and clean with plenty of Thai accents, and service was impeccable. The breadth of the selection at Sala is incredible — there are appetizers, salads, soups, noodle dishes, curries and a number of traditional Pad Thai dishes, not to mention a separate vegetarian menu and a full lunch menu. 11/23/05 KG

Rating: 5 $$ HA
1538 Bardstown Rd. 473-8560.
It’s almost impossible to drive past Seviche without thinking about one of chef Anthony Lamas’ signature ceviches — a cool, colorful concoction of pristine fish and seafood marinated in combinations of citrus and spice. The menu abounds with Nuevo Latino choices in the way of seafood and meat, and offers them sauced in many variations of mojo and chimichurri themes. The green chile Caesar salad is no slouch in the flavor department, and the grilled salmon is wonderfully crisp and moist. 7/27/05 MR

Rating: 3 $ HA
2427 Bardstown Rd. 459-7776.
Sol Aztecas, a sister restaurant of Los Aztecas, has a bit of an upscale feel versus the informal, relaxed environment of most Mexican restaurants. All in all, Sol Aztecas is a worthy stop, with extensive lunch and dinner menus of varying ingredients, including traditional Mexican staples like fajitas, rellenas and enchiladas plus a special seafood menu and various house specialties. 11/16/05 KG

Rating: 3, $$, HA
2017 Brownsboro Rd. 896-1055
As a fresh-faced restaurant, some polish and décor are needed to spice up this tiny establishment. Starting with curry goat, the menu will surprise first-timers and entice the jerk chicken fan. Service could be more attentive; appetizers were good but arrived with the meal. Chicken selections may be the most tender you’ve tasted, and the portions are ample. Some of the veggies were bland, but overall the food is tasty, not too spicy, and Red Stripe is offered (even if it isn’t listed on the menu).  3/15/06 KG

Rating: 4 $ HA
3904 Bardstown Rd. 458-7172.
Teranga! is a delight for discovery diners. Main dishes focus on lamb, chicken and beef, some grilled, some served as stews in peanut or tomato sauces, some served with rice, others with couscous. The lunch menu is uniformly priced at $7 and features tbiebu jeune, a stewed fish considered a Senegalese signature. Dinner options include chawarma, skewers of stuffed, roasted lamb shank or a splendidly grilled roasted chicken. The couscous are heavenly. 8/3/05 MR

Rating: 3 $$ HA
2813 Hurstbourne Ln., 394-0000.
A new dine-in Tony Boombozz Pizza-Vino pizzeria (as well as the take-outs on Frankfort Avenue and Bardstown Road) offer not only “regular” pizza assortments, but gourmet, including toppings like roasted potatoes, feta, prosciutto, ginger chicken and fresh spinach. Their pies are reliable and handsome: light brown bubbles encircled the rim, with nary a pool of oil to be found. Pizza-Vino offers a full-fledged, attractive dining room and a serviceable list of beers and wines. 1/4/06 MR

Rating: 3 $$
4317 Charlestown Rd., New Albany, (812) 941-0200.
This Japanese Steakhouse boasts eight hibachi grills, a sushi bar, a separate dining room and a special private party room with four additional grills. The casual dining atmosphere is accentuated by Japanese décor. Lunch menu is affordable and varied, including grill items ranging from $5.95-$15.95 for sushi specials. Dinners include steak, chicken, lobster and shrimp entrees. 12/21/05 KG

Rating: 4 $$ HA
7008 Highway 524 in Westport 222-4626.
The Westport focus is upscale vittles served in an atmosphere of cozy rusticity. The menu includes a range of sandwiches, salads, soups and entrees, from pulled pork sandwiches to tournedos of beef with sautéed wild mushrooms to eggplant Napoleon. Local and regional ingredients also make up excellent sides, like the Weisenberger Mill grits. Various wines are available, but take advantage of the nightly specials. To get the most out of your trip to Oldham County, homemade carrot cake or walnut pie are a must. 11/02/05 MR