Jun 19, 2007 at 6:53 pm
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)

LE GALLO ROSSO, 1325 Bardstown Rd., 473-0015. This Italian hotspot keeps its menu short, which seems wise: When you’ve got a small restaurant with a tiny kitchen, it’s smart to focus on a good, short selection of dishes and do them well. Entrees include gorgonzola fettuccine with mushrooms, lasagne and al dente spaghetti with stuffed meatballs. (Reviewed 5/23; Rating: 88)

MELILLO’S, 829B E. Market St., 540-9975, Famous for gigantic portions, this East Market staple has earned almost fanatical loyalty among its regular customers. The menu — call it “New Jersey Italian” — features Italian-heritage dishes from spaghetti and meatballs and parmigiana to a broad selection of Italian deli sandwiches. (Reviewed 5/23; Rating: 89)

RITE WAY BAR-B-CUE HOUSE, 1548 W. St. Catherine St., 584-9385. This West End barbecue joint has been a neighborhood landmark since the Johnson family founded it just after WWII. The tender ribs are some of the best in town, and the sauce is like no other — thin, spicy and tangy, with a distinct vinegar edge. (Reviewed 5/30; Rating: N/A)

SMOKETOWN USA PIT BAR-B-QUE AND TEX-MEX, 1153 Logan St., 409-9180. In a rather unusual menu combination, this new restaurant offers both “Louisville-style barbecue” and Tex-Mex favorites. An order of ribs is more than enough to get your fill of barbecue — their smoked meat is so tender that you hardly need to chew it, and so flavorful that you don’t really need the tangy sauce. (Reviewed 5/30; Rating: N/A)

FRANKFORT AVENUE BEER DEPOT & SMOKEHOUSE, 3204 Frankfort Ave., 895-3223. Not only are the ribs here possibly the best I’ve tasted yet, but even the side dishes bespeak the presence of a very serious cook. Gentle smoke flavor and a complex, spicy dry rub came together to complement the toothsome rib meat. (Reviewed 5/30; Rating: N/A)

RIVUE, The Galt House, 140 N. Fourth St., 568-4239, This renovated restaurant’s Kentucky-meets-Italy bill of fare is worthy of hotel visitors and locals alike, and the view from the 25th floor only adds to the experience. Entrées start at $20 (for mozzarella chicken wrapped in Kentucky ham) and rise to $34 (for a grilled black angus filet), with a short “bar menu” of tapas for generally under $10. (Reviewed 6/13; Rating: N/A)