Jul 3, 2007 at 5:19 pm
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)

FRANK’S STEAKHOUSE, 9601 Shelbyville Rd., 429-3714. This steakhouse has long been a resident of Jeffersonville and now has opened a location in Louisville — in the old Garrett’s location just off Hurstbourne. Like the original, you can expect family-style, casual-upscale American fare, with a heavy focus on steaks and prime rib. (Reviewed 6/20; Rating: 78)

MAYAN CAFÉ, 813 E. Market St., 556-0651, Former Mayan Gypsy chef Bruce Ucan is back with Mayan Café, and it ranks as one of the most original Mexican restaurants in town, featuring an innovative take on Mayan cuisine — the tropical fare of Mexico’s Yucatan and neighboring Guatemala. The eclectic menu features dishes like two-bite empanadas, Uxmal Salmon, Yucatec Pork Pibil and coconut flan for dessert. (Reviewed 6/27; Rating: 90)