I Love My City!
Even though I have the same complaints as locals of any city do, (seeing the same people, limited events for a certain demographic, TRAFFIC!!!), I really do love my city. Its unique, and it really does have plenty to do you just have to get out of your comfort zone and explore. But the two things I love the most about Louisville are the culinary choices and The Highlands neighborhood. Louisville’s restaurant scene is well known and can compete with the likes of New York and Chicago. I get excited about all the opportunities of new food and places to try. But the Highlands is something extra special. I love this neighborhood. I was first introduced to The Highlands when I was about 10 and my mother sent me to a woman for piano lessons. She was sweet but very eccentric. I didn’t get how special and unique the Highlands neighborhood and people were at the time, but now as an adult who has had the opportunity to experience this wonderful neighborhood, my old piano teacher’s personality, style, and house make perfect sense. Imagine the best of both worlds in all the restaurant experiences in the Highlands. It is literally a mile-long row of uniqueness and opportunity for business owners of all types but notably restaurants. Although there are a few regular chains (night owls must eat too) the neighborhood that stretches from Baxter avenue to Bardstown Road is full of eating experiences to please every palette. It was no surprise to me that Flavour had all the Highland experience and more.
Flavour Restaurant and Lounge is located at 1767 Bardstown Rd (40205 zip). It is in the heart of the Highlands next to a long time staple Better Days records. The offered cuisine is traditional Caribbean, Southern and Creole inspired dishes with of course our own Louisville flair. I met up with a friend for a night out that I only anticipated to be a couple of drinks and an appetizer (or two, or three). I expected to eat in a small intimate booth, but the restaurant was so full that evening (which is a good thing) that we decided to eat at the bar. The bar area is located on the left side as soon as you enter. It’s a very good place to people watch and be a part of the scene without having to be in a crowded space. What I liked the most about the bar is that the bartender and patrons were super friendly. It was like running into old friends (well technically I did as I know the bar tender personally). But everyone was so full of conversation, laughter, and life but at the same time it was a very chill atmosphere. I could tell there were a lot of regulars there which meant this was a good “go to” spot. The lighting was perfect and the bowl like chairs were very comfortable. As stated before, my intentions were to only do an appetizer and drink. But as soon as I started seeing other’s food being taken to their tables, my stomach had other plans. My friend and I asked the very friendly and knowledgeable bartender Andre what he recommended. He had a few but the ones that caught out attention were the Shrimp and Grits and the Cajun Pasta.
“Cajun pasta and it was delicious”
My friend ordered the Pasta and I decided on the Shrimp and Grits. While we waited on our entrees, we decided to partake in a couple of cocktails. I am not the drinker I used to be. Actually I am nowhere near it. I spent most of my early and mid 20’s at all you can drink bars in my old college town in Lexington, and many an exciting night (that’s the tamest description I could come up with) during 4th-street Live’s glory days in the mid 2000’s. Now I am lucky if I can get through 2 glasses of wine or a couple of shots of bourbon. My palette has also changed, and I can now only tolerate premium dark liquor, champagne, and wine. I still enjoy a good mixed drink every now and then and Andre made us a couple of very special concoctions. The Dusse’ Rose’ is exactly what it sounds like. Dusse’ and Rose’. And it was as damn good as it was strong. It’s an awesome celebratory drink (it was close to my friend’s birthday) and a very quick “get you there drink”. Unless you have a high tolerance, I would not have more than 2 if I were driving. I also tried the Tsunami (I ordered that before I knew what I was getting into with the Dusee’ Rose’). It’s a tropical Rum punch. A nice ladies' night, “girly” drink. I really enjoyed it but I believe I will save it for one of my spring/summer options for the next time. The liquor Gods must have been watching over me because before I fell flat on my face, our food finally arrived. The service was timely, and I really enjoyed the fact that there was enough room at the bar to eat without being overcrowded. I had someone to the left and right of me and still had room for my dish, and 2 drinks. I was very excited to dive into my meal. Of course, I had to get my small plate and have a taste of my cohort’s dish. She chose the Cajun pasta and it was delicious! Now I will say that it was a little oily, but for me it didn’t not take away from the flavor and spices. I also wish I had had more sauce with it too because aside from the shrimp it was my favorite part, and the pasta was cooked perfectly. The shrimp were large and delightful (which was the case for my dish as well).
“Shrimp & Grits”
I was SO excited to get a shrimp dish where there were for one, enough shrimp, and two, the shrimp were plump and not scrawny.. Plus they were seasoned well in both dishes and blended well with the other accompaniments of the dish. I loved my shrimp and grits. It is one of my favorite dishes period, but I must say Flavour’s version is now a part of my top 3. As mentioned before, the shrimp itself was a treat. My grits were cooked to perfection. The right consistency, not too salty, enough Cajun seasoning, and not gritty. I was so full off the shrimp from both dishes that I had a little left over (and yes it reheated well later that night, but I would not suggest keeping ANY dish with seafood longer than 12-24 hours). I was beyond pleased with my experience with Flavour. There was an entire other section that needed to be explored which was the Lounge and actual dining area. I will be doing another review on those areas soon this spring.
The Highlands is a neighborhood for everyone which is one of the special attributes about the area. But I am very proud that right in the middle there is a space and place where Caribbean and African American food and entertainment is celebrated, well executed, and welcoming to everyone.