We’re changing things up this week because one of my favorite foodie cities, also my beloved adoptive home, is hosting its fifth annual restaurant week. While most large cities host one of two restaurant weeks throughout the year to showcase their local cuisine at a fraction of the cost, Louisville’s rendition of this popular food tradition is extra exciting for a couple of reasons. First, Louisville’s restaurant week is good. Really good. So good, in fact, U.S.A Today ranked it the third best in the country in 2016. Second, and most importantly, Louisville is a hotbed for interesting local restaurants, and restaurant week allows for experimentation when it comes to our weird and wonderful food city.
Louisville’s 2017 restaurant week began on Wednesday, February 22 and runs through Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Twenty-six restaurants are participating this year, each offering a 3-course menu (appetizer, main, and dessert) for either $50.20 per couple or $50.20 per person. Many are also featuring a signature cocktail at a discounted rate. Almost all of the restaurants are Louisville born and bred, but there are a couple of chains mixed in if you’re the type of person who likes to stick with the familiar.
David and I hit our first restaurant week selection this past Friday. I was returning from a week-long work trip to Washington, D.C. and a reservation at a unique, local restaurant was just what the doctor ordered. We chose Asiatique, an Asian-fusion restaurant, located smack in the center of one of Louisville’s most interesting dining destinations, Bardstown Road. For just $50.20 we scored two appetizers, two entrees, and two desserts.
I anticipated a smaller menu and daintier portions since it was restaurant week, but we were pleasantly surprised by the many and varied options on the restaurant week menu and the full-sized portions that arrived with each course.
We started our meal with the pork gyoza and the lemongrass and ginger chicken wings. The gyoza were tender and flavorful and the chicken wings were juicy and packed with interesting flavors you don’t usually encounter in your typical basket of wings.
For our main courses, we ordered the wok fried salmon and the braised beef with cauliflower and edamame. Both dishes definitely exceeded our expectations! The beef was fall-apart tender with strong flavors of Chinese five-spice and the salmon was super crispy with hints of soy and honey.
For dessert (my favorite course), we ordered the crème brulee and the chocolate torte. The crème brulee was actually four different small ramekins of flavored custard: espresso, passionfruit, ginger, and raspberry. The chocolate torte was dense and rich with a lovely raspberry sauce on the side. Both were the perfect sweet treat to round out our meal.
Let’s review: for $50.20 we were able to try a new restaurant, sample six menu items, and spend just a fraction of the cost of what it normally would have cost to spring for a 3 course-meal. Triple win! We did a little math and figured out that we saved about $30-40 by taking advantage of restaurant week pricing. So follow our lead and check out all of the restaurants and menus at 502 Foodie. We’ve got a couple more restaurants we’re jonesing to try before times runs out and you should too. If you’re not in Louisville, do a little looking to find out when your city’s restaurant week is scheduled. It’s a great way to explore your city, try a new restaurant, and sample some amazing and inexpensive eats.