At first glance, northern Kentucky seems unlikely territory in which to find some of the most innovative Latin cuisine in the Midwest, if not the country. Acclaimed chef-owner Anthony Lamas, a California native, moved to Louisville in the mid-1990s. Once he got his bearings in his new hometown, Lamas quickly discovered a whole bounty of regional products to play with, and the creative wheels started spinning. Since opening in 2005, his clubby Seviche restaurant in the high-energy Highlands district has been racking up raves for a menu that fuses Latin flavors and Bluegrass ingredients with mouthwatering results. Think empanadas filled with Kentucky bison; a 24-hour pork belly served with local greens and sorghum; and an outstanding tuna ceviche “Old Fashioned” splashed with citrus, bourbon, sesame, and locally distilled soy sauce. The fanciful avocado ice cream—composed to look just like the real thing, right down to a chocolate shell and bourbon-truffle “pit”—is a rich and tempting trompe l’oeil. Lamas also holds the distinction of being the first chef in Kentucky to earn certification to produce his own pickled vegetables and tomato preserves. Sun.–Thurs. 5–10 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 5–11 p.m. 1538 Bardstown Rd., Louisville, Kentucky, 502-473-8560, sevicherestaurant.com
While in Louisville, check out ...
Evan Williams Bourbon Experience: An artisanal pot-still operation, the Experience opens this fall on Louisville’s historic Whiskey Row. 528 W. Main St., evanwilliams.com
Cake Flour: a Natural Baking Company: Cake Flour has picture-perfect macarons, cookies, cakes, and scones. 909 E. Market St., 502-719-0172, cakeflouronmarket.com
Taste Fine Wines and Bourbons: Bourbon samples are $5 a pop, and the store uncorks 10 new wines each week for tasting. 634 E. Market St., 502-409-4646, tastefinewinesandbourbons.com
Muth’s Candies: Muth’s crafts locally famous caramel- covered marshmallows called Modjeskas. 630 E. Market St., 502-585-2952, muthscandy.com
Garage Bar: Chef-owner Michael Paley operates out of a former auto-service garage, doling out wood-fired pizzas and paper-thin slices of salt-cured meats from the ham bar. 700 E. Market St., 502-749-7100, garageonmarket.com
Photos by Tony Valainis
This article appeared in the October 2013 issue. See more Destination Dinner stories here.