Thursday, November 13, 2014

Fine Dining Vegetarian Style in Louisville. Marketplace rules!

Nice meals out can be, um, not really worth it if you are vegetarian. At the same time, David and I love, like love love love, sitting down to a luxurious and special meal. We still daydream about our hours-long evenings enjoying the tasting menus at The Number One in the Balmoral and The Kitchn in Leith.

I never understand why some restaurants put crap vegetarian options on their menus. The vegetarian of the group is the trump card! Your place only has a portobello sandwich? The group isn't going to eat there, even if the rest of the group is pure carnivore. 

Anyway, that's all to say that David and I rarely treat ourselves to a nice meal out in Louisville because most Louisville chefs don't pay much attention to vegetarians. For our date night, however, we went to Marketplace down on South 4th Street (it's behind the Brown Hotel, just steps from the Palace Theatre). I'm friends with the Dallas McGarity's (aka the Executive Chef at Marketplace) wife. I happen to know that she is a vegetarian. She also loves fine dining, so I would imagine the chef has gotten an earful a time or two about lack of veggie options at most nice restaurants.

We managed to squeeze into a 6:15 reservation, which was perfect for our 8:00 date with Loretta Lynn. (Sidenote: David's co-workers had not heard of her. If you haven't either, please read this and then come back.) Our server knew that we were vegetarians -- it was notated on our reservations -- which saved that awkward moment where the server rattles off the long list of very meaty specials only to be followed by, "We're vegetarians." He went straight to pointing out the lengthy list of vegetarian appetizers on the menu, as well as the two main dishes: one pasta and one entree.
At some point we settled into the exciting idea that we didn't have our toddler with us and we'd taken an Uber downtown, ergo: we could order a bottle of wine. Party! I went with Prosecco because I wanted some bubbly but didn't feel like blowing $100 on champagne. It was totally affordable ($27), and totally delicious. 

Once we toasted our night out, we were surprised with a little treat from the kitchen: the chef sent out some Brussels sprouts. I adore Brussels sprouts, as does David, so this wasn't a stretch for us. BUT these were hands down the best Brussels sprouts I have ever eaten (and yes, I've done that Pinterest recipe before). I'm making this photo super large because I want to live inside of it:
" cranberries, bourbon-sorghum hoisin, almond brussels sprouts" from Marketplace in Louisville
Seriously, I could stop here and talk of nothing else besides these Brussels sprouts. I want them for lunch right now. I want them for dinner tonight. Et cetera. They are so good.

But you're here to read about what else we ate, so I'll move on. We ordered the two vegetarian main dishes that were on the menu. I got the feeling that the Chef would have prepared us something else if we hadn't been okay with those options (most nice restaurants will work with your food restrictions). But they seemed right on target for us -- one creamy pasta dish, and one that was either dairy-free or light-on-the-dairy (we aren't vegan, so we didn't ask).
We ordered the Ricotta Gnocchi (tomato cream, local mushrooms, parmesan  $21) and it was divine. Seriously, so so so yummy. I'm at a short for adjectives because I have mommy brain, but doesn't yummy explain enough? We also had a Black Bean dish (with "polenta & greens, chipotle honey sauce, red cabbage 'slaw'  for $21). It was solid enough to be like a black bean burger, but much thicker and tastier. It reminded me of how they serve the vegetarian haggis with neeps and tatties in Scotland -- a thick bean patty in a moat of polenta. David and I kept trading our entrees back and forth all night, and we were totally happy with our meals. Again -- the vegetarian options didn't seem like an after-thought here, which was so refreshing.

And dessert! Bad blogger here -- I don't remember what it was called, but do yourselves a favor and take this photo with you when you go and order it IMMEDIATELY. It's a chocolate mousse with fresh whipped cream and some sort of little balls of white chocolate and a nut that I can't remember because we INHALED this dessert:

We had a great time and can't wait to go again. The trio that played and sang jazz standards was a lovely touch (tip your musicians, folks!), and we left Marketplace in that perfectly blissed-out combination of wine and the perfect about of food.

Anyway, restaurants, pay attention: there are vegetarians in this world with disposable income who might like a date night. David and I will definitely be back to Marketplace the next time we get a night out. Maybe you'll join us?

Here's what was happening at home while we ate fancy food and heard a living legend sing. It has nothing to do with this blog, but it's very cute:

1 comment:

  1. Did I lose my comment? Sorry if this is a repeat... wheel of marketplace. We used to go there all the time when Matt lived in the neighboring apartment and we had our rehearsal dinner there.