Another stellar review of Exchange pub + kitchen, this time in LEO Weekly.
Given the antipathy to independent small business regularly exhibited by certain of the News and 'Bune's largely unsupervised reporters, do you ever wonder where they eat?
Meanwhile, Louisville media has been taking notice of downtown New Albany's expanding restaurant scene. Congratulations to Ian, Rick and everyone at the Exchange, which collectively is helping us all to step up our games.
Typically, Robin posts his reviews and columns on the Louisville Restaurants Forum for discussion. Following is a comment by Shane Campbell that illustrates downtown New Albany's higher profile in metro food-think circles. On the same forum thread, Ryan Rogers of Feast BBQ took this sentiment one justifiable step further:
"New Albany is Louisville's best borough."
Perhaps as someone who is not "from here," Ryan sees what natives sometimes miss: All New Albany has to fear, whether the topic is food, drink, complete streets or downtown housing, is the city's own heritage of low self-esteem -- the same old "can't do" melancholy, where "can do" spirit might just send a few of the demons running for cover. It isn't about who gets credit. It's about who does something. That's why I'm proud to be a part of New Albany's emerging dining and drinking strata. We're achieving.
Discussion of Robin Garr's Exchange Pub review, by Shane Campbell
Ian Hall told me Robin had been in, so I decided to wait to say anything about the new Exchange. I've been twice now and honestly, I'm just blown away by the place. While the space is familiar a la Doc Crows and Manny and Merle's in character; it's somehow a level above in my opinion.
I've had many meals at the previous location off Grantline and I'll readily attest to the quality of the cuisine on this menu. I'm pretty sure I noticed that the Ruben is back now, which definitely made me smile, and I'm a huge fan of the braised short ribs.
Donna especially likes the steak frites and we are looking forward to our next visit which will be on the 19th. We stopped by on Saturday around seven. The place was packed and we were told the wait was over an hour. Surprisingly, I was nothing but happy for Ian and his staff at the obvious popularity of the place.
We put our party of six on the list even though we had no intention of waiting that long. Our next quandry was which of the other excellent options within easy walking distance we would select. Two of us had been to Feast recently for lunch and the chicken salad and pulled pork as well as the beer selection were top notch. We also had a bourbon from what must be the most extensive stock this side of the river.
Even though it was a chilly night we reveled in boisterous company shouting out options as we walked over to Market St. We could indulge in the outstanding wood fired pizza, crab cakes, and wine at the River City Winery or fajitas and margaritas at the re-energized La Rosita. I've been dying to give the Frenchman's another go and maybe partake in some more biere de garde. Of course I'm at Bank Street Brewhouse nearly every week and the cask ale they have on, a stoutly hopped wheat if you can believe it, goes down with the best qualities of an IPA and a Hefe.
We ultimately decided to check out Habana Blues, which several of us had been to before but not recently. We were seated immediately and a pitcher of premium Mojitos and the best Cuba Libre ever soon had us congratulating ourselves on our choice. The interior of this place is like an old house with multiple-connected rooms and soaring ceilings. I spotted Todd Antz at a table nearby and went over to see what he was eating. His newest version of the Keg is just around the corner so I figured he was a regular here.
Todd and his table mates shared their recommendations and wished us a good meal. That is what we had all agreed. The service was prompt and the meal was delisciosa. I had Habana Blue's version of the braised short ribs as I was Jonesing for the same at the Exchange. We didn't linger after dinner but started to head over to the Frenchman's for a drink when the phone rang. Our table at the Exchange was ready! We ducked in out of the cold a few minutes later and were seated in a separate room near the front of the restaurant. The VIP section I'm sure!
As we entered, a young man dressed in flannel with an acoustic guitar was tearing up Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline"! Of course we all joined in the chorus as good Red Sox fans must. We ordered drinks and deserts and marveled that the place was still slammed. I drank Bell's excellent Smitten Ale paired outrageously with a bowl of Comfy Cow's Coconut ice cream. A match made in heaven!
Ian came over and spoke with us for a while and as we were leaving insisted that we see the second floor room. If there is a better space in the Metro area, I'm not aware of it! Ian and his staff have truly exceeded all expectations with the new restaurant. When I said as much, Ian said he was hurt that I would say so. Ian it was not that I didn't expect great things from you, it was just that my imagination was not equal to what you have achieved!