Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many colors or notes, there are just so many flavors—it’s how you combine them that sets you apart—Wolfgang Puck
We have been enjoying watching this season’s episodes of Top Chef Kentucky.
In honor of this week’s episode that featured Kentucky chef, Ouita Michel, as a guest judge, we decided to drive to Lexington, KY and eat in one of her many establishments. Mrs. Big Surf and I have eaten at Holly Hill Inn in Midway, KY and Wallace Station in Versailles, KY and Smithtown Seafood in Lexington.
We ate here for lunch with a friend. All of our dishes were happy-making (to use a phrase our friend likes) and the staff was very friendly and the restaurant is nicely decorated. I can’t say enough good things about this lunch experience.
I am not a food critic, so I can’t break down the meal and analyze it like a professional critic. But as my enzymes were breaking down this meal, they were making me happy. This is really good food.
For starters, we shared the FOUR O’CLOCK, a plate of wonderful Midway Bakery buttermilk biscuits with shaved Browning’s ham and apple butter, cheese salad, salt and pepper almonds, carrots, pickled vegetables, and cheese wafers. This would be plenty of appetizer for a group of four and will get you started on the right track…good food makes for good conversation.
We had a hard time deciding what to order for our main dish, as all the dishes on the menu sounded inviting. I chose the most interesting item, Chef Josh’s famous BEETLOAF, a vegetarian loaf made with beets, parsnip puree, topped with tomato gravy and served on bed of mashed potatoes along with fresh Kentucky greens. I enjoyed eating this dish so much.
My wife had the WHITESBURG SOUP BEANS, with a rich ham broth, onions, and served with a Weisenburger Mill hoecake. This traditional eastern Kentucky comfort dish was elevated so much and may be the best soup beans we have eaten. Incidentally, the photo above shows a reflection from the table lamp on the surface of the soup beans, so don’t try to figure out what it is.
Our friend ordered the SHADY LANE SALAD. It is composed of local lettuces, shaved Browning’s ham, candied Kentucky pecans, mustard vinaigrette, topped with a local deviled egg and served with Weisenburger Mill hoecakes. Our dining companion, who has the most discerning palate of the three, was very happy with his choice also.
Chef Ouita Michel elevates Kentucky cooking to a level that is world-class. I will return to Honeywood and try to eat my way through the rest of the menu.