A couple of my friends came to Louisville to visit me recently. Who am I kidding? They came for the shopping! We had a great time browsing from Westport Village to the St. James Art Show to the malls. In the midst of the shopping we enjoyed a light lunch at Ghyslain – soup all around so as not to spoil our appetites for the main event later that day. We had reservations at the Village Anchor for dinner.
The weather had been lovely that week leading up to our girls’ day out so I made reservations for the lanai. But when Saturday arrived it was cold and windy and cold. I was worried that we wouldn’t get the full effect of the premium seating location due to the turn in the weather but the atmosphere was hardly diminished: in place of open air dining we enjoyed the warmth and coziness of a fire in the fireplace.
My friends were instantly impressed with the exterior of the restaurant. The friendly yellow siding, the balconies, the lush foliage. By the time we arrived at our table, traveling through the upper level bar area, there were oohs and ahhs all around. They are already planning a return trip and asked to sit inside next time!
The service throughout our meal was top drawer. Not only was our server knowledgeable about the menu, she went out of her way to ensure that our visit exceeded our expectations. I’ll give you two examples. First, I asked about the name of the wine I ordered so I could make a note in my phone for future reference. Instead of simply bringing the wine list back, she offered to take a photo of the bottle for me (see photo over there ~). Second, she went next door to the café to find a to-go cup for my friend’s coffee. I was also impressed that leftovers were taken away from the table, packaged, and returned to us.
It’s exciting simply to get dressed up and go out with your beautiful friends, but to also have the luxury of a picturesque location and a mouth-watering menu…I couldn’t stop smiling.
We ordered the crab cocktail ($16) as an appetizer to share. I typically would not select crab with so many other tempting options (green chili wontons, goat cheese, Thai style kabobs), but I went along with the majority without a fuss. I’m so glad I did! A generous mound of lump crab was enhanced with jalapeno, avocado, cilantro, and lime juice for a fresh and delicious appetizer. Crispy wontons were served alongside. (I made a mental note to try to make this dish at home, or at least use fried wontons as dippers with my faux ceviche.)
One friend ordered the wedge salad ($9). It was indeed a quarter of a head of iceberg, as expected, but also boasted a pile of spring greens, a hunk of tangy Danish blue cheese, and a ball of Boursin studded with candied pecans. We all helped her eat this salad. The blue cheese dressing was a bit bland and thin by itself, but combined with the rich cheeses on the plate, it was the perfect bite. You know, I’ll bet they planned it that way.
I had a very difficult time narrowing the options down to one dish for my entrée. I like to order dishes that either I don’t cook very well myself, are simply too complicated for me to try to make myself, or I don’t have easy access to the ingredients. Oh, or if they feature scallops. Going along with that philosophy I chose the scallops ($17) – two large sea scallops seared in vanilla butter with a bourbon demi-glace. This dish appears on the appetizer list but is served with asparagus (the one vegetable I can’t resist on a menu) so it could easily be enough for a meal when paired with another appetizer (may I suggest the crab cocktail?) or a salad. Just as I expected, the scallops were melt-in-your-mouth tender. The Woodford Reserve sauce was so delicious! The asparagus were bright green, properly cooked and well-seasoned.
My friends received the airline breast of chicken ($28) and the “hotter” brown ($15), both to rave reviews and lots of moaning. As a testament to how difficult it was for us to make decisions about what to order, we also had sides of the au gratin potatoes and wild mushroom risotto. How were they? Delicious, of course. The risotto ($5) was perfectly cooked leaving a “bite” to the rice and infused with umami flavor. The au gratin potatoes are not listed as a “side” however, since they were being served with some of the entrees, they hooked us up. Just another example of the superior service at this establishment. All the dishes were as beautiful as they were tasty.
You know when three girlfriends get together there is going to be some dessert, right? We shared the chocolate bread pudding with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream ($9). Yes, it was as decadent and rich as you are imagining right now. The bread pudding was slightly crunchy on the outside, moist and tender on the inside. The warm, thick caramel sauce provided the prefect compliment to the cold and creamy vanilla ice cream. What a great ending to a great meal.
In case you’ve been downstairs to the Sea Hag (see my review of Big Burger Thursday) and were wondering about the trashy romance novels…they use them upstairs in the swankier part of the restaurant, too. What a quirky and fun way to deliver your check.
There was no doubt at our table that what we just experienced was a five out of five meal. Everything was impeccable. I recommend it for girls’ night out, a hot date, a special occasion, a family celebration, heck….a regular ol’ Wednesday night. Whenever! Just be sure to get there.
The Village Anchor
11507 Park Road
Anchorage, KY 40223