Tuesday, March 10, 2015
On a recent trip to visit our good friends in Lexington, Kentucky (Picky Foodie and her husband) my wife and I were taken to a really interesting restaurant called Graze. Although it looks more like a little house in the middle of behemoth farms smack in the middle of Winchester countryside. If there wasn't a sign outside you'd drive by and think it was a local villager who wasn't lucky enough to own one of the beautiful farms in the area. Instead, it's something much better. A dinky restaurant based on serving only the freshest, most local food that Kentucky has to offer.
If you're thinking of Googling it and checking out the menu, don't. They change the menu constantly and it is all based around the local, seasonal philosophy. Something that is dear to my heart. Having an organic farm not even a mile from my house in England and doing my best to live my life around this philosophy, restaurants like Graze really strike a chord with me.
On this occasion it was Pasta night. And I have to be honest, before I arrived I was slightly apprehensive. Pasta is not something Americans do very well, (sorry Jersey but it's true) and I imagined Pasta in Kentucky to be about as far removed from authentic as Southern Fried Chicken would be if eating it in Birmingham, or Leeds. But, I was pleasantly surprised as soon as I saw the menu.
Not long after we ordered the mains a Side Salad with a Balsamic Dressing and Pine Nuts was brought out to us. If I was paying for it I might have been disappointed, but it was a nice little Salad to get you warmed up for the main course and it was free. So I won't complain. For mains, we had: Pork Udon in a Miso Broth, Filet Mignon with Penne and Blue Cheese, and Osso Bucco, which was served with Potato Mash instead of pasta. Every single dish was well executed and extremely flavorful. In fact, it was one of the nicest meals I had on my recent trip to the States. The Filet Mignon with Penne was beautifully cooked and presented. The Blue Cheese, although quite chunky didn't take away from the lovely meat flavors.
My Pork with Udon Noodles was brilliantly done. It was gorgeously spicy due to the Kimchi and the noodles were cooked perfectly. However, my only critique would be that the seasoning was slightly off. The Osso Bucco was also over seasoned. But they clearly like their salt in Kentucky. Every restaurant we went to seemed to employ the, "more salt is better" philosophy. That's obviously the preference there, so who am I to grumble? It only affected me as I got to the end of my dish. My Miso began to taste more like Sea Water than fermented Rice and Soy and I just couldn't finish it.
We had a new diner with us, Baby Foodie, daughter of Picky Foodie, pictured above. I didn't review her meal because, well, she still has a limited palate and her Pasta was made quite plain for her. :)
All in all I was very impressed with Graze. And despite the hefty price tag on each dish, which was between $25-26, I walked away happy. It's good to see that even in rural Kentucky there are people dedicated to bringing fresh, local food to people. Well done!