Last week we made our way to Louisville, KY for the Kentucky Derby. Our Derby Week kicked off on a high note with one of our best dining experiences to date. Ten Tables Louisville is a must have dining experience for the foodie or food lover. Eating at Ten Tables is worth the effort and we recommend it highly… if you can get in!
The concept behind Ten Tables is simple; three young and talented chefs from three different restaurants in Louisville, KY (Roux, Rumplings, and Loop 22) get together for a “pop up” concept for 40 people (or ten tables of four). The location varies as does the cuisine and concept. The way you get a reservation is by submitting to a lottery system on their Facebook Page and hoping your name gets drawn. Luckily Debbie’s cousin had been to one of the “pop ups” before and had a line on the Ten Tables Louisville, KY themed event. Our night (as they all do) started at the bar…
Ten Tables Louisville
Landing in Louisville, KY we found perfect weather waiting for us! A quick drive to The Highlands (and on to Bardstown Road), we met everyone at Roux, which is a New Orleans influenced restaurant owned by Dustin Staggers, one of the three chefs hosting Ten Tables. Most of Debbie’s family was there already warming the bar up for us when we arrived.
That night’s Ten Tables experience had a specialty cocktail menu (below) designed just for the evening and playing on the Kentucky theme. I dove in head first trying their version of a Sazerac which is one of my favorite Bourbon drinks. This cocktail did not disappoint and excited me for the meal ahead. I believe the bartender pictured above is Reina Shannon who helped put the cocktail menu together and paired the wines with our dinner courses.
This “Ten Tables” experience was actually two tables of ten… which if you have follow the math so far would equate to “Five Tables”. This of course comes with a backstory… We have to thank Debbie’s cousin Scot for this dinner as he got a reservation to this event and coordinated the invite list with the family. Debbie and I actually changed our flight to come in a few days early to attend. Unfortunately, after we changed our flight, Ten Tables moved the event to a later date because of a conflict. Scot quickly took action and coordinated a special “Ten Tables” event with the owners so we could attend. Thanks Scot!
The dinner menu (pictured below) was appropriately “Kentucky” themed in prep for Derby Week. As I walk through each course I will not only describe the dish and their take on it but how it relates to the uniqueness of Kentucky as I happen to have insider information on this stuff…
One of the cool things about this dinner was having the chefs come out and describe each course, their motivation, and evolution of the dish. This made the evening very approachable and laid back. Great food and wine in a very casual setting is the way to go!
Our server coordinated the entire evening, providing additional explanation of the food and wine/beer pairings and making sure everyone had what they needed.
The Amuse course highlighted a creamy cucumber cheese local to Kentucky. If you haven’t had this cheese, which you likely have not if you’re not from Kentucky, it’s a must try. The creaminess of the cheese paired perfectly with the home made “wheat thin” and sliced red onion. This course was served with a light and crisp Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc. Delicious!
The Julep salad, a play on the classic Derby drink the Mint Julep, combined the freshness of mint with classic Bibb lettuce, blue cheese and candied pecans. The bourbon vinaigrette tied in the famous drink flavor of Kentucky.
This creative twist on a classic Hot Brown sandwich, originating at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, was creamy and delicious.
Again incorporating Benedictine cheese, this time into an aioli, offset the rolled oyster perfectly. A rolled oyster is another one of those “can only find in Kentucky” foods. It’s akin to a hush puppy with oysters rolled into it and fried. The Lardo (cured strips of fatback… yes say that again slowly…) added a rich flavor to the dish and is locally sourced.
Perfectly roasted, the oven roasted broccoli and cauliflower were smothered in a Mornay sauce (Béchamel sauce with shredded cheese) with country ham, also locally sourced.
What can I say about Ribs & Taters…it doesn’t get much better, unless you add a duck egg! The ribs were braised, moist, packed with flavor and the “taters” were so creamy. With the added yolk of the duck egg this was one of everyone’s favorite dishes!
Succotash and green tomatoes are both classic southern fare. In this dish, the green tomatoes were pureed and served over the succotash to compliment the Walleye fish filet. It was much spicier than it looks, but truly delicious!
Eric came out to introduce the final dish and thank everyone for coming out tonight.
Dessert was a play on the classic Bourbon drink, the Old Fashioned, which includes bourbon and orange bitters. Those flavors combined with vanilla cream made this the perfect way to end the meal!
Debbie and I enjoyed the wonderful food and wine, and being able to share it with (some) of our Kentucky family meant even more to us! Thanks Scot! Happy Derby everyone! Until next year…