Honestly. I'm a sucker for a recommendation. I read restaurant reviews like most people read the daily news. I start thinking about our Friday night dinner plans the Saturday before. And entire vacations have been planned around an Anthony Bourdain show.
Some places turn out to be good, some bad, but all are an experience. Mike Linnig's restaurant here in Louisville certainly falls into the experience category...the good experience category to be more exact.
I read in my Garden and Gun magazine (yes, that's really the name...and yes, it's as awesome as it sounds) that Mike Linnig's is a Louisville institution and makes some damn fine fried catfish. Since Nick and I are always interested in getting to know our town a bit better...and since a girl's gotta eat...we decided to check it out.
First of all...location. Off the beaten path for me, Linnig's is located on the far west end of the city. It is, however, right on the river and boasts a super duper cute (pardon the super duper but it really is) courtyard with tons of outdoor seating and a Key-West-Inspired bar. If I didn't have to drive straight across the city to get there I'm sure I would spend many an evening enjoying a beer there.
Next... the "experience factor". The place was jam packed with people and it seemed to me to be the type of restaurant where you'd meet your friends or family. It was inexpensive and fun with casual, crowd-pleasing type fare. Add to the the fact that it's been around since the 20's and this is the type of hometown institution that can get passed down through the ages.
Now most important...the food. Certainly not a fine dining restaurant, the menu consisted mainly of fried seafood. But sometimes that's just what the doctor ordered. Often I find myself jonsin' for a big 'ol plate of fried fish and a tub of tarter sauce. To me it's warm weather comfort food.
I can't even imagine the team of people they must have working the fry station. They must have a small army back there. Practically everyone I saw eating (and like I said...there were TONS of people there) was enjoying fried food of some type.
Nick ordered the mixed seafood plate (fried...and seen here) and I ordered the fried catfish plate (because Garden and Gun told me to...and I always listen...seen at top of page). Since we had never been there before we had absolutely no way of knowing that we were about to be served enough food to feed that army they have working the fry station. The portions are almost ridiculous.
The food was actually really good. I mean, it was fried seafood so there isn't much more to say about it, but I certainly can't complain. The price was great...about $13 for the "plate" with included a fried food (shrimp, catfish, etc.), cole slaw, fries and hushpuppies (actually REALLY good hushpuppies). And like I said...the portions are enormous.
I really wish the waiter (who it must be said was swamped with orders, yet pleasant and attentive) would have asked if it were our first time there and informed us that we were ordering an aquarium's worth of seafood, but like I said, I really do think this place is a "regular's" type of joint so they probably don't have many first-timers. If we had known about the portion size we would have split a "plate" and probably would still have had some left over (honestly...we can put away some food but they serve A LOT of it). Not one to usually complain about taking a doggy bag home I have to say, when it comes to breaded and fried food...it's not really something that works well as a leftover.
So if you're a Louisville resident and haven't given it try I recommend it. If you're an out-of-towner and looking for a fun experience I also recommend it. Give yourself some time to lounge in the courtyard, enjoy a few beers and perhaps even take a big 'ol group of friends to share the fun...and of course...share the grub.
When I head back...which I will certainly do...I plan on doing just that.