Friday night on East Market Street......
The only time since moving to Louisville that we've have trouble finding a parking spot. Well, not really trouble, we just have to park one block away. Woe is me.
UrbanSpoon says this neighborhood is called NULU or East Market. I'm going with NULU because it's just so darn cute.
That's where we found ourselves last Friday. Or more specifically at 732 Social. Quirky name. Modern interior. Delicious food.
I called ahead on Friday for a reservation and I was glad I did. They have three seatings...I think they were 6pm, 8pm and 10pm, but call to confirm. We chose 8pm.
When we arrived the place was packed. We were seated next to the window and beside the bar. It certainly wasn't the best seat in the house as the bar was packed but I've been more cramped in a restaurant, and honestly, as long as the food is good I'd sit on someone's lap.
The interior was modern and hip. I hate using the term hip but it really did make me feel as though I was sitting in an up-and-coming restaurant in a much larger city. It had clean lines and a simplistic design. It was a bit loud (ok, really loud), but that never seems to bother me much. A quiet restaurant can be much more unsettling than one that's hoppin'.
Our server was hurried yet pleasant as we placed our cocktail orders. If a place offers specialized cocktails I'm hard pressed to pass them by without a try. 732 Social calls them pre-prohibition cocktails and I'm very familiar with the idea having drank my fair share of them while in Philly. They tend to be more like "tonics" or "elixirs" and less like mixed drinks. We passed on the ones with egg-whites. It's not that I don't like them...I've just had more than a few too many in the past...and decided on Negroni and the Honky Tonk. Both were prepared excellently and the Negroni actually came in a rocks glass with a HUGE ball of ice in it. Now, I'm not normally a sucker for cutesy presentation but I fell for this one. Honestly, pretty cool...no pun intended.
We decided to opt out of the appetizers (a few good cocktails took their place) and opted instead for a cheese course for dessert.
For our entrees the hubby chose the duck. And I chose the scallops.
Nick's duck was lovely. It featured a trio...breast, liver and leg. He hoped it would feature a whole leg, perhaps confit, and was slightly disappointed that it only featured some shredded leg meat, but was very happy with the breast, liver and especially the lentils they sat on. It was a rich and satisfying dish. Some may be a tad disappointed by the size, however I find more and more that I hate waddling out of a restaurant and much prefer leaving perfectly satisfied. I'll take a perfectly portioned and delicious meal any day over a "generous portion" of crap.
Oh...and the price...$20! That's almost $10 less than I would have expected to pay (don't get any ideas though 732 Social...I like you just the way you are).
I ordered the scallops and let me say...WOW. This dish was amazing. The perfectly (and I mean it) cooked scallops sat on a bed of roasted, no, more like caramelized cauliflower, with split peas as well as a creamy pea puree. I'm not sure if they slightly smoked the scallops as they cooked them or if all of that lovely smokey-ness came from the cauliflower but it was a hit. The only thing I would change were the raw split-peas. They were a tad on the tooth-breaky side but still, I gobbled them right up. I would go back and order that very same dish over and over again.
What was the price you ask for such an exquisite dish??? $20!!!
Now for the cheese course (which, by the way, is my idea of a perfect dessert...I'll take a stinky blue cheese over chocolate cake any day of the week)...
The waitress was very knowledgeable and helped us choose the Cypress Grove/California "Humbolt Fog". It was a "blue" goat cheese. It had a vegetable ash line running through it and a very mild taste with a creamy texture.
We also chose the Castello, Denmark Blue. It was a cow's milk cheese with rich and strong blue cheese characteristics. Nick and I tend to prefer a good strong blue and a mild, creamy chevre in our cheese course and these two hit the spot.
The were priced at 2 for $10 and were accompanied by raw honey (SOOO good), black walnuts (SOOO good) and some sort of tart cubed fruit. She may have said beet marinated apples, but whatever it was, it hit the spot. The duo of cheese with the trio of sides was truly fantastic, and about the best possible way to top of a great meal for $10.
So let's recap shall we?
Unique and intriguing cocktails? Check
Skillfully prepared entrees at reasonable prices? Check
Good cheese and charcuterie platters starting at $10? Check
What's not to love??? Well, judging from the crowd at 732 Social that evening, Louisville agrees with me, or, at least is dying for this type of restaurant. The food is above average and the restaurant in general offers a departure from the every-day at a reasonable price.
I'm still a newbie here in Louisville but if this is what I can look forward to I'll be a very happy girl.