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Robin Garr

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8UP is stunning, but how about the food?

by Robin Garr » Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:50 pm

8UP is stunning, but how about the food?

LEO's Eats with Robin Garr

The Orechiette at 8UP
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Even after many years of wisecracking about food, I have to doff my toque to Calvin Trillin, whose culinary scribblings in The New Yorker and elsewhere surely qualify him as the funniest food writer ever.

So, upon my recent visit to 8UP, the self-described "Elevated Drinkery and Kitchen" atop the new downtown Hilton Garden Inn, it was with great glee that I went a'Googling in search of my favorite Trillin quote about rooftop eateries.

Dang! I couldn't find it. Oh, sure, Calvin had plenty to say - and not much good - about rooftop restaurants. "I never eat in a restaurant that's over a hundred feet off the ground and won't stand still," for instance.

That's not the quote I wanted. The way I remember it, Trillin said, "The quality of restaurant fare is inversely proportional to the building-top view." But apparently he didn't say that, or if he did, Google missed it. Or maybe I made it up, in derivative homage to the master.

8UP, with its oversize outdoor patio jutting out over the street with a bright sign inviting passers-by to "Hang Up," is stunning in architecture and decor, a vast, multi-room complex walled in glass, with an oversize bar and dining rooms open to that rooftop view. I'd rank it among the city's most spectacular venues.

But let's be frank: You can't eat architecture, or a view. I think this is what Trillin is getting at with his snark on rooftop dining. The view may bring people in, but it takes great food and service to keep them coming back. How does 8UP stand up?

Well. It certainly wasn't bad. Much of our dinner was very good, but a few dishes were only so-so. Our server, David, was exceptional: cordial and professionally on-task without being intrusive.

For what it's worth, 8UP's general manager Len Stevens has left the building, and executive chef Russell Kook will blast off for Chicago later this month, so things might be a little shaky over there. ...


Read the full review on LouisvilleHotBytes,
http://www.louisvillehotbytes.com/?p=5198
And in LEO Weekly:
http://www.leoweekly.com/2015/02/8up-stunning-food/

8Up Elevated Drinkery and Kitchen
Hilton Garden Inn Louisville Downtown
350 W. Chestnut St.
631-4180
http://8uplouisville.com
https://facebook.com/8UPLouisville
Robin Garr's rating: 84 points
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Mark R.

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Re: 8UP is stunning, but how about the food?

by Mark R. » Wed Feb 04, 2015 2:48 pm

Like you, we are interested to see what happens with the shakeups that are about to happen there. We certainly enjoyed the dinners we had there immensely. I think it's unfortunate that you stayed away from the majority of the meat and seafood items on the menu, we found them to be wonderful. The scallops appetizer with amazing and my wife really loved the short ribs, addition she doesn't even care for normally!

I really don't consider the fact that you can't get food from the bar menu in the main dining room an issue. They are basically 2 completely different restaurants with different kitchens and kitchen staff. You wouldn't go to the Oakroom and tell them you want a dish from the English Grille would you?

I do agree that the menu from the dining room is lacking in vegetarian options. This certainly doesn't affect most people and those that it does should consider the fact prior to booking reservations. Not every restaurant feels that vegetarian dishes are something they are good at and certainly don't want to serve items they aren't comfortable preparing.
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Adrian Baldwin

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Re: 8UP is stunning, but how about the food?

by Adrian Baldwin » Wed Feb 04, 2015 4:56 pm

You wouldn't go to the Oakroom and tell them you want a dish from the English Grille would you?


Considering they are two completely different restaurants in two completely (The Brown & The Seelbach) hotels located about 2 blocks away from one another ---> no I would not.

That said, I don't have a problem with it either. Many restaurants have special bar menus, that's not an abnormal thing in the least.
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Re: 8UP is stunning, but how about the food?

by Mark R. » Wed Feb 04, 2015 6:49 pm

Adrian Baldwin wrote:Considering they are two completely different restaurants in two completely (The Brown & The Seelbach) hotels located about 2 blocks away from one another ---> no I would not.

Okay may be a better comparison would've been the English Grille and the downstairs J Graham Brown's. The point was they are 2 completely different places with completely separate kitchens and kitchen staff!

That said, I don't have a problem with it either. Many restaurants have special bar menus, that's not an abnormal thing in the least.

Neither do I but I don't see why some people do have a problem with that and expect to be able to order from a menu that is not offered to them!
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Carla G

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Re: 8UP is stunning, but how about the food?

by Carla G » Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:16 am

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