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Intriguing, creative Ostra brings the flavor

by Robin Garr » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:59 am

Intriguing, creative Ostra brings the flavor

LEO's Eats with Robin Garr

The cricket brownies at Ostra don’t taste like crickets. They taste like brownies.
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Let me tell you three important things about Ostra, the stylish restaurant that opened last summer in Clifton:

It is very loud, so loud that a sudden shout can – and often does – spike its noise level into the potentially hazardous zone above 90 dB.
It is very dark, so dark that it’s not always easy to make out what’s on your plate.
It is very, very good, so good that I really don’t mind that it’s loud and dark. I’d go back in a heartbeat.

It also serves, among other things, a chocolate brownie made of crickets.

Yes, you heard that right: Ostra is Louisville’s first restaurant serving insects, and that’s no mere whim. Executive Chef Adam Burress, whose outstanding restaurant portfolio includes Hammerheads, Migo and Game, is intentional about highlighting foods that are sustainable and locally sourced from small farms.

Insects are prized as delicacies in many countries in the global South. America hasn’t caught up with the rest of the world yet, but that may change in this century. Burress is kindly offering us a head start.

Don’t worry, though, the brownie is the only item on the extensive menu that contains insect life. There’s plenty of seafood, including several oyster dishes plus uncooked poke, seviche and more. Other meats are chosen for their sustainability and availability from local farms, including wild boar, duck, chicken, and rabbit. If you want a steak or a chop, you’ll have to look elsewhere; but it’s your loss if you do. ...

Read the full review on LouisvilleHotBytes,
http://www.louisvillehotbytes.com/intri ... ostra-wins

You'll also find this review in LEO Weekly's Food & Drink section today.
http://www.leoweekly.com/category/food-drink/

Ostra
1758 Frankfort Ave.
915-0160
http://ostralouisville.com
https://facebook.com/ostralou
https://instagram.com/ostra_lou

Robin Garr's rating: 92 points

Noise level: Make no mistake, with its hard edges and jovial crowd, Ostra is loud, particularly when every table and bar seat is occupied. (Average sound level 85dB, with occasional bursts to an ear-shattering 94dB.)

Accessibility: The older building has been thoughtfully renovated to afford access to wheelchair users at the entrance and in the restrooms.
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Re: Intriguing, creative Ostra brings the flavor

by Heather L » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:17 am

I have not made it to Ostra yet, but it's absolutely on my list. 2 thumbs up to them for offering creative and appealing vegetarian dishes that sound like SO much more than the often 'gimme' pasta dish or black bean burger. It's definitely appreciated.
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Re: Intriguing, creative Ostra brings the flavor

by Robin Garr » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:48 am

Heather L wrote:2 thumbs up to them for offering creative and appealing vegetarian dishes that sound like SO much more than the often 'gimme' pasta dish or black bean burger. It's definitely appreciated.

To me, that's the sign of a chef who knows what he or she is doing. If you think you're creative but then send out a prettied up portabello and think you're doing justice to the plant-based side of the menu, you've failed.

To their credit, all the restaurants in that group - even Game :shock: - do right by the plant-eaters.
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Re: Intriguing, creative Ostra brings the flavor

by GaryF » Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:59 pm

Loved my first meal there a couple weeks ago. The place was 3/4 full and I had no issue with the noise at all- perhaps you were there on an annoying evening. Everything was excellent from the greeting to the goodbye.
I'm happy to say that I'm going back tonight!
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Re: Intriguing, creative Ostra brings the flavor

by Robin Garr » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:19 pm

GaryF wrote: perhaps you were there on an annoying evening.

Possible, but it's was pretty consistent all evening, and I ran the dB meter several times because it was surprising. There was a loud drunk up at the bar and a noisy group of late-middle-aged men who may have been the Clifton chapter of Proud Boys at a back table. :P Still, without a soft surface in the place except for the cloth napkins, floor of concrete and tables of stone, it's hard to argue that it's a quiet venue.

Make no mistake, I still love it. :)

I'm happy to say that I'm going back tonight!

Enjoy!
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Re: Intriguing, creative Ostra brings the flavor

by Jay M. » Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:47 pm

Is this the old Maido location? I believe Chris Derome, formerly bartender extraordinaire at Seviche, was to be part of the ownership at a new place to open in that location. Is he involved?

(Bugs? No.)
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Re: Intriguing, creative Ostra brings the flavor

by Robin Garr » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:42 pm

Jay, I didn't know this when I wrote the review, but I believe Chris is a part owner and oversees the bar program.
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Re: Intriguing, creative Ostra brings the flavor

by TP Lowe » Fri Jan 25, 2019 8:54 am

Jay M. wrote:Is this the old Maido location? I believe Chris Derome, formerly bartender extraordinaire at Seviche, was to be part of the ownership at a new place to open in that location. Is he involved?

(Bugs? No.)


Heading to SE Asia in a couple of weeks, and I expect grilled bugs to be plentiful.
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Re: Intriguing, creative Ostra brings the flavor

by Gordon M Lowe » Sat Jan 26, 2019 6:43 am

TP Lowe wrote:Heading to SE Asia in a couple of weeks, and I expect grilled bugs to be plentiful.


I feel like a real stick in the mud, but I just don't want to eat bugs deliberately.
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Re: Intriguing, creative Ostra brings the flavor

by Carla G » Wed Jan 30, 2019 7:49 am

Gordon M Lowe wrote:
TP Lowe wrote:Heading to SE Asia in a couple of weeks, and I expect grilled bugs to be plentiful.


I feel like a real stick in the mud, but I just don't want to eat bugs deliberately.


I’m with you on that Gordon. When I was in Venice a popular dish was a young seafood bouquet- a big plate of fried baby sea creatures, tiny fish (maybe 1” smaller), tiny octopus and various other very small morsels. THAT was excellent. Very crunchy and there was no escaping the idea that you were eating the entire creature skeleton, organs and eyeballs. But bugs? I just don’t know if I could or not.
"She did not so much cook as assassinate food." - Storm Jameson
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Re: Intriguing, creative Ostra brings the flavor

by Robin Garr » Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:58 am

Carla G wrote:
Gordon M Lowe wrote:I feel like a real stick in the mud, but I just don't want to eat bugs deliberately.

But bugs? I just don’t know if I could or not.

Just out of curiosity, do you guys eat shrimp or lobster? :mrgreen:
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Re: Intriguing, creative Ostra brings the flavor

by TP Lowe » Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:03 am

Robin Garr wrote:
Carla G wrote:
Gordon M Lowe wrote:I feel like a real stick in the mud, but I just don't want to eat bugs deliberately.

But bugs? I just don’t know if I could or not.

Just out of curiosity, do you guys eat shrimp or lobster? :mrgreen:


Ha! :P
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Re: Intriguing, creative Ostra brings the flavor

by Gordon M Lowe » Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:09 am

Robin Garr wrote:
Carla G wrote:
Gordon M Lowe wrote:I feel like a real stick in the mud, but I just don't want to eat bugs deliberately.

But bugs? I just don’t know if I could or not.

Just out of curiosity, do you guys eat shrimp or lobster? :mrgreen:

I think Carla does, but I'm really not into seafood past a good fish filet.

I know a person who willingly lets spiders and even a tarantula walk over her, but I doubt she'd eat them, only for the fact she's an extreme animal lover. Go figure. Everybody's different, but surely those who do love(or would try) a crunchy insect treat are more adventurous than I.
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Re: Intriguing, creative Ostra brings the flavor

by Carla G » Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:50 am

I do eat shrimp and lobster. I eat beef but refuse to eat liver. For me - and I openly admit that there is no logical reasoning behind how I “feel”, I think my aversion relates to an association of bugs with dirt. (That’s why I don’t eat liver. Really? Eat the organ of an animal that filters out toxins? No thank you. ) But, I eat oysters and they are pretty much ocean filters as well.
(Shrugs) I guess until I see a need for me to eat bugs I’ll be happy to refrain.
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Re: Intriguing, creative Ostra brings the flavor

by Gordon M Lowe » Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:51 am

Carla G wrote:I do eat shrimp and lobster. I eat beef but refuse to eat liver. For me - and I openly admit that there is no logical reasoning behind how I “feel”, I think my aversion relates to an association of bugs with dirt. (That’s why I don’t eat liver. Really? Eat the organ of an animal that filters out toxins? No thank you. ) But, I eat oysters and they are pretty much ocean filters as well.
(Shrugs) I guess until I see a need for me to eat bugs I’ll be happy to refrain.

That's pretty much how I feel about liver, too. As far as bugs go, I didn't develop a liking for them growing up, and I think most of our food palates are developed early. There's plenty of adventurous eaters out there willing to try something new and exotic, though, and more power to them.
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