I wasn't kidding when I said I have been on a never-ending culinary review of Louisville since my return. A few new restaurants are already on my list, that are either so new I have never seen them, or I didn't have enough time to visit before I crossed the Atlantic. Doc Crow's fits into the latter category, and I've heard great things about the restaurant even while abroad (namely from The Bluegrass Peasant, David Dominé, an expert in all things food and Louisville).
The night I decided to go was on this past Trolley Hop in NuLu. NuLu is the name given to the Art District, which occupies Market and Main Street in Louisville. Apparently it stands for New Louisville, and it is fun to say...but I also liked the Art District--for information purposes. Anyways, a friend and I went to Doc Crow's on our way back from the gallery hop, and I was elated by the entire experience.
Doc Crow's Southern Smokehouse and Raw Bar is situated next-door to O'Shea's Irish Pub on Main Street--funny story, we passed the main entrance and tried to enter through the front of the building, where there were tables and booths set up and no operating entrance, so the bouncers at O'Shea's tried to get us to come in...I politely and firmly declined for obvious reasons. Please, I pity the fool who comes between me and a healthy portion of Shrimp and Grits. So, word to the wise, the main entrance is to the left of the beautiful floor to ceiling entrance doors.
We entered to a softly lit restaurant full of great conversation and the sounds of people enjoying good food and drink all around. The restaurant is clearly on Whiskey Row, from the ambiance to the menu. They have the most impressive bourbon list I have seen since my return to Louisville, and boy was I happy to see the accompanying cocktails. In addition, the menu is riddled with fine pork products, southern classics like my choice: the Shrimp and Grits, barbecue that will make you cry tears of joy, hush puppies, fried goodness of all sorts, the daring Po' boy offerings (revered Cajun traditions), and raw oysters on the half shell. I know, doesn't that sentence make you ecstatic already?
The waitstaff, dressed in their plaid shirts and jeans and prepared with southern hospitality, promptly greeted us at the door. Seeing that the restaurant was packed and a couple of bar stools were beckoning us from the corner, we chose to settle down in front of the oyster shucking lady for our dinner entertainment. If you want well-shucked, fresh as you can get them oysters on the half shell, you should come here!
I asked for a drink menu to see what all that bourbon on the wall could do, and my friend and I ordered the Ginger Diver, which was ginger-infused bourbon, Swedish Punsch, pineapple and ginger ale. I loved those flavors, the smooth vanilla notes I got from the bourbon worked with the ginger and pineapple so well, I was sweetly surprised. Definitely worth a try, and I bet the rest of their cocktails are just as delightful.
For the main course, we went for the Shrimp and Cheddar Grits. I love homemade grits every which way, but especially the way that Doc Crow's decided to prepare it. The shrimp was prepared better than any shrimp I have had here on the Ohio River, and the smoked tomato sauce worked wonders with the sharp bite of the cheddar. Very pleasant, and I apologize to the person sitting next to me while I was experiencing southern-food nirvana, as my appreciation of food is quite vocal.
Doc Crow's Southern Smokehouse and Raw Bar
127 W. Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202
You can also make reservations online.