Jack Fry’s is celebrating 90 years in business. Jack and Flossie Fry opened in 1933 and the restaurant was mostly a sportsman hangout due to his love of horse racing and boxing. He closed the business in 1972 and then the space served Mexican food until it was re-established as Jack Fry’s in 1982. Susan Seiller bought the restaurant in 1987, the year Jack died. She transformed the restaurant into fine dining and then sold it to Stephanie Meeks in 1996, who started working there in 1996. She further upgraded the dining area and bar as well as adding climate-controlled wine storage. The place has won many awards and is filled with photos of its history, including the photo of Jack with the winning Derby ticket that made it possible to purchase the restaurant. It’s a cozy medium-sized darkly lit place with a small parking lot adjacent to one side. The white tablecloths, tin ceiling and full bar are complimented by the lovely live piano music. Service was friendly and helpful and I would heartily recommend this place if you find yourself in Louisville.
We started with their rye Old Fashioned and it was a nicely made drink. With it were two kinds of bread and whipped butter. The baguette style bread was a little on the dry side and made at a local bakery, The other was a soda bread make in-house and while a bit crumbly it was still moist and cake-like. Both were okay.
Spicy Fried Oysters were breaded and seasoned oysters on Weisenberger grits, with country ham, beurre blanc and green onions. They were excellent. The 5 juicy oysters were crispy coated, but not too coated. The terrific grits were creamy goodness accented with bits of ham in the buttery sauce. These were way easy to eat.
Brie Salad was made with Bibb lettuce in a basil-Dijon vinaigrette and topped with melted brie and toasted almonds. They kindly divided this in the kitchen before bringing it to the table. The toasted almonds were slivered rather than chopped and on top of the melted cheese. The tasty vinaigrette perfectly coated the fresh leaves and paired wonderfully with the melted cheese. What a fun combination this was.
Lamb Chops were Frenched and then grilled and served with provolone caramelized shallot potato gratin, haricots verts and glace de veau prepared with rosemary-Dijon compound butter. The 3 meaty chops were cooked perfectly and had plenty of delicious sauce. The green beans were tender and nice but the star of the plate was the potato gratin. It was divine. It had crisped lovely potato slices with cheese that were cooked to perfection. It was also superb with the rich red wine reduction sauce. A marvelous plate.
The beef fillet was a grilled tenderloin served with asparagus and crispy potatoes topped with sage beurre blanc, Parmigiano-Reggiano and prosciutto. The meat was cooked rare, as ordered and nicely tender. The potatoes were more a smashed red rather than a crispy one. The crisp bit was the prosciutto. The asparagus were nicely flavored as was the beurre blanc sauce.
Opera Cake was a Chiffon cake layered with caramel and chocolate buttercreams and finished with bourbon caramel and espresso syrup. It was tall and sitting in some decorative squirts of chocolate and caramel sauces. The layers of chocolate were thick and rich and there was also a tasty layer of butterscotch cream to contrast with the light cake. This one had lots of textures and plenty of sweet for a very good end result.