Not lengthy after the flip of this century, I am undecided that many people would have predicted the rise of St. Matthews as one of many metropolis’s most lively bar and nightlife zones.
So I assume it should not shock us that this suburban village has all of the sudden develop into a go-to zone for Asian eateries with estimable bars.
Hear me out: Inside strolling distance of the nightlife zone’s epicenter on Shelbyville Highway, you will discover two Vietnamese eating places (Nam Nam Cafe and District 6 Gastropub), one common Thai spot (Merely Thai) and a high Indian restaurant (Tikka Home) . And only a mile down the highway sits Oriental Home, the 60-plus-year-old OG of native Asian eats.
5 glorious Asian eating places alongside a one-mile stretch? I am undecided that town’s South Finish Vietnamese eats zone is way more concentrated than that. With out digging into the statistical particulars, this improvement makes me joyful.
I will seize a meal at most of those locations typically, even once I’m not reviewing, so once I realized that I hadn’t been again to District 6 since shortly after its opening within the autumn of 2019, I knew it was time to return.
We dropped in for lunch on a busy weekday and located the place already crowded and noisy at midday, full of seemingly joyful diners. Its invoice of fare, in line with the restaurant web site, focuses on each conventional and trendy dishes that “mix Vietnamese flavors and methods with native and market-fresh elements.”
The bar, a prerequisite for this nightlife zone, affords fundamental picks of modest wines and beers, fundamental basic cocktails (all $10), and most attention-grabbing, a half-dozen “Vietnamese-inspired” cocktails (all $12). The Vietnam Smash appears typical: It is a mixture of Buffalo Hint bourbon, a Kentucky bourbon barrel beer discount, Vietnamese honey easy syrup, recent squeezed lime and recent mint.
A lunch particular, accessible till 4 pm, consists of one facet and one entrée plus a delicate drink or iced tea for $12.75, however flip the menu web page and you will find lots of the identical dishes accessible on the dinner menu. It affords a broad choice, and many of the 14 small plates, 18 vegan or vegetarian dishes and 5 curry and noodle bowls are additionally priced at $12.75 (or much less for just a few smaller dishes). Solely the dozen signature dishes rise into fancy-dining worth factors: They vary from $12 (for pan-fried sticky rice with chorizo, pork and shrimp, or Mama T’s spicy bacon, egg and cheese fried rice) to $28 (for steamed complete sea bass in banana leaves).
We selected one lunch particular and ordered a few different gadgets à la carte. There gave the impression to be a number of servers at work within the busy room, however service was nonetheless a bit sluggish; We waited about 40 minutes for our meals, which may very well be problematic for people on an hourlong lunch break.
Our lunch particular was beef pho and a spring roll, each of which I judged good however not nice. They have been competently ready, however my socks stay firmly on my toes.
The spring roll was small—I truly did not see it at first, hidden behind a romaine leaf. Its pastry wrapper was fried crisp and scorching sizzling. It shattered on first chunk. The elements inside — pork, possibly cabbage or inexperienced pepper, a little bit of carrot — have been finely minced collectively.
The pho virtually crammed a deep steel bowl, with the standard Vietnamese facet dish of recent bean sprouts, lime wedge, sliced jalapeño and some springs of Thai basil. A small plastic tub of one thing like hoisin sauce got here alongside.
An excellent pho will probably be constructed on an intense, deeply-flavored beef inventory that simmered for a lot of hours. This pho was good, nevertheless it was not like that. The broth was clear, with tiny flecks of fats floating on high, however its beef taste was delicate at finest. Loads of tender rice noodles have been mounded within the bowl, topped with about 10 very skinny slices of beef, chopped recent cilantro and sliced white onion and inexperienced onion. Including basil, sprouts and lime from the seasoning dish kicked up the flavour as they melded into the dish.
Vietnamese spicy avenue corn ($6) from the small plates menu jogged my memory of Mexican elotes with a Vietnamese accent. I preferred it lots. An excellent-size cob of candy corn was rubbed with garlicky aioli and a fiery chile sauce and garnished with crisp fried shallots and recent cilantro.
An order of pagoda noodles ($12.75) from the vegetarian menu was an in depth cousin to pad Thai. A beneficiant portion of tender, flat rice noodles had been poured over loads of crisp-tender cauliflower and carrots, just a few cubes of fried tofu and inexperienced onions, with scrambled egg bits, chopped peanuts and cilantro on high.
With Vietnamese sizzling espresso ($5), robust and candy with condensed milk melted in, lunch for 2 totaled $37.57, plus an $8 tip.•
District 6 Gastropub
3930 Shelbyville Highway
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