One of the toughest parts of this job is watching our food critics have all the fun. I hear of a hot new restaurant, and instead of tasting it myself, I have to send a food writer to do it—and he or she gets to eat on the company’s dime.
Then, I am forced to read the review about a perfect filet or robust wine list. Then readers tell me about how good a recommendation was. It sometimes takes me months to get out of the my office and taste it for myself (for various reasons, including time, finances and love for my couch on Thursday evenings).
The wait was certainly worth it for Empire Restaurant, which we reviewed all the way back in April, in Old Town Louisville.
Well, the 38-ounce T-bone steak for one. It was cooked a perfect medium rare, and easily filled the two members of our party who shared it. Then, the lamb. Also cooked to perfection, it sat atop a tasty goat cheese enchilada and spicy mole sauce that added a zing to the plate that I haven’t enjoyed in a long time.(I would expound more on the details, but I am not a reviewer, meaning I tend to enjoy my wine more than taking copious notes on flavors, ingredients, etc…)
There was also a few plates of biscuits that came out complimentary instead of a typical bread basket. Though a bit small, they were perfectly flaky, oozing of southern comfort food.
The summer squash side must have come from a garden around the block. The two bottles of rich red wine gave us all a nice buzz.
Perhaps the most striking moment of the evening came when the bill arrived. The four of us dined like royalty, with salads, starters, extra sides, gourmet meals, dessert and the aforementioned two bottles of wine—it cost us only $50 a person after a gracious tip.
That is an impossibility when dining in Boulder or Denver.
Needless to say, I am no longer jealous of my food critic having been to Empire long before me. Now I’ll just be envious at the most recent elegant dinners he has enjoyed courtesy of Yellow Scene.
—Jacob Harkins, Yellow Scene Magazine editor