“Don’t call it a comeback – I’ve been here for years…” – LL Cool J
I’ve had my eye on Carly Rae’s since I moved to Old Louisville a few months ago. Unfortunately, the restaurant at First and Oak streets had been shuttered since my arrival.
But this month, the restaurant made a comeback – and it’s like Carly Rae’s had never been closed.
Carly Rae’s classifies itself as an upscale casual eatery, a notion that isn’t too hard to figure out once you see the white tablecloths and hear R&B Muzak piping through the restaurant. Carly Rae’s also includes a bar and a nice outdoor patio that add to the ambiance of the restaurant. It’s the kind of place where you can impress a first date without going broke in the process.
The food selections are pretty low-key compared to the building’s atmosphere. The menu states that its selections are “a taste of what’s to come,” which I hope means that there will be more variety in future offerings. Sandwich selections are basic, but inexpensive, with items such as the Carly Rae burger ($7.99) and the pulled pork sandwich ($6.99).
The standards extend to the entrée menu. There are only five entrées on the menu, with specials on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The regular entrées are pretty standard fare, such as chicken or shrimp fettuccine ($9.99), charboiled ribeye ($14.99) and a chicken wing dinner ($10.99).
On my visit to Carly Rae’s, I went with the catch of the day, which was catfish that came with a side of french fries and coleslaw.
The catfish had a crispy coating flavored simply with salt and pepper. The coleslaw was some of the best I’ve had in a while – the dressing was sweeter than most slaws I’ve tried recently, but it complimented the cabbage. The fries, thick and steak cut, were hot and sprinkled with kosher salt.
The service was a little slow, which I blame on growing pains of the restaurant’s reopening. But the waitress was fabulous and friendly. She immediately wanted to remedy Rob’s displeasure with his coleslaw, a side dish he has never liked. She replaced his uneaten coleslaw with a plate of hot french fries that pleased the both of us.
Carly Rae’s has a lot of potential to make a dent in the Old Louisville restaurant world. Let’s just hope the menu expands to let the chefs explore and create their own distinct flavors.
Notes about Carly Rae’s
- The weekend specials sound delicious – meatloaf on Fridays, BBQ beef tips on Saturdays and fried chicken on Sundays.
- Carly Rae’s, 103 West Oak Street, Louisville, Ky.
- Catch of the day (catfish – one piece) with french fries and coleslaw: $8.99
- Total (plus tax and tip): $10