There’s something about eating in Downtown Louisville. I think it’s the country in me. I was raised in a small county in rural Kentucky (and I love it); that said, “downtowns” were mesmerizing to me as a child and still continue to be as an adult. Whether it’s New York or a smaller city like Louisville, the energy, the vibe, and the experience is one that I always look forward to.
I’ve been a frequent visitor of Down One Bourbon Bar & Restaurant as of late – and for good reason! A member of the Urban Bourbon Trail, Down one is a unique bourbon experience that all visitors must check out. I’m not the only one that thinks so: they’ve been named one of the top Bourbon Bars in America by the Bourbon Review for six consecutive years (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018), featured in Travel + Leisure, National Geographic Travelers Magazine, and nominated for “The People’s Best New Bars of 2014” by Food & Wine. Not too shabby, right?
Apart from the bourbon + cocktails, the atmosphere is fantastic. Located in the center of historic Whiskey Row, Down One is a former underground parking garage turned speakeasy-themed restaurant. Sitting below Main St. in Downtown Louisville, Down One also boasts a patio that is lined with magnolia trees and offers tables, comfortable outdoor seating, and bourbon barrel tables. Need I say more?
Well, of course I need to talk about the food!
It’s finger-lickin’ good, as I like to say – and I’m so excited to share my recent dining experience with y’all!
Every meal at Down One should start with the Masa Fried Cheese Curds. For those of y’all that are not familiar, masa is a corn dough that comes from ground nixtamalized corn. I love the flavor and the texture! The cheese curds are served with shaved jalapeños and house-made ranch.
Next was the Chinese Chicken Salad. This was my second time ordering this; it’s turned into a lunch-time favorite! The salad features mixed greens, Napa cabbage, shredded carrots, scallions, candied cashews, cilantro, crispy wonton strips, and a delicious peanut-ginger dressing. You can also add brisket, chicken, fried cod, or fried green tomatoes to it!
Fried Green Tomatoes are a southern staple. And as a Kentucky boy, if I see them on the menu, I almost always order them. Down One’s are flavorful and I absolutely love the plating! They are served with a pepper jam, which is a perfect accompaniment; they would also be great with the house-made ranch.
This one is for my veggie-lovers: the Roasted Curry Cauliflower Buddha Bowl. Complete with curried cauliflower, sticky rice, avocado, yogurt, crispy shallots, cilantro, and sesame seeds – this bowl packs a multitude of bold flavors that pair very well together! You’ll love this dish, y’all.
The following course is my favorite item on the menu: the Tuna Poke Burrito “Roll”. It’s akin to a sushi burrito. Yes, you read that correctly. A tortilla with tuna poke, sticky rice, avocado, ponzu mayonnaise, crispy shallots, cilantro, and sesame seeds. My mouth waters at the mere thought of it.
Now, for my meat lovers: the Dirty Dog! An all-beef frank, wrapped in bacon, topped with smoked brisket chili, country cole slaw, and fire-roasted chiles. Mic drop, am I right?
Brisket grilled cheese anyone? I need not say more than this: order it.
Last, but not least (that I promise you!): the Elvis Presley, which features peanut butter banana pudding, vanilla wafer + bacon crumble, and brûlée bananas. At just $4, I think this is one of the best, most economical desserts in the city!
Now, that’s a lot of food – and I certainly had to wash it down with some delicious cocktails.
The libations that I sampled:
Down One Margarita (Lime): a favorite drink of mine, always. It pairs very well with their cheese curds + tacos!
Bourbon Peach Tea with Lemon: This cocktail is not available during the fall season, but it should be on your radar when it returns next year!
Pre-Prohibition Old-Fashioned — they have many varieties of the old-fashioned, including one on tap. How iconic is that?
Blackberry Bourbon Smash: Buffalo Trace, Blackberries, Lime Sour, Mint.
Plum Surprised: Prosecco, Fresh Plum Syrup, Thyme Sprig.
Candy Apple Punch: Absolute Apple Cider, Spices, Domain de Canton.
Boulevardier: Bulleit Rye, Campari, Carpano Antica, Citrus Twist.
Ready for your next outing in Louisville? My friends at Down One Bourbon Bar & Restaurant have you covered. Be sure to visit them — but, heed my warning: go hungry!
As always: Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!
Y’all come back now, ya hear?
FTC: This post was kindly sponsored by Down One Bourbon Bar and Restaurant; however, as always, all opinions are my own.