* Click here for rating key
Lilly's Restaurant Review: Works by local artists, including two wall-length murals, uplift the three intimate dining rooms at Lilly’s. One mural, in pastels of greens and blues, depicts a farm scene, which is one of the many ways chef/proprietor Kathy Cary honors the producers who supply the fresh, local ingredients for her frequently changing menus. It is not a stretch to say that Cary, who has operated this landmark Louisville restaurant since 1988, is the Alice Waters of Kentucky. She was buying directly from regional farmers years before other area chefs. Thanks to this practice, the offerings feature such dishes as the Kentucky Rose salad with arugula, Kenny’s Rose cheese (Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese, Austin, Ky.) and bourbon-barrel smoked paprika (Bourbon Barrel Foods, Louisville) vinaigrette as well as grilled Stone Cross Farm (Taylorsville, Ky.) pork tenderloin dressed with sorghum bourbon mustard velouté. For vegetarians, the Farmer’s Trio may match a quinoa-and-lentil cake with a selection of seasonal vegetables. Highly addictive, freshly baked rosemary-potato bread served with olive oil and salt accompanies all. Service matches the high standard of the food, with Cary herself often helping staff bring plates to tables. A solid, international wine list is supplemented by a first-rate bourbon list. The quintessential Kentucky restaurant is, very appropriately, a member of Louisville’s Urban Bourbon trail.