Named after the birthplace of Kentucky bourbon, and incidentally Rosemary Clooney!, Maysville is an American whiskey bar and restaurant. Not a connoisseur of the dark liquor, the insistence of my PR colleague, Time Inc. Lifestyle Group PR Director Jennifer Zawadzinski made my trip mandatory, and, lucky for me, I brought along a lover of bourbon, my friend Thomas, to help me out with that part.
Called a “confident restatement of the American Tavern” by the New York Times, the shotgun style restaurant has one wall of chocolate colored upholstered banquettes across from an impressive wall of over 100 types of bourbon behind a pretty bar with dreamy lighting above. Ambiance aplenty and an attentive wait staff, now let’s talk about food.
Birmingham native, Chef Kyle Knall has been touted as unpretentious and that’s a good descriptor. After dropping the name of one of his biggest fans and foodie Ms. Z., he was kind enough on a busy day to sit and chat about our lunch choices for a moment. My dining companion and I were intrigued by the bourbon slat used to serve a slightly roasted radish atop a dollop of goat cheese. The amuse-bouche was delightful and Chef Kyle was kind enough to give us a quick peek to see the firing of a bourbon barrel.
Our starters also included Chilled Pemaquid Oysters (3.25 ea) on the half shell which were fresh and amazing as well as Crispy Grits ($9) with country ham and bourbon aioli. Chef Kyle’s menu is dictated by what he can procure fresh and local and it is evident.
Brussels Sprouts are not something you would demand from a restaurant but you should from Maysville. Listed as an appetizer ($16), prepared grilled with apples, sheep’s milk cheese & buttermilk dressing, we loved them and wouldn’t our moms be proud?
For the entrees, dining companion Thomas, a talented New York actor and celebrated recent University of Tennessee grad, enjoyed Beef Short Rib ($32) with sunchokes, winter greens and cauliflower crumble. No knife necessary, succulent was the best description for the delicious dish. Also called a Jersusalem artichoke, when roasting a sunchocke the skin becomes flaky and the flesh becomes tender. It was an interesting side and we loved it.
I was thrilled to try Artic Char ($29). Game for anything in the salmon family, the fish is considered by chefs in the know as a better environmental choice but apparently the exotic is harder to come by. For the diner, it was succulent and exquisite in taste. I was glad for the introduction which was served with carmelized onions and roasted shallots.
Oh, and did we try some bourbon? Well, of course Thomas did and gave it a glowing report from the very first sip. Chef Kyle was kind enough to send us a palette cleanser of Apple Granita ($9). Described as an apple icee, honey crisp apples are juiced, mashed and frozen then shaved and served with hints of tarragon and sheep’s milk yogurt added. It was…crazy, amazing.
Reservations are suggested. It’s open from lunch to dinner with extended Friday and Saturday hours. Put Maysville on your must dine list and you won’t be sorry.