When Stout Burgers and Beer invited me out to visit their new location on Bardstown Road , I was pretty excited. They're located in a neighborhood I know well and love -- Bob and my first condo was literally one block away in the quaint Bonnycastle/Deer Park area of the Highlands. It's also a make-or-break location for restaurants; with longtime local favorites and award-winning standouts in walking distance, a new eatery needs more than a cool concept or great decor. The food needs to be outstanding. From start to finish, my experience at Stout was just that: outstanding.
Stout is a Los Angeles-based concept that is slowly opening new locations in select markets. The Louisville restaurant opened earlier this summer; a Nashville location is next. The menu is quite simple: burgers (beef, chicken, or veggie) made with premium ingredients and gourmet toppings (we're talking truffle aioli and rosemary bacon here!), paired with beers that are specially selected to complement and optimize the flavors. The menu even suggests a category of beer that will pair best with your entree!
Stout employs a highly-trained staff. These folks really know what they're talking about. (In the course of conversation, I learned that one of the restaurant's owners is a Cordon Bleu-trained chef!) I wanted to try the signature offering, the Stout Burger, but was a little hesitant to pair it with the recommended IPA. I've never been a fan of hoppy beers, and tend to steer away from them. The bartender patiently asked about the flavor profiles I do enjoy, and gave me a few small pours to help me select an IPA that was both pleasing to my palate and complimentary to my meal.
I wound up with a honey IPA that tasted more like Knob Creek than a traditional IPA. And, let me tell you, it worked perfectly with the burger. I didn't taste the usual hops notes (what I always consider a "green" note; the same flavor profile that keeps me away from rye whiskey); instead, I tasted a sweet, clean flavor that balanced nicely with the caramelized onions, horseradish, gruyere, and bleu cheese on my burger. The serving staff's knowledge, patience, and commitment to the restaurant's concept really does translate to an improved dining experience!
Burgers come at two temperatures: pink and not-pink. I ordered my pink with a side of onion rings. The ingredients were fantastic and well-portioned. Some bites provided a sweet burst of rosemary bacon, others the piquancy of horseradish and bleu cheese, but the flavors never overwhelmed. The beer-battered onion rings were a fantastic side.
Stout's California roots are best seen in its sleek decor. A copper-walled bar with natural woods and exposed bricks leave no traces of the former tapas restaurant that inhabited the space for years. Beer is the primary spirit, but they stock enough bourbon to satisfy most tastes.
Stout would be a great spot for a casual date, an office happy hour, or the next time you crave a really great burger.
Thanks so much to Stout for the great food and lovely dining experience! I did receive a complementary meal in exchange for a review; all opinions are my own.