Heading to the University of Kentucky area soon? Trying to figure out the best places to eat near Lexington? Whether you’re looking for a traditional Kentucky stew made with beef or a portion of pulled pork mac and cheese, we’ve got you covered right here with a list of the tastiest destinations to hit while you’re in town.
4201 Versailles Rd, Lexington, KY 40510
These reviews of Keeneland and The Village Idiot originally appeared Oct. 27, 2014.
My weekend started in Lexington with Burgoo and bread pudding at Keeneland, the venerable race track and site of the world’s largest thoroughbred sale. The kitchen at Keeneland has to pump out enough to feed between 15,000 and 25,000 people during a race meet, so the food should taste like the slop served at most stadiums. It does not. The Burgoo, a traditional Kentucky stew that can be made with mutton or even squirrel but at Keeneland is made with beef, sticks to the ribs and tickles the taste buds with hints of sherry and red wine. Meanwhile, the bread pudding might be one of the nation’s best mass-produced desserts. It was originally conceived as a way to burn off unused hot dog buns, but years ago Keeneland switched to Sister Schubert’s rolls. Anyone who has eaten one or eight of the rolls at a holiday gathering knows they are soft but still thick enough to stand up to whatever they’re dipped in. This makes them the perfect rolls for bread pudding and the ideal foil for the Maker’s Mark bourbon sauce in which each piece of bread pudding swims. Just don’t eat five of them and try to drive.
The Village Idiot
307 W Short ST, Lexington, KY 40507
On Friday night, I visited The Village Idiot in downtown Lexington because a friend had recommended their truffle mac and cheese. That had come off the menu, but it had been replaced by pulled pork mac and cheese. The dish had smoky pork atop penne noodles bathed in a smoked gouda mornay with cornbread crumbles. Apparently, there had been some dissent among the regulars when the truffle mac and cheese was pulled, but revolution was quickly quelled by the richness of the gouda mixing with the savory pork. It would be difficult not to order this again, but next time I visit, I’m going to have to try the fried quail and waffles. And I’ll probably get the pulled pork mac and cheese on the side. Just call a wheelbarrow to carry me out.