Last week we tried two new places, to add to our dining list. Not that they had just opened, but we had not made it on our extensive list of places.
The first was "Aoi" Japanese Cuisine, One Levee Way Newport KY-859-431-9400. This Japanese Restaurant is located on the ground level of "Newport on the Levee" across the driveway from "Brio's". There is dinning both inside and out.
The first thing we noticed, upon entering, was a group of 9 Asia Business men, in their dark suites, placed on two sides of a long table. The table was full of several dishes and servers were handling libations on a regular schedule. When we left, 2 hours later, the scene remained the same. Some people know how to enjoy a leisurely dinner.
Upon being seated, on the patio, I asked what the gentlemen inside were being served and was told it came from the Japanese menu. Of course, I asked to see that and was pleased that the items were in English as well as Japanese. I selected from that menu a serving of thin sliced beef tongue, grilled, and served with fresh lemon. Others in our group had some various raw fish items also from the Japanese menu. I also had the "Role of mixed seafood" which was the special of the evening. I tackled a 22 oz bottle of Kerin beer with satisfactory results. Others had duck breast, soy beans, assorted cold plates and several vegetable dishes, spinach and also mushrooms.
Sake was plentiful and hot Green tea was served at the end of the meal.
From what we hear "Joan" near the Toyota Hq is the top Japanese restaurant in the area but "Aoi" is no slouch.
The other, new for us, spot was "Virgils Cafe" 710 Fairfield Ave( KY Rt 8) Bellevue KY 41073-859-491-3287. According to the owner, chef, with whom we visited, they have been open since March. It has created somewhat of a buzz. Friday night they were pleasantly full and handled the patrons promptly and politely. It is an informal cafe.
The menu is eclectic and I chose, after Bombay, Frogs legs, well seasoned and lightly fried, but slightly chewy and a salad of Lump crab meat, artichoke bottoms, avocado and greens, a light but filling dinner. All were prepared well and served by the efficient kitchen. Marilyn had a cup of "Minestrone soup, without pasta, an order of Duck Spring Rolls, served crispy and correctly seasoned, and a Caesar salad. Our total dinner plus tip was under $50.
The other couple split a first course and salad and had a very good, slightly unusual, Shrimp Gumbo. The shrimp had been cooked in a tomato based gumbo sauce and were served, separately, over a bed of grits. I took a taste and found the dish very taste.
The chef prepares his own Pastrami, from scratch, but since they had "run out" I went without a taste. I'll return for lunch and give it a try, as well as other items.