A Night out at St. Charles Exchange
If you are a lover of food, Louisville is a great place to visit, or better yet, live. Louisville has been named one of the best foodie towns in several publications over recent years including Bon Appetit and the Zagat Survey. Louisville support’s it’s locally owned staple restaurants that have been around for years, and is constantly opening the doors to exciting new restaurants that entice Louisvillians’ appetites again and again.
This past Saturday night my husband and I decided to indulge in a much needed date night. We wanted to go somewhere new, but also wanted to try something in contrast, that had been a staple restaurant in Louisville. We decided on the three month old St.Charles Exchange for appetizers and drinks and then on to one of Bardstown Roads older restaurants, Le Gallo Rosso, for dinner.
St. Charles Exchange opened it’s doors to the public the end of May this year, and have been bombarded by diners ever since. The upscale hotel lobby restaurant and prohibition style ambiance creates a relaxed setting that makes you want to hang around for hours. All the servers and staff members were dressed in period wears, and everyone was on their game. From the hostess greeting me, to the bartenders behind the oversized wood and mirrored bar, everyone was welcoming, helpful, and knew the answers to my questions (which I cant say for most places I dine). My husband and I were seated at the end booth in the bar which was intimate and comfortable. The drink menu was incredible. Easily the most impressive aspect of the night was reading the ingredients in each cocktail. As much care was put into the drink menu as was put into the dinner menu, and I am in love with it. We ordered our drinks with help from our server. My husband ordered the Old Fashioned and I ordered the Regime Change Punch that contained Old Granddad Bonded Bourbon along with several other liquors, juices, spices, teas and bitters. I had a chance to watch the bartenders make a few of the drinks, and it is almost like a science project, measuring and cutting. With three different types of ice, rums that have to be measured to the quarter teaspoon, and endless ingredients, the few extra minutes it took to get our drinks were totally worth the wait. My husband said his Old Fashioned was unlike anything he has every had and the last drink he ever wants to have. My punch was complex and delicious and every ingredient had its place in the cocktail. St. Charles Exchange uses all local bourbons and liquors when they can as well as local food ingredients. You can also get all of the punches in various sizes as well as in a pitcher. They will also concoct a special punch for you if you are having a special occasion if you let them know ahead of time.
With all this drinking, we were ready for some delicious food. For our appetizers, we ordered the Deviled Eggs and the Smoked Chicken Wings which were both delectable. The Smoked Chicken Wings came out piping hot and glistening red, like candy. With my first bite I felt an explosion in my mouth of flavor of extreme sweetness and saltiness at the same time, while neither flavor was overbearing. The wings are cooked with a three day process and you can tell as the chicken just fell off of the bone. The Deviled Eggs were a much milder flavor, very enjoyable and allowing a different eating experience, forcing us to slow down, take in each flavor, examine it and enjoy it, opposed to the sweet, salty and piping hot chicken wings that I wanted to eat on top of a bowl of vanilla ice cream.
Overall St. Charles Exchange was spot on. The service, ambiance, food, and drinks were extraordinary. There will always be small things about any restaurant you could pick apart, but what you take away is your experience, did you have a good time and was the food good? Yes! I can't recommend St. Charles Exchange any higher. I will be doing another review soon when I go for dinner, so stay tuned!