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a la lucie
159 N. Limestone. Lexington's special occasion address. Regarded as one of the region's best. Award winning menu with extensive wine list. Open 10-6, Mon-Sat.Reservations recommended. 252.5277

Cafe Jennifer
111 Woodland Ave at the Woodlands Condominiums, 255-0709. A cozy restaurant featuring Kentucky favorites, using locally grown produce. Lunch and Dinner daily, Mon.-Sat. Pub room atmosphere in the well-stocked bar and private room available for small gatherings.

Common Grounds

343 East High Street 233-9761 Voted #1 coffeehouse year after year by ACE readers. Fresh treats available daily in the bakery. Night life is great, too: Open mic Mondays, vinyl record night on Tuesdays (Bring your own jazz or blues!). Call about art exhibits.

Daniel’s Fine Food and Spirits
243 Broadway (across from the Old Capital in Frankfort), (502) 875-5599, Voted “Best Place to Have Dinner in Frankfort.”One of the region’s newest upscale fine dining adventures set in 150 year-old buildings. Enjoy “Traditional with a Twist,” extensive wine list, outdoor dining, private dining room, and the frequent special events. Check out our website for calendar, menu, map, and more. Mon-Fri 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; Mon-Sat 5 p.m.-10 p.m.

The Depot
128 East Main St., Midway 846-4745 Eclectic creations with a down home flavor serving Central Kentucky and beyond. Good times abound at “The Depot” in Midway, six days a week for lunch and Thursday, Friday & Saturday for dinner.

Ed and Fred’s Desert Moon
148 Grand Blvd. 231-1161 American Cuisine at affordable prices. Enjoy gourmet pizzas, fresh pasta, specialty salads and sandwiches, and a wide array of entrees in an informal yet elegant atmosphere. Wonderful wine list! Patio dining and banquet facilities. Lunch: 11a-3p Tue-Fri; Dinner: Tue-Sun.

Emmett’s Restaurant
Off Tates Creek Road, south of Man O’ War, offers innovative Southern cooking in a renovated farmhouse featuring a cozy bar, casual patio dining and seven lovely dining rooms. Dinner served Mon.-Sun. beginning at 5:30 PM and Sunday brunch from 11 AM-2 PM. Reservations accepted. 245-4444.

521 West Short Street. 455-9660 Where tradition meets style. Five course tea service at noon and 3 pm Wed-Sat. in an atmosphere of understated elegance. Reservations required. Greentree also offers graceful service and imaginative cuisine demonstrating fine Southern hospitality for professional meetings, club events, and every wedding occasion.

The Homestead
The Homestead Restaurant offers superb regional cuisine in a classic and beautiful setting. A warm and cozy ambience naturally complements the traditional southern dishes prepared by Executive Chef Tony Cortez. With a charming bar, a romantic patio, and laid back live entertainment, The Homestead is the perfect spot for any occasion. The Homestead is open for dinner six nights a week. They are closed on Sundays, except during Keeneland and on some holidays. Dinner: 5:30 Mon-Thur,, 5:00 on Fri & Sat.

Imperial Hunan
Woodhill. 266-4393. One of Lexington's oldest and finest Chinese restaurants. Voted Best Kung Pao by Ace readers. Don't forget the Sunday Buffet. " Hours: Sun-Thurs 11:30am-10pm, Fri 11:30am-11pm, Sat Noon-11pm

Jonathan at
Gratz Park

120 West Second Street 252-4949 Redefined regional cuisine served in our Southern dining room or in the English pub room. Signature items and daily specials, every entrée a Jonathan original. Festive Sunday brunch from 11:30-2 pm. Reservations suggested. Also call us for intimate dinner parties, fabulous banquets, business lunches, pre-wedding events to the reception.

Mancino’s Pizza
& Grinders

1590A Leestown RD. 253-2299. First in Kentucky with HOT oven grinders! A taste of New York right here in Lexington. Everything from the traditional Mancino’s Pride pizza to the “New” Zesty Ranch Pizza. All Grinders are oven baked and served Hot from the oven. Everything made to order. Mon-Fri 11am-8pm; 11am-3pm Sat

Natasha's Cafe
112 Esplanade. A look and a feel of the Bleeker Street in the Village. A taste of Mediterranean cuisine interpreted by talented poet and chef Johnny Shipley. Lunch Buffet 11-2, Dinner 5-9. Lighter fair and exotic coffees in between. Fine dining for any income bracket.

Pacific Pearl
Chinoe Plaza. Boldly fusing Asian and American flavors. Coconut fried lobster, King Crab legs in ginger butter, and Grilled Yellowfin Tuna are just a few of the items that represent this extensive menu. Dining room, patio and bar offers elegant decor. Open 5-10 pm, Sun-Thu. and 5-11 pm, Fri and Sat. Reservations recommended. 266.1611

Phil’s Cookshop
on romany

342 Romany Road 266-0099 Seriously good food for the gourmet on the go. Artisan bakery, hot entrees, freshly prepared salads, made to order sandwiches, absolutely exquisite desserts, pies and cakes. Incredible selection of wines Join us for wine tasting Wed and Fri 4-8 pm. Open Monday-Saturday 8-8:30 Call the Cookshop catering, too!

l A Room with a View

I'm in a bar fifteen floors up, just sitting there in a rumpled casual suit. Childhood memories, empathy for others never met, and trite phrases that I have repeated since last Tuesday are constantly with me. The waiter arrives quietly and exits unnoticed. This may be the one place where it is not impolite to stare off into the distance.

The view is dramatic. The Lexington skyline at sunset from a comfortable chair at The Lafayette Club is beautiful and exactly how the initial members wanted a patron to feel when visiting their club.

To eat in the sky has, for many, always held an appeal. Combining gastronomy and panorama, maybe laughing in the face of gravity a bit, creates a dining experience that is unique and memorable.

I went with a friend recently to this very traditional Lexington institution to enjoy a special night out. We started our meal in the bar with a glass of wine and Blue Point oysters with tomato and cracked pepper sorbet with lemon confit. This was delicious and the sorbet will be something that I will try to recreate at home - but eating in the bar seemed to be confusing the server so we moved to the dining room.

One of the most charming parts of dinner was having our waitress prepare the Caesar salad tableside (as is traditional). She rolled out a cart containing little ramekins of ingredients, a coddled egg, oil and vinegar, and a large wooden bowl. After asking our garlic and anchovy preferences, she took her time, explained the process, and mixed a nice salad.

The only problem with my entrée was that I had to share it. "Pan roasted Chilean sea bass with blue jumbo lump crabmeat, sweet corn, and a hint of vanilla" was served with the flourish of covers being lifted off of plates. The sauce was creamy, but not heavy, and the fish had the crispness of roasting on the outside and was melt-in-your-mouth buttery on the inside. It was beautifully served on roasted potatoes with a lobster claw draped across the filet and sauce on the plate, which didn't obstruct views of the food.

This type of food was the original idea for the club. In 1973, the charter membership of The Lafayette Club was formed to create a dining atmosphere that would be elegant and leisurely. Architects were hired and the rooms were built to suit the needs of a niche that wanted to preserve that feeling of intimate, formal dining with a view of the city of which they were so much a part. I think of women in pearls, men in suits, dancing to the band of the evening, and enjoying a special evening out.

Over the years, it has changed hands and relaxed its dress code somewhat, but it still remains a restaurant club that prides itself on familiarity and the best possible service, if you are a member.

The Lafayette Club is currently running a "member for a day" program until October 31st to entice people to see for themselves what the club has to offer. They provide catering services, private dining rooms and a continental breakfast, free for members and a nominal fee for guests. If you have ever been interested in joining a dining club, either for yourself or your business, this is a no-risk opportunity to try it.

The thing to remember is that this is a club: membership, dress codes, dues, etc. are not for everyone. Some people just do not like this sort of thing. As a friend of mine pointed out, she would rather wrestle a sweater on a pig than try to get a tie on her husband just to go out to eat on a Friday night.

The Lafayette Club, in its heyday, was the place to be and their current goal is to recreate that - although I do not know if they will convince members of dress code changes - but all of the essentials are there from the original: attentive service, excellence in food, specially chosen wine, and, of course, the view.

Thanks to everyone who's sent recipes and news for the column. Your ideas are appreciated. (Email: