Named for the birthplace of Kentucky bourbon, the bar is a big part of the experience at Maysville. It stretches the length of the restaurant, its bartenders hopping to and fro to churn out brown cocktail after brown cocktail (they’re terrific, by the way, especially the Manhattans). But the appeal of Maysville isn’t strictly alcoholic; there’s real artistry in the food here, too. Chef Kyle Knall takes such classics as grits, fries them in cubes, and tops them with sliver-thin pieces of pork as an appetizer. The result is a wonderful mélange of creamy, crunchy, and salty, unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before. He smokes an entire trout and then serves it as part of a perfectly dressed salad, the fish and the greens playing off one another in a seriously savory fashion. Other highlights of the menu include the nettle agnoletti and duck breast with a hunk of almost-frozen foie gras (it gives the dish an ice-cream–like appeal). So why two stars instead of three? That goes back to the bar, which attracts such a large, noisy crowd that patrons have to shout to be heard in other parts of this handsome high-ceilinged restaurant. A shame, since in other ways, this place is terrific.
- Pauline Frommer