It’s a classic, and it’s in Kentucky!
Lexington, Kentucky, is fortunate to have several high-profile industries that conduct business in our city. The horse industry, several large corporations, and various sporting events bring a variety of people to town on a regular basis. It’s an eclectic mix of people and countries and gives Lexington a metropolitan vibe. We are very lucky to have an award-winning restaurant that reflects our southern heritage and culture and helps to promote Kentucky through its food.
Malone’s is the flagship restaurant of the Bluegrass Hospitality Group (BHG). It was started in 1998 by owners Brian McCarty and Bruce Drake. BHG offers several different restaurant concepts within the brand. From steakhouses to sushi to casual dining and banquets, BHG has a wide variety of dining that suits every occasion and taste. BHG has always been a great partner in helping Lexington to promote the dining scene, as well as Lexington and the Bluegrass region in general.
Malone’s is a traditional steakhouse with a local twist. The menu has many of the items that you expect to find at a premier steakhouse. There are steaks, chops, and seafood as well as signature dishes with local celebrity endorsements. Dishes like “Coach Cal’s” Chicken, Stoops’ Steak or the Randall Cobb steak, illustrate and celebrate Lexington’s love for sports.
We recently went to Malone’s for Saturday night supper. We enjoy dressing up for dinner occasionally, although at Malone’s it’s not a requirement. As in most restaurants these days you will find a wide variety of dress and people on any given night. But regardless of how you come through the door, you will be greeted warmly and made to feel welcome and appreciated. Genuine hospitality is a cornerstone of the Malone’s experience. It’s a ‘Southern Thing’!
Malone’s serves a hearty helping of classic steakhouse atmosphere. It has a lot of dark wood, glass, and low lighting. It is also contemporary, but with many regional touches. Signed menus from both national and local celebrities cover the walls. You will definitely see lots of people you recognize…..whether it be in the booth next to you enjoying their dinner or their signatures on the walls.
After we were seated in a cozy booth we ordered a cocktail. Malone’s has a great wine list, including wines by the glass. The list offers many different varieties and price points. You can be assured that you will find something that you like. In fact, Malone’s is one of the few restaurants in Lexington to receive the Wine Spectator award, which is a special achievement.
My friend is a bourbon drinker and Malone’s prides itself on their bourbon selection. The restaurant even selects individual barrels of bourbon from the distiller’s rickhouse and bottle and sells their own blends. That’s a unique and interesting way to differentiate yourself from other restaurants. While I ordered a glass of Malbec, my companion ordered a Manhattan. The drink was served with a side car on ice. That’s a great touch for Manhattan and martini drinkers. The martini glass is just the right size, around 4 ounces. Not so big that the cocktail gets warm before the rest of the drink is finished, and the sidecar allows for the drink to be refreshed. Too few restaurants offer this courtesy, and it illustrates Malone’s thoughtful commitment to hospitality and customer service.
Prior to ordering dinner our waiter brought us a loaf of fresh bread, right out of the oven! I’ve always loved Malone’s bread. They even give you a loaf of fresh bread if you order carry out. From the day they opened, Malone’s has always made excellent bread available as part of the meal.
While the atmosphere leans to the casual, certainly never pretentious, there is nothing casual about Malone’s service. Our server was very knowledgeable and helpful. The warm welcome from the hostess extends to the well-trained wait staff. The server’s assistant was very quick to keep my water-glass filled. That is very important to me, because I drink a lot of water!
My favorite appetizer has always been a shrimp cocktail. Steakhouse quality shrimp is something that you can’t buy at the neighborhood grocery or at Costco. Restaurant shrimp is usually flown in daily or several times a week and is super fresh. Malone’s shrimp cocktail is no exception. The shrimp were large and firm without any hint of ‘watery’ texture. You mix the cocktail sauce with the horseradish yourself. This way you get just the right amount of heat. The presentation is awesome. The blue light under the ice gives the dish the cool vibe it deserves.
Next the server brought our salads. Malone’s is well-known for its bottomless Lexingtonian Salad. It’s fresh and fabulous. There are a lot of fine dining restaurants that don’t include a salad with your meal. I really like the fact that Malone’s includes a salad with most, if not all meals. The salad is served with bacon, tomatoes and house made dressing. It’s a nice touch, well prepared, and really delicious. An alternative to a salad is Malone’s celebrated steak and potato soup…..it is robust and hearty and never disappoints.
For my main course I ordered the filet medallions. They are twin medallions around 3 ounces each…..a perfect size for me. I ordered them medium with a blue cheese crust and they arrived perfectly cooked. To be honest, it’s difficult to grill a 3-ounce steak to perfection. It’s really easy to over cook them, but to the chef’s credit, they were perfect!
Not every steakhouse or fine dining restaurant serves USDA Prime beef. In fact, according to Malone’s website, “less than 2% of the beef processed in the world is rated as “prime.” Malone’s offers a variety of cuts of USDA Prime steak to eat at the restaurant, but also to take home. Whether it’s a bone-in filet, a New York strip or filet medallions, they offer a wide variety of cuts to choose from.
On this night my friend ordered the pork chops. They arrived perfectly charred on the outside, moist and flavorful on the inside, with a fruit salsa of peaches, red and green peppers, and toasted pecans in a maple bourbon glaze. It was a perfect summertime meal cooked to perfection!
Malone’s has always been a great place to celebrate special occasions. The evening we were there the table next to us was celebrating a birthday. The cake arrived and everybody sang to the birthday girl. It was fun. The slice of cake was huge. It looked really good, certainly big enough for everybody at the table to have a bite or two!
I’m a dessert person! That’s my favorite part of the meal. I really couldn’t decide between the cheesecake, or the special of the night, key lime pie, or the apple pecan crisp. The manager happened to be passing by so I asked for his recommendation. He said to definitely order the pecan apple crisp. It was his favorite dessert.
My friend doesn’t really like apples so I ordered the apple crisp and he ordered the key lime pie. Both desserts were really good, but I couldn’t get my friend to quit eating the apple crisp. As I said earlier, he doesn’t even like apples! The apple crisp was served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and the desert was topped with caramel sauce. The crust was buttery, nicely ‘short’ and crisp, and the apples were cooked with cinnamon and more butter. It was delicious!
The manager stopped by the table to see how we liked the apple crisp and I asked him about the story of the desert. He told us that one of the chefs at Malone’s had perfected the desert and had entered it in the Kentucky State Fair. It was no surprise that the apple crisp was declared The Best Dessert and was the blue ribbon winner several years in a row!
We are long-time fans of Malone’s and our Saturday night supper was another delightful big blue dining experience. In honor of the Kentucky State Fair opening this week, may I recommend that you visit Malone’s and have a piece of the award-winning pecan apple crisp. Enjoy a fine dining experience with a unique Kentucky twist! xoxo
This post is in collaboration with Malone’s/Bluegrass Hospitality Group. All of the opinions are entirely my own.
In addition to Lexington, BHG venues can be enjoyed in Louisville and Florence, Kentucky; Franklin, Knoxville, and Bristol, Tennessee; Huntsville, Alabama; and Indianapolis, Indiana.