Cool Space, Great View

Cool Space, Great View

The Mane on Main could be the most unique event space in Lexington, Kentucky.  It is located on the 15th floor of the Chase Bank Building on Main Street.  The sweeping views of the city give it an exciting, big-city vibe.

Views from The Mane on Main in Lexington, Kentucky

You might remember this 12,500-square-foot location as the Lafayette Club, which was a private lunch and dinner club, or more recently as Bakers 360, which was a restaurant and nightclub. There’s a reason that it continues to be a popular location for events and dining.  From the floor-to-ceiling windows you can see the twinkling lights of Lexington.

Fine Dining and Event Space at The Mane on Main

Dupree Catering, which is co-owned by Azur chef Jeremy Ashby and Tom Evans, along with their business partners, operates The Mane on Main.  Both the catering expertise and the location make it a great option for private events.

The farm-to-table concept has become very popular these days.  The Mane on Main offers the concept for catered events.  You don’t find many catering operations that offer farm-to-table options.  That’s a really nice touch.

Tom Evans, who is the Owner/Chef Operating Officer at The Mane on Main is no stranger to the hospitality industry.  He worked in his family’s catering business in Washington, D.C. for more than 30 years before coming to Lexington.  Tom was instrumental in opening Azur Catering and later merging operations with Dupree Catering.  The Mane on Main is their newest venue space.

Diners at The Mane on Main enjoyed fine dining in Lexington, Kentucky

Last week The Mane on Main presented a pop-up dining experience.  The idea was to recreate an iconic restaurant from Lexington’s past.

Dining has always had a rich tradition in Lexington.  You may remember the New Orleans House from the mid-80’s.  The restaurant was open for a little more than 10 years.  It was first opened in the Southpark shopping center and later moved to Griffin Gate Plaza in 1989.  The New Orleans house featured a signature seafood buffet.

I can remember that when I was in college my Uncle Buddy would come in from Alabama and would take us to eat at the New Orleans House.  I got to take my best friend, Gina, and we thought we were the cat’s meow!  I always looked forward to going there.

Frog legs were one of the house specialities.  I can remember shrimp, oysters, frog legs and crab legs on the buffet.  Bananas Foster for dessert!  It makes me smile just thinking about it.

I happened to see a Facebook post a couple of months ago from Chef Jeremy Ashby asking for comments regarding The New Orleans House.  He wanted to know everybody’s favorite dish and comments that people had of the restaurant.  Of course, I replied!  How could I not share my fond memories!

The Mane on Main hosted the tribute dinner to The New Orleans House a week or so ago.  Hats off to the marketing team! I think it’s a great idea to host events like this for the community.  Not only do you get to experience great food, but you get to do it in a terrific setting!

When we stepped off the elevator to the 15th floor we were greeted by a very friendly, hospitable staff.  They welcomed us to the event and made sure we were informed about the night’s festivities.

Fine Dining at The Mane on Main in Lexington, KY

A lovely jazz band was playing in the corner of the room.  They had a great sound and were playing all the classics.

The Mane on Main in Lexington event venue

The New Orleans House was well known for specialty cocktails.  The dinner included a cocktail of your choice.  Of course, I picked a French 75! …..and, Champagne…. please!

The Mane on Main special event

The Mane on Main bar is a lovely mix of stone, glass and wood.  It’s really pretty and a nice backdrop for a reception area.  Diners mingled and enjoyed their cocktails and the live music before dinner.

The Mane on Main in Lexington, KY

The friendly catering staff passed Oyster Rockefeller and frog legs before the dinner started.  The Oysters Rockefeller were really good. Just the right amount of butter, parsley and bread crumbs.  I’m not a big frog leg fan, but you know what they say, tastes just like chicken!

The Mane on Main Special event venue

You could hear people telling stories of their dinners at the New Orleans house and the fun times they had.  Everybody was having a great time.

The event space can be configured a variety of ways but for this event there were buffet stations set around the room.  The New Orleans House was a seafood buffet, so it made sense that we eat buffet style.

Of course the first station included a lovely salad.  But it also included shrimp, oysters on the half shell, and a seafood salad.  It’s hard to beat fresh seafood!  The shrimp was really fresh, not watery like some shrimp that you may find, and the oysters were meaty and tasted like the sea.

The next station consisted of cooked seafood.  Now you might not be familiar with this dish, but it was really tasty.  The dish was a Maque Choux and Shrimp Cake that was finished with a remoulade and chow-chow.  Think about a crunchy hash brown that has shrimp in it.  It really had a splendid taste, and the presentation was great.

Fine Dining in Lexington Kentucky

On the other side of the table was a deviled crab in a cute little serving dish that was shaped like a crab.  There’s nothing better to me than lump crab!

Sepcial Events in Lexington, Kentucky

Have you ever tasted turtle soup?  Turtle soup used to be very popular and it was usually available at the New Orleans House.  But going back even further, the soup used to be one of the most popular and most sought-after dishes in American history.

Turtle soup is still a speciality and can be found in many fine dining restaurants in New Orleans.  Restaurants such as Commander’s Palace, Brennan’s and Galatoire’s still serve the delicacy.

Bubbly Horse attend the Mane on Main special event for fine dining

I didn’t try the turtle soup, but I’m sure it was delicious.   There was so much food that I needed to pick and choose.  My tablemates said it was tasty.

Crawfish is another bayou tradition.  Chef Jeremy was hard at work boiling the crawfish.  Of course, like a traditional crawfish boil, there was potatoes and corn to accompany the fish.

Did I mention that they also had baby back ribs, Trout Almondine, and smoked salmon?  Also, a dish called Angels and Devils on Horseback.  I admit I had to look it up, I wasn’t quite sure what it was.  Evidently the oysters are the angels and the scallops are the devils.  Both were wrapped in bacon (how can you go wrong!) and were in a creole mustard piquant.  They were very good.

Bubbly Horse attends a fine dining event at The Mane on Main

All of this and I haven’t even gotten to dessert yet!

The Mane on Main offered several choices for dessert.  Choices included fresh fruit (almost was too pretty to eat), strawberry almond shortcake complete with whipped cream and mint, and of course, bread pudding!  Bread pudding is a traditional New Orleans dessert.  The topping for the bread pudding had plenty of Kentucky Bourbon it.  The dessert was really good!

Following the dinner, the dance floor was full.  Everybody had a great time experiencing the bayou favorites and The Mane on Main!

See you soon. xoxo

Big Blue Ribbon Dining

Big Blue Ribbon Dining

This post is in collaboration with Malone’s/Bluegrass Hospitality Group.  All of the opinions are entirely my own.

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.

Bubbly Horse visits Malone's Restaurant

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.

Bubbly Horse visits Malone's restaurant

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.

Wine List at Malone's Restaurant

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.

Bubbly Horse visits Malone's Manhatton's

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.

Loaf of bread at Malone's

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.

Bubbly Horse visits Malone's

 

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!

Bubbly Horse visits Malone's

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!

Bubbly Horse visits Malone's

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!

Birthday cake at Malone's

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

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In addition to Lexington, BHG venues can be enjoyed in Louisville and Florence, Kentucky; Franklin, Knoxville, and Bristol, Tennessee; Huntsville, Alabama; and Indianapolis, Indiana.