Somewhere for Everyone

Mixed greens salad.

Mixed greens salad.

While The Highlands has long held a reputation of being the eclectic cultural epicenter of Louisville, the truth is there are not too many places that are inviting, comfortable, affordable and also classy and elegant in the area. Coffee shops and bars abound, but an eatery that offers a somewhat upscale meal at a reasonable price is a rarity to behold. That void, thankfully, is about to be filled by the highly anticipated Somewhere Restaurant and Bar.

David Mattingly and David Finn, owners of nightlife staple Nowhere Bar, have been mulling over the concept of their first restaurant venture for quite some time and are thrilled to unveil it to the public later this month. Finn sums up the vibe of Somewhere and contends that it is “a comfortable, casual, warm atmosphere where you can have a nice meal and a great craft cocktail or craft beer – I envision it to be a place where people will come together and sit around for a while.”

Pan-seared salmon.

Pan-seared salmon.

Indeed, Mattingly agrees that the team had a singular goal in mind throughout the entire process of the formulation of Somewhere. “We said that we always wanted it to be great quality food at a great price,” he relates. The goal is for a table of two to be able to come in, enjoy an appetizer, a couple cocktails each and entrees and get out the door with an $80 check. Part of that dream stems from Finn and Mattingly’s own dissatisfaction with what is currently available to them as Highlands residents.

“We’ve lived here for years, and we keep seeing nicer restaurants go to other parts of town,” he describes. “We want to bring that back to here. Bardstown Road used to be the place to go, and we really want to bring that back.” That strong desire to create a restaurant with excellent food at a reasonable price has now morphed into a concept the team calls “classic American,” pioneered by Executive Chef Scott Darnell. Mattingly explains of the creation of the menu, “We and Scott sat down and just mulled it over. I didn’t want anything that nobody could pronounce, flavors that nobody knew – we didn’t want to reinvent the wheel; we just wanted to create a menu of good food and comfort food.”

What that means to Mattingly is that Somewhere will serve “the food everyone wants to eat – the food you grew up on … Even the appetizers – you’ve got bacon-wrapped dates, which are going to be incredible; you’ve got wings for those who want more of a bar experience; and you’ve got flatbread pizzas. There is literally something on the menu for everybody.”

Angel hair pasta with shallow-fried Sofia cheese.

Angel hair pasta with shallow-fried Sofia cheese.

First and foremost in Darnell’s mind, however, is cooking with as many fresh and local ingredients as possible. “I’ll be working with local farmers,” he explains. “They’ll be literally bringing whatever is fresh and picked the night before to my door the next morning.” The greens and cheeses will all be sourced locally, and, once the season picks up, so will the vegetables.

At a preview tasting, Darnell’s commitment to quality and his ability to balance modern trends with classic comfort was entirely evident. The salad – composed of mixed greens, quinoa, strawberries, sweet and spicy walnuts, Capriole Sofia goat cheese and lemon poppyseed vinaigrette – was not only delightfully fresh but also simple in construction yet complex in its flavors, a true testament to the skill of the chef.

Both entrees sampled were similarly exquisite. The pan-seared salmon with risotto, asparagus and a citrus thyme beurre blanc was excellent, as was the angel hair pasta with roasted tomatoes, basil and shallow-fried Sofia cheese. The latter is sure to be a Louisville staple upon Somewhere’s opening thanks to its divinely flavored pasta combined with the superbly prepared cheese. Finally, dessert of strawberry rhubarb cobbler with crème fraîche and a strawberry and Rebecca sauce was spectacular. Yes, it was sweet, but not overly so – a tricky balance to maintain with a fruit-based dessert.

Without question, anything and everything that will come out of Somewhere’s kitchen is sure to be absolutely first-rate thanks to the concept created by Finn and Mattingly and the menu realized by Darnell. And above all, Somewhere will be a place for everyone – a place to feel laid-back and comfortable while getting a stellar meal. “It’s going to be an inviting place,” Mattingly asserts. “And that’s what it’s for. I don’t want to be a pretentious restaurant where people get put off. I want them to think, ‘We’re getting a great value for the food, the food’s great, the atmosphere’s great.’ And then they keep coming back.” VT

Somewhere is scheduled to open April 18 at 1135 Bardstown Road. For more information, visit facebook.com/somewherelouisville.