By Nancy Miller • Photos by Danny Alexander
While this is the group’s first restaurant concept, Doug Bibby, Steve Pennington, Elliott Horne and Clarence Benboe have years of experience hosting events in Louisville. Only a few weeks ago, they jumped into the fire of competition that is the Louisville dining scene to open Flavour in the space that formerly housed Asiatique.
They brought on board Chef Kennedy “China Man” Thomas. And he brought a repertoire that has been simmering to a full-blown explosion of flavors for more than 40 years. Born in Trinidad and Tobago and raised in the Virgin Islands, he has worked in restaurants in New York, New Jersey, Canada, Jamaica and Texas. He literally brings a world of experience to this new endeavor.
Thomas’s menu deftly weaves Caribbean and Creole with Southern. Where else can you follow conch fritters with jambalaya, a renowned spicy Creole dish that’s a mixture of smoked chicken, andouille sausage and shrimp? Come to Flavour for the Trinidadian-style oxtail stew but don’t leave without sharing with your dining partner the maque choux, a Louisiana dish of braised corn, green pepper, onions and tomatoes. Before you go all out for the southern macaroni and cheese, forget geographic boundaries and dive into baby back ribs, and jerk chicken and shrimp.
“I use many different herbs and spices. That’s how the name Flavour came about,” says Thomas. Not only is he not shy about spicing up his food, he doesn’t hesitate to divulge his favorite dishes: oxtails, curry chicken, baby back ribs and tips, shrimp and crawfish étouffée, and shrimp and grits. Don’t ask him to pare down the list of favorites. Asking him to do so probably would only lead to adding a few more. And for good reason, as anyone who becomes a Flavour guest will attest. One Flavour favorite is soon replaced by another.
Thomas will be the likely recipient of hugs and kisses from vegetarians when they taste his curry vegetables stir fry, black bean cake and rasta pasta. We’re sure some people can resist one of the island-themed cocktails, in favor of a classic, but we’re not sure we want to be one of those people. An island treat in a glass is a festive way to say “Cheers” to Thomas and his flavors. You may not have been lucky enough to have been invited to Flavours’ Friends and Family opening event during Derby week but stop by for dinner and you’ll make a new BFF.
1767 Bardstown Road