Anoosh serves New American dishes with Persian/Asian flair inspired by owner Anoosh Shariat and deliciously executed by Executive Chef Mark Ford.

“Eat Well, Love Life” is the personal and professional motto of Anoosh Bistro Chef/Owner and self-described “Zen Foodmaster” Anoosh Shariat. Executive Chef Mark Ford’s elegant, yet accessible dishes served with Anoosh’s signature ebullient hospitality make an evening at Anoosh Bistro a festive occasion during this or any time of the year. Following a cancer diagnosis, Anoosh Shariat brought Chef Mark Ford in to lead the kitchen and develop new menu items. They had worked together on and off for twelve years at Shariat’s previous restaurants, Browning’s and Park Place. Chef Ford’s resumé also includes the former St. Charles Exchange and opening chef at Artesano Tapas Y Mas. He is a graduate of the Sullivan University culinary arts program and classically French trained. That training is diversified by his growing up enjoying the cooking of his Italian and German grandmothers, experience with Spanish tapas, and the Southern charm that always seems to wend its way into Louisville restaurant kitchens of any cuisine.   

The cuisine at Anoosh Bistro can best be described as New American, even as it pulls influence from many different directions, including the Persian/Asian influences of Anoosh Shariat himself. Their kitchen is open to, and embraces, different ideas, varied ingredients, and has fun while doing so. Main menu inspirations are seasonality and Shariat and Ford’s personal preferences. For holiday and winter menus in particular, hearty comfort food is brought to the fore. Spring and summer menus lighten up in natural response to warmer weather and feature the fresh seafood Louisville is so fortunate to have access to via the UPS hub at Louisville International Airport. For example, fresh fish from Honolulu, Hawaii arrives at the Bistro within 24-36 hours. In fact, approximately 65% of the Anoosh Bistro menu is revised at least four times per year with the seasons. The remaining 35% is comprised of staple items carried over from the restaurant location’s former occupant, Henry’s Place, whose regulars have now become as loyal to Anoosh. 

Amain menu attraction for this holiday/winter season is an elevated version of the French “peasant” dish Boeuf Bourguignon, made famous in America by chef, author, and television personality Julia Child in her classic cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and featured in the 2009 film Julie & Julia. Traditionally, Boeuf Bourguignon was prepared for the rustic table by slowly braising and stewing to tenderness more readily available and/or affordable tougher cuts of meat in a red wine sauce incorporating onions and mushrooms. Chef Ford enriches and refines the dish with the use of beef short ribs, in-house cured pork belly bacon, and assorted wild and cultivated mushrooms.

Seasonal specialty menus for catered and in-house events have a large role to play in Anoosh Bistro’s outreach to the community. This past summer featured an Heirloom Tomato Dinner. A “one night only” Wild Game Dinner is planned for this winter. In November, a tremendous night of fundraising for Gilda’s Club Kentuckiana resulted in the successful auction of three $20,000 dinners to be prepared by Anoosh Shariat. A James Beard Taste America® Pop-Up Dinner will be held at Anoosh Bistro on Monday, January 13, 2020. This Dinner Menu is to be composed and presented by Anoosh Shariat and Visiting All-Star Chef Maneet Chauhan. Chef Chauhan, along with her husband and two other business partners, is a founding partner of Morph Hospitality Group whose portfolio includes the Nashville, Tennessee restaurants Chauhan Ale & Masala House, Tànsuŏ, The Mockingbird diner, and Chaatable Indian Street Food. She is immediately recognizable to Food Network viewers as a regular judge on Chopped and has made many other local and national television appearances.

While he experiences the typical pressures and long hours in the organization and training required for the operation of the Anoosh Bistro kitchen, Executive Chef Mark Ford finds that these are far outweighed by the creativity and rewards of his occupation. “Everything we do revolves around our passion for food and hospitality.” He and his staff are inspired to create quality, healthful meals and to treat each guest “as if they were coming to our home.” Regarding current and future trends, they have already had success playing with vegetarian menu items. Chef Ford enjoys the challenge of “creating dishes that have the feel of not being vegetarian” incorporating plant-based, unprocessed whole foods such as mushrooms and lentils. The vegetarian diet is not only healthier but results in a lower carbon footprint, reducing the CO2 emissions of the cattle industry. But fear not carnivores and omnivores! Anoosh Bistro still appreciates and serves prime ribeyes and the finest filets, among other meat-lover options.

A visit to Anoosh Bistro is more than just a dining experience. The restaurant is filled with the warmth of the inspiring love story of Anoosh Shariat and his wife and partner Paula Barmore, the passion of Executive Chef Mark Ford and his kitchen staff, and the unwavering hospitality of the management and front of the house. With open arms, they invite you to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holidays to indulge in a leisurely, relaxed evening at Anoosh Bistro. 

Posted on 2019-12-04 by By Dawn Anderson | Photos by Danny Alexander