Besides Churchill Downs there was one more thing we wanted to find in Louisville – a good place for dinner. Jim had done a bit of internet research and it looked like the Highlands neighborhood was a safe bet for a dining excursion.
The first thing we noticed was the proliferation of Irish pubs – no less than 3 in two blocks. Is there some Irish connection to Louisville I don’t know about?
We wandered up and down the seven or eight blocks that made up the main restaurant strip and surveyed our choices. Irish pub? No. Taqueria? Um, we’ve had Mexican in Arizona, Cali and of course Mexico – I’m sure there are some fine Mexican cooks in Louisville but the chances of this place being the one – doubtful. Thai? No. Some coffee shop whose name I don’t remember that looked like a Coco’s or Denny’s? No. The Pie Shop? Maybe later.
And then we saw it – at the very end of the row, across from the Golden Arches of McD’s – BBQ.
F.A.B.D. doesn’t look like much from the outside – a slim building with a few plastic tables out front. It doesn’t look like much from the inside either. A long narrow bar with 6 or 7 microbrews on tap and a few booths against the opposite wall. A swamp cooler working overtime to dispel the cloying heat. But the smell, oh the smell. The sweet smell of BBQ.
The tables out front were packed with people digging into piles of pulled pork. We wanted to dig in too. We each ordered a pulled pork sandwich, I got mine with a 4 oz. side of baked beans, Jim got his with onion rings. We each chose a beer to round off the meal.
The sandwich was basic, a soft roll and a mountain of smoky pork. Add the BBQ sauce that is a fixture at every table and you have a smoky, spicy, meaty, hedonistic indulgence. For those looking for spicy and sweet, the baked beans are a must – and I’m not ashamed to say my sandwich got dipped into that baked bean sauce just as much as it was covered in BBQ sauce. The crunch of the crispy fried onion rings was another nice contrast to the soft, meatiness of the pork and I stole one or two of Jim’s for the crispy pleasure.
F.A.B.D. Smokehouse was hands down the best meal we had on our Indy/Louisville adventure and one of our best finds anywhere to date. My only regret is that I didn’t buy a jar of their BBQ sauce to take home, naively thinking I could just order it on the web. Not so. Does anyone know how I can get some short of a trip back to Louisville?