The chefs and owners of Azur Restaurant are branching out to offer Central Kentuckians a taste of Cuba. Their Brasabana Cuban Cuisine opened Sunday at 841 Lane Allen Road, the space in Commonwealth Plaza formerly occupied by Friends and Co.
Azur Food Group executive chef Jeremy Ashby and co-owner Miguel Rivas, who is from the Dominican Republic, offer a Cuban/Latin menu at Brasabana, which "emphasizes the growing desire of Cuban cuisine with an 'island' flair — a movement that is exposing and meeting the needs of a growing Latin influence in this region, media consultant Sylvia Lovely said.
The restaurant is decorated with art from local artists, and the opening exhibit is by Enrique Gonzalez, who recently spent some time in Cuba.
"We decided this is a great way to pay tribute to local artists, many of whom come from Latin American backgrounds," Lovely said. "In the future, we will curate other artists with a similar interest in Latin culture."
Menu specialties include papas rellenas, a crispy, beef picadillo meat-stuffed mashed potato ball with chipotle aioli dipping sauce; pork Havana nueva, slow-roasted pork cooked in a garlic citrus marinade served with congris, a fried yucca avocado salad; and ropa vieja, a slow-cooked shredded beef stew with tomatoes, peppers and onions served with black beans, rice, and crispy green plantain tostones.
Brasabana is open 5 to 11 p.m. daily. Call (859) 303-5573 or go to Brasabana.com.
■ The hand-crafted cocktail bar The Blue Heron is now a dining destination with steakhouse classics. The menu features charbroiled filet of beef tenderloin; New York strip (charbroiled, blackened or au poivre); fried chicken; slow-roasted prime rib; and double-thick cut pork chop with pear marsala glaze. Appetizers and small plates include Virginia oysters on the half-shell with horseradish mignonette; hand-cut fries with malt vinegar aioli and black truffle salt; and baked brie with fig preserves.
The Blue Heron, part of the Grey Goose family of restaurants, is at 185 Jefferson Street. Call (859) 254-2491. The bar opens at 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and the kitchen serves from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and 6 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
■ The January menu at Greentree Tearoom features corn chowder, pineapple scone, pasta de'Medici, celery boats with olive nut, curried egg salad and chicken salad tea sandwiches, and Italian cream cupcakes. The tearoom is at 521 West Short Street. Call (859) 455-9660 or go to Greentreetearoom.com.
■ Saul Good Restaurant & Pub is celebrating birthdays in 2014. When you dine at any of the Saul Good restaurants on your birthday, you'll receive a percentage off equal to your age. Turning 40? Get 40 percent off your meal. The older you get, the more you save. The restaurants are at 1808 Alysheba Way, (859) 317-9200; 3801 Mall Road, (859) 273-4663; and 123 North Broadway, (859) 252-4663. Go to Saulgoodpub.com.
■ Doodles Breakfast and Lunch, 262 North Limestone, is featuring a special "Resolutions Menu" with health-inspired dishes throughout January. Call (859) 317-8507 or go to Doodlesrestaurant.com.
■ Holly Hill Inn's dinner club series, "Around the World in 80 Days," follows the travels of author Jules Verne's character Phileas Fogg via chef Ouita Michel's menus.
On Friday and Saturday, the theme is a Victorian Christmas in London, and the menu features roasted Christmas goose.
Here are dates and themes for the winter series: Jan. 9-11, Paris; Jan. 16-18, Italy from tip to boot; Jan. 23-25, sailing the Horn of Africa: Ethiopia; Jan. 30-Feb. 1, India; Feb. 6-8, Indonesia with guest chef Brigitte Nguyen; Feb. 13-15, Valentine's aphrodisiac menu; Feb. 16, sweetheart brunch; Feb. 20-22, China; Feb. 27-March 1, Japan; March 6-8, Omaha prime beef; March 13-15, Ireland; March 16, St. Patrick's Day brunch; March 20-22, London in 2014.
Holly Hill Inn is at 426 North Winter Street in Midway. Call (859) 846-4732 or go to Hollyhillinn.com.
Sharon Thompson: (859) 231-3321. Twitter: @FlavorsofKY. Blog: Flavorsofkentucky.bloginky.com.