Herbe is a wonderful, quirky little restaurant on Winchester Road near the Clark County line.
I was never able to get there for breakfast or brunch, but the two lunches I sampled with friends made the drive worthwhile.
The soups we tried, a corn chowder and tomato basil with Parmesan, were wonderful: smooth, subtle, tasty and creamy but not heavy (although I'm pretty sure the corn was from a can). The tomato came with house-made croutons that will make you forget every one of those little dry cubes that have been foisted on you in lesser venues.
The soups aren't on the menu, which is a pretty casual thing that changes seasonally. Herbe's Facebook page, which is the main place you can get any information about it (more on that later) says that chef Meghan Hensley follows the local produce, animal and vegetable, where it takes her on any given day. Lots of restaurants say things like that, but at Herbe I believed it. Herbe is not a vegetable-heavy restaurant but, as the name suggests, it is into herbs — and those sing.
The vegetable complements in some of the sandwiches we tried made them uniquely satisfying. My favorite, the Banh Mi burger ($11.95), is a basil burger (good basil, good ground beef) dressed with what's described as an Asian slaw with Thai chili sauce, a delightful play of sweet and spicy, slightly crisp.
The Herbano (also $11.95) combines cider-braised pork and smoked Gouda, dressed with house-made sweet and spicy pickles and a tangy and sweet bourbon-Dijon aioli. Everyone now seems to need to reinterpret the Cubano, some with more success than others. This works, I think, because the pork is really good, not fatty at all, and those pickles are subtle. Sometimes the pickle-out-of-a-jar thrown into this sandwich is a harsh distraction. Not here.
Another nice option among the lunch sandwiches is called the grown-up grilled cheese ($9.75.) Two cheeses, gouda and Swiss, are melded with cranberry compote, caramelized onions and baby spinach, and grilled between slices of raisin cinnamon bread. The whole thing comes out as a delicious, rich, soufflelike dish that will not in any way remind you of any other grilled cheese you've had.
A few words about the desserts we sampled: Hensley loves butter and chocolate. We tried the chocolate chip cookies, which are crammed with chips tied together with a touch of flour and lots of butter. A brownie with a touch of coffee flavor is deep and dense. And, although I'm no fan generally of sugar cookies (dry, dry, dry most days) or of citrus in desserts, I was very impressed by a sugar cookie with a buttercream orange frosting with grated orange peel.
Now, to those things I said I'd talk about later. Herbe has been open for several months. I think it's time to post the hours on the front door and on the Facebook page and on a recording on the phone. And update them, particularly the phone and Facebook, when there are any changes, seen or unforeseen. And, while the Facebook page has some really lovely, enticing and accurate photographs of the food, there's not much else there. Tell us a little about where it came from, who grows the food and makes the pickles.
A couple of final notes: be relaxed when you go there, enjoy the imagination and vintage furnishings that transformed this kind of grungy roadside place. The food is not fast; it's cooked to order. The service is perhaps a little more friendly than efficient. Also, Herbe does not have a liquor license, but if you come there for dinner you can BYOB. Have a good time.