It is in your hands. Finally, after a decade of serving pleasure in every bite, Jonathan Lundy is inviting you into his kitchen. These are his secrets. In fact, Jonathan’s Bluegrass Table is a complete cat-out-of-the-bag, how-to
of the sumptuous recipes that have made his Jonathan at Gratz Park a locally beloved, globally followed, restaurant. A seat at his table is a requisite for anyone traveling to Lexington, Kentucky. And here is why. You can relish our green, rolling hills; marvel at our beautiful Thoroughbreds; and sample our indigenous Bourbons; but if you truly want to know this place, you must taste it. Kentucky’s food, though Southern in aspect, belies that designation, somewhat. It is definitively a region of it’sown flavor. A flavor that you will only discover in full when you have been fed from the native imagination of Chef Lundy.
In his hands, locally sourced, authentic ingredients can take a traditional path, then veer into the unexpected with a unique finish or striking pairing. His sweet corn chowder arrives with cornmeal fried, Kentucky fresh water shrimp; his luscious lamb rack appears to be graced with mint jelly, until you realize it’s Bourbonjelly with fresh mint. Shrimp and Grits and the Kentucky Hot Brown both get their place of honor, but they are so picked up in flavor, you can’t put the fork down.
Conversely, a single traditional ingredient - our adored country ham - can step out of time and embrace world cuisine. First, it is found in crispy bottomed pot stickers, whose crunchy bites reach heavenly when dipped into bourbon soy or sweet and sour peach sauce. Then it stars in a luxurious carbonara alongside local soybeans, before returning to its customary, supporting role - tucked into eggs benedict with fried green tomatoes, stacked into a Sea Scallop Hot Brown, or as the soul of the red eye gravy served with a Coffee Seared Pork Chop.
And then there is the whimsy, that so sets this Chef apart. His humor is often a fillip to his recipes. He hot smokes salmon with Marker’s Mark Bourbon barrel plugs. Pimento Cheese Grits would be novel enough for most, but, he hand-cuts and deep fries them into, well, fries. They are stunningly delicious. The corn-dog of every childhood became a cornmeal, beer batterfried shrimp corn dog. And stale, old fashioned-fried doughnuts are the once secret ingredient in a lovely rendition of bread pudding with a bourbon sauce. Please don’t miss the small stuff - pickled banana pepper vinaigrette loves his simple chicken salad, flash-fried shiitake mushrooms play vegetarian “bacon” to salads and a brie and wilted spinach omelet. His bon mots are intended to be taste raising.
Jonathan’s Bluegrass Table is a wonderful interplay of old, new and redefined - a masterwork of a place. Today, the ingredients are readily available. And, Jonathan’s recipes follow the Southern rule of easy enough to enjoy your company, yet interesting enough to keep them talking.