After opening the wildly successful restaurant 610 Magnolia, competing in the ninth season of Top Chef, and winning Iron Chef America, Chef Edward Lee has decided to add a second restaurant to his list of achievements. Lee opened his new Asian/Southern fusion eatery, MilkWood, in the Actor’s Theater in downtown Louisville, Ky. this week. The new restaurant puts an Asian twist on traditional Southern food and pays homage to the Louisville community with its name (a tribute to Dylan Thomas’ play about the Louisville community, Under MilkWood).
“It’s been exciting to create such a unique establishment that blends my favorite aspects of the bar and dining room in one of Louisville’s most historic and beloved venues,” Chef Lee said in a release. “At MilkWood, we’ll approach each service not as a restaurant with customers, but as an event where guests are treated like good friends in our homes—with respect, an abundance of food and drink, and our love of service.”
Lee made sure to plan the dining room with an eye toward comfort. There are milky white brick walls, barn wood floors, and a mix of modern and traditional furniture that keeps the vibe cozy yet classy.
When it comes to food, Chef Lee hopes MilkWood can bring together his “Southern soul” and “Asian spice” with an Asian/Southern fusion menu. In the kitchen, Chef Kevin Ashworth cooks eclectic dishes such as frog’s legs with Bourbon brown butter, lime fish sauce, celery, and cilantro; pork shoulder with black BBQ sauce, pickled jicama, milk bread, ancient grains, and red vinegar syrup; miso-smothered chicken with Carolina butter rice, red slaw, and bitter orange; and Vietnamese lamb sausage with heirloom grits, pan-drippings, green tomato relish, lettuce, and mint. The menu is organized by cooking style with dish selections under categories such as “Smoked,” “Low & Slow,” and “Seared in a Skillet.”
The cocktail selection is diverse and flavorful with each cocktail designed to “hit a different flavor profile in the mouth.” Some of the cocktails include the Black Coffee in Bed, a salty cocktail made with bourbon, bacon, and egg whites; the bitter Jaliscan Spring with tequila, rhubarb, and vermouth; and the MilkWood with nigori, chartreuse, and lemon. In addition to the unique cocktail menu, the restaurant also has local beer and wine on tap.
MilkWood is open for dinner Tuesday – Thursday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday – Saturday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., and Sunday evening from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. So if you’re a Kentucky native or just in the area, you should definitely check it out.
Skyler Bouchard is a junior writer for the Daily Meal. Follow her on twitter at @skylerbouchard.