Restaurant: The Village Anchor, Anchorage, Kentucky
Twas the weekend before Christmas and my roommate and I were set to have our official Christmas dinner out at a local restaurant. We started this tradition of a holiday meal a couple years back. It gives me a break from the kitchen, which, no matter how much I love to cook, is always welcome, and gives us a great excuse to try out a restaurant we might not have picked otherwise. It’s usually a little more upscale…a little pricier…but this only happens once a year. The splurge is worth it.
This year, the roomie chose the restaurant. It was one we had visited before, but never had the luxury of eating there. I ran a short mile run there during the summer. In fact, I never had set foot in the restaurant part, only the bar – The Sea Hag – prior to this visit. We chose the earliest dinner seating available, as we knew this was going to be a crazy-busy weekend for dinners out.
The Village Anchor opened at 5 p.m. We were actually there way ahead of schedule, so we took the opportunity to walk up and down the streets of Anchorage. If you’ve never been to Anchorage, Kentucky…it’s gorgeous. Go there and be awed. It was even more beautiful as a lot of the homes and businesses were lit up and decorated for the holidays. I love this time of year for that reason.
At 5 p.m. though, we were both starving and ready to get our meal on. We stepped into the restaurant itself and were immediately greeted by a very friendly hostess. I gave her my name, which the reservation was under, and she picked up a couple of menus and took us through the dining room, sitting us down at a quiet table not too far from the hearth. And that fireplace had a nice fire going in it too. It felt like the perfect winter’s night.
Our server, Alan, came over to introduce himself. Our water glasses were filled and we were asked if we’d like anything else to drink. We both decided to stick with water. He said, “I noticed that we have a vegetarian with a gluten allergy…” I raised my hand. “That would be me!” He gave me a very relaxing smile and said that the chef could do up a great roasted veggie plate for me as an entree. He mentioned Brussels sprouts, asparagus…yeah…he won me over right there.
What this also indicated to me was that The Village Anchor pays attention to the reservations that are made through Open Table. I have made reservations before for so many other places, but this was the first time my food allergies were ever addressed right away without me having to bring them up. I raise a glass and give high kudos to The Village Anchor for this. As always, I get a bit nervous when I try out somewhere new…but this really put my mind at ease and relaxed me for the rest of the meal.
But…we weren’t just here for the entrées. Like I said…this was our holiday meal. And after just taking in a very light breakfast, followed by a movie…we were pretty much famished. So, Cathy already knew she was going to try out a cup of the award-winning Elk Chili ($6.00) as her starter. We inquired what might be a good option for me. Alan said he would recommend the risotto, but it has soy sauce in it so it’s not safe for me. I told him I’d be good with the fresh fruit…but he had other ideas. He sure did. And what I ended up getting for my starter was their Hummus Trio ($11.00), which came with fresh sliced vegetables instead of the pita and the grilled crostini.
The Hummus Trio is a plate that contains three different house-made blends of hummus: the roasted garlic, jalapeño-cilantro, and caramelized onion-chipotle. As I said, my version came with sliced carrots, cucumbers, and red bell peppers. SO good. I thought the roasted garlic hummus was really rich. I love roasted garlic…and blending it into the hummus gave it this nice flavor that went so well with the vegetables. This one turned out to be Cathy’s favorite. The jalapeño-cilantro was the next one I sampled. I actually expected this one to be spicy…but it was actually rather mild. Even Cathy thought so when she tried it…and we’re talking about a heat wimp here. The flavors were great and I loved the freshness that came with each dip. This one went really well on the carrots. My personal favorite was the caramelized onion-chipotle hummus. OH MY HUMMUS GODS! I sampled this one ahead of Cathy and knew she’d be fanning her mouth. While not super-hot…it did have a kick to it and a slow burn. The caramelized onion was a brilliant addition, lending a little hint of sweetness to the hummus itself. Needless to say…this met a very messy death. If you love hummus, get this. Just trust me!
It was now time for the entrée round. As this was a pub, Cathy already knew what she was getting…Fish and Chips ($15.00). Her meal also came with house-made tartar sauce and coleslaw. She’s not a coleslaw person normally…but she ate the hell out of that coleslaw. I might need to see if the kitchen will give me the recipe. Red cabbage, raisins, and carrots…but it was the vinaigrette-like dressing that made it. Yes…we asked if it was safe for me to try and after checking with the chef, Alan assured me it was. It was really good.
The chef got to play around with my dish and what I got was a vegetable plate masterpiece. Perfectly seasoned, perfectly roasted, perfectly perfect vegetables. And what a variety as well. My Roasted Veggie Plate ($16.00) came complete with roasted potatoes, roasted asparagus, roasted Brussels sprouts, and some sauteed spinach that was cooked with garlic and red onion, topped off with tomatoes. It was AMAZING!! I love that the chef included potatoes as well for something more filling. They were cooked to perfection and seasoned with some fresh herbs. Carby goodness. Yum! The asparagus was really done well. It still had a bit of crunch to it, without being raw. I loved the depth of flavor that were drawn from these. The spinach and the Brussels sprouts were my two favorite things on that plate though. The spinach was wilted and cooked to absolute perfection. I loved the hint of garlic, the bite the red onion gave it, and the sweetness of the red tomatoes. I was in heaven. And the Brussels sprouts were roasted to perfection. No burned edges…just flavor and lots of it. I was beyond impressed with this meal. Here I was expecting to get stuck, once again, with a salad. But The Village Anchor totally made my night!! They definitely went above and beyond for me.
With this being a holiday celebration…we managed to save a little room for dessert. The special that night, in honor of the holidays, was a Cranberry Crème Brûlée. Now, more often than not, the crème brûlée is a safe choice for the gluten-free…but I wanted to be certain. Alan was prepared for this and said that he would check with the chef. He returned a few moments later with the word – the Cranberry Crème Brûlée was gluten-free…the only other things on their menu that are gluten-free is the ice cream, which is provided by The Comfy Cow. I get Comfy Cow ice cream a lot…so I decided to give the Cranberry Crème Brûlée ($11.00) a try. It even came with a cinnamon whipped cream. It sounded delicious. Cathy opted for the Granny Smith Apple Crisp, à la mode ($8.00).
When our desserts arrived I was just so happy to be able to enjoy a dessert while eating out at a restaurant. Thrilled. And my Cranberry Crème Brûlée looked beyond amazing. I was ready to dig in…and had to do the thing where I crack the caramelized sugar on top. It shattered and through the custard, I spotted the red cranberries at the bottom. One bite…I was in dessert heaven. SO good. And that spiced cream that was served with it definitely complimented the holiday flavors and added this little hint of spice and warmth to the dish. I polished it off…and was definitely full. But pleasantly so.
Holiday meals are supposed to be relaxing and enjoyable. The Village Anchor not only had a fantastic, cozy dining area, but the food was amazing. The staff was more than prepared to work around my food allergies. And they didn’t act like I was an inconvenience either. I love that the chef prepared a dish specifically for me…taking care to make it beautiful to look at and delicious to eat. Both Cathy and I were beyond impressed with The Village Anchor.
You better believe we’ll be coming back for more in the very near future. My hat is off to the staff, the kitchen, and the owners of this fine restaurant just outside of Louisville, Kentucky. I was immediately made to feel at ease about my food and knew that I was in good hands. They didn’t disappoint. And now…I’m spreading the word as much as I can. Local places are always worth checking out – but this one is something special. This one is a keeper!