On Friday, after arriving in Lexington in the middle of the night and sleeping in, we went in search of food nearby. Our hotel was outside the downtown area but there still seemed to be a fair amount of retail development. I found the nearest Bed, Bath and Beyond as our main mission was picking up the wedding gift and we headed out.
Lexington is one giant bulls-eye see:
We were staying in the Southwest quadrant, just off KY-4 which is the giant circle around the bulls-eye. I spent the whole weekend never knowing which way was north. Anyhow, we went slightly South and East to the BB&BY store then explored the area looking for food. There was a tourist guide in the hotel but the restaurants semeed more expensive and involved they we wanted for lunch. Eventually, we came upon this mall that quite frankly was looking a little run-down. Dated colors and a empty store fronts (including CompUSA) almost turned us away but I saw a sign that said “Seafood Grille” inside so we took a chance. To get to the restaurant from the parking lot, you have to go inside a small mall then through the bookstore to get downstairs. Behind this mall is a large man-made lake/pond and the restaurant has a patio along the water. In retrospect, we should have eaten outside. It was absolutely gorgeous out with temperatures in the 70s but it was still pretty shady on the patio.
The restaurant, Regatta Seafood Grille opened in 1984, replacing a previous seafood restaurant. I knew we’d found The South when our waiter offered us sweet tea, regular tea and some kind of fancy fruit-brewed tea. This also being Kentucky, there were at least 10 different bourbons on the menu as well. We stuck with water since I didn’t want to drink that early and they served Pepsi products.
All meals, even at lunch, are started with fresh-made drop biscuits. Similar to a cheese biscuit a’la Red Lobster, these biscuits are served with a soft honey-cinnamon butter. I think we were served 4 and I only ate one which might mean Chris ate three of them.
Perusing the menu, I was strongly tempted by the crab cake sandwich. But Chris was also interested in the crab cake so we decided to share the appetizer. The crab cake appetizer is one large (burger patty size) crab cake served atop a fried green tomato with a zippy orange marmalade glaze. This was Chris’s first experience with fried green tomatoes and my first in quite a long time. The crab cake itself was average. I like a more crabby crab cake and this one was more bread filled. The sauce was good, just a hint of heat.
For the main event, I chose the blackened chicken sandwich while Chris opted for the tuna melt. The chicken sandwich is topped with bacon and provolone cheese plus lettuce, tomato & onion along with remoulade sauce on the side. The remoulade was Louisiana-variety made with mayo, Creole mustard and paprika plus pieces of veg like celery.
The tuna melt is tuna salad on grilled wheatberry bread with American cheese. I am not a fan of the hot tuna sandwich so I didn’t sample Chris’s choice. And I didn’t share any of mine although I should have stopped eating about 3 bites before I did. My sandwich was very tasty but spicy. Between the spices on the blackened chicken and the extra kick from the remoulade sauce, my mouth was smokin’! According to the menu, sandwiches are served with coleslaw and steak fries but you can substitute for the starch of your choice including rice pilaf. We, for some reason, didn’t get our coleslaw but since I was already stuffed, that was probably okay. I’m thinking now I should have ordered hush puppies instead of fries because I looove those little fried doughnuts but the steak fries were good and cut fresh, not frozen.
The dinner menu has many of the same options as lunch but for much higher prices so I would guess that dinner portions are also larger. Dinner also is much expanded with surf & turf, broiled seafood platter and a N’awlins Platter among the offerings. Both lunch and dinner include options for fresh seafood prepared one of several ways including broiled, Caribbean, etc. These items were a little more than we were looking to pay for lunch though.
Website with menus
Address In the Lexington Green Mall, 161 Lexington Green Cir, Lexington, KY 40503; (859) 273-7875
Hours Summer: Mon-Fri 11:15 a.m.–11:15 p.m.; Winter: close @ 10:15 Mon-Thu
Captain Jack’s Hours (the outdoor area with a separate bar): Mon-Sat 11:15 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. and Sunday 1:00 p.m. – 11 p.m. (open spring through fall)
Full bar. Despite it being November, the outdoor area was available for seating but I heard the manager say the water had been turned off at the bar for the season. They were trying to get it turned back on due to the unexpected 70+ degree weather expected for the next week.
This place is owned by Bluegrass Hospitality Group which is apparently taking over Lexington. Will explain more later.
After eating, we were looking to walk around a bit to digest all the good eats. How fortunate that we’d had to walk through a bookstore to get to the restaurant. A rocking awesome huge bookstore called Joseph-Beth. An small (5 stores) independent bookstore company with a 40,000 square foot bonanza of books to occupy us post-nosh. We looked at travel books, kiddie clearance books including a Latin version of Olivia the Pig
and a book about the Sons of Liberty as little kids (cute artwork, kinda wish I’d bought it).
We also looked at their Kentucky section which was filled with beautiful photobooks of horse farms and mountains, historical accounts of being a border state during the Civil War and many many books on Southern cooking and bourbon. With the size of this place, they also had a fantastic magazine section (sorry, mom- but the Cincinnati location is only 5 hours away!)