35 Fairfield Avenue
Buckhead opened in Louisville around ten years ago and has had a presence in Bellevue for several years. The family-friendly restaurant is designed to resemble a mountain lodge. We have friends who live in Cripple Creek, Colorado, and Buckhead could seriously be their house - minus the large number of children and televisions. There are lampshades etched with silhouettes of moose and lonesome pine; there are antler chandeliers hanging from double height, A-frame ceilings with exposed rafters; and there are taxidermy critters cropping up in unexpected places. While not out of place in Colorado, in Bellevue Kentucky it's laughably tacky.
They must be doing something right, however, because on the Monday evening we visited the place was absolutely packed: Families with small children, senior citizens, couples; you name it, they were there.
Complimentary rolls arrived just after we were seated; they come with a delicious cinnamon-whipped butter spread. While the restaurant is primarily carnivore-heaven, there are a couple of vegetarian-friendly items to choose from. There is a veggie combo platter ($7.49) consisting of a choice of four side dishes - but several of the sides are not veg-friendly (the green beans are prepared with bacon, for instance), and four of the sides are potato-based, which limits options further.
They also offer a grilled portabello sandwich ($7.49) - ask to have the vegetables grilled on a separate surface to assure that meat juices don't mingle into the mix. I wasn't really in a grilled mood, so opted instead for the Nacho Mountain appetizer without the chili. They weren't kidding about the name - it really is a mountain of nachos, and certainly enough for a crowd. As nachos go, these were pretty good.
Buckhead offers an impressive selection of draught beer, including many made locally, like Mt. Carmel, Rivertown and Christian Moerlein, and regional offerings like 3 Floyds, Bluegrass Brewing Co. and Bell's. Not sure what to order? Try several by ordering a "flight," which is basically a beer sampler of your choosing.
Mountain decor aside, there really isn't much to distinguish Buckhead from myriad other restaurants. The food doesn't rise above the ordinary, but it is affordable and plentiful, which probably goes a long way in explaining its popularity. The service was cordial and efficient to start, but refills were neglected and dessert wasn't even offered. To be fair, our server might have cottoned onto the fact that we were itching to get away. The reason? A child at a nearby table was sick all over the floor right next to our booth, which put us off our meals. The evening might have been rescued had the matter been attended to promptly, but it took nearly 15 minutes for someone to clean up the mess, even though the manager and three servers in our section were aware of the problem. If staff are that lax with front-of-house hygiene, I am loathe to think of what the kitchen might hold.