Lexington, KY – The recently, and impeccably, renovated Northern Bank Building on the corner of Short and Market streets, adjacent to Cheapside Park, is now the new home to Dudley’s Restaurant (rechristened Dudley’s on Short), after the highly lauded dining establishment emigrated from its longtime home at Dudley’s Square earlier this year. Anchoring a bustling entertainment district, Dudley’s is now one of the most visible restaurants in downtown Lexington, and the front dining room always seems to have company as a result.
After all of the crowds, festivities and other hullabaloo began to subside downtown last month, my guest and I wandered in on a Monday night thinking we would have the run of the place. We were wrong. Both the dining area up front next to the bar and the more formal space away from the street had comfortable crowds.
The dinner menu is a short affair, but the devil is in the details -
a closer inspection of the dishes revealed a host of difficult decisions.
Even deciding on a before-dinner snack from the cold or short plates list proved to be a daunting task, with options that included beef carpaccio ($12), pesto pizza ($10), moo-sho pork ($10), tuna Nicoise ($16), and a “fruit de mer” plate (with shrimp, oysters and the fish of the day; $15), along with a few salads (priced between $6 – 12).
Entrees are divided into meats, pasta and poultry, and some hot seafood plates, and the usual staples are present: rack of lamb, veal chop, filet of beef, salmon, angel hair chicken, ravioli, duck breast. What really distinguishes each of these dishes, and Dudley’s as a whole, is the accompanying creative treatment even the most minor detail receives in the kitchen -
the rack of lamb comes with purple mashed potatoes and beets, the veal with spring peas and prosciutto, and so forth.
Before our dinner, we ordered a dish of beef carpaccio and a half dozen raw oysters (delicious little Kumamotos from the Pacific Northwest). The carpaccio was partnered with a bÈarnaise ice cream and pickled shallots (you’ll be as surprised as we were -
kudos to whoever thought ice cream and raw meat would go together so opulently).
For our main course, my guest ordered the herb-crusted rack of lamb ($32), and I had the Pike Valley chicken ($24), with mushrooms, small potatoes, Brussels sprouts and topped with bacon crumbs. The lamb, ordered medium rare, was delicious and paired immaculately with the beets and black olives and purple potatoes. The bone-in chicken, from Pike Valley Farm in Lancaster, Ky.(utilizing as much local produce as possible has always been a hallmark of Dudley’s menu), was moist and flavorful, and any misgivings I may have had about not ordering the seared ahi tuna were immediately dispelled.
And if you’ve ever wondered what purple mashed potatoes taste like, they taste like regular mashed potatoes, only much more majestic.
Dudley’s has a full bar and an extensive wine by the bottle and half bottle list, as well as a handful of reasonably priced by the glass selections.
Our bill, prior to tipping, came to $117 and included two entrees, two appetizers and a handful of adult beverages. Not cheap, but the all the added accoutrements you receive at Dudley’s on Short make the experience well worth the money and your immediate consideration.