The first thing you notice about Naïve, a relatively new restaurant that’s opened in the hot Butchertown neighborhood, is the mostly white, airy atmosphere. It’s a delightful place to hang out.
The bright digs and cleverly crafted, light cuisine have already won a loyal following in Louisville’s midtown.
Naïve is basically a vegetarian restaurant with a few thoughtfully included meat options. It may or may not be knowingly inspired by Alain Passard, the Michelin starred French chef who experienced a mid-career conversion to vegetarianism. (And, to everyone’s amazement, retained his Michelin stars.)
Full disclosure here: This is my kind of vegetarianism: inclusive, but focused on celebrating and showcasing real veggies. I also love it that Naïve is getting seventy five percent of their ingredients from local growers.
And I would be remiss not to mention the full bar.
The crime partner, who LOVES French onion soup, was too intrigued with Naïve’s promise of a French onion soup toast. To say that this is basically French onion soup without the broth would be an oversimplification—though that’s what it mostly looks like.
This toast features onions and ricotta as well as local apples and blackberry balsamic.
I, myself, could not resist the gluten free, vegan pad Thai, if only because the essence of traditional pad Thai is noodles and eggs.
The one thing Naïve’s pad Thai has in common with the traditional dish is the peanut sauce. Naïve’s pad Thai noodles are made from zucchini and kelp rather than rice.
I must admit that, on first inspection and even on first taste, I thought these were glass noodles.
The pad thai is a layered affair. The bottommost layer is al dente cauliflower and snap peas, while the top layer is dehydrated kale. Crisp kale was a first for me; it’s the texture of potato chips, maybe a little more friable.
The best thing on the table was the beet hummus and toast points. BEAUTIFUL color.
If you are looking for healthy, vegetable-centric food in an elegant setting with cocktails, this is the place to go.