The Brown Hotel
is the original source for the Hot Brown. You can find good ones at a few places in the Louisville Metro area...and some not so great ones a lot of places around Central Kentucky. The 'good' HOT BROWN seems to be offered in the LOUISVILLE area as opposed to Cincy and Northern KY.
TJ from Cincinnati recently posted a review of his visit to the Brown Hotel on his thread. Here are his notes and photos. OK The Photos didn't transfer in the cut and paste...so here is the link so you can see his photos...at the bottom of Page One of his report. http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=9018
FROM TJ-- One nice thing about eating late in a downtown area: there's usually plenty of parking available, as everyone has gone home, and use can use a parking meter without paying. The one I found, a mere half block from the Brown Hotel, was free on weekdays after 6pm, which is pretty much like the ones in downtown Cincinnati. The entrance to J. Graham's is on the side street rather than off Broadway, which the venerable old hotel faces
I was really suprised upon entry to find that for the second dinner of three this week, I was alone in the fairly large restaurant. It had the feel of not being open, and I had to ask the approaching waiter if they were serving dinner tonight. Thankfully, they were.
The inside is fancy without being too pretentious. The tables were covered with a white tablecloth but then this was topped with a easy to clean sheet of glass. White linen napkins were at every setting, ut not the usual assortment of 5 forks and 3 knives (ok, ok,I exgerrate, but you know the drill) you'd find at a truly high end restaurant. I felt comfortable there in my business casual attire.
The menu is rather short and -- like most high end hotel restaurants where the typical client is on an expense account and isn't bothered paying somewhat higher prices than they would elsewhere -- pricey for what is offered.
12 bucks for a hot brown?? ah well. I wasn't going home empty-stomached even if it was twice that. Just this once. :-)
I of course was completely ready to order when the waiter came with my beverage, having only to make the decision of whether or not to buy something in addition to the Hot Brown, as I didn't think it'd fill me up. With only the choice of fries and/or slaw at 4 bucks a pop, I decided to see if I could hit Whizz Burger later, which turned out to be a good decision.
About ten minutes later, I had the sandwich I had been looking forward to for about a year now.
This was so much better than any other hot brown I had ever had, it's hard to state in words. First, the sandwich is served in the Cincinnati area, but generally it's on very plain bread, the sauce is the same cheddar cheese sauce that serves as the basis for that culinary masterpiece called nachos that one can get at any 7-11, and the tomatoes are usually absent (or simply sliced), and the bacon is usually crumbled or also absent. Not at all the samr thing, but by a long shot. The bechamel sauce was extremely rich and creamy, the bacon cooked just right, and of course the thing was almost too pretty to eat. But I did anyway :-) I have never had a hot brown near it's equal, and may never again. See the photos on the link provided.