Photographs by Jeremy Kramer
With its soaring rosewood columns lined with Art-Deco metalwork, Orchids’ National Historic Register pedigree never overshadows its modern elegance. Todd Kelly may be hoarding awards in his desk drawer like a “prepper” (2012 American Culinary Federation Chef of the Year, Hilton Signature Chef, ACF Award of Excellence, and most recently a AAA Five Diamond Award) but unlike a young line cook, the veteran executive chef possesses a mastery of flavor, pulling inspiration from any tradition he can get his hands on: Dazzling sashimi tuna paired with ponzu, persimmons, and candied ginger; a saffron-infused egg custard with white truffle and house-cured pancetta; or a 20-day house-aged duck breast from Indiana’s Maple Leaf Farms, bathed in apple butter, with a few roasted turnips. Flavors manage not just to coexist but to follow what feels like a natural progression. The à la carte menu also showcases Kelly’s keen intuition for pairing—roasted venison with earthy chestnut puree, say, or a scallop entrée with quail egg, preserved pears, and pistachio gremolata. Regardless of how you order, there is a suitable tipple somewhere, between an encyclopedic wine list and a bourbon program featuring a special blend of Four Roses, which Orchids purchases by the 55-gallon barrel. Sense a splurge coming on? This is the place.
35 W. Fifth St., downtown, (513) 421-9100, orchidsatpalmcourt.com