Traveling Table: Louisville

The Bourbon belt steps up its culinary game

It's been our experience that where good booze exists, good food follows. And Louisville, which continues to draw bourbon pilgrims from all four corners, does not disappoint. Here's where to head before–or after–the Derby:

Corbett's Chef Dean Corbett carved out his corner of the Louisville dining scene long ago with Equus, to which he later added on the laid-back Jack's Lounge. He expanded his empire's elegance quotient in 2007 with Corbett's, which is housed in a restored mansion. The menu's refined riffs on Southern culinary traditions are evident in dishes like the shrimp and grits crowned with a fried quail egg, and diver scallops perched on top of crayfish and country ham. 5050 Norton Healthcare Blvd., Louisville; 502-327-5058 or corbettsrestaurant.com

The Mayan Café It takes talent (and perhaps a little hubris) to hinge one's reputation on a vegetable as maligned as the lima bean, but chef Bruce Ucán is up to the challenge. His addictive tok-sel lima beans–slow-roasted before they're flash-cooked and seasoned–have garnered a cult following, and Mexican-food aficionados will find his mole-of-the-day selections a perfect excuse to make repeat visits. 813 E. Market St., Louisville; 502-566-0651 or themayancafe.com

Seviche Nary an eater would proclaim Kentucky a destination for Latin American cooking–until he or she tried the dishes of Anthony Lamas, that is. The namesake seviches exhibit his mastery in marinades, while dishes like the fragrant macadamia-crusted black cod find their perfect match on the Latin American-heavy wine list. 1538 Bardstown Rd., Louisville; 502-473-8560 or sevicherestaurant.com