Lindsey McClave, Special to Courier Journal
Published 8:10 a.m. ET March 20, 2019 | Updated 9:04 a.m. ET March 20, 2019
With tons of games and food options, Recbar in Jeffersontown offers more than your standard bar and restaurant. But their drink game needs a little fine-tuning, our critic thinks.
Rating: 2.5 out of 4 starsAddress: 10301 Taylorsville RoadCuisine: Bar fare featuring tacos, burgers and sandwichesPrice range: Moderate
If there’s one thing Recbar has mastered, it is the art of sensory overload.
Upon entering this Jeffersontown bar, arcade and restaurant at 10301 Taylorsville Road, visitors are greeted by a blinking rainbow of lights. The cacophony of sounds unique to an arcade fills the air, matched only by the raucous banter of patrons darting from pinball machine to video game in rapid motion.
With entertainment in spades for kids and adults alike, Recbar sets itself apart from the typical arcade establishment, crafting a food and bar experience that goes beyond the generic hot dog and nacho offerings.
Comfort food is still at the heart of the Recbar dining experience, however, a whimsical approach is enlisted. Ingredients are unique — like frosted flakes used as a breading for the chicken tenders, tater tots substituted for tortilla chips on the “tatcho” section of the menu, or fruity pebbles encrusting an ice cream sandwich for dessert.
This playfulness is part of what drew me to Recbar, curious if the fanciful nature of the menu would be matched by the quality in which the dishes were prepared.
While guests enter through the arcade at Recbar, they are blissfully not forced to dine among the controlled chaos. The dining space and bar area sit in a large room adjacent to the games, the walls covered in faux wood paneling with vintage video game posters acting as decoration in addition to multiple TVs.
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The bar occupies the far end of the dining room with a list of cocktails inspired by video game characters like Luigi and Sonic the Hedgehog on hand. Several creations include some sort of high octane soda beverage or sweetener, from Surge to Red Bull to plain old cola.
One of the Recbar’s dining rooms. 14 March 2019 (Photo: David R. Lutman/Special to Courier Journal)
I didn’t make it past the first two sips of Yoshi’s Vacation ($7). This nod to the dinosaur from Super Mario World is reflected in the drink’s neon green hue, melon liqueur, blue curacao and lemon-lime soda adding color and way too much sugar to the coconut rum and vodka base. Unless you have a flair for the artificially flavored, I would suggest sticking to the impressive beer and bourbon lists instead.
Tacos and sandwiches make up the bulk of the menu, in addition to a multitude of sharable options.
Four riffs on an egg roll are available, including the burgertime rolls ($9), which features all of the classic flavors of a bacon cheeseburger combined within a wonton wrapper and fried. Well-seasoned and served with a mayo-based “not-so-secret” sauce, these rolls represent a fun change of pace from the typical bar fare.
The Recbar’s Always Sunny Totchos starts with tater tots that are deep fried. They are then covered with nacho ingredients queso cheese, Philly steak pieces, and a mix of sauteed onion and green and red bell pepper bits. 14 March 2019 (Photo: David R. Lutman/Special to Courier Journal)
Four cleverly named “totcho” dishes also bring an impressive portion of food to the table. We selected the Always Sunny Totchos ($12), a tribute to the show “Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” which is a take on a Philly cheesesteak. The chopped steak was well-cooked and the queso cheese judiciously applied. I would have liked double the onions and peppers to properly round out each bite.
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The Cougar Bait fish tacos ($9), however, checked all the boxes with cod battered in a popular Kentucky-made ale and fried until crisp. Lettuce and tomato added freshness and a pineapple pico contributed a slightly sweet counterpoint to the salty fish, with a citrus aioli keeping things bright and balanced.
The Recbar’s Cougar Bait Tacos start with a large piece of cod that is drenched in Cougar Bait (brand) beer, rolled in Drake’s Seasoned Flour, then cut into three portions, placed into tortilla shaped shells and deep fried. The tacos are then toopped with shredded lettuce, a house-made pico de gallo sauce and finished with a house citris aioli sauce. 14 March 2019 (Photo: David R. Lutman/Special to Courier Journal)
Seven burger variations anchor the sandwich portion of the menu, ranging from a classically prepared prime burger ($10) to the breakfast burger ($12), which forgoes the traditional bun for a waffle, syrup served on the side. We opted to try the Southern style burger ($12), which topped the 1/2-pound…