Paul Skulas wants to punch people in the mouth — with strong, bold flavors that is.
For Skulas’s second restaurant Couvillion, he’s drawing on his past experience cooking for well-known Southern chef John Currence in Mississippi and on his love of cuisine from the Deep South, particularly New Orleans.
“I just enjoy the culture and atmosphere,” said Skulas, who also founded New American Portage House in Jeffersonville, Ind. He’s since sold that business. Cajun cuisine is mostly missing from Louisville’s culinary scene, he added.
Couvillion, located at 1318 McHenry St., is expected to open on Monday, April 16, and Skulas gave Insider Louisville a peek inside to see what’s changed since Finn’s Southern Kitchen left. Finn’s closed suddenly in January after its lease wasn’t renewed.
The modern décor has been swapped for a more casual feel. Several of the wall are covered in shiplap; the metal bar stools have been replaced with comfortable leather bar seats. Art reminiscent of New Orleans’ culture — bright colors, skeletons and oddities — hangs on the walls. The main entrance also has moved from the side patio to the door off McHenry Street.
The interior seats 72, while the outdoor patio, which hasn’t changed, seats 48.
The menu includes Duck Creole, a shredded duck leg, ground tomatoes, garlic, ricotta dumplings and what is referred to as the “trinity,” carrots, celery and onion; Josh’s Beet Loaf, a mix of shredded beets, nuts, cheddar and cornmeal with grits and tomato-braised green beans; and pepper jelly-braised mussels with rice and lemon. Side offerings include fried Brussels sprouts, local andouille sausage, slaw and red beans.
Entree prices range from $8 to $20.
Couvillion’s food suppliers include regional businesses including Hensley Homegrown Farms, Boone’s Butcher Shop, Louismill, Clem’s Food, Weisenberger Mill, Penn’s Ham, Broadbent Country Hams, Conecuh Sausage and Jake’s 150 Quick Stop.
The cocktail menu will play more on the spice and other flavors in Skulas’ menu and less on the actual drinks you can buy in New Orleans. “We had a lot of really bad cocktails down there,” Skulas said, noting that he and employees went down for a visit last month.
Bar manager Dave Tuney called the cocktails “approachable but bold,” saying it will “strengthen the overall vibe of the restaurant” by transferring a culinary approach to the concoctions.
“We want to have fun. We want to be creative,” Tuney said.
Cocktails include a take on a Moscow Mule that Couvillion is calling Young Buck that features bourbon, citrus, bitters and Ale-8-One; and the Celery Drop, which includes vodka, celery tonic, citrus and sparkling wine. Cocktails range in price from $8 to $10.
The restaurant also will offer a rotating list of beers and wine on tap.
Couvillions’ hours of operation will be 4 to 10 p.m. Monday and Wednesday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.