Eat This Now: Broadbent Country Ham Falafel at Proof on Main, Louisville, KY


[Photograph: Carey Jones]

One might think that falafel, often championed by the vegetarian set, would be an unlikely partner for ham, darling of many a carnivore. One would be wrong.

That's a narrow conception of how we eat these days, isn't it? At Proof on Main in Louisville's 21c Hotel, Broadbent Country Ham Falafel ($9) is the must-order appetizer. The beloved Kentucky ham is finely minced and mixed in with the chickpeas before each falafel ball is shaped and fried, adding an unmistakable smoky pigginess to each bite. They're served on a bed of Benedictine—a cream cheese–cucumber spread particular to Kentucky—and, the real clincher, dusted with smoked paprika.

It's a can't-miss in the dining room, but thoughtfully served on the bar menu, as well. Hard to imagine better drinking food than ham falafel, a dish that itself sounds like the product of a bourbon-lubricated mind.