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4. Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar

Best Restaurants 2012

Is there anything we love more than a great neighborhood bistro? A real bistro, one that can be counted on as much for its lack of frills and conceptual statements as for its relative modesty, excellent food, and straightforward delivery? This is the essence of Bouquet Restaurant & Wine Bar, the kind of place every neighborhood needs. Owner and Chef Stephen Williams features dishes that marry lusty peasant kitchen soul with farmstead chic, creating unexpected (rather than uncharted) distinction. Therefore: Do not miss the Caesar salad of crisp-tender green beans, fried capers, and oranges; the small plate of quinoa, heirloom mushrooms, and a perfectly poached egg with sherry cream; nor the gorgeous golden filet of flounder straddling a drift of edamame, fennel, and arugula. All resonate with a subtle confluence of flavor and texture. Also do not miss their award-winning wine list, which features affordable wines by the carafe, bottle, or glass. The cozy room is attended to by a warm, hip staff that are clearly devoted to Williams and his food. We are too.

519 Main St., Covington, (859) 491-7777, bouquetrestaurant.com

Originally published in the March 2012 issue.