Photograph by Jeremy Kramer
There are five bridges that cross the river into Northern Kentucky. Pick one and make your way to Bouquet posthaste. Stephen Williams’s farm-to-table menu shines in the cozy, unassuming MainStrasse location, offering some of the best bang for your hard-earned dining out bucks. Ease into your meal with warm olives scented with orange zest and pickled ginger alongside a crafty cocktail, the list of which is seasonal and loyal to Kentucky’s enduring gem: bourbon. Williams updates his menu regularly; go twice while the same fresh, local ingredients are at their peak and you’ll see creativity in action. Start with some greens—say the kale salad with a pear honey vinaigrette, bacon, pickled onion, and whipped feta, or the quinoa with a slow-poached 55-minute egg, Kentucky mushrooms, and sherry cream. Who says quinoa has to taste healthy? Williams’s juicy, perfectly seared bistro teres major steak was exceptional in two iterations—with horseradish grits and a parsley chimichurri sauce on the first visit, and an Asian bok choy preparation on the second. The service is upbeat, genuinely warm, and knowledgeable; the wine list extensive and the three-glass carafe a nice option for two people. Williams’s flexibility, deft talent, and flair for originality have rightly propelled him to the top shelf.
519 Main St., Covington, (859) 491-7777, bouquetrestaurant.com