August 2006

Covington | Kentucky15 Aug 2006 08:17 pm

This landmark waterfront (in the water) restaurant was a haunt of mine over 25 years ago as a first stop on the way to a Reds ballgame with clients in the Cincinnati area. I never forgot it – at the time I ate all types of seafood which is their claim to fame. Going back years later brought even more surprises (it was a default location with the closing of Scalea’s in Covington – later renamed).

OK… though I won’t call their eggplant melanzane, I will call two of their variations very good. One was a part of an entree called a mountain (or hill or heap) of eggplant and fried green tomatoes (check their website for exact name). Though I was turned off to green tomatoes in a spot in Galena, IL, when combined with eggplant and cooked well there is hope for them. The second variation was their fried eggplant appetizer (for four bucks!) which was really a heap of eggplant served with cocktail sauce. You could have made it a meal in itself. Since I ate here two days in a row, I also had their Mississippi bean soup (similar to good old fashioned pork and beans but with a tangier sauce). The other entree was chicken florentine which was prepared nicely; the extra steamed vegetables were welcome (I skipped the rice pilaf – enough starch in the eggplant breading).

Wine choices are thoughtful with at least a half dozen reds and whites to select by the glass. My California Zinfandel (night 1) and Pinot Noir (night 2) were fine.

If you like seafood, this also looks like a pretty good choice (judged by the menu and passing dishes).

One Ben Bernstein Place
Covington, KY 41011
(Accross the river from Cincinnati)

Cedar Rapids | Iowa01 Aug 2006 09:51 pm

OK, so I am having an omnivore’s dilemma after reading Michael Pollan’s book (of same title). So why not have pork tenderloin in Iowa where (maybe) the pig lived (& died). Get your food close to the point of production. Kidding aside, he raises some interesting dilemmas and makes you think just a little bit more about the lunacy of the food systems we use on a daily basis.

But back to the review of this 20+ year old restaurant. I remember the very best pork tenderloin, grilled to perfection, when I used to come to Cedar Rapids years ago on business. They haven’t lost their touch. The medium well slab of meat was perfetcly grilled – moist yet charred just enough. Salad was ok, and wine choices fair. A loaf of crusty white bread starts you out, with a honey butter that compliments the crust – tear the bread apart to enjoy the crust – keep that knife away – save it for the meat. Wine choices are limited but adequate. A Santa Barbara pinot noir and a Napa cabernet sauvignon worked well with the salad & entree. Side of vegetable medley was steamed (and not overcooked – wow). This is generally a place for the well healed – lot’s of talk about money all around me. This is a very comfortable, quiet, low noise place; please don’t forget to take your cell phones outside for calls if you must – I was impressed that the only cell phone which rung during my visit was mine. How impolite.

3847 1st Ave SE

Cedar Rapids, IA