- 318 Greenup St., Covington, KY, 41011
- Overall User Rating:
- (2 ratings)
- 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Friday, noon-1 a.m. Saturday.
- Official Web Site:
As I arrived at the recently opened Blinkers Tavern on Greenup Street in Covington, it went through my mind how many times I had walked through its doors and into a different restaurant.
In 1997, I tried it for the first time as Scalea's, which I went back to two more times; then once as Bistro 318. I'd eaten French-Vietnamese here when it was Pho Paris, duck Sloppy Joes when it first became Chalk, Food + Wine and several excellent meals when Mark Bodenstein was the Chalk chef.
Does it make me a terrible food snob that I regretted that all of those interesting, even cutting-edge places had ultimately been replaced by a tavern whose menu has nothing more out of the mainstream than a burger with blue cheese?
It probably does. I'd rather take my chances on a duck Sloppy Joe than go for a sure-thing burger any day. But I adjusted my expectations to the menu at hand and found that there's a good version of a traditional menu here, including a good steak for the money.
Gary Ginn, who's been part of the local restaurant scene for several years, most recently at Reserve Piano Bar on Cincinnati's Fourth Street, and Sandy Meyer, who owned Havana Martini Club, have teamed up to create this bar/restaurant with a Kentucky horseracing theme. (Blinkers are what race horses wear to shield their eyes.)
The long space is much the same as it has been: a small bar in front, two more spaces and an outside patio lined up behind it; a lounge area next to it.
The decor is now horse-racing themed, and the atmosphere is trending toward casual. But it still has that nice dark wood and tile, so it feels dressier than your average sports bar. The look works well for the somewhat older Covington crowd, both in the bar and the restaurant. The lounge is oriented younger, with couches and a big TV.
On a Saturday, we had to wait about half an hour in the front bar area before being seated, and had a crab cake ($9.95) with a beer and a wine. This put us in a good frame of mind for dinner, as it was homemade, with lots of chunks of crab patted together and lightly fried.
The steak I liked so much was the Blinker steak, a 10-ounce strip for $21.95, not inexpensive but a relatively good value. It was well-seared, tender and full of meaty juice that mingled with the topping of garlic, mushrooms and wine. It was just the right amount of steak, satisfying and not overly filling.
My friend had the mussels linguine ($16.95), which he liked in its white wine sauce with a little tomato. I nabbed a bite, and got a bad mussel - that's never good, and I didn't have a second bite.
The andouille chicken ($14.95) was a saute of chicken and sausage in an intense Cajun-inspired sauce. It was served not on the plain rice you'd expect, but with a decent risotto, perhaps a little rich for the dish, but creamy.
The black and bleu burger with a little Cajun seasoning was a nice juicy bite of meat for its price ($8.95).
Side dishes include a lightly steamed broccoli, tangy horseradish potatoes, crisp house salad and an even better spinach salad you can swap for it.
Strawberry tiramisu ($4.95), a strawberries and cream cake was our ending and one of the few twists on old favorites.