Cincinnati jokes can rattle off non-Cincinnatian’s tongues fairly easily: “Hey, do you listen to WRKP?” (No, Les Nessman does not exist.); “Oh, isn’t that where the river caught on fire?” (No, that was Cleveland—the opposite side of the state.); “Didn’t Mark Twain say that is where he wants to be when the world ends because everything there happens 20 years later?” (Inconclusive.); “I’ve been there—and I had to fly into Kentucky!” (True.)
Yes, if you fly to Cincinnati, its seven hills in which 52 unique neighborhoods are nestled do face the rolling hills of Kentucky. And all are waiting to greet y’all with open arms. When you arrive for the Edible Good Spirits tour in November, your route into the city from the airport will welcome you with the stunning Cincinnati skyline framed by the Ohio River.
The New York Times did its quintessential travel piece, “36 Hours in Cincinnati,” recently, which is a great overview of the downtown and Over-the-Rhine neighborhoods. Here Team Edible Ohio Valley will add more restaurants that highlight our local farmers and give peeks into the hidden treasures that are off the New York Times’ path:
For dinner, go to Bouquet (519 Main Street, Covington, Kentucky). Chef Stephen Williams and his team are always ready to surprise you with culinary delights, inspired by the region’s bounty. It is also highlights the Northern Kentucky segment of Bourbon Trail, with over 100 varieties of Kentucky’s liquid gold (some of which you cannot try in Ohio, thanks to arcane liquor laws).
I’ll be honest. It was the tasting menu that drew me to Bouquet. I know, I know…cliche foodie move. Since the phenomenon really caught on, or at least became affordable, I have been a sucker for those mini plates, and I’ve become an expert in listening intently to the staff as they list how each dish was delicately created and plated. I often think of Pete Wells’ NYT piece from 2012 when I opt for a tasting menu- “a tasting menu can yield a succession of delights that a shorter meal could never contain.” What is better than one expertly made dish? 4-23 dishes in an exact order with wines to match of course!
At Bouquet, they do what every restaurant should do- work seasonally. Since our Carriage House Farm visit, I have become more conscious of what foods are in season, I’m weary of food miles, and how we, and chefs, should honour each product. Sure apples are at their best right now, but let’s not hide them- let them shine and be the focus of your dish! And that, dear readers, is exactly what Bouquet did. And with finesse.
Their September Tasting Mnu was as follows:
carrots / greens / ginger / honey / melon
A simple dish that let the carrots be front and centre thanks to skillfully sous vide-ing the vegetable so that it was intensely carroty, yet retained that crunch that only carrots have. A fiery ginger, melon, and honey reduction amplified the peppery kick from the greens, and the light, sweet melon came through enough at the end to cool things down. I doubt I’ll ever have such a carroty carrot again in my life.
spaghetti / heirloom tomato / olive oil
House made pasta in a simple tomato sauce. Nothing too special about that. Oh how wrong you are. The pasta was perfectly al dente, and almost whole meal in taste. The fried garlic packed such intense flavour into such small chips, that complemented the sweetness of the sauce. The olive oil was perhaps a tad too rich, but when in Rome…
wild shrimp / fried grits / tomatillo / garlic queso / chili oil
The stand out dish for me- both taste and presentation wise. The tomatillos lifted the dish with their bursts of freshness, but were subtle enough in flavour to allow the huge, beefy, succulent shrimps to be the star of the course. The fried grits were a genius feature: packed with creamy cheesy goodness and matching beautifully with the chili oil. The garlic queso was almost aioli like in texture and flavour, but there was a heat and creaminess to it that was just heavenly. I just wish I had the guts to ask for more of it.
corn ice cream / cardamom poke cake / smoked padron
Sweet corn ice cream should have been a novelty, a joke. I consider all savoury ice creams as a bit naff. But it worked so well! A huge scoop of this earthy ice cream sat proud on top of a dense, somewhat chewy cake slice, peppered with the warmth and richness that only comes from cardamom. The candied padron pieces were…interesting. Hot and sweet, but too sharp for me I’m afraid.
Bouquet is teasing us with snaps of their October tasting menu already, and I for one cannot wait to see what genius creations are coming. Aside from their tasting menu, every other dish on offer sounded fantastic- even the more avant garde choice of barracuda that our server reveled in telling us all about. Staff were attentive, jovial, and really really lovely- anyone that can let us eat in peace, but high five us when we accurately guess that the guy stuck in traffic next to use was playing Cradle of Filth, is alright by me.
519 Main St., Covington, KY 41011
Mon – Thu: 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Fri – Sat: 5:00 pm – 1:00 am
What kind of bouquet is Bouquet, the Covington restaurant, most like? Not a dozen red roses imported from South America. Not a florist's collection of hot house flowers. Most closely, it's like a carefully plucked bunch of flowers from the garden and field, all in bloom at the same time, put together in pretty combination. (It's also like the bouquet of a fine wine, which I think is the actual inspiration for the name.)
Stephen Williams, who started Bouquet in 2007, is one of the local chefs most committed to buying from local farms and producers. His menu in the summer is full of local bounty to which he applies an artistic sensibility. For him, it's about seeing what there is and making something lovely out of it.
The diner can choose either a four-course tasting menu, with all courses decided by the chef, or order more conventionally from the regular menu. To continue my metaphor, which I'm rather enjoying, the dishes on the regular menu are built around a beautiful hydrangea or peony, while the tasting menu is more like quirky bouquets of cosmos and wild grasses.
What is in your refrigerator right now? Cottage cheese, a lot of fruit. I've got a 2-year-old and he's just now exploring food, so fruit is his favorite thing. And lots of milk. That's his other favorite thing. I have some MadTree , some Rhinegeist , there's some bourbon sitting on top of the refrigerator. Lots of ice cream in the freezer. I'm an ice cream fiend...
A Covington chef is teaming up with a pizzeria chain to support Findlay Market.
Pizzeria Locale - the Colorado-based chain that has locations in Cincinnati and Mason, Oh. - is working with chef Stephen Williams on "The Findlay", a pizza inspired by Williams' love of the Over-the-Rhine market. Williams is known for Bouquet, the celebrated restaurant in Covington's Mainstrasse Village.
The Findlay will be introduced and served at a pop-up event at Findlay Market on Thursday, October 27, from 4:30 - 6 p.m. at the OTR Biergarten (or at the Farm Shed if the weather does not cooperate).
There is a $5 suggested donation to the the Findlay Market Fund. Wine can be purchased and will be served by Hart & Cru and local winery The Skeleton Root.
Popular Covington restaurant Bouquet will be open for lunch beginning August 1.
After nearly one year in business, Son & Soil, the newest venture from Chef Stephen Williams and his wife Jessica, is ready to expand. Rather than looking for a new location, the couple has decided to move Son & Soil into Bouquet on Main Street. The move will mean more seating for lunchtime customers and an expanded menu.
Some restaurants are better suited to date night than others. Bouquet in Covington is hard to beat. Cozy, off the beaten path, and with a menu touched with a lovable Southern drawl, right down to the bourbon-centric cocktails, it verily announces “Come on back, y’all.” And so we do. Chef and co-owner Stephen Williams is dedicated to sourcing ingredients from local farmers and artisans, or the nearby community garden, and the constantly changing menu reflects his farm-to-table ethos...
The US has no shortage of outstanding restaurants that serve everything from flavor-packed amuse-bouches to juicy steaks to hand-crafted desserts. To find the best one each state has to offer, we sifted through our list of the best restaurants in America, James Beard Award nominations, expert reviews, and local recommendations, paying particular attention to fine-dining establishments.
Read on to see which spot is a must-visit in your state:
Wow - we're so honored to have been named by Business Insider as the best restaurant in Kentucky in their list of the best restaurant in each state! Thanks to our friends who've shared this as well!
Most chefs dream of owning and operating their own restaurant. And if a chef has been doing that successfully for a while, there comes a time when it seems like a good idea to open up another place.
Sometimes it’s because of customer demand, or sometimes it’s because the chef becomes bored with the particular type of cuisine he or she has been serving and wants to branch out. In the case of Stephen Williams, chef and owner of Covington’s Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar, and his wife Jessica, it was a desire to feed themselves that prompted the idea for the soon-to-open Son & Soil.
The Williamses were actually hoping someone else would come along and open the type of quick, convenient-yet-healthy restaurant needed to fill the gap they’re anticipating Son & Soil will plug on Covington’s Main Street.
“I’ve been down here for 10 years now, and we’ve always wanted something besides bar food,” Stephen says. “I mean, bar food is delicious, but chicken wings and french fries everyday gets a little old, and I was actually hoping someone would put in a Smoothie King for years. We just always wanted something simple like that that we could grab, that was no
After 123 burgers, epic levels of face-stuffing, and a few bouts of the meat sweats, our intrepid eaters narrowed the field to the top 45. Only one (very big) question remains: Which one will you try first?...
22. Bouquet: Bouquet Burger, $14
(2010 Ranking: Not ranked)
Bouquet is not your average burger joint, but for a swanky bistro that can sear diver scallops with the best of them, their burger is one to write home about. Thick, rich, and dense, it’s served open-faced on a sweet, golden brown Sixteen Bricks brioche bun with crumbled blue cheese, fresh arugula, tangy housemade pickles, and a schmear of housemade mustard. A marvelous flavor bomb. The night we had it, the beef was sourced from Butcher Betties in Florence, but they now grind it in-house. 519 Main St., Covington, (859) 491-7777, bouquetrestaurant.com
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
Bouquet (Covington) () : Stephen Williams is proud of his local vendors, so his fine dining-worthy burger represents the region well: Butcher Bettie's beef, Sixteen Bricks bread, house-made pickles and mustard, all served with truffle fries. You might have come to Bouquet for a romantic dinner, but trust me, burgers can be romantic, too, especially if it's this one.
Nonprofit fundraisers go hand-in-hand with restaurants. Chefs are often called upon to donate time and food to events and galas.
But Stephen Williams, the chef and owner of Bouquet restaurant in Covington, is taking a more direct approach, creating his own series of events to raise money for local charities and non-profits.
He'll host a wine dinner on the last Tuesday of every month, with part of the proceeds going to a different organization each time. He's starting small, with room for just 24 people at the first dinner, which will raise money for The Carnegie, the arts organization in Covington, Jan. 27.
Chefs are often asked to donate food, but Covington restaurateur takes a direct approach.
Caitlin and Kelly are joined by their friend Steve Frisch of The Rusty Ball, as well as Stephen and Jessica Williams of Bouquet Restaurant.
Read more: http://www.55krc.com/media/podcast-cooking-with-caitlin-WhatsHot/cooking-with-caitlin-11214-25510525/#ixzz3KUTl6sx8
In the culinary world, it is sometimes rare to find a chef that cares about more than just the quality of food and the bottom line of their restaurant. Chef Stephen Williams of Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar in Covington is one of that rare breed. As the owner of Bouquet, he naturally cares about the quality of food he serves and the bottom line of his restaurant. As he told me recently, “you’re lucky in the restaurant business to be around a year, and we are about to celebrate our seventh.” They indeed celebrated their seventh anniversary on Saturday, November 1.
It’s pretty hard to pick a “best restaurant” in Cincinnati.
Ten years ago, if you’d have asked us what the 10 best restaurants were, it would have been easy—and we might not have even come up with 10. Now, with a renaissance in downtown Cincinnati, the embracing of local farms and the greater variety of amazing restaurants opening up around the Tristate, it’s pretty hard to pick. We took a variety of categories that we know you care about, and picked our 30 Very Best Restaurants: the ones who do what they do best. You’ll notice a few themes: fresh, often local, ingredients; a distinctive approach to food; and, occasionally, a sense of nostalgia. It’s not exclusively fine dining, but we did make sure that it’s local (and delicious). Tell us what you think.
A state-by-state look to our readers' favorite burger joints. All suggestions came via Facebook.
Unfortunately, this article no longer exists.
When James Beard died in 1985, Julia Child insisted that the culinary community do something with his house. As a cooking school proprietor, author of more than 20 cookbooks, and respected arbiter and mentor, Beard had entertained many from the burgeoning American food scene there, making it a natural home for a foundation that would promote the culinary arts. Being asked to cook a dinner at the Greenwich Village headquarters has become one of the highest honors for a chef. When Jean-Robert de Cavel was invited back (for his sixth time) in May as part of the Cincy in NYC arts trip, he decided to share the glory with seven fellow Cincinnati chefs: David Falk of Boca, Stephen Williams of Bouquet, Julie Francis of Nectar, Jean-Philippe Solnom of French Crust Café, David Cook of Daveed’s Next, Jeremy Lieb of Boca, and Jose Salazar of Salazar. Lucky me, I got to tag along, pitching in where I could in the kitchen. Between stuffing snails and peeling fava beans, I also took a few notes. This is how the dinner went down.
Just in case you missed it, eight of Cincinnati’s finest chefs combined forces for one amazing dinner at New York's James Beard House this past weekend. The dinner was part of the Cincy in NYC arts takeover that occurred last week that also included performances by the Cincinnati Ballet, the CSO, the Playhouse and the CCM Ariel Quintet. Jean-Robert de Cavel selected and organized the chef team, which featured David Cook of Daveed’s Next, David Falk and Jeremy Lieb of Boca Restaurant Group, Julie Francis of Nectar, Jose Salazar of Salazar, Stephen Williams of Bouquet, and Jean Philippe Solnom of French Crust Café. Each chef contributed a canapé course, as well as a dinner course. The chefs endeavored to feature as many local products as possible.
NEW YORK – There was a whirlwind of activity in the tiny kitchen of the James Beard Foundation in Greenwich Village as seven of Cincinnati's celebrity chefs prepped for an elite "Cincy in NYC" dinner on Saturday. The lovely townhouse is the former home of the iconic cookbook author and now regularly hosts glittery dinners for visiting chefs.
A steady diet of SPAM, microwave popcorn, and bologna sandwiches drove Stephen Williams of Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar over the edge and toward the kitchen: It got him to start cooking.
*This article no longer exists
American cuisine has truly come into its own, thanks in part to the chefs and restaurateurs who are elevating our nation's food culture one plate at a time. This holiday season celebrate the cuisine that makes America's foodies feel that there's no place like home.
The list of winners is based on more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by OpenTable diners for more than 19,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
By Polly Campbell | firstname.lastname@example.org
It's the time of the year when I push back from the table, delicately dab the corners of my mouth one last time, go home to flop in the recliner and mentally relive all my meals of the year.
It takes awhile. What with online guides to burgers and Italian food and vegetarian restaurants and Oktoberfest, etc, and my "Polly's New Favorite Thing" column and weekly restaurant reviews, I've cut a pretty wide swath through the food that you can get for money in Cincinnati.
Chef Stephen Williams finds it difficult to classify his restaurant.“Some people call us French-Southern with an American twist, but we also do Chinese, Indian and South American,” says Williams. “You can’t really label us. We just love to cook.”
That’s because the Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar never has a menu set in stone. The meals depend on available produce and ingredients from local farms.
Whether it’s a burger, Belgian waffle or boar, roasted and served over polenta, the chefs of Northern Kentucky deliver. So, annually, NKY dares to declare the best of the best.
These are our favorites, but we are not content with a one-way conversation on something so important. Do you have a favorite chef? A little-known treasure of an entree? The perfect secluded table for two?
If Kentucky is the new California, Chef Stephen Williams is the new Alice Waters (sorry, chef) whose cozy neighborhood bistro has one fork planted firmly in the canon of Kentucky-proud, the other in classic French
In my first review of Bouquet, the little place in Covington that chef/owner Stephen Williams started on a shoestring, I said it was a restaurant I expected to develop over time, like the bouquet of a fine wine. I could not have been more right.
At the time, the food was good, but written in prose. Now it’s poetry. I’ve rarely experienced a restaurant improving this much. The plates are more beautifully arranged, the composition of the dishes shows originality, but also a respect for fresh, local food. There is a strong touch of Kentucky in the dishes, along with classic technique and a thoroughly modern understanding of how flavors can go together.
While relatively common throughout Europe, where Slow Food is more mantra than buzzword, the locavore movement is still a relatively new phenomenon in most of the United States (the term was coined in 2005 and in 2007 was selected as word of the year in the Oxford American Dictionary). One of several local champions of the thos, Stephen Williams, the chef/owner of Bouquet Restaurant & Wine Bar in Covington's historic Mainstrasse district, allows patrons to experience the benefit of flavors that have had the time to ripen in the field rather than a warehouse...
American cuisine has truly come into its own, thanks in part to the chefs and restaurateurs who are elevating our nation's food culture one plate at a time. The list of winners is based on more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by OpenTable diners for more than 15,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
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.
Amid the friendly main drag of Covington, Kentucky, lies a restaurant and wine bar committed to local ingredients and promoting our Ohio Valley producers.
As a testament to Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar, the origin of each ingredient of the food they serve is widely known and displayed. At this excellent restaurant, diners know where the chef finds the food in two ways: how they describe the items on the menu and by the list of purveyors they include at the end of the seasonal, two-page menu.
5. Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar
Where to Eat Now 2011
Truth be told, Bouquet surprised us all. When I first reviewed it in April 2010, I found the lo-fi vibe of this 42-seat bistro charming, the good heartland cuisine from Chef/Owner Stephen Williams promising, but the service inconsistent. By the time we returned in the fall, things had clearly changed.
Covington has such an abundance of adorable, quirky, unique dining experiences. As many of them have gone smoke-free, The Better Half and I are making a point to visit more of them. One night, we noticed that Bouquet had openings for the time we wanted to eat– all the better– so we made a quick OpenTable reservation and headed to Covington.
The Mainstrasse area of Covington is particularly beautiful, with old-world, European-style charm and just a hint of quirkiness. There are tattoo parlors near bridal stores, motorcycle bars aroudn the corner from wine bars. Bouquet is, of course, the wine bar. The interior of Bouquet is like someone’s very nice, well-appointed living room, with lots of warm colors and a large wood bar. On the right, you can see their many accolades from Wine Enthusiast Magazine, and the bar was comfortably busy. We got a table near the bar.
- See more at: http://winemedinemecincinnati.com/2011/01/review-bouquet/#sthash.5UnCfCdE.dpuf
Since Jean-Robert At Pigall's closed we have been struggling to find somewhere to go every month for a relaxing and inspiring lunch or dinner. We were originally going to go to Boca, however we just weren't up to it. I switched our reservation to Bouquet not expecting much. I don't know why I didn't expect much.
This is going to sound douchey, but I don't care. When you have eaten somewhere like JR@P you become accustomed to expecting things and when you can't find them anymore it's very sad. Is this a eulogy of JR@P? No, this is my utter surprise at a little place called Bouquet.
When you walk it you are greeted to white tablecloths (so simply elegant) and an obviously french looking decor and atmosphere. Our server seated us by the front of the restaurant by the bar. I noted they had a nice selection of bottled beer, I saw some labels I've never seen before.
It is a cold night in a long unbrokenstring of cold nights. We pull our coats tighter and lean into each other as we deliberately sidestep the icy vestiges of recent winter storms. Snowflakes swirl in the air overhead and glimmer through the lights that illuminate the mid-19th-century quaintness of MainStrasse. Veins of frost reach across the front windows of Bouquet Restaurant & Wine Bar and Otto’s, next door. Charming, like a snow globe village, we decide, lingering for a moment before ducking into Bouquet.
A cozy, quaint addition to MainStrasse Village, this wine bar is a must for lovers of the vine. Bouquet features a superb wine selection (hence its name), a knowledgeable staff and a small but well thought-out menu.
Located on a hip and happening block of Covington's Main Street, the Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar is a pleasant surprise. In fact, in the incestuous world of Greater Cincinnati dining, Bouquet is a thriving branch covered with shiny leaves: It sits opposite Dee Felice and right next door to local favorite Otto's.