Nothing says summer like freshly picked goods from the garden and made-from-scratch meals like (you wish) your mom cooked, served outside on a spacious wrought iron table with a big umbrella and, of course, a nice cold cocktail. The newly opened Main Bite in MainStrasse creates delicious, seasonal fare with crafty culinary cocktails to go with each bite of your meal.
The restaurant itself is small and painted inside with dramatic, rich colors — deep red and purple to go along with black marble-looking tables — but the outside is what makes this restaurant. There’s so much comfortable seating.
Their cocktail list is loaded with fruits and vegetables such as cucumbers, blackberries and strawberries, muddled or pureed accordingly. Main Bite loves flavored and organic vodkas to make the usual suspects like fruit-driven martinis, mojitos and fun seasonal drinks such as the Strawberry Shortcake — think strawberries and “whipped” vodka. During a recent visit, I chose the Elderberry Royale ($6.95), a sparkling wine cocktail with bits of blackberries and mint leaves floating in a mixture of St. Germain in a tall, stemless flute — perfect for my summer night outside.
Main Bite also carries assorted craft beers and nice wines if you’re into a non-culinary concoction.
Owner Margie Potts prepares everything fresh daily. All of the sauces and dressings are made in-house. She collects a few ingredients from a nearby community garden and on-site garden for various dishes and cocktails.
This isn’t a tapas-style restaurant, but Potts shaves down the portion sizes so one dish won’t stuff you.
In fact, the smaller portions encourage guests to try a variety of plates and still leave room for dessert or cocktails.
The menu is divided into three sections: First Bites, Main Bites and Fresh Bites.
Our “First Bite” was the Shrimp Guac Nachos ($9.95), five blue corn tortilla chips individually dolloped with guacamole and topped with a shrimp. The shrimp were dredged in a spicy Cajun-style seasoning that clung to every crevice. The guacamole acted like a cooling agent and relieved my mouth from the heat. The only problem was getting the whole chip in my mouth. Not one of those bites you can try to cut in half — it was all or nothing, but totally worth the embarrassment of trying to tell the server how good it was with a full mouth.
From the list of “Fresh Bites,” or salads, we decided on the Strawberry Fields ($9.95) salad. It was definitely a toss up between that or the Thai chopped chicken salad ($10.95). The house-made peanut dressing with crunchy cucumber sounded pretty good for a hot night, but berries sounded like a better fit between courses. The strawberry salad was as beautiful as it was delicious. It looked like summer on a plate. They piled the strawberries, blueberries, pistachios, dried cranberries and goat cheese onto mixed greens coated in an acai pomegranate vinaigrette. Sure, the pomegranate is out of season, but the overall fruitiness of the salad mixed with the salty, toasted pistachios whetted my palate for more food.
From the “Main Bites” section, we chose the Signature Crab Cakes ($13.95) and Blackened Tilapia Tacos ($12.95). The crab cakes were moist and pan-seared. The best part was they weren’t breaded, so they tasted like crab meat with a bit of a crunch from the part that touched the pan. They’re served with a sweet roasted red pepper remoulade that’s delicious, but crab cakes can stand alone. The tilapia tacos had a great consistency. The two soft tacos stood up between a ramekin of guacamole and another of chipotle crema, tasty accompaniments that added life to the dish. The fish tacos tasted fresh and the tilapia was cooked to perfection. The crispy fish bites were definitely a welcomed surprise.
Our server didn’t mention any desserts to us, so we ended with a couple more culinary cocktails. The Local Harvest was an herbal delight with fresh basil and cucumber and sweetened with agave nectar.
The weekend brunch specials are separate from the main menu. The Eggcellent Toad in a Hole ($9.95) isn’t anything I’ve had before, but fresh sausage baked in a Yorkshire pudding with onion gravy sounds like a good way to start the day. They spin traditional breakfast favorites like the Hillbilly Benedict ($8.95), served with goetta.
Along with the cocktails, all of the bites tasted fresh, and didn’t leave me feeling overindulgent, which is perfect in case I want to go back for more crab cakes.
Go: 522 Main St., Covington
Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 4:30-10 p.m. Tuesday- Friday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday