Sunday, August 11, 2013

Main Bite

A charmer that could become 
a mainstay after some tweaking

The Inviting Front Porch at Main Bite
      Main Bite has almost everything it takes to soar as an eating establishment in the MainStrasse area of Covington.  One half of a wood-framed home supplies the welcoming restaurant space with a front porch and outdoor garden area
separated from the village sidewalk by an ornamental iron fence.  It's a little like visiting the proverbial "grandma's house".

      The fare is tapas as what I call "portioned for Americans".  They're large enough to share, yet appropriately sized for a 2 to 4 course meal if you're dining alone.  We met Katy and Denny there on a gorgeous summer evening, positioning ourselves at a table outside.  We all chose our favorite drinks as we looked over the menu.  Eric found one called the Elderberry Royale from the Culinary Cocktail section, which was a sparking wine with St. Germain, fresh blackberries, and mint. Very refreshing!  Kudos to our server who mixed it.

Shrimp Guac Nachos
      We decided to share everything between the four of us, which we announced to our server with the cue to make sure that each course could be made for each of us to sample (i.e. four each of those ordered).  We asked for suggestions, to which our server had very direct opinions, and started with the Shrimp Guac Nachos.  They arrived with 5 (what happened to 4?) spicy shrimp atop blue tortilla chips with fresh guacamole.  It was a nice start to the evening and Katy graciously conceded to taking the 5th portion.

Orange Sesame Seared Scallops
Next came the Orange Sesame Seared Scallops with 3 (again with the 4!) over rice pilaf.  I'm not always fond of scallops, but I found these to be a highlight of all the courses.  (We decided to split the 3 scallops into 4 each.)

Strawberry Fields

      After that, we were easily able to share the perfectly sized Strawberry Fields salad consisting of various berries, goat cheese, pistachios, and pomegranate dressing.  It was a great combination, but not unlike a similar one that can be found at Panera.  It needed to be just a notch above that to make it special.  

Blackened Tilapia Tacos
     We knew the Blackened Tilapia Tacos came with two soft tacos and our server offered that the chef could cut them in half for us.  Great—no fuss on the portioning for that one.  Except, when they arrived, they weren't cut and she apologized that the chef didn't want to ruin the presentation by splicing them.  The flavors made up for the clumsiness of cutting them ourselves.  The sides of chipotle crema and guacamole were perfect with the other combinations.  They were a hit with all of us.

Nana's Baked Cavatappi

     We were still up for one more small plate and Nana's Baked Cavatappi won out.  It wasn't exactly what we expected, but the family recipe satisfied us with what I could best describe as a version of johnny marzetti.  This particular dish was definitely portioned for sharing and came with 4 (yea) pita bread slices.

Our Dessert Selections
     Or server recited the desserts and we thought that two would be appropriate.  The Chocolate Pot de Creme and the Four (yes!) Mini Cupcakes were the winners.  The pot de creme was smooth as it should be, but not quite the buttery consistency to put it over the top.  We all wanted to try the different varieties of cupcakes, so one last time we fiddled with artfully cutting them into fours.  The dark chocolate…superb, the salted caramel…a hit, the lemon…light and tangy, and the strawberry…our least favorite.

     I know I've made light of the 4 portions for 4 guests, but when you're a tapas restaurant that obviously wants people to share shouldn't the establishment  make that as effortless for their diners as possible?  It's not hard to take one shrimp away form one plate and add a scallop to the other dish to make up for it.  All that should equal out in the long run for the business.  It's details like that which would have made our dining experience more pleasurable.  

Main Bite Interior
     This brings me to one last overlooked point…the bathroom.  The location and functionality of this tiny room positioned next to two hightop dining tables is terribly uncomfortable for those using the facilities and those dining adjacent to it.  At least one table needs to go to allow those waiting to use the bathroom the space to do so and not be in everyone's way.  Then there's the horribly positioned toilet paper dispenser and waste can.  Have any of the workers (all women on the night we were there) at this restaurant used these facilities?  They're just not functional at all, especially for females.  Some repositioning could easily alleviate these problems.

     Main Bite has a lot of things going for it and, with a few tweaks to the space and menu, it could become a very interesting spot to watch in the years to come.

Main Bite on Urbanspoon

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