I’m Just a Girl, Standing in Front of a Waffle…

Commonwealth Bistro’s brunch has a number of shining stars — but one burns the brightest.

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click to enlarge Commonwealth blends contemporary cuisine with Southern comfort in the heart of MainStrasse. - Photos: Bryan Harris
Photos: Bryan Harris
Commonwealth blends contemporary cuisine with Southern comfort in the heart of MainStrasse.
Commonwealth Bistro is one of the newest urban eateries to join MainStrasse’s restaurant row, and it’s bringing some serious heat. The location is killer, the aesthetic is gorgeous, the atmosphere is excellent and the menu, whether for dinner or brunch, is tantalizing. While it only recently opened, I’m here to tell you (and everyone I know and love) that this is a must-try destination. 

My husband and I went for weekend brunch and chose to order three entrées to share; the menu items were too tempting to just get one apiece. Furthermore, each option rang in at a reasonable price point, so it wasn’t all that extravagant to order three. 

We chose the Scotch egg ($10) as our starter — a hard-boiled egg wrapped in goetta, fried and topped with hollandaise sauce. I couldn’t even finish typing that sentence without laughing out loud because, yes, it was as crazy and delicious as it sounds. We split into the madness, reaching the eggy epicenter and scooping up each component. When eaten in heavenly unison, the bite was worth the risk of a heart attack.

The Scotch egg was served with an arugula salad — rightly so, because leafy greens are the only reasonable juxtaposition for the artery-clogging fried-goetta-egg-dumpling holding court on the plate. The veggies were welcome, dressed in their own light and salty vinaigrette, which helped bring an acidic note to the entire course. We finished this one quickly and weren’t sure if brunch could get better from there.

But better it got. The only other dish I knew I definitely wanted to try beside the Scotch egg was the chicken and waffle ($14). Our server said it was out of this world, and I quickly learned that was an understatement.

I want to start by saying this: I have probably thought about this chicken and waffle once a waking hour since I had it. That is no joke.

While I was eating it, I wanted to talk about it. On the ride home, I wanted to talk about it. Just the other day, I woke up and elbowed my husband in the ribs because I wanted to start my day by talking about it. I’m currently drafting up my CWBCW (Commonwealth Bistro Chicken and Waffle) tattoo. 

The chicken and waffle dish is simply described as this on the menu: fried chicken and cornmeal waffle with spicy maple glacé and buttermilk ice cream. There is no time for punctuation in that sentence because ice cream! That’s right, folks, there is a special little dessert surprise in there that is so utterly and completely worth the splurge. 

But first know that as crazy as that combination may sound, the dish itself isn’t overwhelming. The portions were just right and, dare I say, light? 

First the chicken: The chicken was a fried leg. And while I’d describe it as super fried, it was fried in such a way that the crispy exterior was more flakey than coagulated chunks. The fried parts fell off easily, exposing deeply moist dark meat, which alone was delicious. 

Then there were the cornmeal waffles. They were two petite triangles that weren’t too dense and weren’t too fluffy, with just the right amount of carby sweetness to serve as the base for the chicken.

However, the real treat was the addition of sweet bits of apple and golden raisins. The alluring satisfaction behind the combination of chicken and waffles is the marriage of salty and sweet in the dish, and I had no idea it could be elevated by fruit. So, so good.

I’m just now getting to the ice cream — that’s how good the other ingredients were. The ice cream isn’t quite like you’d imagine: It was a rich and silky scoop, no bigger than a bon bon, sitting between the chicken and the waffle. I don’t know if the ice cream or spicy maple glacé was better, but the dish needs to be enjoyed with each element fitting snuggly together in a spoon. And when it all comes together: fireworks. 

My husband ordered something too, and yeah, yeah, I’m sure it was good, but the waffles…

Just kidding. He did have a dynamite dish that deserves some attention. 

He ordered the salsa verde pork ($12), which was pork placed on top of grits, with an egg, cotija cheese and pickled jalapeño. I had a bite (when I could tear myself away from the chicken and waffles) and it was fresh and refreshing. The salsa verde was the lead, so there was an earthy, green rush that was warm and satisfying. 

Commonwealth Bistro is seriously good. Its Main Street location in Covington is full of natural light, and the kitchen is on display, separated from the dining room by a glass window, which allows patrons to look in and watch the artistry unfold. 

For dinner, entrées toe the line between contemporary and comfort food, with dishes like Kentucky-fried rabbit with creamed collared greens, burgoo ravioli and a burger with Duke’s Mayo on a Sixteen Bricks bun — they even serve Ale-8-One soda. 

But after that one delicious brunch, I nearly made reservations for 10 in Commonwealth’s upstairs private dining room because I wanted a reason to round up at least nine other people to experience what I had just experienced. This is now a place that I will be singing about for the indefinable future. 

Now off to dream about waffles…

Commonwealth Bistro

GO: 621 Main St., Covington, Ky.; CALL: 859-916-6719; INTERNET: commonwealthbistro.comHOURS: 5:30-10 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5:30-10 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5:30-8:30 p.m. Sunday.

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