This story originally appeared in the Jan. 13 edition of the weekly LINK Reader. To get these stories first, subscribe.
Madison Avenue in Covington is a busy street packed full of eateries, bars, small businesses and everything in between, and it’s worth visiting over and over again.
Coppin’s at Hotel Covington: 638 Madison Ave.
Since Coppin’s is based inside Hotel Covington, it’s recommended that guests who are not staying at the hotel make a reservation to ensure a seat. Coppin’s brunch menu changes with the seasons. For those who want to skip the sweet breakfast entrees and opt for something savory, Coppin’s serves a frittata with optional fillings that change based on what’s in season. Coppin’s currently offers bacon, brussels sprouts, gouda and other fresh produce to spice up custom frittatas so that each bite is filled with something new.
For guests who aren’t shy about their sweet tooth, Coppin’s serves light and fluffy pancakes. They also offer a full coffee and cocktail bar, meaning guests can take their espresso as a martini or latte. Brunch is just one of the restaurant’s options, though. Coppin’s is also open for lunch and dinner.
Agave and Rye: 635 Madison Ave.
When Agave and Rye first opened, no one could get enough and they’re still just as popular. Their creative tacos, spiked spirits and overall atmosphere are a trio as amazing as their guacamole, queso and salsa. Diners can go for an American-style taco with seasoned ground beef, shredded lettuce, aged white cheddar, diced tomatoes and sour cream; or order one of Agave and Rye’s epic tacos – huge tacos that require two hands to eat and a fork to pick up what’s left. It’s a challenge to eat more than two. A favorite at Agave and Rye is the Bang Bang, with crispy cauliflower, corn fritters, spicy crispy carrots and topped in their iconic queso. They also offer the Queen E with crispy Mahi Mahi and malt vinegar, French fries, chipotle remoulade, pickled red onions, radish habanero slaw, and guacamole. It’s enough to make guests forget they’re eating a taco.
Another Agave and Rye favorite is the Rooster, which comes with fried chicken, mac and cheese, Nashville hot sauce and sweet pickles. Wash it all down with a margarita frozen or on the rocks.
The atmosphere seeks to outdo the tacos as guests are welcomed by a mix of bright bold murals, chandeliers, and sugar skulls on nearly every surface.
Taj Mahal Bar and Grill: 726 Madison Ave.
A newer addition to Covington’s Madison Avenue dining scene, locally-owned Taj Mahal is a must-visit. Taj Mahal sits in a large space right by the Madison theater, and offers a casual atmosphere with a full-service bar where the television usually has a Bollywood film on.
Walking into the dining room, the senses are immediately struck by the aroma of Taj Mahal’s complex cooking spices like cardamom, coriander, cumin and turmeric that fill the air.
The menu includes classic Indian dishes that feature chicken, fish, lamb, and shrimp to pair with rice. Taj Mahal understands American palates may be deterred by spicy dishes, so they let guests choose their heat level for each dish.
Popular dishes served at Taj Mahal include chicken tikka masala – grilled chicken in a creamy orange curry sauce served over rice. Another favorite is the saag paneer – a dish that features cheese cubes cooked in spinach and cream. The green appearance may not win any beauty contests but the dish holds its own in flavor. Of course, no Indian meal is complete without naan. For those unfamiliar, naan is a thick, fluffy flatbread served plain or flavored with garlic, chicken, cheese, potatoes, spicy red pepper or even nuts and raisins. Taj Mahal’s naan is made in-house and probably could win a pageant prize, as it looks as good as it tastes.
From upscale dining in Coppin’s to eccentric tacos at Agave and Taj Mahal’s classic Indian flavors, this is just the beginning of what this street has to offer.
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