You are not greeted at the door by a host at the Greenup Cafe.
True, a kind soul will likely say hello and offer to get you a table, but that's not really what grabs ahold of you.
It's the chartreuse.
The neon, yellowy-green walls and adjoining pomegranate rooms stop you in your tracks and immediately give you a heads up that this is not like any other restaurant you've been to in a long, long time.
The Covington eatery is the latest effort by cooking genius Jean Robert de Cavel in his campaign to take over all gastronomic endeavors sizzling in the Tri-State.
And sizzle is what Jean Robert does best.
The Greenup Cafe has a distinct bohemian feel that welcomes all diners, including those getting their first bite of Jean Robert food. Unlike other JRdC restaurants, prices here are easy on the wallet and the food is a type of French comfort food that hits the spot both for foodies and those who are easing their way into more daring, dining territory.
The restaurant takes up the space inside an old home a few blocks from the river. The living quarters have been turned into cozy dining spaces with simple benches lining the perimeter of the rooms and intimate tables dotting the periphery. Classic French, almost Toulouse Lautrec posters (and some more modern in design) hang on the walls to add to the foreign feeling.
Now, I am balls out daring when it comes to eating.
My fork has never grazed through something I didn't like (well except for maybe that black pudding in Scotland, but that's another story for another day) so I decided to try the seafood crepes. Delicate crepes stuffed with everything in the sea - scallops, shrimp, bits of fish - and mushrooms, all swimming in a creamy sauce of gruyere cheese. The pair of crepes were carefully tucked in a dish atop a bed of mossy green spinach.
The only thing that disappointed me about my meal was that there was nothing left when I was finished eating. I think my dish was about $10.50.
My dining companion had the omlette du jour - sausage and ratatouille with cheese, served with beautiful, rusty colored red potatoes and a dainty salad of mixed greens with bits of radish. A light savory dressing did not detract from the fresh flavors of the lettuce. The omlette was substantial and cooked perfectly - sturdy enough to hold the cornocopia of stuffing and yet not overcooked. The potatoes made my mouth water, as they looked like something a grandmother would whip up for her family with a well seasoned cast iron skillet. The omlette et cetera checked in at a more than fair $7.50.
The Greenup Cafe also does dinner and as I recall the prices topped out in the neighborhood of $15.50 per entree.
On this particular afternoon the restaurant was full of all kinds of people savoring the amazing dishes.
Young professionals grabbing a leisurely bite on a Friday, a bunch of 50 something women celebrating a special event. A couple spending some quality time over some quality food.
And a chick and her friend celebrating a 30th birthday.
I hope to visit the Greenup Cafe many, many more times before I reach 31.
The Greenup Cafe serves coffee and quick pastries early most mornings. Breakfast and lunch are available Monday through Friday, and dinner is served up Wednesday through Sunday. Brunch is featured Saturday and Sunday only. Check here for specifics on hours.