Review: Keystone Bar and Grill

I used to live in Covington, back when Scalea’s was around. I loved the deli area (the guy who always worked in the deli now works in the bakery area of Greenup Cafe, he’s great), and always got a sandwich involving rare roast beef, cheddar and coleslaw. I found my cat Mooch a couple of blocks from that area, and went to Wildflour on many Sunday mornings.

The neighborhood has changed a bit, but I was glad to head back for Happy Mouth’s June (yeah, I’m behind) meeting at Keystone Bar and Grill. I can’t remember all of the things it’s been in the past ten years, but I had heard some good things about it– and their specialty is macaroni and cheese in various exotic ways. This can’t be a bad thing.

We had a pretty big crew– 14 or so– so we got our own table. It was a big group, but service was a bit slow– things like drink orders and appetizer orders lagged, but that’s not something I’m horribly critical of in a big group. I’ll try it again with two or so people to see if the same problems occur.

We started off with onion rings. Terry is quite the onion ring aficianado, and these were some of the best we’ve had in a while. Called the Ascent (well, in our case, a half-Ascent, which was plenty), they were hand battered, freshly fried, and served with two dipping sauces: a spicy chipotle and house ranch. The clear appetizer winner.

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Our friend Carrie picked up one of the interesting mac and cheeses– Fleetwood Mac, which included pesto, fresh mozzarella, and tomatoes. It was pretty good– a stovetop macaroni and cheese, with no crispy edges (sad), but with good, fresh basil flavor and a generous portion of fresh mozzarella on top. It would have been a great entree, and after getting our entrees, I should have stuck with their specialty.

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For my entree, I chose the barbecue chicken quesadilla, which was made with homemade barbecue sauce. The sauce was a little too hot for my tastes– eventually, I just tasted hot, and the other flavors were overwhelmed. That said, it was a fairly bland presentation– quesadilla, on a plate, with chicken, cheese, onions, and barbecue sauce inside. It was lackluster and really quite boring– I was expecting something a bit more interesting after the mac and cheese.

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Terry picked up a patty melt– again, boring and lackluster. A flavorless patty, bland cheese– you get the idea. The house-made kettle chips were nice, though– very thin, crispy, and well seasoned.

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If I went back, I would stick with appetizers and macaroni and cheese– all of the people who chose those items were very happy. Those of us who got sandwiches and entrees were less-so. I could see this as being a great place for happy hour– pick a couple of apps, get some cocktails, and nosh before going someplace else for dinner.

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