Forget the Floor, Focus on the Food
In a recent Enquirer article, Jim Knippenberg profiles Knotty Pine on the Bayou in a piece that they’re calling Table with Tradition. I don’t know about tradition, but Knotty Pine on the Bayou is one of the more unique, and one of the best, dining options in the Cincinnati area.
I first ate there about two years ago, and absolutely fell in love with the place. First off, I was thankful just to have gotten there. I tried going with my Dad on a Monday, but they’re closed on Mondays. With no lights on, in the middle of a back country road in Wilder, KY, we drove around for almost an hour before realizing that we’d passed it and it was closed.
I returned later that week with a friend, and boy am I glad I did. This friend had some experience with Cajun and Creole food, I had none. She helped guide me, but the Cajun Sampler that Knippenberg mentions in his article is like Cajun 101.
The food is great. I tried frogs legs for the first time, and enjoyed the taste, but couldn’t get over the slimy feel of the meat. I don’t know if it’s actually slimy, or that’s just what my brain expected to feel.
The Gumbo and blackened steak and chicken were wonderful. I found the Cajun spices to compliment the meats well, but not overpower them. And the mélange of flavors in the gumbo worked well together.
Knippenberg talks a lot about the tilting floor, and it’s a notable part of the restaurant. But don’t let that, or the general pleasant atmosphere, take anything away from the food, which should be the highlight of your trip.
And it is a trip. For me, the easy drive from downtown Cincinnati into Wilder, was a highlight. It’s just 5 minutes from 275, but it feels like another world.
In my mind, I group Knotty Pine on the Bayou with Riverside Korean. Both serve a very specific type of food that I’d never tried before I went there. Both are in unassuming but enjoyable locations in Kentucky. And both serve some of the finest food in the area.