For awhile now, my sister has been raving about how much she loves crawfish, and specifically crawfish at Knotty Pine on the Bayou in Cold Spring/Alexandria, Kentucky. (The restaurant does not have a website, but that is a link to urban spoon's information). She has been telling me how good it is for awhile now and suggested that we try it out. Apparently, it is flown in weekly but I’m not sure where from, and they only have it on Tuesdays. So, I thought it was time I tried this highly acclaimed crawfish. My sister, dad, and I headed down last Tuesday. They both knew where they were going, but it was new to me. It only takes about 15 minutes from downtown Cincinnati .
The building is a little old wooden building on the Licking River. As we walked in, the hostess asked if we had a reservation, which we did, and she seated us right away. We went fairly early so there weren’t many other people in there yet. I immediately was intrigued by all the décor and ambiance of the restaurant. It has fun Mardi Gras masks, pictures, and other unique pieces on the walls. The other thing that my sister pointed out was the slant in the floor. Part of the floor is an incline, which was interesting! I also noticed they have a great patio looking over the river for when it is a bit warmer. The view looked pretty as well.
Our server was friendly and greeted us promptly. My sister ordered an Abita Purple Haze, I ordered the Abita Amber, and my dad got his usual Miller High Life. Both the Abita beers were good! The server told us the specials for the day as we looked over the menu. The menu has a range of Cajun items, including fried frog legs, peel n’ eat shrimp, surf & turf, and lobster tail. I considered getting the Cajun sampler but decided to get the crawfish since that was what my sister had raved about. My dad ordered the special, which was Grouper. He was able to choose from three different ways of it being cooked, and it came with two sides. He also had a cup of the Cajun gumbo. I ordered the appetizer portion of the crawfish, rice and gravy, and green beans with a side salad. My sister ordered the dinner portion of crawfish with red potatoes, cottage cheese, and a side salad.
Our salads came out first. We both ordered the onion mustard dressing with salads. The salad was pretty fresh with an average amount of toppings and both spinach and icerberg lettuce. We both really liked the dressing. It was similar to a honey mustard, and was unique and flavorful. We both agreed that we would order that dressing again. My sister thought her salad had too much cabbage but mine was just fine.
As our waiter brought out our food on the tray, I spotted the crawfish from afar and was SHOCKED! There was SOO much of it! It was unbelievable. I saw a bucket full of crawfish and thought it was the dinner portion. I couldn’t believe it when the server put that bucket in front of me. There was a ton. I think two people could have easily shared the appetizer portion. Needless to say, my sister’s was even bigger! She said she could finish it, but she barely put a dent in it.
This was my first time eating crawfish, so my sister had to show me how it’s done. I didn’t realize all the work that goes into eating them. Pull of the head….pull off the tail…and then you eat. After a couple tries, I was getting the hang of it. The crawfish was excellent! The Cajun seasoning and flavor was awesome. You could tell that it had been seasoned all day. I cannot say the same about my side items though. The rice and gravy was really bland as well as the green beans. I didn’t end up eating much of either. My sister’s sides were pretty much the same. Her red potatoes were bland and under cooked. Her cottage cheese was just any ordinary cottage cheese. My dad’s grouper was excellent as well! He had ordered it blackened though, and it didn’t come out blackened. It was prepared with one of the other choices, which was with a lemon seasoning. My dad still liked it very much though too. His Cajun gumbo was good, but not very spicy. I thought it was just okay.
My verdict: I loved the ambiance of Knotty Pine and it started to get really crowded in there. You could tell that there were many people there who had been there before. I liked the patio and would definitely go back to sit out there and enjoy the scenery. The crawfish was awesome and there was plenty left-over to take home. Our server was a great help by explaining how to cook it easily at home, you just boil some water and put them in for a minute or two to heat them up. The grouper was great as well. It was cooked perfectly and was a big piece of fish. The sides were disappointing and the salad was fine. I thought the prices were a bit high. My dad’s meal was around $25, the appetizer crawfish was $18.99 which did not include the salad.
I thought my experience was great overall. I loved how this place was off a back road and had great atmosphere. The service was excellent and the crawfish was really good. I would possibly go back to sit outside, but it’s not a place I’d go regularly because of the distance and the price. However, I recommend trying it out for something new and fun!