Monday, February 22, 2016


Some songs are happy songs. It’s practically impossible to not crack a smile or nod your head and sing along.

Take for instance, Africa, by Toto. The song seems to have become more popular recently for some reason, which I’m totally on board with. David, not so much, because when it comes on I start grinning and dancing like an idiot in public.

Along those same lines there are some restaurants that are happy places. Otto’s in Covington is one of those places.

Otto’s is open for brunch on Saturday and Sundays. We prefer the less busy Saturdays, and have been in for brunch five times now. We’ve tried pretty much the entire menu.

Brunch cocktails include a variety of mimosas and Bloody Mary. David and I usually start with one of those.

Now David usually only gets a Bloody Mary once or twice a year, but the ones at Otto’s are so good he hasn’t been able to pass them up. They have two types on the menu, distinguished by your preferred vodka infusion: garlic jalapeño or cucumber.  The garlic jalapeño is punchy without being overwhelming, while the cucumber is restrained and refreshing. The tomato base has clean fresh flavor and hasn't been over salted (like most premixes are). A splash of ale rounds out the recipe, to produce a superbly drinkable cocktail.

David is a huge fan of Benedict, so we started our first visit with that for him and the B.L.F.G.T., (bacon, lettuce, egg, fried green tomato, cheese and mayo) served on a toasted croissant, for me. For a side, there’s a tough decision between a nice thick and crispy slice of goetta, a fruit cup, or a phenomenal, fluffy potato pancake.

David's Benedict dance

The Benedict stays inside usual bounds for expected ingredients (poached egg, country ham, dill hollandaise), but adds its own signatures of cherry tomatoes and kale, all on a superbly crunchy grit cake. Again, like the Bloody Mary, all of the flavors are balanced perfectly.

Hurry boy, she's waiting there for you

Our next visit, David opted for the lox and bagel with a hard boiled egg, cream cheese, onion and caper. I couldn’t resist the pull of the biscuits and sausage gravy.

It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do

The portion size for the biscuits and gravy is perfect, and the ratio of sausage to gravy and biscuit are excellent. I’ve gotten this dish twice so far. The eggs on all of the dishes we’ve gotten from Otto’s have been expertly poached, and this was no exception.

Our third visit, I once again went for the sausage (insert that’s what he/she said here) and grit bowl. David selected the breakfast casserole. I really enjoyed the fresh, bright flavor from the sauteed cherry tomatoes, and David’s casserole had plenty of melted cheese, sausage, potatoes and other tasty vegetables.

The following Saturday, we decided to order the lemon buttermilk pancakes we’d been eyeing, in addition to the crab hash. Dear Lord, those pancakes. Served with a tangy berry compote, sweet whipped cream and butter, these are as good or better than the ones we loved at Red Feather.

I bless the rains pancakes down in Africa  at Otto's Cafe

It’s not just the food that’s great at Otto’s. They have excellent iced tea, and if you ask nicely, make a kick-ass John Daly. Service has always been pleasant. The restaurant has a variety of quirky signs, lively abstract art, and adorable sets of salt and pepper shakers for each table and tiny bikes that hold sugar packets. It is, as I mentioned, a very happy place to spend a Saturday morning.

The biggest problem we run into at Otto’s is that everything on the brunch menu is just so damn good that it’s hard to choose a favorite dish. It’s a good problem to have. Throw in that it’s just a mile walk from downtown and I think we have a new favorite brunch spot.

Gonna take some time to do the things we never go back to Otto's for lunch and dinner.

Otto's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato