I stumbled upon Lisse in a write-up in the newspaper, describing a “Dutch-inspired Steakhouse in Covington.” Well, that caught my eye. Being from Northern Kentucky and loving Dutch culture and food, I decided that I had to try it.
Fast forward over two years to my birthday weekend, and we finally got around to eating at Lisse.
Lisse is located in the Mainstrasse district of Covington, which has always had a good supply of bars, but has recently produced some fancy restaurants and other establishments. Lisse is located in the former Chez Nora building, which had been a Covington staple for decades.
Lisse is named for the city in Holland, and also happens to be the hometown of Hans Philippo, one of the owners of Lisse. Lisse is known for the Keukenhof Garden, home to millions of tulips that flower each spring. Not only is Holland known for its tulips, but Lisse especially is, and and is known as the tulip capital of the world. Plenty of art adorning the walls pays tribute to that.
There was some relaxing live music on the Friday night we were there. They even personalized a happy birthday song! The entertainment calendar tells you upcoming acts. There is also a large wooden shoe on the bar, just to remind you its Dutch! There is a rooftop bar on the third floor, but we didn’t get to visit due to my birthday being in the lovely weather month of January. Next time…
The upstairs has private dining rooms and a cool statue of Rembrandt (I believe?). The names of the private rooms are Van Gogh and Rembrandt, an homage to the two most famous Dutch painters. If you ever find yourself in Amsterdam, the Van Gogh museum is a must!
Dutch food is not classically thought of as the best, but I’ve always enjoyed it. Probably has something to do with the Netherlands being the first foreign country I visited on my EuroTrip. Popular Dutch foods include bitterballen, asparagus, frites with mayonnaise and curry ketchup, raw herring (tried it in Amsterdam at this stand, could barely get it down), croquettes, gouda cheese, snert, and Indonesian food (from Dutch colonizing days in the Dutch East Indies). Many of these are served at Lisse.
Parking is always interesting in Mainstrasse. You have your choice of street parking, valet, and parking lots. Here is a general parking map for the area.
The most popular Dutch food has to be bitterballen, although it really hasn’t gotten mainstream yet in the US. Bitterballen are basically fried meatballs served with mustard and other sauces. Lisse’s version of bitterballen has shredded ribeye and is served with a delicious curry ketchup and mustard. These will always hold a special place in my heart. I’ve enjoyed these in the Amsterdam airport at the Heineken bar while waiting for my friends to arrive on their flight. It was the first meal I had in Europe. I’ve also popped some bitterballen at a Dutch Bar in Phuket, Thailand while watching the Dutch soccer team play Brazil in the 2010 World Cup. Lots of good memories. The bitterballen were delicious, definitely order these!
Croquettes are another popular Dutch food. They are similar to bitterballen with meat covered in breadcrumbs, then fried. They started being mass-produced in the Netherlands after World War II as a cheap but protein-filled snack, and even show up in vending machines! 350 million krokettes are eaten annually in the Netherlands! Lisse’s version is called kaaskroketten, meaning cheese croquettes, and are served with a tomato coulis. Highly recommend.
Not sure if this is officially an “appetizer,” but we ordered the friets (fries) as an in-between appetizer and dinner course. Only in America. As you have noticed from my past posts and will notice from future posts, I am a frites connoisseur. Whether they are fries, friets, or frites, I love them all. In fact, the Dutch have multiple words for fries, depending on the region. I have fond memories of walking around Amsterdam with a cone of friets with curry ketchup and mayonnaise (don’t knock it until you try it!). Lisse’s friets didn’t disappoint, and also come with curry ketchup and mayo. Tasty as always. They also have a version of friets with peanut sauce (called patat oorlog) and diced onions, which is a mix of Dutch friets and an Indonesian-style sauce, but I didn’t try these.
Hoping to try the Dutch onion soup next time. The stomach only has so much space.
There is a cocktail, wine, and beer menu.
Others had cocktails and enjoyed them. Pick whatever you are feeling!
The braised short rib was outstanding, I’d highly recommend this. Very tender and flavorful.
Two of us ordered the New Amsterdam strip, which was fantastic. I had the dry-aged compound butter on top, while my friend had the Oscar (pictured). The steak was delicious. Lisse is a “steakhuis” after all! The owner also (apparently) has a farm in Grant County that supplies the grass-fed beef.
The roasted chicken was seasoned nicely and melted in your mouth.
The sides are all shareable, so feel free to order several and split among the table.
The asparagus was a fantastic side and was served with hollandaise sauce. The Dutch LOVE asparagus, especially white asparagus. It is heavily harvested in the Netherlands and thought of as a delicacy. Being American, this was a little confusing to me when visiting Amsterdam. I mean, I really like asparagus, but delicacy? Maybe that’s why Europeans are so much skinnier than us? White asparagus is even referred to as “white gold” in the Netherlands! Asparagus season (yes, that’s a thing) runs from April to June in the Netherlands.
The Dutch mac & cheese was rich and tasty. It has Edam, Gouda, and Old Amsterdam cheeses (all Dutch cheeses) and is covered in bread crumbs. If you can split this between more than two people, it will weigh on your stomach less!
Lisse’s brussel sprouts were unique, covered in a sweet soy curry glaze and topped with bacon.
There are also a lot of fish dishes on the menu which looked good, but I didn’t get to try.
Lisse is an excellent addition to the Mainstrasse area and a very unique concept. I really enjoyed all the dishes and the outside-the-box thinking it took to create such a place. My love of all things Dutch made me appreciate the experience even more, especially the Dutch-inspired dishes. Try out Lisse next time you’re in Northern Kentucky or Cincinnati!
Hours: T-Sa: 5p-11p, Su,M: CLOSED
Address: 530 Main Street, Covington, KY 41011
Phone: (859) 360-7008