KEEPIN’ IT REAL in THE COV: Riverside Korean

PHOTO CAPTIONS: Riverside Korean's exterior sign, food, interior decor and Chef Bruce Kim. (All but the sign photo provided by Riverside Korean.)

Authentic restaurant a full-on Asian experience

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first of 5 articles naming the winners of the 2022 Authenti-CITY awards given by the City of Covington at a ceremony Monday to mark National Economic Development Week. More about the awards can be found at the bottom of this article.)

COVINGTON, Ky. – The numbers do not lie: Riverside Korean’s 500+ online reviews are testament to what we’ve long known: when you want authentic Korean cuisine, you gotta come to The Cov.

And who doesn’t love you ordering Dolsot Bibimbap off the menu just to hear yourself try to pronounce bibimbap … or gimbap ... or jjajangmyun?

Riverside Korean is the full-on Asian experience with its uber-spicy kimchi, its behemoth rice bowls, six ban chan (side dishes), and hotter than the hinges of you-know-where stone bowls filled with bean sprouts, carrots, veggies, and a fried egg. (You can literally hear that bowl coming – just poppin’ and sizzlin’ its way to you).

We’re mighty grateful to husband-and-wife duo Chef Bruce Kim and Yujin Kim for bringing these amazing flavors and authentic Korean experience to The Cov. They’ve been spoiling us here with the real deal since 2014.

We love how we can get the traditional Korean dining experience by kicking off our shoes and sitting on a comfy cushion on the floor at one of their low tables. That experience may well be the reason we work out and maintain proper agility – so that after we’ve settled into a meal at a low table, we can get back up without drawing attention to ourselves.

But if your knees are cracking, or if sitting on the floor in a skirt seems unwise, Riverside accommodates with ample options for seating, as well as a wide sweep of a bar to belly up to.

And the ambiance?

Riverside’s got it. We’re talking for all the senses. While indulging your palate with mul mandu as you’re settled in comfortably at a low table, you’ll likely get a whiff of the intoxicating goodness of dishes like Ja Jiang Myun or LA Galbi. You might hear a little K-pop playing in the background (maybe a little BTS too).

And you look around to find that you’re surrounded by the most tasteful fang-baring tiger wallpaper ever made (we give it a five R “Grrrrr”). You see, Riverside serves up a sensorial feast too.

The Kims must love The Cov back because they’ve opened another venue in the city – Happy Franks at Covington Yard, selling hotdogs, Polish dogs, fries, nachos, and more.

And we’d be remiss if we failed to say how much we love that Riverside chose to give a nod to Covington’s history when they restored the old BLDG sign attached to the 514 side of its 512-14 Madison Ave. address. Now, historic preservation meets cool and contemporary with playful tigers as wayfinders to this fine Korean culinary venue.

And finally, we well remember that time we needed protective gear and cleaning agents for our first responders and we asked our local businesses for help and Bruce Kim showed up at City Hall with BOXES OF GLOVES. Yeah, we love this place.


About the awards: 

The first-annual Authenti-CITY awards were unveiled by Covington’s fun and irreverent Economic Development team in 2021 to celebrate National Economic Development Week in an off-the-wall way.

There were no rules and no criteria – just staffers getting together after hours (maybe over a few drinks, maybe not) and debating fiercely about what businesses, places, events, people and organizations most “kept it real” in The Cov. The fervor had to do with this: Narrowing down the massive list (because, you know, Covington is such a cool place).