Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Finger Foods

I have not posted lately as we have been going out less, and when we do we have been frequenting our favorites, about which I have already written,
I had a medical "procedure" which is the new pseudonym for "minor surgery" so that gave me a very few meals in Christ Hospital, which I don't intend to review. I did tell the "patient representative", when he came around, that they could use a few seasonings in the kitchen, or presented for choices on the tray. Oh well, so much for that thought. By the way we have a friend who says,"minor surgery is what they do to somebody else".
Last night we went to "Brio's", which we consider one of the best Italian chains. We were not disappointed with both good food and excellent service. Again at about $30 each for everything.
We reported on "Nada" and have also had dinner at "Honey", which remains one of our favorites, along with "Otto's" and "Nectar", which have seen us also in January.
That covers the first 20days in January and will see what else draws us and our cash account.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Reserve

Last Monday night, the evening of the "BCS Chamionship" game, the two of us and a friend went to "The Reserve" at "Newport on the Levee". Previously, "The Reserve" had been at 4th and Race in Cincinnati. They moved to this location as they had very limited kitchen facilities in their previous facility, and were really only able to operate a bar, with some food service. The new space enables them to offer an array of food and beverages.
" The Reserve" is located at 1 Levee Way, Newport, KY 41071; Phone 859-431-7373. It is on the street level across the drive from Brio, there is valet parking, if it is desired. Reservations are probably a good idea on the weekend.
We were greeted by Michael Mastruserio, one of the owners. He was attentive and helpful and stoped by our table several times to see that all was going well.
The restaurant is mid-sized, with a good sized bar and probably 30 tables. The night we were there the dining area was sparely occupied with all age range, including two families with young children. The service was good as was the food and ambiance. When the football game came on about halfway thru our dinner, it became quite noisy, especially from the female Ohio State rooters at the bar. The game was in the first quarter, when we left, and I'm sure it calmed down after LSU scored.
As I mentioned the food was quite good and served at the proper temperature, depending on the dish. Besides my "Bombay", which I thought was slightly light, I had a salad and an excellent Vegetarian pasta with fresh asparagus, tomato's, scallions, red and yellow peppers and mushrooms. It had a light oil and garlic sauce and was served with plenty of cheese. Marilyn had very good Chicken Piccatta, with a nice light lemon and butter sauce, served on her choice of pasta. She also had a salad and her usual decaf. Our other party ordered excellently grilled shrimp, good sized, on "angle hair". She gave me a taste and I may order this on my next visit. Our dinners and beverages ran about $18 dollars each plus tip and tax.
The menu is by no means all Italian. One of their specialties, according to the owner, is "prime rib" and there are several offering of meat and seafood, as well as our selections.
We wish them well, and believe their new location should draw many more patrons than their previous spot; as it deserves.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


"Nada" is really a lot more than nothing. It is one of the new, downtown, hot spots, in location, atmosphere and food.
"Nada" is located at 600 Walnut St.,adjacent to the Aronoff Arts Center. Phone number 513-721-6232. The entrance is at street level and so they are handicapped accessible. There is full bar service on both floors and reservations are taken for seat on the 2nd level. I recommend a reservation if you don't want to "hang out" at the bar, before being seated.
On Thursday night at 8 PM the place was full, both up and down, with "walk ins" waiting about 1/2 hour, for seating. "Nada" is lively, noisy (but not too), upscale in ambiance and full of a mostly 30 and 40 crowd. It is owned by David Falk, the owner of "Boca" and serves Americanize true Mexican food, not Tex-Mex. The staff is young, attentive and helpful.
There were 3 of us and we were seated on the 2nd level at a table overlooking the corner of 6th and Walnut. The noise level was present but not too loud to restrain conversation.
We started with drinks, my usual, Marilyn's soft and our friends red wine. With those we had excellent Ceviche and Guacamole, a large enough portion to serve 4 people, easily, which the 3 of us devoured. There was a basket of "homemade corn chips" and a mild Salsa. Both the Ceviche, with it's strong lime flavor, and the fresh made Guacamole were outstanding, the salsa was fairly ordinary, so after a dip or two it was abandoned.
Our companion ordered Pork Green Chile, which he reported as very good and enough to fill most patrons. It is served with a side of publano rice and extra seasoning. The Chile comes in an iron pot and contains not only liquid but a roasted pork shoulder. Marilyn had perfectly satisfactory Carnitas(grilled pork) tacos. Two medium Taco's which in her case were sufficient dinner, after the Guacamole. I wanted to try the Sliders, which are appearing on more and more menu's,after staring at "The Little Owl, in New York. The two ground tenderloin patties come on fresh buns with the meat being topped with a cheese jalapeno mixture, which gives them a mild bite.
We finish with one "decaf" while our friend had a beer to wash all down. In my opinion beer is the beverage of choice for dining at Nada.
The total, including tax and tip came to $33 each for a fun, filling and enjoyable evening.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


Happy New Year to all.
This is the first entry of the new year. It doesn't mean I haven't eaten but most meals have been at home. Like a lot, I'm making an effort to take off a few pounds and it's easier to do at our home table than it is elsewhere. Dinners out are hard to control if I ant to be a good reporter.
Last night 6 of us had an excellent dinner at "Mesh", Paul Sturkey's, restaurant at 6200 Muhlhauser Road in West Chester. For those not familiar, West Chester is North of the I 275 loop and south of Monroe. A good landmark is the Marriott Hotel off I 75 "Mesh is right across Mulhauser to the West of the hotel. Phone is 513-777-7171 and although it is a large, attractive restaurant I would suggest reservations. It is handicapped accessible and has full bar service.
"Mesh" is another owner operator establishment and these seem to be my personal favorites. Check out reviews of "Honey", "Otto's" and "Nectar". Paul is on the premises, most of the time, and he and his wife, Pam, the pastry chef, oversee the kitchen as well as the rest of the house.
The service is first rate, well trained and knowledgeable. I especially liked it that our server quoted the price of the specials and mentioned an extra charges that went with one of my requests. More on that later.
Your in the mood for a fine meal after becoming aware of the atmosphere created, both by the ambiance and the personnel throughout the dinning rooms. The food does not disappoint.
We chose a California Cabernet from the Pasa Robles area North Of Santa Barbara. Our server advised that this was a somewhat lighter "Cab" which went well with our array of dishes. The wine list is extensive and covers all varieties and price points.
I started my meal with an Iceberg Head Lettuce Salad with chopped tomato's and blue cheese crumbles. The dressing was a very rich, peppercorn ranch, which lived up to it's name. I followed with a broiled Salmon Fillet, which I requested medium rare and which came as requested. It was served on a mound of steamed Spinach and thin, fresh green beans, with a light lobster sauce. The Spinach was a substitute for Lobster mashed potato's. After the salad dressing I had to behave. Each person received an "amuse" of a small thin crostini with chicken and cheese mixed and a balsamic reduction.
Our table had a crab trifecta, two small crab cakes, crab chunks with a vinaigrette and remoulade, for dipping, and a crab soup. We also had a bowl of basil, pesto bisque, completing our sampling of first courses. Main courses were Lobster Pasta, Pan Roasted Chicken, Several orders of Diver Scallops and of course my Salmon. There were several other salads and then two wonderful desserts; home made toffee Ice cream and an out of this world Raspberry, nut tart served with this chocolate shavings enclosing a small scoop of Ice Cream. The large plate was dotted with with both caramel and raspberry sauce, hardly rich. The man with the gun forced me to taste both desserts. So much for counting calories.
The only negative was that I had to return my Salmon for additional heat. Quite possibly, since it was served medium rare, as ordered, it had cooled, some, while waiting for the other dishes to be assembled and served. Another point of interest to me was that when I asked if the Iceberg Wedge could be split in the kitchen, so that I could give some to a Granddaughter I was told that there would be an $8 charge if the kitchen split something. This as very amusing since the salad was only $6 for the whole portion. There are quite a few fine restaurants that don't want to upset the presentation of the food and possibly this is the reason for this policy. The server was quite accommodating and brought an extra plate so that we could accomplish the task at the table. I told Paul he might want to review this policy and give staff some flexibility.
Nothing marred a very good meal and wonderful evening, and we will return, even though from our home it is half way to Dayton.