Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ambience, Food, Service

The title speaks to most of the things we use to judge a restaurant.
Ambience is pretty much the same on any of your visits No one would confuse the settings at "Walt's", a KY road house and "Orchid's", the prime restaurant at the Netherlands, downtown. As long as someone is paying attention to cleanliness, lights that aren't burnt out and chairs that hold us, we all return for the food and service.
Here are six places we have been in the last two weeks, with my feelings on food and service. Most are fairly regular with us, although "Aqua" and the "Iron Horse" have not been regular haunts.
"Oriental Wok" at the Regency: You must tire of hearing that we went and had an outstanding meal and service. We have never been disappointed. We always ask the chef for guidance and that enhances our fun and pleasure. The last visit saw us trying a "chicken salad", which seemed like a marinated slaw, made with Chinese Vegetables and shredded roast chicken, delightful. Other new dishes were Pork Ribs in Black Bean Sauce, Sauteed Pork with leaks and onions and Abalone with Chinese vegetable's. Service is first rate 99% of the time, they are human( not Hanan).
"Terry's Turf Club" Eastern Ave. What can one say? We were there before Polly Campbell and the mobs found it, but it remains the consummate Cincinnati hamburger joint and bar. We arrived at 5:15 and had a 10 minute wait for a both, our choice, for the 5 of us. When we left at 6:30 people were lined up on the street. Service is fast, efficient and almost overly solicitous. with all the servers working together so many eyes are watching.
"Otto's" Main St Covington. As anyone who has read this Blog knows, this is our home away from home. This last time was for a special Birthday, for one of our guests and food and service couldn't have been nicer or more attentive. It's one of our few special occasion restaurants, and to us merits that status.
"Sky Galley" at Lunken Airport. When we can't get into "Terry's", which is often since a half to hour wait is not attractive, this is where we go. Food is standard, with no surprises. Menu is meant to cover all bases except very high end. Service is always pleasant and accommodating and if it isn't to your liking when first served it is changed and made correct promptly. Price is reasonable and there is full bar service and management that's on the floor and full service also.
"Iron Horse" Glendale. A restaurant that has been there a long time and goes thru new owners and chefs with some regularity. The current owners have been there a few years but the Chef has recently joined them after a position as one of the top people in the kitchen at "Mesh". Our dinner Saturday night was our first test of his reign and we'll return to give it another try. Our server was experienced and after a slow start, for some unexplained reason, and the place was sparsely populated, gave us excellent service. A nice feature is the attitude that if a side is paired, on the menu, with something else, all one must do is ask that it be served on your dinner as a substitute. Marilyn's Spaghetti and "meatballs" made of mushrooms instead of "meat" was the most innovative and interesting. My spetzals came in a close second.
"Aqua" Delta Ave, Mt Lookout. It is had to write about the food, which I thought had slipped, since we last were there, because the service was so poor. Any food would have had a hard time satisfying. A 30 to 45 minute wait, plus prompting from us was necessary to get a drink and things deteriorated from there. You get the picture. It is very doubtful that we will return. A mild suggestion is to have some kind of "Management" on the floor, not walking out the door at 7:00 PM.

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