Monday, December 21, 2009

Old yet New

That is sort of the way I feel about myself, some times, and definitely the way I feel about this season of the year. I am writing about restaurant experiences and a couple of them this week fit into the category of the title.
Last Monday night, with a friend, we went to "Mecklenburg Gardens", 302 E. University Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45219 Phone 513-221-5353. I believe Mecklenburg's started in 1865. I'm not sure if the present location was the original one but I have been going to this location since the 1930's, although I wasn't old enough to drink, at that time. It has gone through several reincarnations but is getting back, under the guidance of the Harten family, to it's roots as a German Beer Hall and dining establishment. This was our first evening experience, under the new owners, and I was pleasantly surprised.
Monday, was still a time of business holiday parities and Mecklenburgs was jammed. I had called ahead, always a good idea, and our table, the last unoccupied, was waiting. Service in the begging was spotty, because of the crowd, but as people departed we received more and more attention. The food was great and the beer selections plentiful. After a sample I choose a medium dark German brew with which I was very pleased. The menu list appetizers, soups and salads, small plates and main courses. I started with the Mock Turtle soup, our servers suggestion, and am happy to report it was excellent. This I followed with a "small plate" containing 3 types of sausages, Bratwurst, Knackwurst and Bier, all sliced and served on a bed of sauerkraut and shaved green peppers. This came with a side of spicy mustard and requested pumpernickel, warm and sliced. Our friend had an onion tart, also a small plate, while Marilyn had very good Weinershnitzel served with spatzela noodles and red cabbage. All the dishes were well prepared with the exception of the red cabbage which in my opinion was over cooked. A pleasant discussion with one of the owners, Tom Harten, brought thanks for my comment about the cabbage and an offer to replace, which was turned down. We had a most pleasant evening and will return, although I remain nostalgic for the old German waiters, the "schmercasse" and the small tenderloin sandwich.
After several days at home I next ventured to "Virgil's Cafe", 710 Fairfield Ave, Bellevue, KY 41073-859-491-3287. This fairly new restaurant is getting to be old hat to me as people want to try, for a first time. My guests were Marilyn Harris and he husband. I enjoyed a bowl of bison chili, my usual, while they each had a cup of soup, chili and a shrimp bisque, followed by very rich sandwich of ham, cheese, fried egg and a cheese sauce on a croissant, wow the calories, even split.
They ended with a piece of coconut creame pie. A filling lunch which I am happy I observed rather than partook. I left with a "homemade" Pastrami sandwich, always good, which I took to my "shut in" friend.
Friday night, along with two other couples, we went to "Germano's Restarante" 9415 Montomery Road, Montgomery OH-513-794-1155. "Germano's" is not "on our radar screen" and so even though it has been in it's current location for several years, having moved from a filling station on Route 4, this is only the second time, within memory, that we have been to their Montgomery site.
I find "Germano's" pricey and have left both times with a feeling that a return is problematical, not a good feeling for a restaurant. Service was very slow, they were full and possibly understaffed, and with the exception of wonderful, rich Oyster stew, most of Marilyn and my meal was a disappointment, others had somewhat the same reaction. We decided to split a Veal chop($40) and although the meat was prepared perfectly the cut, in my opinion, should not have been served. Veal chops, by nature have an amount of fat, but this chop was over 30% fat and very gristlely. I had a very pleasant, long talk with Dominic Germano, owned and Executive Chef, who insisted in removing the chop from our bill, proper handling for something not "up to par". The table shared their signature dessert,Raspberry pie, which all enjoyed.
I'm, now, off to take my Granddaughter to lunch and start another week of culinary adventures.

No comments: