We really do "eat out" a lot. As I have said before, it is a large part of our social life. Having no Children or Grandchildren in our house there is nothing to keep us home, except wear and tear on the body and the mind.
So here is a rundown of the first week of 2012:
Three of us started our restaurant journey, for the New Year, at "Hugo" 3235a Madison Rd. (513)-321-4846. On a Tuesday night the place was nearly empty with only one other table of 7 or 8 young women filling a spot in another part of the room. With the sparse attendance the noise level was excellent and the service attentive.
We started splitting an order of Fried Green Tomato's, ""Otto's" does not have to worry. They were warm, not hot, and slightly soggy but the biggest revelation was that they were fairly tasteless. Luckily things improved after the first course. I chose several of the smaller plates, Sweetbreads and a Hugo salad, along with a glass of Grunner Veltliner( Austrian white).
The Sweetbreads were a good sized appetizer portion with the meat fried and served on a bed of soft polenta. The preparation was nice and the taste all that one could ask. I followed with the Hugo Salad, mixed greens, quartered new red-skin potatoes, cheese, dried cranberries and chopped nuts, lightly dressed filling, crisp and enough to fill any desire for additional sustenance.
We also split one order of a fresh apple crisp, room temperature, topped with vanilla ice cream.
Besides my disappointment with the tomato's they only other negative was a $5 up charge for biscuits and honey, we had not been informed when the item was discussed during ordering.
Next we returned, once again, to "View Cucina" 2200 Victory Parkway 45206. The restaureant is becoming more popular and thus inhabited. I keep returning for the eggplant salad, grilled eggplant slices topped with chopped fresh tomato's and sprinkeled liberaly with crumbled fetas cheese and pistacio nut kerrals. The slightly tart, light dressing sets it all off. To me is is the best new salad in the area, of course one must like eggplant. I had the ala-carte size, 5 or six eggplant slices and the divided, with Marilyn, the lamb meatloaf, topped with a tomato jam. There is a $5 charge for a split entree but the compensation is that each plate comes with a full serving of vegitable (spinach) and starch (mashed potato's).
Since the 4 of us had visited over drinks and appitizers before we went out the dinner was quite filling.
An evening with a vegetarian and his wife took us to "Dusmesh" 944 Ludlow Ave. 45220 (513)-221-8900, our vote for the best Indian food in the city. We have not hit the suburbs and there are plenty of everything in that geographic area.
"Dusmesh" has no liquor licence and so it is BYOB. Most tables have either wine of beer or both. I brought a bottle of a crisp Italian white which went well with what we and the other couple ordered. Most items a large enough to split between the two of us and still give others at the table a taste. We ordered, chicken tiki marsalla, spinach and mushrooms, cauliflower in a garlic sauce and a nan stuffed with ground lamb, all wonderful. Very tasty if slightly on the salty side. One of the joys is that all the food comes piping hot and is served on warm plates. Most was devoured but a bit of the chicken and cauliflower came with is and served as lunch the next day. Each couple received, besides a large helping of log grained white rice, a fitter dessert, "on the house".
Lastly it was a return to "Enoteca Emilia" 2038 MadisonRd. 45208 (513)-834-5773. I rated, although I am not a food critic, rather a reporter on my activities, Emilia the best new restaurant in Cincinnati. The concept, execution and service( most of the time) are great. I am beginning to come to the conclusion the the kitchen has too heavy a hand with salt and my mouth often has that sodium coated feeling. I know several items, are by their nature, salty; cheese, liver pate, sausage etc but the need for that much "taste enhancer" in pasta, lentils, cauliflower etc is debatable.
Last nights visit was with some friends from the Beechwood home, 2 in mobile chairs, and so the service both to our table and within was important. Our server, Cat, was petite, attractive and very competent while the service amoung the 5 of us enabled all to enjoy the evening and eat the food provided.
Instead of wine I had a Yuengling, the new hot beer in Cincinnati, and tasted both the duck liver Pate and the cheesy bread which others at the table had ordered. My main course was a "special", grilled slices of Italian sausage served of a bed of lentils and topped with watercress leaves. I returned to the kitchen the lentils( way too much salt) but enjoyed the sausage both for flavor and crispness.
Marilyn had her regular pasta Bolognese. Once she finds a dish she returns to it with great regularity.
And so now it is a few nights at home and a chance to unwind and rest our taste buds.