The dictionary defines ambivalence as "simultaneous attraction towards and repulsion from an object", that can best describe how I felt about my evening at "Taste of Belgium" Belgian Bistro 1133-1135 Vine St. Cincinnati OH 45202 (513) 381-4607. It was a mixture of feelings that made me come away not know whether to be supportive or not.
First, "Taste of Belgium" is located on Vine, next to the Ensemble Theatre and I feel very strongly for the restaurateurs who have pioneered in this area. This blog is not supposed to be political but I do have a positive feeling "going in" and want the area to succeed.
We had no trouble being seated at 6 PM, although the place fills up early, especially on "show nights". Unfortunately the seating was back to back to a table of very large people which left very little space for chair adjustment. Service was pleasant and fairly prompt but also came with some mistakes and errors.
I ordered the steak Tartare, which comes with fries and salad, all on one plate. The patty of tartare was decent size and contained a few capers but under seasoned, for my taste. Ground raw beef, no matter how good, needs something to help in the seasoning department.( I asked for and received Worcestershire sauce). I asked for my fries to be crispy and they were( best single item of the evening) and the medium sized portion of salad was crisp, tasty and lightly dressed. All in all my plate was very satisfactory at $20. Along with the main course I had a draft, Belgium beer, one of many, which arrived in a stemmed semi bowl shaped glass.
Marilyn ordered Carbonnades,( Belgium beef stew) which to her disappointment came shredded instead of cubed. The beer and meat flavor were evident, and vegetables mostly absent, but since Marilyn does not drink this may have been a poor choice. A split lemon meringue tart was only fair, heavy on meringue and light on filling and fairly firm crust.
There were several of us dining together and when the checks were presented they were incorrect in separating what dish was served to whom. The check total and the credit card tab were also not in sync and the explanation had something to do with a poor computer program which made the final tab slightly higher than the original amount presented. There was no effort, by management, to correct this disparity. It was a mixed emotional experience.
Other regular spots, since last posting, were: "Brio Tuscan Grill"( Newport), a large salad topped with grilled salmon, "Oriental Wok"( Hyde-Park), mixed chef's selection dinner for 6 and "Wild Ginger"( Edwards Road) 2 couples splitting 5 dishes. Asian restaurants are hardly ever, for us, a one dish meal.