Saturday, August 25, 2012


I have probably written on this subject before but once and a while it is so heavily reenforced that I feel it necessary to comment again.
We eat out quite a bit and it is usually with friends, this is not a strange arrangement for most of us. What sets many evenings apart are the friends that we have developed in the establishments which we patronize. By going often and making it a point to know the staff, including the chef and management, we feel, quite often, as though we are dining with friends, instead of employees. The feeling is reciprocated by our treantemnt. This was all reenforced by several experiences in the last week.

Last weekend we walked into "Nectar Restaurant" ( Mt. Lookout Square) to be greeted by Julie Francis, the owner and chef, with the words "I've fixed sweetbreads for you". Dinner decided. I started with an Heirloom salad, red and yellow tomatoes, and then was presented with a beautiful plate of perfectly sauteed sweetbreads sitting atop a melange of fresh summer vegetables, roughly chopped and simmered. al dente, in their own jucies, with the addition of a few herbs and a shot of sherry. A marvelous meal.
My only problem is that I cannot distinguish heirloom tomato's from other good field rippened species.

Again, this is not new, but at the "Oriental Wok" (Hyde Park) the chef and staff always are pleased to guide us in what is fresh and special on or off the menu. Guy Burgess, the chef, recommended the fresh halibut, stirfried with ginger, which we immediatly accepted. They have made a dish for us, several times, of Bar-B-Qued poriik strips, beansprouts and scallions and this we had to go along with a full order of perfect fried rice including chicken, pork, egg, veggies and seasoning.  It almost goes without saying that we usually start our meal, at the OW, with one or two of their excellent first courses.

The other spot during the last 8 days was "Enoteca Emilia" (O'brianville) where Monica, our artist server , she produces jewlery, brought the 4 of us a hearty mixture of menu and bar items. This is another friendly place and my only negative is that I can't get them to reduce salt to a tolerable level. Maybe it's the items I order. I'll have to make better friends of their "line cooks".

Sunday, August 19, 2012


It is very seldom that I make a posting of a dinner or event that is not open to the public. This is an exception as I feel I must report and congratulate all those concerned with an outstanding event at Losantiville Country Club. Last night, for the first time, in my memory, the Club put together a wine tasting with superb food pairings. I can not complement enough the people who arranged the evening and the kitchen staff who executed terrific food accompanyments for each wine.
Below are listed the wines and there accompanying dishes:

Albrecht cremate Rose-brie with Oregon peach chutney, Champagne grapes, strawberries, roasted pistachios and cashews, white cheddar bread sticks

Voss Sauvignon Blanc( Napa)- Kumamoto Humboldt Bay( CA)  raw oysters and fried Barron points Puget sound jumbo selects. Grilled diver scallops-tarragon with aioli-grapefruit and bing cherries

Tokara Chardonnay- Tuscan-style roasted game hen, grilled romaine and prosciutto and Asiago

Argyle Pinot reserve(Willamette valley)- almond crusted fresh Halibut stuffed with a salmon tartar beurre noir and served with smoked portabella and a wild mushroom risotto

Novelty Hill Cabernet- grilled Colorado lamb chop- fresh mint- caramelized potatoes gruyere- roasted haricot verte

Ramous pinto lbv Port- Chocolate dipped strawberries, truffles, (rich) chocolate torte and green apple ginger crisp and plums.

Once again Bravo to everyone who made this evening possible.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Second visit

As I said in my previous posting, one can not really judge a restaurant with only one visit. We returned to "BrewRiver GastroPub" 2062 Riverside Dr. (513) 861-2484 on a beautiful summer night this week. This time we enjoy their reconditioned patio, which I am happy to report has a ramp, making it accessable to handicaped patrons.
The service remained completly satisfactory with the proper attention and knowledge paid to any questions we had. Several beer samples were provided before we decided on our final selection. The do offer flights of beer for those interested in trying many.
I realized several thing about this new endevor. First and formost they are what their name implies, a "Brew-Pub". I didn't take a count, but I would guess that they offer 40 or 50 different beers and this is the premise around which everything else functions. The food, as it was the first time, was very well prepared and tasty, with several items carrying the mark of the New Orleans trained kitchen staff, liberal use of spice.
There were four of us and we split many items. Our meal started with "Amish Chicken Liver Pate", this was accomplanied by sauteed, seasoned onions. I found the pate slightly less hearty than the normal Bar Mitzvah offering. Next came Caprese Salad, which when split gave several pieces of field ripened tomato and firm Mozzarella to each dinner. The salad had a drizzel of Balsamic. Marilyn had the Buttermilk dipped Amish chicken, a very small helping, which was nicly done, while I split an Oyster Po'Boy and a Muffaletta with the other wife. The Po'Boy was very good but had a spicy Remoulade which overpowered all the other flavors. The Muffaletta while good needed, in my estimation, more of the olive salad to be up to it's origin, Southern Louisiana. For desssert we all split a very rich "Arrogant Brownie" made with Arrogant Ale.
The meal was ample, well prepared and an interesting mix of textures and flavors, most extremely complmentary to the beer served.

The only other adventure this past week has been to "Otto's", who make the Blog with great regularity. A Bombay, excellent Fried green tomatoes and a terrific Lobster salad proceeded my main course of Pan Sauteed Grouper on a bed of Risotto mixed with pear, apricot and nuts. An outstanding meal, but then I admit to being very prejudiced and not always objective. Marilyn had flank steak, medium rare, as orderd.

I'm sure we will return to both spots. Interesting places, to me, are habit forming.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Two questions

The two questions I am asked most often are "what is your favorite reastaurant" and "have you found any new place that you recommend". The first gets the standard answer that I can't compare a steak house and a sushi bar, at least in food. I can give a feeling of amibiance and my ideas of service but niether of those are digestible.
As far as the second question I often hesitate to give a recommendation of any new place on just one trial. I can tell those, who read this Blog, if it is a first time for me and how I reacted.
In the category of new spots we ate lunch this week at "BrewRiver GastroPub" 2062 Riverside Dr. Cincinnati (513) 861-2484 and were pleasently surprised by both the food and the service. Our guest and I had two different salads, both very fresh and lightly dressed. Each salad was enought for a light lunch. Marilyn had a BLT, usually fairly standard, but this one was outstanding. The bread, freshly baked, had a crisp crust and a soft, grainy center. The mayonise was light and contained herbs. The tomato's are field grown and come direct to the restaurant from a local farmer and the "bacon" in this case was house cured "pork belly" with no preservitive. It was thin sliced, and cooked to a tenderness which brought out the sweet pork flavor. It still managed to be crisp enough to contrast nicly with all the other ingredients. A real winner.
Our server was attentive and knowledgeable and the chef paid a visit to see that all was satisfactory, which it was.

Also this week we visited two "regulars". The "Oriental Wok-Regency" and "Cumin".
At "the Wok" the chef prepared "Empress Fish" which I have lovingly described before but will repeat that it is a whole bass, turned inside out, skin dipped in a light egg wash and then fried while the inside remains still juicy. The sauce is a mixture of sweet and salty, very Asian, with flecks of red and green peppers and hints of scallions. The fish easily is a full dinner for two and could be split for as many as 6, if desired.

At "Cumin" beside an evening with another couple we enjoyed the attention of Alex, the propioter, and Mung, one of, if not the best, servers in town. Alex took us on a tour of his new restaurant next door which will open in Oct.( Food to be cooked in a brick oven, remanicent of "Fore St." in Portland Maine)
The food from Owen Mass's kitchen was outstanding with Marilyn enjoying a sliced cucumber salad and pan seared trout served on black Quinoa; while I had the fresh fig salad, slices of fig with fresh bacon bit, small amount of cheese and shreaded mixed greens. My main course was a wonderful Rissotto, topped with small cubes of fresh field grown tomatos, all in a lightly creamy sauce with a hint of sharp cheese. We ate outside on one of the pleasantest evening of the year, so all was well with our world.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Minor Disaster

On Aug 1 I spent over an hour getting caught up on some of the places we had eaten, While "proof" reading I hit some key, on the keyboard, and sent the message into cyberspace. I have tried everything, I know, to retrieve it but have failed in every attempt. I'm sure it is in the computer, somewhere, but how to get it onto my Blog is beyond my capability.
I know that I mentioned, in detail, the Lobster Rolls at "Bonefish" The Vietnamiese crepe at the "Saigon Cafe" and the bread pudding at "La Poste". All are well worth the visit.
"Vito's Cafe" was a mixed bag with good food and poor service and "mucho" noise and activities.

Wednsday night we had our first visit to "Mayberry Restaurant" 1211 Main St. Cincinnati (513) 381-5999, they do take reservations. There was a very small crowd inside and we did not venture on to the outside dining area. Our server was most attentive and helpful. The have a small, adventuous menu and seem to specialize of draft beers, mostly of the IPA( India Pale Ale) varity.
The two women had salads while I split an order of Bacon wrapped figs served with a fresh berry sauce, wonderful. I also had 2 sides, Buffalo Mac N Cheese, mostly cubed chicken breast in a spicy sauce and steamed Cauliflower mixed with Feta cheese and finely chopped fresh tomatos and sweet red peppers, an interesting presentation.
The other male ended with a large perfectly cooked tenderloin on a bed of truffle fried potatoes all top with a fried egg.
We'll probably try again as our server said that the menu changes often reflecting what is available, daily, at Finley Market.
Hope this posting makes it "on line"

Wednesday, August 1, 2012