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.