This past week we visited two new restaurants plus a couple of "old favorite'. Here are my thoughts on where we have gone and what we have eaten.
"M" (next to "Cumin", in East Hyde Park, and connected in ownership and Chef). Our first visit a week ago was during their opening and now after a week they are defiantly improving and on track to be a regular haunt for the 20 plus crowd and even some of us seniors. I mentioned that their menu is built around "brick oven cooking" and the items, thus produced, are incorporating what this facility does best.
Last night 8 of us went at 7 PM and after a very reasonable wait and some table arranging we ate, family style, sharing several different items. Bar service, although covering most libations, still is somewhat on the slow side. All the men, in the group, drank beer and the ladies tended towards wine or soft drinks.
The table split 4 salads, grilled Caesar and Local Greens. The Ceasar, grilled, have a mild anchovy dressing and the Greens, including sliced, crisp radishes, a light vinaigrette. Next came 2 Pizzas, Mushrooms formed the basis for one while Pear filled that role for the other. "M" offers 4 grilled entrees nightly. They are listed as Chicken, Fish, Pork and Beef. The chef decides what is best in each category each day, and what side is appropriate. We chose chicken( a full half constitutes each order and we had two orders) last night, which had a very light B-B-Q sauce applied just heavy enough to turn the skin reddish brown. The chicken was accompanied by excellent Mac 'n Cheese. I should have asked for the receipt. Sides of vegetables, one a mixture of Cauliflower and Brussel Sprouts while the other was eggplant based. Both were finished in the oven. Four desserts were as follows: Cranberry-Orange pie( slightly tart and refreshing), Pear pie, a Smore Cookie tart and finally an Apple tart. Each dessert item is topped with an appropriate Geloto. The Pear Pie has a Jalapenos Geloto and this reporter was the only one adventurous enough "to make all gone".
"M" is still a work in progress but they have conquered most of the "glitches" and from here on improvements will only make thing better.
"The Metropole" at the 21c Museum Hotel 609 Walnut St. Downtown Cincinnati (513) 578-6660. Four of us ventured there in the middle of the week. The hotel is decorated with contemporary art and some spills over into the restaurant and bar. The tile floor goes back to the original building and the noise level is fairly high. Instead of touting "brick oven cooking" this restaurant call it's preparation "Fireplace cooking". We did not see the actual cooking, even though there is an open kitchen. Our table was out of sight of the "Fireplace". They have a full bar and some guests were seated there and ordered from an edited rendesion of the menu presented to us. Several items came with interesting presentation but all items were well prepared and quite tasty. My food dishes were all vegetarian, that evening, by choice. I began with a Cauliflower Soup, thickened with a puree of Cauliflower instead of cream. Floating in the middle were serveral spices and panko bread crumbs, a nice addition. My Brussel Sprouts, as discribed by out server, came shredded and mixed with with several other calciferous vegetables. The whole melange was served room temperature. ( My first surprise, although I had been warned). My other main item was a Walnut- Porcino pate, a smooth paste in a small dish on a board with two pieces of buttered rye toast and a garnish of greens and Granny Smith apple strips( surprise #2).. I'm sure I had expected a piece of "Farm Pate". For dessert I ordered "Apple Cheese Cake"( surprise #3) this came in an attractive jar with the pie crumbs on the bottom, the cheese filling next and the apples on top. As the spoon proceeded downward you picked up all the flavors and textures. Others had Trout proceeded by salads and several other tasty desserts. We will return but I imagine I will leave my hearing aids at home.
Other spots since last posting have been regulars, "Otto's" and "The Oriental Wok". Unless this is your first venture here you don't need more details about these two favorites.