The "Free Store-Food Bank" has a program running 10 weeks that teaches people good working habits and the basics needed for employment in the food service industry. After those 10 weeks some of the graduates are eligible for the "Second Course" that helps them improve their skills and move more quickly into a functioning kitchen. I have been visiting with these students, once a week, and expounding some of my service philosophy from the "Let's Eat Out" class and , of course, Danny Meyer.
In that same mode we have taken a second try, or more, at some of the area restaurants.
Monday night it was back for a 2nd time to "KaZe", 1400 Vine St, "Over the Rhine" 513-898-7991. This time we were much more satisfied than on our first visit. In all fairness, we had gone shortly after the opening and neither we, not the staff were "at ease". This time we had an idea what we were "getting into" and the staff is well briefed and knowledgeable. "KaZe" is basicly Japanese with Sushi and many dishes with a strong Japanese twist. There are several items for the less adventurous and "area bound".
Marilyn and I divided an order of Pork Buns( pork belly, apple, turnip, scallion and sauce on a soft steamed bun) and an order of Niku Sliders( beef short rib, marinated cucumbers and Korean BBQ sauce on Sesame Buns). Each order contains two. I went with a "Dragon Slayer" Sushi role,( spiced tuna topped with grilled eel) and raw Oysters Narhi while Marilyn chose nicely roasted chicken with a light Teriaki glaze on a bed of asparagus and stir fried mushrooms. All the dishes were well prepared and quite tasty.
Other establishment we have repeated have been "Wild Ginger" 3655 Edwards Road, Hyde Park, 513-533-9500. Where I stuck with the King of the Ocean Roll, Sushi role including soft shelled crab, while Marilyn was more adventurous ordering Pad Thai topped with Walleye, a combination I had never seen offered. Kirin Ichiban washed down both.
"Seasons 52" 3819 Edwards Road, Norwood. We split a Caesar salad( enough for 4) and I tried Shrimp with Pene Pasta and spinach and Marilyn stuck to a Portobello Flat bread. We find "Seasons 52" an interesting chain addition to the local dining scene but not a place demanding constant patronage.
Another swing at "M. Wood Fire Oven" 3514 Erie Ave (513) 386-7783 with a chef friend found our table and bodies loaded down with excessive food. Here are some of the items we sampled: Cured Meats, House Olives, Sweet Potato Brandade( oven fried mashed potato sticks and seasoning) Roast Chicken, Short Rib Lasagne, Cauliflower, Chocolate Raspberry Cake, Smore Cookies and more. You get the picture. Some went back to the kitchen and some went home with all 4.
Lastly another swing by "Phoenician Taverna" 7944 S.Mason Montgomery Rd. Mason, OH (513-770-0027. Our favorite Lebanese with wonderful food and service. Since we leave the dishes in the capable hands of the owner I am not going to try to describe, but if you have never been, the Lamb shank is a must.