Having finished our traveling we're back in our regular routine, which means going out, with others, 4 or 5 time a week. We keep the restaurant industry in Cincinnati, profitable.
A week ago we went to "The National Exemplar", housed in the Mariemont Inn, 6880 Wooster Pike 45227. Sean Daley has been revamping the menu, and although he keeps some of the "old favorites" he is adding regularly, new dishes. I ordered the entree Caesar and the Bison Burger. The burger would have been plenty. The salad was served with a half Romaine stalk and a decent, but not inspiring dressing. On the other hand the burger, served on a Brioche bun was covered with crisp onion pieces and a slightly tangy house made sauce. I found it terrific. Marilyn had the Veal Suzanne, a taste of which I found uninspired. Our friends talked us into splitting the warm carrot cake with a Vanilla Rum sauce, large and good but for me and my meal too much "icing on the cake".
A few night later it was on to "J. Alexander's" 2629 Edmondson Road ( Rookwood Plaza). "Alexander's shows the effect of competition, two large new restaurants just across the street. They now accept reservations and there seemed, the night we were there, to be plenty of open tables and extra special service, although the service had always been good.
I made a bad choice the Croque Madame, a fancy grilled, open face sandwich of Ham and Gruyere cheese. It was much too salty and rich for my newly acquired taste. Marilyn and the others stuck with the Prime Rib sandwich, a good choice.
Friday evening it was "M. Wood Fire Oven" 3514 Erie Ave. 45208. In my opinion "M" has been improving since it opened, almost a year ago. I had a very filling meal of the Cauliflower and Brussels Sprout Gratin, although I had to send it back for more "fire", the dish is plenty to be split between several diners and is an excellent side, complimenting anything else ordered, it is also delicious in it's own right. My other "small plate", to me a misnomer, was Scallops accompanied by Polenta cakes and grilled escarole. Marilyn shared the Cauliflower and chose the Little Frenchie, beef slices on thick toasted white bread covered with a very mild cheese sauce, one of less tasty dishes.
Lastly it was an early dinner at "Zula" 1400 Race St. 45202 (OTR). A baby Romaine Salad and a deep fried Risotto Cake were both outstanding. They both came as advertised. The salad, only the small tender inside leafs covered with a light dressing, grated Parmesan and strips of roasted Roma tomato's; while the Risotto cake oozed with melted cheese as it was broken open.
Marilyn had the Haricot Vert Frisce, a platter of marinated green beans, tomato's, hearts of palm and greens followed by the Field Mushroom Flat Bread, lots of shrooms. Altogether is was an evening when everything meshed perfectly.