Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ash American Fare

In my opinion Alex Mchaikhi, owner of "M Wood Fired Oven" has hit the mark in opening "Ash" in the former space which "Cumin" occupied, 3520 Erie Ave Cincinnati 45208 (513) 871-8714.
Three of us had dinner there, last night, the second night of operations. Beside a couple of minor flaws, as they get accustom to the new menu, it was really outstanding.
"Ash" is operating on the premise that "Cumin" had lost it's way and was growing too pricey. This new endeavor wants to fill the slot of a relaxed, neighborhood, informal, while upscale, meeting place with outstanding food and still reasonable pricing. Hopefully they have succeeded.
Marilyn and our guest shared most of their items. They started with and interesting warm mushroom and shredded Brussels sprout salad, delicious. That was followed by a vegetarian lasagna, again heavy on mushrooms, of several varieties, and fresh tomato's  with a light mixture of cheeses mixed is a medium, smooth sauce. Lastly they finished with a warm Apple Crumble presented with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. A lovely caramel sauce accented that whole dish.

I tackled a "Wedge" Salad, large enough to split ($9) with all the regulars; cherry tomatoes, blue cheese. corn bread croutons and an extra addition, pickled asparagus strips. My main ($20) was Paella including mussels, scallops, shrimp, slices of cured chorizo and shreds of chicken. The Paella came in a very hot stone bowl which held it's, and the contents, heat through out the meal. In my mind this called for a large glass of "draft" beer.

A quick glance at the menu showed all items priced by category. Salads $9, Burgers, in many different combinations, $15, Mains $20 and Sides $5.
The concept is great and the food wonderful. Give "Ash a try".

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Jose Salazar has opened a small, 45 seats, new restaurant at 14th and Republic, behind Zula on 14th heading East. Obviously, the name of the place is the name of the chef-owner.
Monday night, with another couple, we tried it out. The results where terrific.
The table split an order of fried Brussels Sprouts with a side of excellent Aioli, great compliment to the sprouts, and one of the special "cured and potted' offerings, duck leg rillette with picked onions and jalapeno jam( sweet not hot). This comes with buttered rye bread toast so each could make an open faced sandwich to their liking.
I choose, for my next morsels, accompanied by a dark Rouge beer; "little fried oyster sandwich" ( operative word "little" about the size of a slider) with kimchi radish sprouts and garlic mayo. There must have been left over Aioli, and a separate plate of "Veal tongue a la plancha" with radish slices, hard boiled egg, frisee and salsa verde. The tongue came as three medallions, roasted and possibly slightly pickled. For dessert I had a small ramekin of hot, walnut, fig bread pudding with a scoop of Vanilla Gelato. Chefs have to stay up all night to come up with these dishes and ingredients.
Marilyn had "chicken thighs a plancha, broccolini, mustard spaetzle( she thought they were not firm enough), riesling soaked figs and tarragon" while the others has hand rolled cavatelli, braised rabbit, carrots, celery, pearl onions with cardamon-mascarpone cream( hardly rich, but very tasty) and a strictly vegetarian dish of wheatberries and several vegetables including swiss chard, napa cabbage, mushrooms, carrots and preserved meyer lemon.
I am anxious to return as the menu will change with availability and Jose is an interesting chef.

An interesting lunch spot, run by 2 women on Woodburn Ave. is the 452 Kitchen. They have a website and have been open for about a year. Their stress is healthy and vegetarian dishes. The other day I had a grilled Pimento Cheese sandwich, on Shadeau white bread, while Marilyn has a wonderful tomato soup and a Quinoa salad. It reminds me of a woman's tea room brought into the 21st century. The food is well prepared, the atmosphere pleasant and the great advantage is that it is quiet and no one rushes you if you want to linger and chat.