Thursday, March 25, 2010

My favorite Cincinnati restaurants

Here is a list of my family's favorite restaurants in Cincinnati
(not necessarily in order):

  1. Wild Ginger (Hyde Park)
  2. Knotty Pine on the Bayou
  3. Cumin (Hyde Park)
  4. Half Day Café (Wyoming)
  5. Tan Thai (Springdale)
  6. Suzie Wongs (Walnut Hills)
  7. Zips (Mt. lookout)
  8. The Comet (Northside)
  9. Slims (Northside)
  10. Lavomatic (Downtown)
  11. Senate (Downtown)
  12. Ambar (Clifton)
  13. Lemon Grass (Hyde Park)
  14. Dewey’s Pizza
  15. Terenga (Hartwell)
  16. Asiana Korean (West Chester)
  17. Nada (Downtown)
  18. Green Papaya (Hyde Park)
  19. Szechwan Bistro (Mason)
  20. Sebastian's (Western Hills)
  21. Melt (Northside)
  22. Tokyo (Springdale)
  23. Take the Cake (Northside)
  24. New Krishna (Evendale)

Review: Senate

I had a “foodie” friend visit from San Francisco this weekend. He had never been to Cincinnati before, and being from a city that is known for great food, I felt that I had to show him that Cincinnati has a blossoming culinary scene beyond the famous ribs and ice cream. I thought about taking him to some of my go-to places (Cumin, Slims, Boca, Wild Ginger, Lavomatic) that have rarely disappointed me, but instead, I took a risk, and went to Senate.

I am so glad I did. Even though they opened just weeks ago, they definitely had their act together. Their menu seemed similar to Lavomatic –focusing on comfort and street food with a gourmet flair. This is a trend I started seeing in the major cities a few years ago. What I like about Senate and Lavomatic, however, is that they seem more down to earth than their big city counterparts with less pretentious offerings and reasonable prices.

I had the lobster Mac and Cheese, a Cincinnati Frank, and Duck Fat Fries. The Cincinnati Frank was so good, it puts a Skyline coney to shame. I chose it in order to warm him up to the Cincinnati chili I will force him to try while he is visiting. The Mac and Cheese was good, although not as “lobstery” as I thought it would be, and the duck fat fries were as good as they sound. My friends fish was excellent as well. I will give the food at Senate a big Fee Fi Fo..Yum!!!

It is located in an up and coming area with probably the coolest vibe in the city– the gateway corridor. The decor and atmosphere is modern, simple and warm. All in all it was a great experience, and I will be going back soon to try their other entrées.

Senate on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 26, 2010

Review: Song Long

I took my kids to Song Long last night. It had been a number of years since I had been there, so I wasn't sure if it was going to be a good experience. I'm not sure why it had taken so long for me to go back. I don't remember having a bad meal or anything, but it never became top of mind with me or my family when trying to decide where to go for dinner. That being said, we had a wonderful meal.

Unlike most families in Cincinnati, my kids are usually very adventurous eaters, and we have had Vietnamese food several times before in Chicago. When they chose Chinese entrees, I was surprised. My son had the Moo Shu Chicken and my daughter had Sweet & Sour Chicken. They were both good, but I would definitely recommend the Vietnamese entrees instead. I had Tom Thit Ram. This is on their Vietnamese menu and consists of Shrimp and Pork in a spicy black pepper sauce. It was incredible!!

I want to go back and try the Pho and the vietnamese spring rolls. We saw them on the table next to ours, and they looked great. Maybe next time I will force my kids to try the Vietnamese entrees. That's not child abuse is it?

Song Long on Urbanspoon
Click on the Urbanspoon logo to see what other people think about Song Long.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Review: Half Day Café

Ok. If you are looking for a great breakfast restaurant in Cincinnati, let's face it... your choices are limited. There's the old standbys like First Watch and IHOP, but the words "not worth the wait" come to mind when I think about going there again.

Lately, I have been frequenting the Half Day Café in Wyoming. It has such a bright, comfortable atmosphere, that I feel happier right after walking through the door. They really go out of their way to make you feel welcome. There are fresh flowers on every table, and the wait staff seem to smile a lot (these people actually like their job!) which would normally seem odd to me, but in this case there is nothing unnatural about it.

What I love about this place is that they have all of the standard breakfast fare, but they put their own special twist on it. Mango butter rum or sweet potato pancakes... orange stuffed french toast... and a wonderful egg strata (Individual egg casseroles with pepperjack cheese, eggs and sausage). Yum!!!

Being that I am becoming a regular at the Half Day Café as of late, I have come to know the owners, Dale and Patty. They are good people with good family values. They take pride in not being a chain restaurant. In their words, "We are a neighborhood family operating a neighborhood restaurant in a neighborhood they love." Maybe I am just a sucker for the underdog, but I would much rather go to a locally-owned restaurant like theirs. They have a special quality that you just can't get at a chain. Whether this is important to you or not, you wont be disappointed at the Half Day Café.

Half Day Cafe on Urbanspoon