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Mar 23, 2002 09:21 AM


  • j

This board is lacking in suggestions for Cincy. Are there no resturants beyond the Montgomery (which is not so hot). I will be there with three Japanese visitors and they will want beef. Help

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  1. Sorry. I'm afraid "not so hot" sums up eating around the Cincinnati area, including beef places. Folks around Cincinnati think PF Chang's and its ilk constitute "good eats;" the only decent Vietnamese banh mi thit is imported from Chicago one day per week (if on time); Cincinnati-style chili and Coneys with plastic cheese product remain pablum; the amount of inferior processed deli-style sliced meat products passing through grocery checkouts is just incredible; Greek, beyond prepackaged and microwaved gyros and pitas, is nonexistent (no reliable doners/donnairs to be found, and certainly no seafoods); and Graeter's is only ice cream. Since most have not had better, they don't miss better. ( q:-( )

    That brief rant aside, on to the subject of beef.

    There is Morton's (the chain, dinner only) downtown in Tower Place which has its super-heated broiled meat selections (dependable, and that's all), poor garniture, and its mundane sides.

    Restaurateur Jeff Ruby has three establishments that are "big plate" dinner only places: Carlo & Johnny's in Montgomery, Jeff Ruby's downtown on Walnut, and The Precinct on the east side of town. These tout aged beef and have the requisite steakhouse appetizers and a la carte sides. When the beef is good, it's really good, but, 2 out of 3 times it winds up being tough and gristly or not cooked as ordered or both. Half the time the service is of the "How are you guys doing?" variety which is pervasive in the area.

    And please, don't let anyone foist F&N Steakhouse in Dayton, KY, on you. Mediocre beef, inattentive/indifferent service and the old roadhouse ambience, though quaint in exterior appearance, can be downright uncomfortable.

    1. m
      Michael Hoffman

      If it's possible to leave the beef aside, although they have it, and it is excellent, downtown Cincinnati's Maisonette is one of the finest restaurants in the country -- Five Stars from Mobil.

      1. I have to agree with most of what's been said about Cincinnati's stale dining scene. However, I must disagree with the comments about F&N. I've been there many times, and tho I always get the prime rib, it's never been short of great. The sides are ho-hum and the service can be a little sketchy (think overworked waitresses with 30+ years of serving and sore feet!), but it's a one of a kind and kind of funky. For prime rib, it can't be beat, but I'd never want to see it with the lights on!

        Other places we like are Shanghai Mama's (6th and Main), York Street Cafe in Newport, Nicola's downtown. We've had wonderful dinners at all of these. If you're venturing further, try the Pine Club in Dayton, near UD. Sublime beef, but they don't take reservations or charge cards. Shanghai Mama's only takes cash, too, tho they have an ATM on the premises. If you're from Columbus, you may want to try Mitchell's Seafood at Newport on the Levee. I haven't been, but have heard good things. It's one of Cameron Mitchell's group from Columbus. Get back to us about what you try and your impressions!

        1. These posts are crazy! Cincinnati has an amazing foodie scene (I grew up there and now live in New York, but I still miss the food back home). Go to Findley Market and tell me it's not one of the best pubic markets in the country. Try the neighborhood chili parlors (no matter how repulsed you might be by the idea of Cincinnati chili; after you've had it a few times, your cravings will sneak up on you like a crack addiction); eat a burrito at the Comet in Northside; eat a steak at the Precinct; go to Honey. It's great. Venture into Over the Rhine and have breakfast at Tucker's (all of the food they serve is from Findley Market); have a burger and a beer at Zip's in Mt Lookout; then dig into some of the best Indian food I've ever had (and remember, I live in New York) at Ambar India in Clifton. Goetta (sausage made with steel-cut oats) is also a must, as is LaRosa's pizza (which has a unique, sweet sauce that , like the chili, becomes addictive over time). Also try Dewey's pizza, Izzy's (amazing corned beef); and, of course, Graeter's ice cream.

          11 Replies
          1. re: Abita7

            Well, you did resurrect a post that's over seven years old, and much has changed during those seven years. For instance, the Maisonette is sadly gone.

              1. re: Emm

                Cincinnati had great food 7 years ago. Try a google search of the German restaurants and read a review. Many have been around for 20, 30 or 50 years. If you aren't looking for fine dining, here are a few recommendations to add to Abita7 -- who listed some that I would have as well.
                I grew up in Cincinnati, but my family didn't have a lot of money, so we didn't do pricey eating out. I have grown foodie tendencies since moving to Tennessee, but I haven't tried the more expensive bounty of Cincinnati.
                Here are some cheaper recommendations:

                I grew up in Cincinnati, and there are some great places to eat.
                If you are in the suburbs and have to do Cincinnati chili, try Blue Ash Chili -- locally owned... my elderly grandmother calls it "Going to eat at the Greek's."

                My family (who tend to appreciate quality food at good prices) loves The Blue Wolf Cafe in Montgomery.

                For All-American food, The Rootbeer Stand in Sharonville is awesome. Even if you don't do hot dogs, stop for a pitcher of cold, home-brewed rootbeer and a bag of popcorn.

                Servatii Bakery Shop and Deli has locations all over the city, their bread and desserts are to die for, I haven't tried their deli food, but I can't imagine it being bad.

                Schoolhouse Restaurant in Milford is a Meat and 3. Before anyone says anything to the nature of "what do Ohioans know about a meat and 3, that's Southern," please realize that a lot of Ohions moved to the area from the south (like my family, Kentucky and West Virginia).

                For a great Sandwich I WOULD have told you to hit Daryl Fledge's meats (known as Fledgie's to Sharonville natives), but they recently closed, causing a great lament on Facebook. They were a Butcher/deli, but offered sandwiches made of fresh-sliced meat and cheeses, chips, sodas and deli salads at really low prices. The boom of big supermarkets just KILLED them, though I don't remember my grandmother having any type of meat that wasn't wrapped in their white paper.

                Graeter's has great ice cream -- but they also have excellent baked goods.

                Also, hit up google for reviews of Cincinnati's many German Restaurants.

                Lulu's Rice and Noodles in the Tri-County area is good. Get a noodle bowl, they are great!

                There are more, but I am getting myself in a sad state of hungry for my Cinci Favs, and I am living in Cleveland, TN, so that is no good!

            1. re: Abita7

              Seriously, I am from NY and now live in Cincinnati....Indian food is WAYYYY better in NY....LaRosa's is not pizza....they don't even use a proper oven....want sweet sauce go to any Brooklyn, NY pizza joint...blows away LaRosa's...I do have to admit that Zip's is very very good and consistent. As to some others mentioned...Honey is great, Cincinnati Chili not great at the way, if you really want a real coney, not only NY is the palce to go, but for a shorter drive you should head up to Detroit...the best coney's in the Midwest hands down...they actually use real hot dogs, not flaccid weiners. Findlay market is good, Deweys has gone down to fair, Graeter's Ice Cream, quite possible best ice cream I have ever had. Just had the Chili at Skyline 2 days ago...still have heartburn...!!!

              1. re: pizzacon

                The "local" chili parlors are better than Gold Star or Skyline. Yes, it's not "real" chili but it's all right in the context it is served. I'm from Detroit originally, so I can't honestly comment here about the comparison. Hot dog fans should avoid the coneys, though.
                There are a lot of Indian restaurants throughout SW Ohio, as there are a lot of Indians. From what I understand, we usually just get one region's specialites. But the folks from Mumbai seem to like what we have.
                Admittedly, nothing in Cincinnati has blown me away.

                Gold Star
                219 S Winemiller, Batavia, OH 45103

                1. re: Fibber McGee

                  I've been a fan of Jean-Robert from his chef days at the Maisonette and Pigalls (both closed). His new Fountain-Square area restaurant, Jean-Robert's table, is more casual than Pigalls, but has great food. Another Fountain-Square area ristorante is Via Vite. The food is good, the service is spotty--but worth a trip.

                  Via Vite
                  520 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202

                2. re: pizzacon

                  I mean this in the nicest way, as a lifelong Cincinnatian who has issues with my city.

                  Like it better in NY? Delta is ready when you are.

                    1. re: jmckee

                      Didn't say I don't like it in Cincinnati, didn't even say I like it better in NY....just pointing out some food differences.....the one thing I do have to say is that tastes are definitely regional, or even country specific. Some types of food are just better NY, and that goes for would think, that Cincinnati having such a large German influence, you would actually be able to find a quality frankfurter or hotdog...I have had great metts and brats here, though I just find it hard to believe that Skyline, Goldstar and pretty much all of the chili parlours use such a bad frank....and I also mean that in the nicest way.

                      1. re: pizzacon

                        As far as coney's go, the hot dog is just the vehicle for the chili since you would never eat Cincy chili by itself (at least I wouldn't). I wouldn't use handmade fresh pasta for a 3 Way either. If you're looking for quality franks try Avril's or Queen City (I prefer Tony Packo's myself which can be found at Jungle Jim's).

                        As an aside, complaining about Cincy area pizza by pointing out LaRosa's is like me saying NYC Italian food sucks because they have Sbarro's. Try Adriatico's or Nocce's.

                        1. re: pizzacon

                          Give Camp Washington a try for Cinci Chili. It's the best we've had in the city.
                          It's entirely posible that you just don't like CC. That doesn't make it bad, just not your thing.

                          As for the dogs, I make CC at home and will use whatever I have. Mostly that's Nathan's and to be honest, the better quality does not shine through. You can tell yes, but for the most part as long as it has a hot dog taste, it's fine.

                          One of the best dogs I've had (Skeeter's, Wytheville, Va.) uses those bright red dogs, basic chili, basic slaw, French's mustard, cheese wiz and a plain white bun. Put it all together and it's magic.