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Apr 4, 2010 02:09 PM

Aroma Restaurant & Sushi in Cincinnati,OH. I'll Pass.

I highly recommend people steer clear. There are just so many better quality options in the area for how much you're going to spend here.

First, why is there a sushi bar? Is this some kind of joke? It feels like they're trying to please everyone, but end up making no one happy. Why eat a roll that's 90% rice when you can go to Embers (which doesn't even have THAT good sushi, but is significantly better than the overpriced, under-filled rolls I tried at Aroma) or any better sushi places around town (including the sushi across the street at Fresh Market). Also, the waitstaff needs to lay off the spiel about where the chef worked. He could have been picking his ass the last 5 years, but I don't care so long as the food is good (and there's no ass in the food).

The rest of the menu is equally all over the place. Mac and cheese was bland and mushy, as were the fries (although luckily we didn't get served the ore-ida ones). Tuna tataki was slathered in sauce, and demerits for using bluefin (which I don't have too much of a problem with when done well, but seeing so many mediocre restaurants waste good tuna pisses me off). My salad was fine, but nothing special. I saw short ribs for $25. I just paid that much for an amazing version at Fatty Crab in NY. Yours are not worth the markup on what should be a cheap cut of meat, served in a mall in Cincy.

All I can say is, Chef, cut down the menu. Toss the sushi. Find some kind of consistency and vision for this restaurant. You have a prime location, don't squander it by trying to pander to everyone (there's already a place that does that 100 yards away, it's called Cheesecake Factory).

Other places in the Kenwood/Montgomery area I would eat before I returned to Aroma: Embers, Carlo and Johnny's, Trio, Kyoto, Mei, Montgomery Inn, Steak & Shake, Skyline Chili and anything I can cook at home.

Sorry this is harsh, but I want a good restaurant to succeed over here (and many good ones do), but whatever they're doing now just isn't working for me.

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  1. Thanks for the forthright comments Chief! ^L^

    I am fairly new in Cincinnati (Amelia) and I like sushi, really I like sashimi - in large quantities! Can you recommend a place? You seem to know the area well, and have good 'taste'. ^L^

    - Thomas

    5 Replies
    1. re: Cincinnati_Diner

      Thanks Thomas. As far as sushi and sashimi, my go to has always been Kyoto on Montgomery Road out in Symmes/Fields Ertel. Very fresh, but has maybe slipped slightly since the former owner sold out to someone else in the family. Still by far the best option in the area though.

      I like Mei (also on Montgomery Road), but haven't been in a few years, so I can't speak for it.

      I know there are a few other sushi places in the Hyde Park area, but I haven't tried them yet.

      I don't live in the area anymore, but I try to eat out as much as possible when I'm in town. If you like Sichuan food, I can't recommend Sichuan Bistro on Mason/Montgomery highly enough. Great, authentic flavors, and easily the best Chinese food I've had in the city. Definitely insist on the Sichuan menu, but the Americanized Chinese food is better than it has any right to be. I've posted recommended dishes on yelp, but I encourage you try to as much as you can.

      Sichuan Bistro
      7888 S Mason Montgomery Rd, Mason, OH 45040

      1. re: ChiefHDB

        Sorry, recommended dishes include:

        Their vegetable dishes are uniformly outstanding. Order: enoki mushroom and cucumber salad, shredded potatoes with green peppers, eggplant with fermented black beans, cucumbers if you need them.

        Entrees: Spicy boiled fish is outstanding with lots of authentic, ma la flavor, as is the chongqing chicken. Cumin lamb is good, but you will reek of cumin the rest of the day.

        1. re: ChiefHDB

          Ah, I see you've already tried Sichuan bistro. You should give it another chance. Their dan dan are admittedly weak. I usually just get the sesame noodles instead, which are closer to what you're looking for.

          1. re: ChiefHDB

            Ahhh, very perspicacious Chief! ^L^

            I am sure I will try it again, the dan-dan was a bit disappointing, but mostly because I didn’t know better.

            The "red oil chicken" appetizer was also off putting, I guess it's very authentic to take half a chicken and chop it into pieces with a cleaver, but the shattered bones made it a chore to eat.

            But if I want my food spicy O-M-G that is the place to go! ^L^ I asked for my Ma Po Tofu to be super spicy and I think they were trying to kill me!! ^L^ Little did they know it just made it some of the best Ma Po Tofu I have ever had! Sure my mouth went numb and I was dizzy for a while, but man I was in heaven! (Or someplace!) ºLº

            But then I ordered the General Tso's Chicken, and foolishly mentioned it would be my 'dessert', #L# It was some of most cloyingly sweet food I've ever tried to eat!

            Oh well, I'm sure they have other good dishes, the place was packed on a weekday evening. I'll go back, just to have my mouth turn numb again! Woohoo! ^L^

            - Thomas

            1. re: Cincinnati_Diner

              Yeah don't bother with the Americanized menu. The shrimp with walnuts (which is a sweeter dish) is pretty good though (might be on both menus), but I wouldn't tell them something was going to be my dessert haha.

              Since I'm visiting home, I usually go with my parents. They don't like things as spicy as I do, so I don't ask them for ma la, but spicy dishes usually come out properly spicy regardless, which is really nice. Definitely try the spicy boiled fish, very numbing, probably the spiciest thing I've eaten there.

              The chopped chicken like that is pretty typical, I kind of like it that way though, just pick it up and go for it. Go for the chonqing chicken instead, which are basically just ma la chicken nuggets.

              They really do a great job with vegetables, and I agree, their ma po tofu is damn good. There are so many more dishes there I want to try next time I'm in town.

              Hopefully you report back, Cincinnati doesn't seem to get much love on the CH boards.