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North Cincinnati casual dinner recs

I'll be spending my weekend working in the Liberty Street/Central Parkway area & staying up in the Blue Ash neighborhood.
Looking for casual dinner recomendations. (non chain)
Since I'll be solo, I prefer a place that has a bar where I can order from the menu.
No food allergies & willing to try just about any style of food.

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  1. We always struggle in that area; lots of chains and lots of overpriced meals. In Sharonville, a 15-minute drive, there's the Root Beer Stand, which features hot dogs and house-made root beer. We also like the House of Sun in Sharonville, which is really good Chinese (they'll hand you the white menu, but ask for the pink menu).

    And I'll cringe when I recommend this, because so many Chowhounders hate this place, but the Montgomery Inn in Montgomery for ribs. We've taken lots of friends and relatives here and the thumbs-ups vastly outnumber the thumbs-downs. The meat is tender. The sauce is ketchupy, so get it on the side. And get the Saratoga chips.

    5 Replies
    1. re: johnbycz

      (John, you knew somebody would say this :-)). If you care at ALL about ribs and barbecue, avoid the Montgomery Inn at all costs. Boiled ribs that never saw smoke. Sweetysweet sauce. Soggy chips cooked in too-cool oil. I love me some Cincinnati originals but I've never understood the appeal of this way way overrated place.

      I'll enthusiastically second the Root Beer Stand. A terrific, fun, affordable place. The root beer is not too sweet with a nice herbal taste.

      1. re: jmckee

        And I knew it would be you. ;-)

        And I still like the ribs.

        1. re: jmckee

          So are you saying that if ribs aren't smoked they're no good??

          DT

          1. re: Davwud

            Not necessarily, although ribs cooked in smoke are a sublime thing. I AM saying that boiled, they're dreadful.

            1. re: jmckee

              I will disagree to some extent. Ribs that have been boiled can be good or even very good. NEVER great though.

              Ribs smoked, if they're side ribs, are the best if done correctly.

              DT

      2. Blue Ash Chili

        Marx Brothers Bagels

        Brown Dog Cafe (where the food is alleged to be superb but the cheapest thing on the menu was a $16 hamburger)

        Tandoor India

        2 Replies
        1. re: donw9876

          Concur with Blue Ash Chili. Especially if zippy has never had it.

          Zippy, if you've never had Cinci chili you're in for a surprise. It's not chili in it's traditional sense. It's more of a meat sauce that served over spaghetti or on pups. Topped with a stupid amount of cheese. I loved it from the first time I had it but some people hate it. It's certainly an acquired taste. Well worth a try though. BAC also serves sandwiches so you wouldn't get stuck if you didn't like it.
          http://www.blueashchili.com/

          Been to the Rootbeer Stand and quite liked it too.

          DT

          1. re: donw9876

            I don't mean any disrespect, but I couldn't disagree more about Tandoor India. When we moved to Montgomery fifteen years ago there were no other Indian restaurants within a 20 minute drive of us, and after trying Tandoor probably fifteen times out of sheer desperation for Indian, we finally gave up. When Sitar opened up we were elated. Sitar's service was so slow it was ridiculous, but we still preferred them over Tandoor and were bummed when their service finally killed them. Then Kanak moved in and we were happy again, but when Bombay Brazier came in we finally discovered what Indian food could be. We only hit Kanak occasionally now when my son gets a craving for something sauced with heavy cream, and we recently wondered how Tandoor can be staying in business with both Bombay and Kanak to compete with. What is it about Tandoor that you like? I'd give it a try again if someone could tell me even one good thing on their menu!

          2. Blue Ash resident here. For slightly upscale food the Brown Dog is the best. For more casual Sammy's Burgers are great and they have 30 ounce drafts and stools at the bar. InCahoots in the Kroger plaza is much nicer on the inside than appears on the outside. Good food in a relaxed setting. I think they have a bar/food area but I'm not sure. There's also Slats and Parker Brothers, the latter of which can be on the pricey side. If you like Thai the Bangkok Terrace is good. For quasi-Mexican try the Cactus Pear.

            If you're in town on a Friday you can take food and alcohol to the town square for a free concert. The Modulators are there tomorrow (so-so) and the Remains are there next week.

            1 Reply
            1. re: JohnE O

              I'd like to second the Cactus Pear's quasi-Mexican. I've never eaten at the Blue Ash location, but I'm a fan of what I've had from the Clifton location.

            2. Second the recommendation for Brown Dog, and they have a nice bar. It might be a $16 hamburger, but it will be huge, cooked correctly, and smothered in deliciousness,

              1. Close to your locale might be Westwood's Henke's, a winery with good to quite good food (we like the Aziza pizza). Wine has won some regional and state awards. Very casual, and owner is on site all the time. Plus, good live music. Not fine dining, but we go every time we're in Cincinnati.

                2 Replies
                1. re: pine time

                  Without intent to offense - Westwood is not near Blue Ash

                  1. re: TJ Jackson

                    Sure, but the OP is working around Liberty St./Central Pkwy, just a quick jaunt to Westwood, then he can commute up n. to Blue Ash.

                2. Worked a lot of hours in the brewery so far....
                  But, we've managed to try the following:
                  Firehouse Grill-exactly what I was looking for...
                  Slatts Pub-went there on the recomendation of a guy at Firehouse Grill. Wasn't disappointed & had a great time chatting with some "interesting" characters.
                  Cock & Bull pub in Glendale-Had every intention of eating there but found out a friend was in town.... So just had a Guiness & left. If I have time, I'll give it another try...
                  Thanks for all the recommendations.
                  Zippy

                  1. Too late to help you out for last weekend, but for future reference there are several great restaurants in Montgomery/Blue Ash area that I like a lot.

                    Bombay Brazier. Best Indian in Cincinnati, IMHO. Stools at the bar, and the chef will probably come out and talk to you.

                    Stone Creek Dining Company. Upscale casual. Nice bar.

                    Rudino's. Sports bar atmosphere, outdoor dining area. I like their grinders (subs/heroes/poboys) a lot.

                    Sammy's. Outdoor dining area, good burgers, inexpensive, stools at bar.

                    Slatt's. Outdoor dining area, inexpensive, stools at bar.

                    Firehouse Grill. Outdoor dining area, large bar area with stools.

                    Brown Dog Cafe. Upscale but not outrageously expensive. Small bar area with stools.