Best Cincinnati Restaurant Dishes in November
It looks like I only ate Thanksgiving leftovers this month. But last night, as I was making the last, final round of turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, I realized that there were other meals I was grateful for this month as well. Some of them I’ve written about before (the pan-seared beef tenderloin with scalloped potatoes I had at Chef Jean-Robert de Cavel’s Bar à bœuf was certainly a highlight). But here are others, from high-end restaurant dishes to chocolates from a century-old ice cream parlor, for which I was grateful.
Three Point Sliders at Nellie’s Tap Room
The majesty of the restored cathedral which houses Taft’s Ale House is still breathtaking. But I often tend to forget how awesome little bar Nellie’s Tap Room, a speakeasy themed bar on the first floor, is.
Stopping by the other night with some friends, we ordered the three point sliders. The tender three-tipped beef (a triangular piece cut from the bottom of a sirloin) looked like a tiny, high-end steakhouse with every bite. Taft’s smokes the meat on the spot and serves the sliders with spicy horseradish on a chewy Servatii bun with a little juice on the side for dipping. One of the best snacks in town.
$ 4.50 each, Taft’s Ale House, 1429 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-334-1393, taftsbeer.com.
[Crave more? Check out the tasty stuff Keith has been writing about lately🍽️]
Katsu sando at the Wyoming meat market
No, it was not served on traditional milk bread like in Japan; neither was it made with a traditional pork chop. But Wyoming Meat Market’s Japanese Style Chicken Katsu Sando always hit the mark when I got there hungry and desperately needed something quick and filling.
The market makes a chicken cutlet in panko and eggs and serves it on a sesame seed bun from North College Hill Bakery. The sandwich is topped with crunchy coleslaw and gets an explosion of umami and sweetness via Bachan’s Japanese barbecue sauce. I have to mention that the sandwich is a frequent dish so if you want one call ahead to see if they are available.
$ 10, Wyoming Meat Market, 513 Wyoming Ave., 513-821-1304.
The short-ribbed pappardelle at the National Exemplar
I know this is one of their most popular dishes, but I still feel like the National Exemplar Short Rib Pappardelle deserves a little more love.
“It’s nothing too crazy,” Chef Jeremy Luers said of the rustic short rib, pea and carrot stew dish with a lacing of grana cheese and fresh parsley.
The luer cuts the rib short and season it overnight before brazing it in red wine, beef broth and an Italian soffrito. it’s probably one of the most comforting foods in town. And the fact that you can enjoy it right next to the Exemplar’s ever-roaring brick fireplace makes it even better.
$ 17 for a half serving, $ 25 for a full serving; 6880 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, 513-271-2103, nationalexemplar.com.
Honeycrisp salad at Bouquet
I finally returned to Bouquet for the first time since the start of the pandemic and, yes, it is still as good a restaurant as I can remember. Everything was delicious, but it was Chef Stephen Williams’ Honeycrisp salad that greeted me.
Williams vacuum compresses Honeycrisp apples with a little apple cider vinegar from MadHouse Vinegar, based in North Bend, Ohio, concentrating the flavor to the point where every bite tastes like the platonic ideal of what a apple should be.
These apple chunks are mixed with a salad of fresh greens, smoked nuts mixed with jerk seasoning, and whipped goat cheese mixed with a lemon, basil and ginger dressing that adds flavors of citrus and fruit. spices.
11, 519 Main Street, Covington, 859-491-7777, bouqetrestaurant.com.
A box of Aglamesis Bro’s chocolates
Every time I go to Aglamesis Bro’s with my daughter, we immediately go our separate ways. She goes right to the ice cream counter and I go left for the chocolates. Maybe I’m old school in my chocolate preferences, but the ones they sell here have always been my favorites. Especially the assorted nut chocolates (I go with a mixture of dark and milk chocolate). Best of all, they’re still made right upstairs from the ice cream parlor in what was once Mr. Aglamesis’ apartment.
I know chocolates are meant to be given for special occasions or as some kind of romantic gesture, but, perhaps selfishly, I almost always buy them for myself. Although I (often reluctantly) share one or two with my daughter once her ice cream dish is empty.
Starting at $ 28.95, 3046 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-531-5196, aglamesis.com.
The grilled chicken sandwich (and a beer) at Taste of Belgium
I know how obsessed everyone is with fried chicken sandwiches these days, but, for me, a good grilled version is always better (and much less regrettable). Two weeks ago I stopped by the Taste of Belgium store on the Rhine, sat at the bar and ordered a Lemony Spicy Averbode, a strong beer from Belgium. As family-friendly as Taste of Belgium is these days, I sometimes forget that it also has some of the best beers in Greater Cincinnati. Shame on me for that.
The sandwich itself arrived on a sparkling bun, the juicy chicken topped with smoked gouda and aioli and placed on a bed of lettuce and tomato. Simple, yes. But paired with that perfect beer inside that OTR staple, it was almost transcendent.
$ 14.75, Taste of Belgium, multiple locations, authenticwaffle.com.
LaRosa’s Diablo Sauce
The first time I met Mark LaRosa at the pizzeria’s test kitchen in Westwood, he sent me home with a jar of something called Diablo Sauce. I had never heard of it before and given its vodka sauce color, I thought it was just a spicy version of their pizza sauce. But when I opened the jar and soaked the few remaining Hen of the Woods chips I had in my pantry, I realized it was something different. I literally couldn’t stop eating it. Once the fries were gone, I rushed into my fridge crisper to find some celery and used it as a delivery device instead.
No, this is not a sauce for heat-seeking thrillers. But it woke the back of my tongue with a noticeable shot. This heat is perfectly tempered by sweet peppers and (I think) a little mustard. And while it’s great with kettle chips, it would also work wonders on wings or a salad platter.
LaRosa told me they developed the sauce to go with the restaurant chain’s Saratoga-style kitchen chips. “We tried several typical Italian sauces, but none worked very well. I’ve always loved Thai and Asian flavors so I had mayonnaise, Thai sweet / hot chili sauce, various spices and jalapenos and found the flavor sweet-spicy. “
Although you can only buy the sauce from LaRosa’s, Jungle Jim’s and cincyfavorites.comLaRosa told me it should be available at Kroger stores in the Cincinnati and Dayton area by Spring 2022, so make sure and keep an eye on it.
Pizzeria LaRosa, several locations, larosas.com.