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Cincinnati recs, please.


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#1 CheeseMonger

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 02:14 AM

It looks like I'll be in Cincy (Is that cool, can an outsider say that?) for a week in early August.

What's good eatin' in them there parts? I'll be staying near the Midwest Culinary Institute (near the "camp washington" area), but that's all I know so far. I did a search and found nothing here on mouthfuls, to my chagrin. As always, looking for the kinds of things that you are proud to recommend, no matter the style or ethnicity, but always prefer that kind of place that you just can't get elsewhere- holes in walls always appreciated.

Seems the midwest board has been co-opted by a certain recent Minnesota transplant. ninja.gif

Help me Obi-Wan, you're my only hope.

#2 Ron Johnson

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 11:53 AM

I live close to Cincinnati (unfortunately), so I have some experience with its dining scene (mainly bad).

If you want to have an "authentic" Cincinnati food experience, you could try Camp Washington chili. "Chili" in Cincinnati is really an adulterated version of greek spaghetti sauce. Apparently, the greek immigrants could only sell their pasta and sauce to the local german population by calling it chili. It's always offered over overcooked pasta with the option of cheese, onions, beans. Ordering all five is called a "five-way".

There is a decent restaurant in Northside called Slims that specializes in locally produced meats and vegetables. Seating is at communal tables and it is BYO friendly.

Cincinnati is VERY conservative, midwestern, catholic. Most of the popular restaurants are steakhouses. Jeff Ruby has 5-6 restaurants in the area. His downtown flagship is pretty good for steak. RED in Hyde Park is also decent.

For more contemporary cuisine I would recommend Davide's or Boca. Boca is probably the best restaurant in town. The chef is making Tuscan-inspired food in the style of Marco Canora.

Jean Robert de Cavel is our resident French chef/restaurant owner. His flagship is called Pigall's. Think Daniel or J-G junior. His bistro, Jean-Ro, is solid but very predictable. I eat there often.

Cincinnati is a very german town. Most everyone there can trace their ancestry to Germany. There are still a few decent german restaurants left, but I don't know the name of them. You could google that.

Here is a shortlist of other notable restaurants:

Nectar
Honey
Via Vita
Nicolas
Mesh


If you really want some good food, rent a car and drive to Louisville.





#3 backstory

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 01:09 PM


QUOTE
If you want to have an "authentic" Cincinnati food experience, you could try Camp Washington chili. "Chili" in Cincinnati is really an adulterated version of greek spaghetti sauce. Apparently, the greek immigrants could only sell their pasta and sauce to the local german population by calling it chili. It's always offered over overcooked pasta with the option of cheese, onions, beans. Ordering all five is called a "five-way".


ah, skyline chilli! yes. sometimes you just have to given in to the craving and go for it, overcooked spaghetti and all. it is heavy on cinnamon and nothing like spaghetti sauce.

when we lived in Cincinnati there were 2 french restaurants, both well regarded.
pigall's and maisonette.
In the end, it's all a rental. - hollywood

#4 Ron Johnson

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 06:52 PM

QUOTE(backstory @ Jul 2 2008, 09:09 AM) View Post
QUOTE
If you want to have an "authentic" Cincinnati food experience, you could try Camp Washington chili. "Chili" in Cincinnati is really an adulterated version of greek spaghetti sauce. Apparently, the greek immigrants could only sell their pasta and sauce to the local german population by calling it chili. It's always offered over overcooked pasta with the option of cheese, onions, beans. Ordering all five is called a "five-way".


ah, skyline chilli! yes. sometimes you just have to given in to the craving and go for it, overcooked spaghetti and all. it is heavy on cinnamon and nothing like spaghetti sauce.

when we lived in Cincinnati there were 2 french restaurants, both well regarded.
pigall's and maisonette.


No, it's not like Italian spaghetti sauce at all. It was orginally the sauce that the greek immigrants in cincinnati served over pasta. THat is what I meant by "greek spaghetti sauce". That's the slang and abbreviated explanation of its history. personally, I think it tastes like pig vomit.

Maisonette closed. Pigall's is still there.

Now, that I think of it, a good foodie adventure in Cincinnati is to go to Findley Market in the Over the Rhine neighborhood. There are some authentic old german butchers there that have amazing selection of german cured meats and sausages.

and there is always Jungle Jim's.





#5 backstory

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 08:01 PM

QUOTE(Ron Johnson @ Jul 2 2008, 06:52 PM) View Post
QUOTE(backstory @ Jul 2 2008, 09:09 AM) View Post
QUOTE
If you want to have an "authentic" Cincinnati food experience, you could try Camp Washington chili. "Chili" in Cincinnati is really an adulterated version of greek spaghetti sauce. Apparently, the greek immigrants could only sell their pasta and sauce to the local german population by calling it chili. It's always offered over overcooked pasta with the option of cheese, onions, beans. Ordering all five is called a "five-way".


ah, skyline chilli! yes. sometimes you just have to give in to the craving and go for it, overcooked spaghetti and all. it is heavy on cinnamon and nothing like spaghetti sauce.

when we lived in Cincinnati there were 2 french restaurants, both well regarded.
pigall's and maisonette.


No, it's not like Italian spaghetti sauce at all. It was orginally the sauce that the greek immigrants in cincinnati served over pasta. THat is what I meant by "greek spaghetti sauce". That's the slang and abbreviated explanation of its history. personally, I think it tastes like pig vomit.


even after you douse it with tobasco?

there was also an italian place called angela's run by this couple. they had two seating and will tell you when to arrive. the food was phenomenal. the wife cooked and the owner hovered.

In the end, it's all a rental. - hollywood

#6 Ron Johnson

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 08:32 PM

QUOTE(backstory @ Jul 2 2008, 04:01 PM) View Post
QUOTE(Ron Johnson @ Jul 2 2008, 06:52 PM) View Post
QUOTE(backstory @ Jul 2 2008, 09:09 AM) View Post
QUOTE
If you want to have an "authentic" Cincinnati food experience, you could try Camp Washington chili. "Chili" in Cincinnati is really an adulterated version of greek spaghetti sauce. Apparently, the greek immigrants could only sell their pasta and sauce to the local german population by calling it chili. It's always offered over overcooked pasta with the option of cheese, onions, beans. Ordering all five is called a "five-way".


ah, skyline chilli! yes. sometimes you just have to give in to the craving and go for it, overcooked spaghetti and all. it is heavy on cinnamon and nothing like spaghetti sauce.

when we lived in Cincinnati there were 2 french restaurants, both well regarded.
pigall's and maisonette.


No, it's not like Italian spaghetti sauce at all. It was orginally the sauce that the greek immigrants in cincinnati served over pasta. THat is what I meant by "greek spaghetti sauce". That's the slang and abbreviated explanation of its history. personally, I think it tastes like pig vomit.


even after you douse it with tobasco?

there was also an italian place called angela's run by this couple. they had two seating and will tell you when to arrive. the food was phenomenal. the wife cooked and the owner hovered.


I'll try the tabasco trick next time I dragged there by my step daughters. Where was Angela's?

#7 CheeseMonger

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 08:35 PM

You people are killing me. Chili on noodles? Really? Is this one of those "you had to grow up with it" dishes?

I'll google some of backstory's recs, thanks!

#8 Ron Johnson

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 10:11 PM

QUOTE(CheeseMonger @ Jul 2 2008, 04:35 PM) View Post
You people are killing me. Chili on noodles? Really? Is this one of those "you had to grow up with it" dishes?

I'll google some of backstory's recs, thanks!


no, BAD chili on mushy noodles, topped with ultra-finely shredded processed cheese. blech.



#9 CheeseMonger

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 02:36 AM

QUOTE(Ron Johnson @ Jul 2 2008, 10:11 PM) View Post
QUOTE(CheeseMonger @ Jul 2 2008, 04:35 PM) View Post
You people are killing me. Chili on noodles? Really? Is this one of those "you had to grow up with it" dishes?

I'll google some of backstory's recs, thanks!


no, BAD chili on mushy noodles, topped with ultra-finely shredded processed cheese. blech.



Oh Lordy, it's worse that I thought. Well, hopefully I'll get fed at the 'tute. Otherwise, good dieting opportunity.

#10 Ron Johnson

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 10:50 AM

QUOTE(CheeseMonger @ Jul 2 2008, 10:36 PM) View Post
QUOTE(Ron Johnson @ Jul 2 2008, 10:11 PM) View Post
QUOTE(CheeseMonger @ Jul 2 2008, 04:35 PM) View Post
You people are killing me. Chili on noodles? Really? Is this one of those "you had to grow up with it" dishes?

I'll google some of backstory's recs, thanks!


no, BAD chili on mushy noodles, topped with ultra-finely shredded processed cheese. blech.



Oh Lordy, it's worse that I thought. Well, hopefully I'll get fed at the 'tute. Otherwise, good dieting opportunity.

seriously, you should seek out the german fare. The assortment of wursts, hams, and meats of all kinds at Findley market is fairly amazing.

#11 backstory

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 06:27 PM

QUOTE(Ron Johnson @ Jul 2 2008, 08:32 PM) View Post
I'll try the tabasco trick next time I dragged there by my step daughters. Where was Angela's?

on colerain going dowtown (from montgomery) sorry, don't remember the address and google doesn't turn up anything. there was also Schivone (sp?) on the same idea - multi-course italian , family owned. it was outside cinci. on the way to dayton.
iron horse inn in glendale was reliably good. american food, nice atmosphere.

so your step daughters are cincinnati chilli fans?and yes, tobasco is essential. maybe if you don't think of it as "greek spaghetti sauce" and instead as a soup you may like it better.
it seems to me it is a version of the sauce that goes into moussaka. it has ground beef, grated onion, garlic, red pepper, cinnamon, allspice, powdered cumin, chilli powder, cloves, bitter chocolate, tomato sauce. it actually has a pretty complex flavor.
i used to make it a lot when we first came to boston. now i substitute lentils for the beef and just call it lentil soup. i serve it over well cooked spaghetti in a soup bowl, topped with chopped onions and shredded cheddar.
In the end, it's all a rental. - hollywood

#12 Ron Johnson

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 07:32 PM

QUOTE(backstory @ Jul 3 2008, 02:27 PM) View Post
it seems to me it is a version of the sauce that goes into moussaka. it has ground beef, grated onion, garlic, red pepper, cinnamon, allspice, powdered cumin, chilli powder, cloves, bitter chocolate, tomato sauce. it actually has a pretty complex flavor.


hence, the slang term "greek spaghetti sauce" used here.

I am sure the original Greek version was quite good. But not since it has been White Castle-ized.


p.s. "greek spaghetti sauce" is not my term for it. It's just what folks around here use to explain where it came from.




#13 CheeseMonger

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 12:15 AM

Thanks to Ron Johnson and backstory for the help and recs.

I managed to avoid skyline chili, despite threats by the locals to make me go.

What I didn't tell you earlier was that I was entertaining 3 New Yorkers while in Cincinnati, so Italian was out of the question.

We stayed at the lovely Netherlands Hotel downtown. While I had some completely dreadful service at many places, we had a good happy Hour at Nada, and very nice dinner at Oceanaire, even if they were out of asparagus angry.gif . I would recommend Oceanaire to anyone looking for efficient, knowledgeable service, and with access to an expense account. Nice selection of oysters, and yes, very good steak for the non-seafood eater at the table.

Findlay Market was a great suggestion- While I had no means of refrigeration at the Hilton, I was very impressed by the market, the farmer's market section, and the crowd. In Boulder, the farmer's market is a "scene", where produce is prohibitively expensive. At the Findlay market- the inside part, the meat peddlers are very well priced, and populated by all cross sections of the population. I like that. There's a nice little wine market that's only 4 months old that was having a wine tasting, and capped that visit nicely.

I also liked Nicholson's Scottish Pub. Great Beer and Scotch list, nice service, and more than passable food. But what's Scottish about shepherds pie made from Italian sausage? Fish and chips with panko crusted fish (which I actually liked a lot)? The atmosphere was nice- big dark wood bar, lots of interesting beers on tap, and the service quite good.

And if you are in Cincinnati, the reason I am there is to facilitate a test- a potential partnership between Murray's Cheese in NYC and Kroger- a pilot program that is coming, starting in September. If you live in Cin., you are going to be lucky to have this experiment in your area- I'll tell you more as things solidify (if anyone is interested).

#14 Steven Dilley

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 02:09 PM

Any semi-recent Cincinnati recommendations?

Thankfully, not for me.
Say what you will about the ten commandments, you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them.

--H.L.Mencken


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