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Mixx Ultra Lounge (Review)

New Over-the-Rhine hot spot is for the hip, not the hungry

By Lora Arduser · October 15th, 2008 · Diner
7 Comments
       

Think New York City circa 1990. The clubs are hopping, music throbbing and the velvet ropes define the line between cool and uncool, who gets in and who stays out.

Each person in our foursome went through this time warp when we had dinner at Mixx Ultra Lounge, the newest restaurant in Over-the- Rhine. I’ve been hearing that Mixx was going to open for so long that it had fallen off my radar and the recent opening took me by surprise. Originally the brainchild of Roula David and Michael Spaulding, who owned Vinyl and the tapas restaurant that was supposed to open in Neon’s old space (are you sensing a trend here), it turns out the this incarnation is owned and run by Julian Roder and DeBron Betts. And while the owners are different, Mixx sticks with the original intent of offering young hipsters a place to hang, party and maybe find true love. (There was a table tent about bachelor and bachelorette auctions, so who knows!)

Mixx makes a stylish first impression with the curved sushi bar in the front window and a water feature on the way to the dining tables of the first floor. We were seated near an odd little room that seemed destined for VIPs or lap dances.

Our server, dressed in black, was a little difficult to separate from his surroundings of black tablecloths, black chairs, black walls and a black ceiling. The second floor is a negative image of this, with all white and light wood furnishings and another lounge-like floor providing more space to mingle.

The server started off friendly and helpful — a bit on the extroverted side, he immediately connected with our friend (aka Cupcake), who has a background in theater. When he asked her if she liked her Long Island Iced Tea ($7) and she scrunched her face, he whisked the weak drink away and replaced it with one that blew her socks off, all the while scolding her for saying she was sorry. As time wore on (and it did, increasingly slowly), he seemed to forget us. Perhaps he was distracted by the arrival of shinier customers.



I make a practice of asking servers’ opinions on the menu items. Ours assumed that we would be ordering from the sushi menu and showed us our order sheets and a pile of sharpened library-style pencils. He showed less interest when we moved on to the regular menu — an omen I should have paid more attention to.

The sushi was definitely good. Our party included people that had eaten quite a bit of sushi over the years, and Mixx’s offerings were rated highly by all. I particularly liked the asparagus tempura rolls ($5). We also tried the California Rolls ($6), the eel with cucumber ($6.95) and the rainbow rolls with tuna, salmon and yellowtail ($9.95). Other interesting choices are caviar options, tempura rolls and specialty rolls.

From the regular menu we tried the Sirloin Kabobs ($16), the Seaside Prawns and Pineapple Kabobs ($18), the Mixx Summer Salad ($8) and a mish-mash of appetizer dishes that included the Mixx Potato Casserole ($4), five-spice green beans ($4) and The Mixx platter ($13) with sliders, catfish nuggets and chicken wings.

Cupcake’s husband mentioned that he had been seeing sliders on menus for a while and asked what they were. Our ordering must have confused the server because Cupcake’s salad, which was her entrée, was brought out before the other entrées. Even so, it looked fresh and colorful with lots of field greens, strawberries, walnuts and mandarin oranges served with a raspberry dressing.

After what felt like an eternity, the rest of our orders came. And to be quite honest, it wasn’t worth the wait. The sliders (two mini hamburgers) looked pre-formed and were very dry. The wings and catfish didn’t go over very well either. The sauce on the wings was honey-based — much too sweet with an underlying and unwelcome taste I couldn’t place.

Usually I figure you can’t ruin anything that’s fried, but the catfish also had me making odd faces through the rest of the meal. The green beans were better in terms of flavor, but I’m pretty sure they were frozen — they had no crunch.

The boys weren’t much happier with their kabobs. The accompanying baked potatoes were cold and the kabobs went half uneaten.

The potato casserole got best in show for items from the main dinner menu. It didn’t present well — a pile of goo in a bowl, but it was tasty goo: mascarpone, white potato and sweet potato.

The owner and staff were very friendly, offering to give us a tour and encouraging us to stay and watch the vice presidential debate there, but we couldn’t have been more ready for the check when it came.

Definitely hit Mixx for socializing and sushi, but you might want to ease out of the mix if you’re looking for more standard menu fare for dinner.


MIXX ULTRA LOUNGE
Go: 1203 Main St., Over-the-Rhine
Call: 513-621-MIXX
Hours: Lunch: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; dinner: 4-11 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday
Entree Prices: $7-$18
Sushi Prices: $1.75-$19.95
Payment: All major credit cards
Red Meat Alternatives: Salads, chicken, sushi
Accessibility: Fully accessible

 
 
 
 

 

 
10.16.2008 at 09:44 Reply
I totally disagree with a lot of the comments that were made in this article. I have had business meetings and visited during happy hour and have had nothing but great things to say about mixx! If you are looking for fast food go to Wendy's, but if you are looking for great food and an ambiance that makes you feel out of town...visit mixx. I should expect this from a paper in conservative Cincinnati. I encourage you to try it yourself.

 

10.16.2008 at 10:06 Reply
I was very surprised to hear the reviews of Mixx in this article. I visit the establishment at least once a week so I can say that I totally disagree. I have been able to try a lot of the items on the menu and I have not been let down yet. My favorite are the catfish nuggets and the downtown sushi. Recently, I ordered the sliders and they were delicious, not dry at all. It's definitely a place I like to go and mingle. Mixx offers a much needed atmoshere that Cincinnati lacked for a long time. I was just there on Friday and I watched how people we're celebrating someone's birthday, having a good ole time. I can say Friday I had a very stressful day at work and Mixx was a good way to cap off the night. I highly recommend Mixx.... And who calls theirself "Cupcake"?

 

10.16.2008 at 11:08 Reply
Wow! This CityBeat review is so...OffBeat. I have lived in Cincinnati for the past 2 years and have been looking for an establishment like this since. Mixx reminds me of some of the lounges/restaurants that I have been to when I lived in Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, and DC. The food at Mixx is excellent, the atmosphere that is provided there is second to none, and the sushi is in a class all its own. I would definitely recommend this place to anyone.

 

10.16.2008 at 12:54 Reply
I have to agree with a lot in the article. I've been to Mixx a couple of times. The sushi is great, but the food is very uneven, and the service was very slow.The first time we went, the food was decent, but when we went back, food was sent back, and nothing was good, except the Mixx potatoes. Maybe the other commentors have had good experiences. I don't doubt that. However, the unpleasant experience the reviewer had was the same kind of experience I had the second time I went. Obviously, IMO, they need more consistency.

 

10.17.2008 at 07:11 Reply
I have to agree with the review and suzy q! I have eaten there twice for dinner and once for lunch. The first time i had drinks with a friend and we both took food home.My friend said the marinara sauce on the pasta was tasteless but i had the chicken breast in sesame seeds and found it very juicy and flavorful. I couldn't wait to take other friends and 4 of us went for dinner. It took 3 tries to find a table that didn't wobble and 20 minutes for a server to even acknowledge we were there.. I again ordered the chicken and was served 3 little tenders that were overcooked and tasteless. One friend ordered a rib eye medium rare and was served a two inch thick ny strip, very well done. the sushi was great but most of our dinners, if not sent back were left on the plate uneaten...Lunch was a tasteless chicken salad sandwhich on stale marbled rye..sorry..for my money there are much better places downtown to eat. the people who enjoyed the meals they had there, must have been relatives!

 

 
 
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