Given my status as a college student, supporting myself by working three days a week at a part-time job, I don’t have the time or money to try many of the upscale dining spots Cincinnati has to offer. So consider this the fantasy meal for the working (er, barely working) man.
To satisfy my sashimi obsession without making raw fish my main course, I’d start out with the Snapper Ceviche ($10) from Beluga. It’s a real delight to the eye as well as the palate. The ponzu-lime marinated snapper is cool, citrusy and refreshing, and yet another flavor experience lies in the spicy avocado pico de gallo salad underneath. You just can’t help but feel cool and copacetic eating this in Beluga’s posh space.
The spices in the ceviche would probably whet my appetite for a spicy and rich soup. Lulu’s Noodle & Rice shop in Springdale has just the thing for that. I discovered their Tom Yum soup with shrimp ($3.50) when I was a mere shrimp myself. This Thai soup is packed with lemongrass, ginger and lime leaves that give the broth and shrimp a lot of zing that was too much for me at the time.
But as my love of Thai food (and all food) has grown, I’ve really warmed up to it.
At this point in the meal, I’d probably feel the need for a beverage — a mid-meal digestif, if you will. Only the rich yet refreshing Mt. Carmel Copper Ale would do. (Along with some Pepcid AC, perhaps.)
Shanghai Mama’s warns that their food may be addicting, and I can’t disagree regarding the Orange Glazed Duckling rice bowl ($9.95). This sweet and savory delight is a meal in itself, providing all the protein, carbs and vegetables you’ll ever need. You’ll be able to burn off some of those carbs while hacking the meat off the bone. It makes you appreciate what you’re eating that much more.
For dessert, something light and bright would hit the spot. Madisono’s Grapefruit Sorbet is just the thing. You’ll never be too full for a few spoonfuls of this downright delicious dessert. It’s airy and smooth, not icy, and the flavor will knock your socks off. You can find it at fine establishments such as Madison’s at Findlay Market, Boca or Essencha Tea House. Apparently, I like to eat things that live in water … with citrus on them.
Beluga Restaurant & Sushi Bar
3520 Edwards Road, Hyde Park 513-533-4444
Lulu’s Noodle & Rice
135 West Kemper Road, Springdale 513-671-4949
216 E. Sixth St., Downtown 513-241-7777
Madison’s at Findlay Market
111 W. Elder St., Over-the-Rhine