After picking up some hot sandwiches at the new World Food Bar at Findlay Market (1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-342-1968), the only sounds emanating from our table were “mmm … mmmm” followed by: “Holy shit. Let’s go tell everyone how good this is.”
It’s not surprising that the food was excellent, knowing chef/owner Joshua Campbell’s extensive background working in some of the finest restaurants in Cincinnati, Florida and the Bahamas.
World Food Bar offers a mix of pre-made items to take home like Mole Glazed Pork Loin, Saffron and Fennel Braised Lamb Shanks, Pumpkin Crusted Tofu and deli sides (mostly priced per pound) and ready-to-eat sandwiches, salads and soups.
I ordered the Vietnamese Shredded Pork sandwich with pickled vegetable slaw and tamarind sauce ($6.95). It was served open-face on a small baguette. The presentation clearly indicates how you must eat it. The ingredients are piled atop one piece of the bread and you have a fork.
The vegetable slaw consisted of tangy shredded carrot and cabbage. The pork was tender and flavorful, and the tamarind sauce complemented it well and tasted a bit like a sweet barbeque sauce. For me, the sauce and the slaw together were on the verge of being too tangy, but overall it was very good.
We also tried the Slow Roasted Lamb on Toasted Flat Bread ($6.95) with fresh tomato, arugula and lemon cucumber yogurt sauce. The lamb had a spicy flavor, almost like a marinated beef jerky, but it was very tender. The cool yogurt sauce balanced the overall flavor. The thing was a mess to eat, in a good way. The bread was super soft, fresh, fluffy and warm.
If you’re the kind of person who balks at paying more than $5 for a sandwich you can make at home, then you should give World Food Bar a try. These sandwiches are gourmet indeed, and for the price you can do no better.
I also took home a Saffron and Fennel Braised Lamb Shank and some Tabbouleh (both priced per pound). The Tabbouleh was a disappointment. It had too much wheat and almost no flavor. The Roasted Garlic Hummus, Roasted Beets with Onions and Cumin or the Moroccan Chickpea Salad may have been better choices. The lamb shank was good, if a little plain, but throw it together with your favorite lamb accoutrement and it is sure to please.
If you’ve seen the full menu, don’t expect to find every item at the Food Bar. Campbell said there has been too much waste trying to offer every item all the time. But he also mentioned his search for a full-service restaurant space in the downtown area. So keep your eyes peeled.
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