The question for this week is, "Where's the beef?" If you live on Cincinnati's West side, you know it's at MAURY'S TINY COVE. A lot of establishments west of Vine Street have been popular for a long time -- in Maury's case since 1949 -- so they don't often get written about. But Maury's has plenty of fans. On a recent Saturday evening we had to wait for at least 30 minutes for a table for four (they don't take reservations). We sat at the long, downstairs bar and drank a few draft LaBatt's Blues and ate pretzels, discussing how the decor probably hasn't changed in 50 years. It's still got dark carpets and wood paneling, booths with red vinyl and an atmosphere tinged with tobacco smoke.
When we got to our table, all four of us ordered the same thing: A petite filet (5 oz.), which Maury's calls the "Bobcat." ($16.25; you can add béarnaise or mushroom brown sauce for $1.50). There's a bigger version -- the 8 oz. "Bearcat" ($19.95) -- but unless you really want the calories, it's not necessary. It comes with a big bowl of salad -- shredded lettuce, tomato and cucumber slices, shredded carrots (we liked Maury's house dressing) -- and your choice of a baked potato, steak fries or homemade potato fritters (tasty patties of potatoes and onions that are fried crispy). The filet comes with a garnish of onion strings, and the table gets a warm loaf of white bread. Nothing fancy, but an excellent, retro meal all around. Maury's is in Cheviot at 3908 Harrison Ave. 513-662-2683 ... If you prefer your beef in a more trendy setting, there's a new spot in West Chester: JAG'S STEAK & SEAFOOD. The Chicago-style steakhouse with six distinctly different dining rooms had its grand opening on Jan. 10. The menu includes prime beef and seafood (with a raw bar). You can also enjoy a piano bar and other live entertainment. Once it warms up a bit, patrons can hang out on two outside patios with tableside fire pits. It's at Union Centre (5980 West Chester Road, 513-860-5353).