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Cover Story: Chic on the Cheap

How to dine at Cincinnati's 30 priciest restaurants without breaking the bank

By Felix Winternitz · May 14th, 2003 · Cover Story
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  Jag's Steak and Seafood
Matt Borgerding

Jag's Steak and Seafood



Want to know which restaurants make the list of Greater Cincinnati's 30 most expensive eateries? And how you can dine at those very same places without busting your budget?

CityBeat crunched the numbers for you, ranking the Top 30 most costly restaurants by averaging out the three top-priced dinner entrées on their everyday menus (not including market priced items or specials and not including dinners-for-two). We've also identified the most reasonably priced (that is, cheap) dinner entrée on those menus. Prices are rounded off to the nearest whole dollar.

So here's your opportunity to enjoy the pleasures of fine dining -- great service, plush atmosphere, cultured neighbors, after-dinner mints -- and not have to spend next week's paycheck. Well, not all of it.

And if you think the Maisonette is the most expensive joint in town, think again. The five-star French restaurant doesn't even make the Top 5. It does, however, offer the most expensive low-priced entreé -- if that makes sense.

No. 1: Jag's Steak and Seafood
5980 West Chester Blvd., West Chester, 513-860-5353.

Ohio's second richest zip code -- beating even Indian Hill in the last U.S. Census -- requires a pricey hangout, and this is it. A couple of the steak and seafood entrées run $49 here, placing Jag's at No. 1 in terms of most expensive dinner entrées (plus there's the option to add surf to the turf for another $24). The lowest priced dinner entrée: Parmesan encrusted chicken breast with garlic linguini and tomato cream, $19.

No. 2: Jean-Robert at Pigall's
127 W. Fourth St., Downtown, 513-721-1245.

Former Maisonette chef Jean-Robert de Cavel has branched out on his own here. It's a priced-fixed menu set at $65 for three courses and including tax/tip, but once you factor out the soup/salad, dessert and tax and tip, a dinner entrée winds up about $45, placing it at No. 2 on our list. The lowest priced dinner entrée: Not applicable, since it's all one price.

No. 3: Palomino Euro Bistro
505 Vine St., Downtown, 513-381-1300.

The top of the line when it comes to chain eateries in the region. The lowest priced dinner entrée: Spaghetti aglio olio with extra virgin olive oil, slivered garlic, parsley and red chili flakes, $12.

No. 4: The Waterfront/ South Beach Grill
14 Pete Rose Pier, Covington, 859-581-1414.

Jeff Ruby's most expensive entry in the market, though all his restaurants make the list. The lowest priced dinner entrée: The baked chicken breast is $20, although we'd pick the slightly higher double mustard salmon or PB&J pork chops (spicy peanut, cucumber and currant demi), both $23.

No. 5: Carlo & Johnny's
9769 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, 513-936-8600.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Spaghetti and meatballs with a fancy name, $14, although the wood-grilled pork chops are second at $17.

No. 6: The Maisonette
114 E. Sixth St., Downtown, 513-721-2260.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Atlantic salmon with red wine mushroom civet, bacon and watercress coulis, $32.

No. 7: Barresi's
4111 Webster Ave., Deer Park, 513-793-2540.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Chicken cacciatore with sauteed vegetables, $21.

No. 8: Palace Restaurant
Cincinnatian Hotel, 601 Vine St., Downtown, 513-381-6006.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Stuffed chicken breast with Maine lobster, $29.

No. 9: The Precinct
311 Delta Ave., Columbia-Tusculum, 513-321-5454.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Wood grilled pork chops in a mushroom/apple/fig sauce or the tenderloin of beef stroganoff, both $24.

No. 10: Jeff Ruby's
Seventh & Walnut streets, Downtown, 513-784-1200.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Beer can chicken whole-roasted and three pounds (translated: plenty of leftovers to take home), $18.

No. 11: The Celestial
1071 Celestial St., Mount Adams, 513-241-4455.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Vegetarian tagliatelle egg pasta, $28.

No. 12: Mitchell's Fish Market
Newport on the Levee, Newport, 859-291-7454.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Atlantic cod fish 'n chips served with shoestring fries, hush puppies and cabbage cole slaw, $14 (specials can also go as low as $14 for Mississippi catfish).

No. 13: Mike Fink
100 Greenup St., Covington, 859-261-4212.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Pork chops or Atlantic salmon, both $17.

No. 14: Nick & Tony's
19 E. Seventh St., Downtown, 513-723-1940.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Not counting the mac & cheese entrée (and we don't), it's the half slab of baby back ribs or any number of pasta dishes, $11.

No. 15: Mt. Adams Fish House
940 Pavilion St., Mount Adams, 513-421-3250.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Skip the pesto penne ($18) and for a buck more go for the lemon peppered Izumi Dai, a pan-seared red snapper in a lemon Beurre Blanc sauce, $19.

No. 16: Beluga
3520 Edwards Road, Hyde Park, 513-533-4444.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Tempura Udon, a dish of Japanese wheat noodles with shrimp and vegetables, $14.

No. 17: Andiamo! Ristorante
3235 'A' Madison Road, Oakley, 513-321-4155.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Pesto crusted salmon with sun-dried tomatoes, fried spinach and ravioli, $19.

No. 18: China Gourmet
3340 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-871-6612.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Battered new chicken stir-fried in spicy sauce with snow peas, onions and carrots, $14.

No. 19: Michael G's
Rivertowne Marina, 4601 Kellogg Ave., Columbia-Tusculum, 513-533-3131.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Pastas for $14 to $16, but you can get the crab meat alfredo for $18 or 10-ounce prime rib or tilapia for $17.

No. 20: Primavista
810 Matson Place, Price Hill, 513-251-6467.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Capellini al pomodora (angel hair pasta with tomato basil sauce), $9.

The romantic skyline view, perhaps even better than The Celestial's, is no extra charge.

No. 21: Morton's of Chicago
28 W. Fourth St., Downtown, 513-241-4104.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Chicken Christopher (three chicken breasts breaded and served with a garlic sauce), $22.

No. 22: La Normandie
118 E. Sixth St., Downtown, 513-721-2761.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Bowtie pasta with vegetables and marinara sauce, $15.

No. 23: Chart House
405 Riverboat Row, Newport, 859-261-0300.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Peppercorn chicken, spicy and served with rice and steamed vegetables, $16.

No. 24: The Heritage Restaurant
7664 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, 513-561-9300.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Wild mushroom lasagne with marsala and onions (includes salad and side dishes), $16.95.

No. 25: Tropicana
Newport on the Levee, Newport, 859-491-8900.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Wood-fired Atlantic salmon in dill vinaigrette, $16.

No. 26: Boca
4034 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-542-2022.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Salmon on a bed of spinach, $17.

No. 27: Gatehouse Taverne
Buttermilk Pike at I-75, Fort Mitchell, 859-341-3800.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: "Endless Salad Boutique," which can be had as an entrée for $14.

No. 28: Daveed's at 934
934 Hatch St., Mount Adams, 513-721-COOK.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Grilled balsamic marinated flank steak with potato rutabaga puree, haricot verts, orange reduction and veal demi glace, $22.

No. 29: Jimmy D's
7791 Cooper Road, Montgomery, 513-984-2914.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Chicken and salmon dishes can be had beginning at $17.

No. 30: Dee Felice Cafe
529 Main St., Covington, 859-261-2365.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Pasta with tomato sauce, $17.

Also-rans for the Top 30 most expensive list include (in order) Bella, Trio of Kenwood, Chokolate Morel, Vineyard Cafe, Aioli, Sonoma Grill, Jo An, Benihana, Symphony Hotel, Parker's Blue Ash Grill, Maury's Tiny Cove, Riverview, Ventana d' Italia, Palm Court at the Hilton Netherland, Tinks, The Iron Horse Inn, Grand Finale, Montgomery Inn, Scalea's Ristorante, The Restaurant at the Phoenix, Osaka, Cheng-3 Cafe, Silla, Teak Thai Cuisine, Brown Dog Cafe, Bonefish Grille, Vito's Cafe, The E Room, Iron Skillet, Nicola's Ristorante, Korean Riverside, Pacific Moon, Nicholson's, Scotti's, BB Riverboats, Chez Nora, Four Seasons, Joe's Crab Shack, La Caravelle, La Petite France, Sturkey's, Blake's Seafood Grille, The Syndicate, J's Fresh Seafood, Teller's of Hyde Park and LiCaDi's.

Arloi Dee downtown and The Albee are not currently serving dinner.

Note: We didn't count dinner theaters such as Joey & Maria's in this list. ©



Check out the online version of the
  Jag's Steak and Seafood
Matt Borgerding

Jag's Steak and Seafood



Want to know which restaurants make the list of Greater Cincinnati's 30 most expensive eateries? And how you can dine at those very same places without busting your budget?

CityBeat crunched the numbers for you, ranking the Top 30 most costly restaurants by averaging out the three top-priced dinner entrées on their everyday menus (not including market priced items or specials and not including dinners-for-two). We've also identified the most reasonably priced (that is, cheap) dinner entrée on those menus. Prices are rounded off to the nearest whole dollar.

So here's your opportunity to enjoy the pleasures of fine dining -- great service, plush atmosphere, cultured neighbors, after-dinner mints -- and not have to spend next week's paycheck. Well, not all of it.

And if you think the Maisonette is the most expensive joint in town, think again. The five-star French restaurant doesn't even make the Top 5. It does, however, offer the most expensive low-priced entreé -- if that makes sense.

No. 1: Jag's Steak and Seafood
5980 West Chester Blvd., West Chester, 513-860-5353.

Ohio's second richest zip code -- beating even Indian Hill in the last U.S. Census -- requires a pricey hangout, and this is it. A couple of the steak and seafood entrées run $49 here, placing Jag's at No. 1 in terms of most expensive dinner entrées (plus there's the option to add surf to the turf for another $24). The lowest priced dinner entrée: Parmesan encrusted chicken breast with garlic linguini and tomato cream, $19.

No. 2: Jean-Robert at Pigall's
127 W. Fourth St., Downtown, 513-721-1245.

Former Maisonette chef Jean-Robert de Cavel has branched out on his own here. It's a priced-fixed menu set at $65 for three courses and including tax/tip, but once you factor out the soup/salad, dessert and tax and tip, a dinner entrée winds up about $45, placing it at No. 2 on our list. The lowest priced dinner entrée: Not applicable, since it's all one price.

No. 3: Palomino Euro Bistro
505 Vine St., Downtown, 513-381-1300.

The top of the line when it comes to chain eateries in the region. The lowest priced dinner entrée: Spaghetti aglio olio with extra virgin olive oil, slivered garlic, parsley and red chili flakes, $12.

No. 4: The Waterfront/ South Beach Grill
14 Pete Rose Pier, Covington, 859-581-1414.

Jeff Ruby's most expensive entry in the market, though all his restaurants make the list. The lowest priced dinner entrée: The baked chicken breast is $20, although we'd pick the slightly higher double mustard salmon or PB&J pork chops (spicy peanut, cucumber and currant demi), both $23.

No. 5: Carlo & Johnny's
9769 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, 513-936-8600.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Spaghetti and meatballs with a fancy name, $14, although the wood-grilled pork chops are second at $17.

No. 6: The Maisonette
114 E. Sixth St., Downtown, 513-721-2260.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Atlantic salmon with red wine mushroom civet, bacon and watercress coulis, $32.

No. 7: Barresi's
4111 Webster Ave., Deer Park, 513-793-2540.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Chicken cacciatore with sauteed vegetables, $21.

No. 8: Palace Restaurant
Cincinnatian Hotel, 601 Vine St., Downtown, 513-381-6006.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Stuffed chicken breast with Maine lobster, $29.

No. 9: The Precinct
311 Delta Ave., Columbia-Tusculum, 513-321-5454.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Wood grilled pork chops in a mushroom/apple/fig sauce or the tenderloin of beef stroganoff, both $24.

No. 10: Jeff Ruby's
Seventh & Walnut streets, Downtown, 513-784-1200.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Beer can chicken whole-roasted and three pounds (translated: plenty of leftovers to take home), $18.

No. 11: The Celestial
1071 Celestial St., Mount Adams, 513-241-4455.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Vegetarian tagliatelle egg pasta, $28.

No. 12: Mitchell's Fish Market
Newport on the Levee, Newport, 859-291-7454.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Atlantic cod fish 'n chips served with shoestring fries, hush puppies and cabbage cole slaw, $14 (specials can also go as low as $14 for Mississippi catfish).

No. 13: Mike Fink
100 Greenup St., Covington, 859-261-4212.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Pork chops or Atlantic salmon, both $17.

No. 14: Nick & Tony's
19 E. Seventh St., Downtown, 513-723-1940.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Not counting the mac & cheese entrée (and we don't), it's the half slab of baby back ribs or any number of pasta dishes, $11.

No. 15: Mt. Adams Fish House
940 Pavilion St., Mount Adams, 513-421-3250.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Skip the pesto penne ($18) and for a buck more go for the lemon peppered Izumi Dai, a pan-seared red snapper in a lemon Beurre Blanc sauce, $19.

No. 16: Beluga
3520 Edwards Road, Hyde Park, 513-533-4444.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Tempura Udon, a dish of Japanese wheat noodles with shrimp and vegetables, $14.

No. 17: Andiamo! Ristorante
3235 'A' Madison Road, Oakley, 513-321-4155.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Pesto crusted salmon with sun-dried tomatoes, fried spinach and ravioli, $19.

No. 18: China Gourmet
3340 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-871-6612.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Battered new chicken stir-fried in spicy sauce with snow peas, onions and carrots, $14.

No. 19: Michael G's
Rivertowne Marina, 4601 Kellogg Ave., Columbia-Tusculum, 513-533-3131.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Pastas for $14 to $16, but you can get the crab meat alfredo for $18 or 10-ounce prime rib or tilapia for $17.

No. 20: Primavista
810 Matson Place, Price Hill, 513-251-6467.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Capellini al pomodora (angel hair pasta with tomato basil sauce), $9. The romantic skyline view, perhaps even better than The Celestial's, is no extra charge.

No. 21: Morton's of Chicago
28 W. Fourth St., Downtown, 513-241-4104.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Chicken Christopher (three chicken breasts breaded and served with a garlic sauce), $22.

No. 22: La Normandie
118 E. Sixth St., Downtown, 513-721-2761.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Bowtie pasta with vegetables and marinara sauce, $15.

No. 23: Chart House
405 Riverboat Row, Newport, 859-261-0300.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Peppercorn chicken, spicy and served with rice and steamed vegetables, $16.

No. 24: The Heritage Restaurant
7664 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, 513-561-9300.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Wild mushroom lasagne with marsala and onions (includes salad and side dishes), $16.95.

No. 25: Tropicana
Newport on the Levee, Newport, 859-491-8900.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Wood-fired Atlantic salmon in dill vinaigrette, $16.

No. 26: Boca
4034 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-542-2022.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Salmon on a bed of spinach, $17.

No. 27: Gatehouse Taverne
Buttermilk Pike at I-75, Fort Mitchell, 859-341-3800.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: "Endless Salad Boutique," which can be had as an entrée for $14.

No. 28: Daveed's at 934
934 Hatch St., Mount Adams, 513-721-COOK.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Grilled balsamic marinated flank steak with potato rutabaga puree, haricot verts, orange reduction and veal demi glace, $22.

No. 29: Jimmy D's
7791 Cooper Road, Montgomery, 513-984-2914.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Chicken and salmon dishes can be had beginning at $17.

No. 30: Dee Felice Cafe
529 Main St., Covington, 859-261-2365.

The lowest priced dinner entrée: Pasta with tomato sauce, $17.

Also-rans for the Top 30 most expensive list include (in order) Bella, Trio of Kenwood, Chokolate Morel, Vineyard Cafe, Aioli, Sonoma Grill, Jo An, Benihana, Symphony Hotel, Parker's Blue Ash Grill, Maury's Tiny Cove, Riverview, Ventana d' Italia, Palm Court at the Hilton Netherland, Tinks, The Iron Horse Inn, Grand Finale, Montgomery Inn, Scalea's Ristorante, The Restaurant at the Phoenix, Osaka, Cheng-3 Cafe, Silla, Teak Thai Cuisine, Brown Dog Cafe, Bonefish Grille, Vito's Cafe, The E Room, Iron Skillet, Nicola's Ristorante, Korean Riverside, Pacific Moon, Nicholson's, Scotti's, BB Riverboats, Chez Nora, Four Seasons, Joe's Crab Shack, La Caravelle, La Petite France, Sturkey's, Blake's Seafood Grille, The Syndicate, J's Fresh Seafood, Teller's of Hyde Park and LiCaDi's.

Arloi Dee downtown and The Albee are not currently serving dinner.

Note: We didn't count dinner theaters such as Joey & Maria's in this list. ©



Check out the online version of the Spring Dining Guide.
 
 
 
 

 

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