Welcome to the East Side/West Side Crosstown Chicken Challenge, pitting two long-time legends against each other in a crispy smackdown! We're gathering buckets of golden brown deliciousness for a discerning crew of tasters to eat and rate. Napkin under your chin? Let's begin!
Now that the holidays are over and out-of-town friends and family are sleeping in their own beds, a relaxing dinner out is called for. The Quarter Bistro in Mariemont, with its warm and intimate red decor, answered the call for a friend and me on recent chilly evening.
Among the sea of strip malls we know as the West Side, Roma Italian restaurant stands out visually because of its three-story-tall illuminated signage and its inherited West Side landmark status. The familiar site might be part of the reason for the crowd that fills this home-style Italian joint right around dinnertime, but it's the extensive menu of good hearty food that will keep them coming back.
“The Aughts” never really caught on, and why would they? When we were freaking out in anticipation of Y2K, we thought our biggest problem might be a computer glitch. Now the TSA scans you down to your toe jams and the Arctic ice retreats faster than the value of your over-mortgaged starter home. But how about on the food front?
Billed by a friend as a tapas restaurant and wine bar, the hubs and I arrived at The Wise Owl around 8 p.m. on a Saturday night prepared to fill our tummies with delectable morsels and some quality vino. While we were more than impressed with the expanse of the wine menu, we were somewhat let down by the limited selection of only half a dozen small plates.
Mayberry, which calls its niche "grassroots American food," has been open for just over a month for breakfast and lunch. It's in a great location, right between Hamburger Mary's and Scotti's on Vine Street, but is so small that it's easy to overlook. Now open for dinner as well, the tiny diner is quite welcoming, complete with candlelight.
I didn’t know what to expect from the newly re-opened ZZ’s Pizza, as I had never been to the original incarnation of the Walnut Hills eatery, which closed in 2005. On a recent rainy evening, I settled for a parking meter a little farther away than I would have liked and hoped our experience at ZZ’s would be a redeeming one.
I generally judge the authenticity of a Mexican restaurant not by decor or signage but by salsa and mole sauce. So when we got the salsa — a nice mix of tomatillos and jalapenos with a lovely cilantro aftertaste — I was pretty happy. La Mexicana indeed is one of the most authentic Mexican restaurants in the area.
Siam Orchid is tiny but inviting and in a great location. Neighbors in Bellevue like to get out and support their local eateries, so I hope this restaurant polishes its rough edges and earns their patronage.
Green Dog Cafe is exploding on the scene and so far has been met with mixed reviews. Why? Because it’s different. Seeing as it was started by veteran restaurateurs Mark and Mary Swortwood, who also started the Brown Dog Cafe in Blue Ash and Tinks Cafe in Clifton, the decision to forgo conventional table service in favor of a walk-up counter wasn’t made on a whim.
Ready to enjoy a meal out without the kiddos, my husband and I easily found Wooster Tavern (a.k.a. WooTav to the locals) tucked neatly between Mariemont and Fairfax. The building resembled a remodeled house from the outside, and ample parking was found behind the building.
There might be hundreds of dining options along I-275, but there’s only one Super Value Menu — and it’s at Wendy’s. In honor of this pioneering fast food chain, we sent our most poor and hungry talented and promising young writers out to review all 15 Wendy’s locations off I-275.
After this meal, we couldn't help wondering what would have happened had we treated InCahoots like a bar and just ordered sandwiches (The Reuben and the Veggie Philly sounded good). Our recommendation? If you’re going to go, stick to sandwiches, beer and wine.
Local 127 isn't the electricians' union. The "Local" part is about the local food movement. According to Executive Chef Steven Geddes, "127 (W. Fourth St.) is our address, and we start there. Everything is sourced as close to this address as possible."
I have to say one of the best dining experiences I've had in the past couple of years was at Ichiban, which has replaced Aqua in Mount Lookout Square. Maybe it was the impeccable and watchful service or the fact that the chef managed to make everything without soy (I'm allergic) and still make it delicious (I had no idea that sake could become so many different sauces). Maybe it was the complimentary dessert at the end: puffed pastry with delicate freshly whipped cream. Or maybe it was just the company.