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Good Eating in Downtown Cincinnati

rlcole4346 | Jan 10, 201504:13 PM

Thanks to a fast response, I am now posting this in the correct region.

Good Eating Downtown Cincinnati

about 5 hours ago

The four of us were in downtown Cincy for a wedding, but still managed to sneak out for a few good meals.

FIRST: French Crust Cafe for breakfast: Don't you love it when you get to a place too late for breakfast and are told "don't worry about it, we can still do breakfast". Wonderful croissants (the primary reason the four of us were there). Then, two ordered Eggs Benedict, one had a Puff Pastry with local goetta, poached eggs, & Hollandaise, and our one conservative eater had bacon & eggs (-:

The croissants were outstanding, the Eggs Benedict quite good (hard to compete with New Orleans), the local mystery meat (goetta, a mixture of oats and meat, usually pork) had an interesting flavor and chewy texture.

We had an excellent server, a young woman who had moved up from South Carolina 17 years ago and had still not tasted goetta. Our only regret was that we had not noticed the French Press coffee on the menu. That would have been the perfect complement to the meal. That, and the fact that the rehearsal dinner had been at Rhinegeist Brewery the night before. Would love to go back to The French Crust.

SECOND: Nada, the best Mexican food we have had in years, compares with Phoenix and Chicago. Actually, my wife picked this place. I had mapped out a dozen restaurants within walking distance of the downtown hotel. I handed her menus for each. She saw Nada first, said "this is what I want". I commented that she needed to look at the others before making a decision. Nope--she didn't.

The four of us started with an order of Guacamole, Ceviche Mixto, and Butternut Squash Soup, as well as an order of Margaritas around. A good start, especially the Ceviche and the Mixto, with all passed around,

For some odd reason, we each wanted a taco. We normally pick further apart on the menu. Nevertheless, we ordered tacos as follows: Shrimp, Pork Belly, Carnitas, and Cazadores. Again, all shared. Each had a different favorite, with the Shrimp and Carnitas being my favorite. The Pork Belly was very good, but a bit heavy with the amount of the rather large servings. And, of course, another round of a slightly different Margaritas (we were walking back to the hotel).

We finished with coffee and shared a Butterscotch Flan (didn't really have room for more).

Only one bad note: our server had perhaps only four tables filled upstairs where we were. The downstairs was packed. It was obvious that he wanted to get us to leave. He was rushing us by 8 p.m., and told us the restaurant closed at 9p.m. When we pointed out that the posted hours were 10, he commented "oh yeah". We tipped 23%. He deserved less but the food deserved a good tip.

Would definitely return.

THIRD: Jean-Robert's Table (big sister to The French Crust). Had lunch there before taking our Louisiana contingent to the airport. Yet another excellent meal. We had to watch our time, but still had a good time. We started with an order of beef tartar (wonderful), two onion soups (very good), one French country soup (hmm, sort of not special), and a mushroom soup (excellent). Two with a Bloody Mary and two with a very pleasant French white.

For lunch two ordered calves liver, one ordered mussels, and our conservative eater had a turkey sandwich (sigh). Portions were large. In fact, since we were driving we put half of the mussels on ice, and had them for brunch the next day.

My wife and I felt the liver was rather under-cooked. We love calves liver, and always order it medium rare. On the other hand, my brother-in-law praised it as the best he had ever had. Since we were on the clock, we didn't send it back. I don't fault the restaurant for this. Next time I would discuss it in more detail when ordering. The slices were very tender, but thicker than usual. Perhaps this affected this taste/texture.

Still, we loved the restaurant and would go back.

French Crust Café and Bistro,
Rhinegeist Brewery,
Jean-Robert's Table,
El Vaquero Mexican Restaurant
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