Slims is loose.
The joint has the feel of a bunch of friends who are expert cooks in a food clique.It's a genial conspiracy to make food that reaches far beyond what your mouth expects.
It's far out...sophisticated but homey...deliciousness with a comfortable reach is here but it's gonna be fancy and maybe you should dress up a little.
When you walk in your elbow may brush the salad prep counter.That's ok.The pantry cook is all smiles...she's seen a bunch of strangers do the same thing in the 3 years they've been open.
It may take a few minutes for the crew to seat you...maybe you can pass that time in the big chair over in the corner that's the waiting area.You'll have a nice view out of a bank of big windows that overlooks the main dining area.
The scene is all polished hardwoods,low ceilings,ambient lighting and cool art[naked line drawings].The kitchen is open,the smells are good and the staff familiar without being too much so.
The food is beyond compare.I would liken it to delicousness being turned out by New Orleans mainstays Stella or perhaps Herbsaint.
The menu is prix fixe with the courses arriving at the chef's leisure[Slims seemingly has no interest in turning tables].He clearly understands food of this magnitude needs to be savored and pondered.
The Braised Citrus Pork Belly arrives heroically charred and huge.The crispy, nicely salted hide is a luxury with the fat melting just below.The flesh is addictive,perfectly cooked and hot off the stove.
This pig did not die in vain.Straddling a nest of Roasted Root Vegetables with a nice smidge of Smoked Fu Fu... I want to feed it to my vegetarian friends and watch them turn into rampant meat loving carnivores.Watching them burn their PETA cards out front on Hamilton Avenue would be a nice culmination of my efforts to turn the ascetics into gourmands.
Prior to the glorious arrival of the Belly a languorous whirlwind of courses comes at me....Brazilian Shrimp Stew,rich and spicy begins the feast....a salad with Ripe Persimmons dressed in a light vinaigrette makes an appearance and is swiftly torn to pieces...a Shrimp mid shows itself and is worthy of a photo-nevermind it's eaten so fast the only memorial will be in my mind.The palate cleansing Mango sorbet is so good I want to to guzzle a pint of it.
An ice-choked glass of housemade rootbeer comes with the main...it is a perfectly balanced and refreshing nod to Deep South foodways.
I putdown a lot of meals in cities scattered all over North America in 2007 and Slims is the king.
The ultimate in my dining experiences.
I'm trying to come up with a good excuse to come back to Cincinnati[a 1000 plus miles from home]so I can revisit the scene of this mecca...the perfect marriage of food,conviviality and service.