To describe the building in which Jay's Seafood finds itself today is to depict the history of Dayton since the mid-1800s. Once the Dayton Corn and Grist Mill and later a school for young ladies, it first became a restaurant in 1882 when its proprietor paid to transform 5,400 pounds of mahogany into a 32-foot bar, eventually frequented by the likes of Buffalo Bill. And just like the rest of the decor—which comprises antique light fixtures and a railing from the Old Xenia Hotel—the ingredients that form Jay's dishes too come from an eclectic mix of sources.
Jay's dished out the freshest seafood from various suppliers around the United States, while Angus beef arrives fresh from Chicago and is hand-cut into steaks in the kitchen. The results of these efforts manifest in succulent house specialties such as spiced bourbon salmon, sea scallops baked in garlic butter, and grilled filet mignon. Each meal is made even more enjoyable with a featured wine by the glass or bottle and one of Jay's housemade desserts.
Bred on Louisiana-style cooking, local restaurateur Grant Gieseler was dismayed by the lack of quality southern fare in the Cincinnati area. He and his business partner Blake Gieseler founded Bayou Fish House to introduce the area to fresh fried fish and hearty gumbo. Diners can grab meals to go or kick back at the bar or seating area and tell exaggerated tales about the biggest fish they ever ate. The eatery's walls sport a paddle, a life preserver, and various aquatic tchotchkes to remind fish of their home.
Lauded by Cincinnati magazine and CityBeat, Tony's of Cincinnati intrigues tongues with a menu loaded with specialty steaks and seafood platters. Start fresh feasts with selections from the raw bar, such as shrimp cocktail ($16) or oysters in the half shell ($2.50 each), which recount tales of the sea that Herman Melville would require twelve-hundred pages to tell. Nine ounces of juicy, center-cut filet mignon glisten next to a choice of potato ($34), and organic Scottish salmon intermingles internationally with Tuscan cannelloni-bean ragu and tomato-chardonnay broth ($30). Like a cherry atop a pile of cherries, crown the mouthwatering feast with homemade cannoli, whose crisp shell and creamy fillings take teeth for a last hurrah.
Signature service: Seafood catering service
Staff Size: 2–10 people
Average Duration of Services: 1–2 hours
In a Midwestern city that's hundreds of miles from the ocean, it can be hard to find fresh seafood. But Coastal 864's chefs hope to change that by bringing lowcountry crawfish and seafood boils to landlocked patrons. In their mobile kitchens, they cook everything from fresh crawfish imported from Louisiana to shrimp to blue crabs in a lemongrass stock, then toss the spice-rubbed morsels in a garlic butter sauce. All of their boils come with sides of roasted corn, kielbasa, and red potatoes.
They also offer drop-off catering for events such as birthday parties, holiday gatherings, and tailgates, giving patrons a break from the traditional game-day food of hot dogs cooked on a hot car radiator. Plus, they pair their Cajun creations with domestic and imported beer.
Founded in 1947 as a poker hall for traveling tycoons, The Clarmont became a steakhouse when it fell out of fashion to use grilled beef slabs as chips. Since then, the Columbus institution has added seafood and fresh fish offerings to its sumptuous menu. The culinary fireworks begin at dinner with the always-goes-fast prime rib of beef ($19.59), seasoned and roasted on-site each day, or The Clarmont's 50-year standby: 12 ounces of filet mignon ($30.99), which you can top with fresh mushrooms ($2.99), drizzle with port demi-glace ($2.95), and side with french-fried onion rings ($4.79/full order), among other things. Beyond the beef, discriminating diners can branch out into lamb osso bucco ($23.99), Long Island duckling in a bing cherry glaze ($21.99), or potato-encrusted salmon in an orange horseradish beurre blanc ($19.99). A wine menu featuring 17 by-the-glass options, such as Italian Al Verdi Pinot Grigio ($5.25), and more than 100 bottle options are available to pair with delectable dishes, as well as lubricate conversation that's been desiccated by too many office anecdotes.
Two Fish Bistro is the yang to the yin of Red, a sushi bar in the same building also owned by the Daeoh group. While Red draws out the essence of raw seafood, Two Fish unleashes the flavors of its flame-kissed counterpart to craft a menu that 614 calls "concise and approachable." To introduce diners to their distinct flavor parings, Two Fish's chefs assemble mini fish tacos from housemade crispy flour chips, sautéed whitefish, and garlic-parmesan aioli. Their entrees draw on wild-caught seafood purchased fresh daily, such as the specialty tuna, a walnut-crusted, medium-rare cut that perches on a pillow of fluffy wasabi mashed potatoes with a maple-butter reduction and treats diners to the satisfying crunch of a charred-scallion garnish. To accent its colorful, carefully plated cuisine, Two Fish keeps its interior sleek and simple. Several enormous windows marry form and function, bathing the square wooden tables and mixed wood walls in natural sunlight or the unnatural glow of bioluminescent snowflakes. Three flat-screen TVs watch over a gray stone bar, surrounded on all sides by minimalist low-rise chairs.