At Cafe Mediterranean, chefs strew tender chunks of lamb and beef with ribbons of virgin olive oil and fragrant spices. The menu spotlights seasonal fruits and veggies, saving them from dull fates as still-life models. Though recipes hail from Egypt, Morocco, and Lebanon, Turkish cuisine proves the chief focus: Turkish spices grace the shish and doner kebabs, and specialty Turkish beverages such as ayran cleanse palates and grant a break from arduous chewing.
Cactus Pear's chefs manipulate fresh ingredients to conjure a menu brimming with seasonal Southwestern favorites hand-picked by faithful customers. Chicken enchiladas invite grilled chicken, peppers, and onions to camp out in a corn-tortilla sleeping bag festooned with melted cheese, lemon-infused sour cream, and the keys to a winnebago ($9.95 for one, $13.95 for two). Cutlery clinks above braised pork loin with pear-chipotle glaze ($15.95), and teeth tear into the flatiron steak decked with portobello mushrooms and onion straws ($18.95). Vegetarians can revel in the eggplant fajitas ($12.95) or the Aztec tofu sandwich, topped with watercress, tomato, and guacamole ($7.95), a handheld concoction flourishing with more greenery than a billionaire's wallet. Desserts, such as white-chocolate bread pudding ($6) and fried-ice-cream sundaes ($5), terminate meals with extreme deliciousness, and occasional live music, dancing, and events maintain entertainment levels.
When Bhopal native Rip Sidhu came to the states as a 25-year-old college student, he was sorely disappointed by the Indian food he found, according to a profile in Cincinnati Magazine. Before long, he was on the phone with his mother, learning how to make himself a proper curry. Although he started out as a software engineer, Rip soon decided to get out from behind a computer screen and into the food business. After a stint in a food court in Lexington, he and his wife Baljit opened the current incarnation of Bombay Brazier in 2010.
Resolving that this restaurant wouldn’t be just another generic Indian eatery, Rip and his wife decided to distinguish the establishment with sophisticated decor. They covered the floors with dark wood and commissioned Sikh-history paintings from artist Kanwar Singh Dhillon to hang on the walls. Their commitment to excellence extended to the kitchen as well. Instead of turning out curries overladen with cream and butter, Rip decided his chefs would simmer made-from-scratch sauces, craft their own paneer, and chop their vegetables by hand rather than throwing them under a lawn mower and hoping for the best. Bombay Brazier’s kitchen also cooks lamb, shrimp, and beef in a 400-degree clay tandoor oven and bakes naan with spinach, onion, and chili. While enjoying this bounty, guests can sip vintages from a wine room with 4,000 bottles or sample one of the bar’s 29 varieties of single malt scotch.
For more than 20 years, Neon Lites has served as the Montgomery District's outgoing neighborhood lunch spot, serving a hearty array of wraps, sandwiches, and salads. Those needing their daily fowl fix can munch on Neon Lites' signature chicken salad ($8.75 for a pint), and pasta purveyors can nibble and nosh on the café's equally famous pasta salad ($4.25 for a pint). Hardcore herbivores can devour the veggie wrap, packed with lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, and green peppers ($5.50). Feed the Milanese cricket squad lodging in your attic with the hot Italian sandwich (a fresh trio of salami, ham, and pepperoni on a toasted hoagie; $6.25). The café satisfies midday dessert cravings with scrumptious frozen yogurts ($1.50 and up).
Founded in Portland, Oregon, in 1953, The Original Pancake House ran the original pancake house, The Extremely Local House of Pancakes, out of business by using only the highest-quality ingredients such as 93 score butter, pure 36% whipping cream, and a secret spy-guarded sourdough starter recipe to craft each delectable breakfast dish. Menu items vary by location, but the Cincinnati-area Original Pancake House's egg-juggling cooks whip up freshly made sauces and batters into tasty specialties such as the signature golden brown Dutch baby ($7.99)—an air-filled delight dusted with lemon, whipped butter, and powdered sugar—and the apple pancake ($8.19), a single pancake oven baked with Granny Smith apples and glazed with pure Sinkiang cinnamon. The evocatively named Tahitian Maiden's Dream ($7.39) slices golden ripe bananas in sour cream, drizzles it in Triple Sec, sherry, and brandy, then bakes it in a tender crepe before topping it with more nanners and an apricot sauce, while the Danish kijafa cherry crepes ($7.39) do something similar with Montmorency cherries and homemade kijafa sauce.
In addition to 28 beers on tap with a variety of craft brews, Tap House Grill Cincinnati's menu has appetizing options for every step of the meal. Diners can start off with one of ten appetizers, including the Porkopolis Nacho, a unique concoction of Saratoga chips and pulled pork, smothered in beer cheese sauce, pico de gallo, and sour cream. For entrees, cooks might cover grilled chicken in a goat-cheese citrus sauce, build burgers to customers' personal specifications, serve up stuffed subs, or toss delicious salads or pasta dishes. Finally, meals end on a sweet note with desserts such as the cheesecake of the day. Tap House Grill Cincinnati also entertains with live music Friday and Saturday nights and a four hour Happy Hour from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. every weekday night.