Patrick Bowling and John Kimzey conspire with nearby farmers to concoct the locally sourced dishes—all imaginative interpretations of Latin fare—that populate Poco a Poco’s brunch and dinner menus. Dinner entrees include “The” cheeseburger ($14), which upgrades a classic formula by fashioning a heaping, house-ground beef patty in tomato confit, grilled onions, and aromatic Thai basil and mint. The pork-belly-laden puerco tacos ($9) arrive at tables accompanied by helpings of slaw and lime crema made at home, like counterfeit money, and the vegetales tacos ($9) fill herbivorious bellies. Though not included in this Groupon, the chef’s specialty is a whole roasted suckling pig, large enough to feed up to 22 people and perfect for extended-family gatherings or settling a tied soccer match with a suckling-pig-eating contest.
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.
The chefs at Kiji Steakhouse aren’t just chefs. They are also performance artists, animatedly chopping, flipping, and setting food afire mere feet away from guests. At tableside hibachi grills, they prepare filet mignon, lobster tail, chicken, and shrimp marinated in a spicy garlic sauce. Even more chefs work behind the scenes in the kitchen, blanketing meats in teriyaki sauce, and encasing edibles in crispy tempura batter.
Decorated in warm yellow and clay hues, Elephant Walk Injera and Curry House welcomes diners to share their meals. As its name indicates, the restaurant serves plenty of injera, a classic Ethiopian flatbread, which can be dipped in meat stews and vegetable mélanges. If diners prefer to keep their meals to themselves, they can try a traditional Indian curry, paneer tikka, or doro tibs, a dish composed of sautéed chicken and onions, seasoned butter, Berbere and an Ethiopian red-pepper sauce.
Craig and Laura Decker seem to have a difficult time making up their minds. They also seem to have a knack for turning this indecisiveness into an advantage at every turn. When it came to opening their new business, for example, they briefly wondered whether it should feature a wine shop, a wine bar, or a gourmet bistro. Their solution? All three.
This spirit of inclusivity pervades The W.G. Kitchen & Bar, where the Deckers pair seasonal wine varietals with globally inspired cuisine. Rather than choose between European elegance and New-American pizzazz, they settled on a compromise they describe as “Old World chic.” This label suits a menu that features small plates of housemade meatballs and bruschetta alongside assorted cheeses from around the world. The focus on small plates is in keeping with the Deckers’ have-it-all mentality and gives diners the option to sample several dishes without having to barter with adjacent tables.
Chef and master sommelier Steven Geddes crafts locally sourced ingredients into contemporary gourmet cuisine. The informative menu arms sustainable-minded diners with a list of farmers and suppliers to confirm their ingredients' origins and the exact number of times they have been ogled by Mark McGwire. Further adhering to Mother Nature's dictum, the menu rotates with the seasons. Current entrees span a spattering of small and large dishes, such as duck breast blanketed in brussels sprouts and macerated cranberries ($26). Meanwhile, small plates can decorate tables with house-made gnocchi ($12) to potato skins and pork belly dabbled with aged white cheddar cheese whiz ($9). Or recalibrate chompers with cured or pickled appetizers such as pork rillettes and green tomato ($9), and local terrine and yellow wax bean ($9).