La Petite France's proprietor, Daniele Crandall, grew up in France, where she spent her youth working in family restaurants before emigrating to the United States in 1964. She stayed in touch with her roots by teaching French to students before eventually deciding that it was time to return to the kitchen with her family members.
Today, they bustle among pots of steaming port with sun-dried tomatoes—which will become a demi-glace for duck—and crackling skillets of salmon, endives, shallots, and white wine. They plate filet mignon and pâté that the Cincinnati Enquirer said “has a nice rustic texture, more like a fine meatloaf than a liver pâaté, with a hint of clove or allspice. Little sour cornichon pickles accompany it, just as they do in thousands of bistros and restaurants all over France.” Beneath glittering chandeliers, the glow of fireplaces dances across tables clad in white tablecloths, like a maitre d’ who forgot his uniform. A stained-glass mural depicts the idyllic charm of Peillon in Provence, France, as diners sup on three-course dinners, enjoy tastings of California wines, or sip cocktails and listen to live music during catered banquets.
While the décor at HD Beans and Bottles Café may not change when the lunch hour comes to a close, the atmosphere certainly does. That’s because as the baristas file out after a long day of pouring coffee and crafting light sandwiches, the bar staff begins preparing for nightly activities. The chatter that fills the shop revolves around a range of activities and themes, which range from karaoke and UFC fights to hip-hop on vinyl and half-price wine nights. During these events, bartenders grab glasses to pour in one of more than 100 different beers and wines or whisper in reviews of popular films. Chefs keep preparing meals throughout it all, creating croissant sandwiches, veggie burgers, and flatbread pizzas.
Tucked away near Kenwood Towne Center, Rusty's Ristorante hosts classic American and Italian fine dining in a down-to-earth casual atmosphere. Commence culinary expeditions with a combo platter of starters, which unites cheese, onion rings, and wings in a mission to whet appetites, or the winterized mushrooms, flavorful fungi sautéed and snuggling under a blanket of melted provolone to protect themselves from cold winds and door-to-door snow-plow salesmen.
Within Anand Indian Restaurant's bustling kitchen, a team of culinary alchemists carefully blends herbs and spices for its diverse range of Indian dishes. The chefs call upon North Indian traditions to craft tandoori plates, where a special clay oven locks seasoned juices inside cuts of meat better than a mime gives directions to the highway. Meanwhile, South Indian recipes forge Uttappam, Indian-style pancakes crowned with chilis and vegetables, and dosa, thin rice crêpes bundled with savory fillings. Meanwhile, more than 20 meatless dishes offer mouthfuls of creamed lentils, house-made cheese cubes, and sweet baby carrots imbued with light spices.
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.