The pit master at World Bar-B-Que works hard slow-cooking Carolina-style pulled pork, Texas brisket, and St. Louis–style pork ribs, imbuing each meat with distinctive barbecue bark and deep, smoky flavors. After the cuts have smoked for 6–15 hours, diners take over with finishing touches, adorning their choice of meats with sauces such as sweet-and-spicy blackberry habanero and classic sides such as potato salad and baked beans. They can also forge everything from smoked and beer-soaked burgers to authentic Cuban sandwiches.
On certain nights, patrons can finish off meaty cuts and showcase their singing chops with open-mic and karaoke sessions. The generous eatery also sets aside one day a week for a "World Invasion"—a chance for local groups, charitable organizations, or extraterrestrial barbecue-reconnaissance parties to take over the restaurant and receive a portion of the evening's sales.
The Patriot Steakhouse & Tavern delights palates with its classic American fare known for its big portions and unpretentious deliciousness. Diners devour choice cuts named after ex-presidents, tasty seafood, chicken, and pork, and hearty burgers and sandwiches paired with locally brewed beers. Live music fills the American-flag-bedecked interior regularly, with the rhythm of a four-piece jazz band or a pianist replacing the mandatory silence of family dinners.
At Embers, flames dance in a stacked-stone torch and gas lanterns, and atop the wicks of candles, all of which illuminate floral oil paintings and black-and-white photos of Cincinnati history. Just as the restaurant’s name evokes images of fire, so too does its menu of steaks and chops aged for 28 days. The Filet Oscar arrives at the table with a king-crab crust–a touch that tips its hat toward the restaurant’s seafood specialties. Seared scallops, grilled Scottish salmon, and broiled lobster tail grace the list, though the grill’s flames bypass the extensive sushi selections. The staff recommends pairings with one of 11 signature cocktails or wines and beers from around the world.
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.
The culinary wizards at Koto Japanese Steakhouse start with quality ingredients and transfigure them into authentic dishes, many of which can be prepared teppanyaki-style on an iron plate directly at the dining table. Wrap chopsticks around one of the restaurant's signature sushi rolls, such as the Koto spider roll, deep-fried soft shell crab cuddling with cucumber and cream cheese and topped with avocado and masago ($9). Seafood Udon prepared with shrimp, scallop, fish cake, and vegetables displays its shape-shifting prowess by being served as a soup, a stir fry, or a briny toupee ($13); entrees such as the chicken and shrimp tempura ($15) silence boisterous stomachs before they holler out insults at nearby dignitaries. Diners can also quench wasabi-fueled thirsts by accepting a fire-extinguishing offer from the full service bar, which overflows with cocktails, martinis, and sake drinks.
Inside Miyako Sushi & Steakhouse, diners gather around the flames of 10 hibachi grills to watch an expert chef flip and sear chicken in teriyaki sauce, while other patrons sit in comfy black chairs in the cool blue glow of the sushi bar. Sleek modern decor surrounds guests as their teeth unpack skillfully rolled sushi and their eyes stare hungrily at the nervous fish inside the restaurant’s aquarium. Miyako’s hibachi and sushi chefs use only fresh ingredients as they craft each dish to diners’ specifications.