Visited April 26, 2013
Little Rock, AR
Visited April 26, 2013
Little Rock, AR
Visited April 26, 2013
Located in the William J. Clinton Presidential Center
The Cafe in the Clinton Presidential Center is on the lower level, through a pair of very official looking doors. The dining room is an open and airy room with a ceiling that slopes slightly up to the all glass end wall. Through the glass wall is an outdoor seating area below the cantilevered museum. There is a great view of the old railroad bridge, if only the weather was better I would have had lunch outside. The menu was more elaborate than I expected, with unusual ingredients and combinations. Although the room was fairly simple, the white linen tablecloths and nice crystal made it feel as special as the menu items. I even splurged for dessert – I was on vacation. The lemon mousse was as good as it looked.
Visited January 25-27
In the 21c Museum Hotel
609 Walnut Street, Cincinnati OH
Metropole is the lounge and restaurant in the 21c Museum Hotel. The large bar serves craft cocktails ( try the “Wiseman” with gin and sage leaves ) and appetizers specializing in smoked meats and cheeses. The small plate menu has roasted cauliflower with pomegranate, cracked wheat, red onion, almond and citrus – an unexpected combination that was outstanding.
The restaurant is also open for breakfast, which was great . I enjoyed the herb tea poached eggs with spinach on Weisenberger grits with a side of goetta.
The room has the original tile floor and ornate crown mouldings from the Metropole Hotel, with contemporary furnishings creating a balanced blend of old and new, with impecable friendly service. Of course, the iconic yellow penguins are in attendance, and might just pull up to your table and join you for breakfast. Great fun and great food.
Visited January 26, 2013
1400 Vine Street, Cincinnati OH
KAZE is one of the latest additions to the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood which is just north of downtown ( walking distance from my hotel, the 21c Museum Hotel – if you like to walk ).
The restaurant dining room is well done with a blend of sophisticated elements in a casual atmosphere. There are booths, tables, and seating at the sushi bar.
I can recommend the Gyoza and the Drop Kick Roll – tempura fried striped bass, house-made kimchi and Japanese mustard sauce.
When in Cincinnati, I stayed at the 21c Museum Hotel
Visited December 30, 2012
Overlooking Fountain Square
520 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH
While on a quick roadtrip to visit friends in Cincinnati, they suggested Via Vite for Brunch.
Located downtown, overlooking Fountain Square, this proved to be a very good choice. The food was delicious. With the Sunday brunch menu, you choose one item from each of two lists to create your two course meal. You can also order individual items from the menu such as their wood fired pizza’s and pasta dishes if you choose. Our table selected items such as fresh fruit and berry salad, yellow pepper soup, uovo pomodoro, creamy white polenta with italian sausage and fried egg, and “The Best BLT in the City”.
We also couldn’t resist adding a Valhrona Dark Chocolate Creme Brulee for dessert, which we all shared.
The staff was professional, the dining room was well designed with a high vaulted ceiling with a custom branch inspired chandelier. The side wall windows looks like they open all the way up in warmer weather – when we were there it was 25 degrees so thankfully the windows were in the closed position. I do hope to return in the summer and experience the open air version of the dining room.
Grand Opening in early November
In the SLS Hotel South Beach 1701 Collins Avenue Miami Beach FL
Toured September 11 2012
Acclaimed Master Sushi Chef Katsuya Uechi and Philippe Stark created this Japanese restaurant in the new SLS Hotel South Beach. Located in the former hotel ballroom space, this “stark” two-story high space is accented only by an occasional bright red chair in a sea of white chairs. Although the restaurant was not open, and there was still some detail work to be done on the room, you could get a good feeling for what the space will be like when it is open and serving sushi. In the dining space there are two large photos, one of a japanese woman with a purse and the other of a japanese man with a bowler hat. These photos have amazing detail ( look at the woman’s hands when you are there ). The most dramatic feature of the space are the eyes, the amazing eyes of a geisha above the sushi bar – a brilliant touch.
I cannot review the quality of the sushi, as the restaurant was not open at the time of our tour, but I look forward to going back after the Grand Opening.
The SLS Hotel South Beach (link to my blog post)
Grand Opening early November
In the SLS South Beach 1701 Collins Avenue Miami Beach FL
Toured September 11, 2012
The Bazaar by Jose Andres is a very sophisticated mish-mash of elements. Unmatching table lamps, chairs and even sofas fill the two-story space and somehow it all works, and works well. The far side of the room has the serving kitchen which is a counter and back bar that runs the length of the room. In the middle of it all is the focal point of the room – a chandelier. This is not just any chandelier, this is a huge custom-made chandelier. It is the omnipresent element in the room, and my least favorite thing in the room actually. It reminds me of a seashell encrusted giant octopus, with its tentacles holding up traditional lampshades providing mood lighting for the space. Maybe the effect is different at night, but in any case I would not sit underneath it.
The Bazaar by Jose Andres – website
501 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, FL
Visited Septamber 10, 2012
After walking down the Lincoln Road Pedestrian Mall looking at all of the dining options, I selected Yuca – Young Urban Cuban American restaurant. The menu was interesting, the service was excellent, and the ambiance was a contemporary study in black white and grey. Enchilado de Camarones – I assumed “Shrimp Enchaladas”….but the waiter explained that the cuban take on enchaladas is not like the mexican version that he thought I might be expecting. He was right, and it was delicious. Basically the entree is fresh shrimp prepared with chiles in a white wine and tomato sauce, served with white rice and fried plantains. It was spicy and delicious. Of the many options we had along Lincoln Road, I think I chose the best one, I highly recommend it.
Visited September 15, 2012
226 South Main, Ann Arbor MI
A fairly recent addition to the Ann Arbor restaurant scene, we stopped in for dinner after a Michigan Football Game. Luckily we were able to get a table…the last table available before a wait list was started.
The service was really good, and the food was really good as well. We had been warned that since it was new, the word on the street was that they had a few things to work out, but we found nothing suggesting that the staff or the food had any “opening night jitters”. I had the scallops with brown rice and fava beans. The scallops were seared perfectly and overall the dish was delicious.
In the Hotel Baronette 27790 Novi Rd., Novi MI
Visited September 5, 2012
The Toasted Oak Grill and Market is part of the Sage Restaurant Group.
One of the principals of the Sage Restaurant Group is speaking at a trade show I will be attending next week, so I wanted to visit Toasted Oak prior to his presentation. It is located in an upscale hotel on the ringroad of a regional shopping mall. It is just up from the Red Lobster, Denny’s and the other national chains that usually surround any regional shopping mall. Although just up the street, this restaurant concept is far from the Red Lobsters of the world in quality.
Just inside the entrance is the market concept with a selection of wines and cheeses. I was underwhelmed with the market , but will wait until I hear the presentation next week before I pass judgement. There are 3 dining rooms, and a private dining room tucked in back. The first dining room has more casual seating and the bar. The second dining room has a mirrored ceiling and a mixture of booths along the side walls, with upscale tables and chairs in the middle of the room. The third dining room has a unique large-scale tan plaid ceiling. Sort of a modified Burberry plaid. The staff was excellent, friendly, and helpful.
Now for the food…I was not hungry enough for a full entree. Judging from just a salad and appetizer, I can tell you the food is really excellent. Before my salad arrived, I was presented with cornbread, served in a tin can turned upside down. The Caesar Salad had charred romaine with a dressing with just the right amount of lemon zest. The appetizer I ordered was Kielbasa, made in-house, grilled and served with a warm potato salad and caraway beer mustard. Everything was delicious.
Driving all the way out to the suburbs to a regional shopping mall is not where I usually head for a fine dining experience…but in this case it was well worth it…and I will return, probably very soon.