Monday, September 18, 2017

Over the Moon in Over-the-Rhine

The lovely sea bass at Salazar

You don't usually hear of James Beard award-winning chefs in Cincinnati, but Jose Salazar has planted his flag in the eponymous Salazar.

Cheers: Dokie's Trick
The restaurant, in the fast gentrifying Over-the-Rhine area of Cincinnati, has a small menu of perfectly executed dishes.

The broccoli 'nibble'
We tried two 'nibbles' - fried broccoli with yuzu aioli and an adorable fried oyster sandwich with kimchi on a tiny brioche roll. The sandwich, served on a wooden round, was delicious and easily split in two. And the broccoli was enough for four of us to have a healthy portion of caramelized yumminess.

Tiny oyster sandwich
My husband and I shared a starter of polenta, made with a vegetarian stock, and served with mushrooms and pickled veggies. It had an egg on top that dripped yolk over everything.

Local vendors

Salazar serves the excellent Blue Oven Bread from nearby Findlay Market. But it's $6 and comes with marrow butter. There are also BBQ pig ears. So this is definitely for adventurous eaters.

Spinach potato gratin
My husband loved his sea bass, with a potato puree and preserved Meyer lemon. I went pure vegetarian with a potato spinach gratin. It was full of flavor from the fiddlehead ferns and spring pea puree.

The cocktail list has unusual choices, like Dokie's Trick, which resembled a Manhattan, but had smoked ice. We also tried the Clarify It, a spicy cocktail with gin, green charteuse, basil, jalapeƱo, lime and calcified milk. That last ingredient threw me for a loop, but it was just the whey separated from the curd and added an intriguing note to a fabulous drink.

A nod to the past

Check out the bathroom, where there is a vintage photo of the grocery store that used to be here, and a current one, with the chef / owner standing in the same place the former owner stood.

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