Category Archives: Review

Virgils Cafe Bellevue, KY; Restaurant Review


Homemade Pastrami

Homemade Pastrami

Virgils Cafe

710 Fairfield Ave

Bellevue, KY 41073

Price $$$$

Dress Casual

Menu changes daily

Map

I have been hearing a lot of things about Virgils Cafe in Bellevue, KY just a 5 minute walk from my home. I decided to give Virgils Cafe a second try at some friends suggestions. Here’s the thing… I love food! I like when restaurants do it right; from service, drink selections to attention to the quality of ingredients. The menu is a bit scary with some fairly pricey items. However, when a restaurant cares enough to grow their own ingredients, make their own bread and pastrami; they should price their meals a little higher.

The day I visited I was very hungry. I introduced myself to the chef/owner Matt Buschle as he was finishing up the prep for the soup special; Hot and Sour Meatball soup. As I looked around the kitchen I saw some of the same Asian ingredients I use in my kitchen. It’s always a good sign to see Ketjap Manis and fish sauce on someone’s counter! I was definitely having the the soup! The lunch special sounded good but they had me at homemade pastrami on homemade rye bread with homemade potato chips. As I waited at the bar for my food I scanned the liquor selections. Is that Weller 12 Year Bourbon? Another good sign! As I was the first customer of the day Matt came out and chatted food with me; this guy is passionate about food. As we talked my nose was running from the spicy yet perfect expression of his Hot and Sour Soup; it was quite addictive! The meatballs were made of ground pork and shrimp. The meatballs were very tender; tricky because the shrimp could have made them rubbery. Not the case here.

Hot & Sour Meatball Soup

Hot & Sour Meatball Soup

There is a feeling I sometimes get at restaurants when an epic meal is laid before me. I don’t get it every time but this was one of those times. The feeling of excitement and anticipation hoping this will be something special and live up to my expectations. The sandwich arrived and I got the feeling. The potato chips were still sizzling from the fryer. The monstrous pastrami was topped with cheese, bacon, and sauerkraut. The bread was awesome; lightly toasted yet still soft. The homemade pastrami was amazing and I had trouble deciding if my next bite would be the potato chips or the sandwich. The sandwich was big enough to feed two people certainly enough to share. I ate around noon and was not hungry again until around 7PM. My experience on this occasion was stellar and I look forward to trying Matt’s Cuban Sandwich.

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Sichuan Chili Cincinnati; Restaurant Review


Sichuan Chili

Sichuan Chili Chinese Restaurant (Authentic Sichuan) (513) 376 7223

10400 Reading Road, Suite 205B Evendale, OH, 45241

Price $$$$

Dress Casual

Menu

Map

Parking Lot

Well I can’t tell you how happy I am to write this review. My friend Jay Erisman told me about Sichuan Chili with a great big smile on his face saying I had to get there. When Jay says check out a restaurant… You do it! Jay had me at “Authentic Sichuan!” I called my friend Craig (who is an adventurous eater like me) and asked him to help me eat a bunch of awesome food! We arrived a little before 7PM to an almost empty restaurant but the few people eating were Chinese (A good sign). The weather was a bit snowy so I thought that might have scared the people away. I was wrong! By the time we were finished the restaurant was packed and quite busy. We were greeted with smiles and welcome to Sichuan Chili. The service was good and the servers were willing to offer suggestions despite a mild language barrier. The only negative was when our server tried to talk Craig out of his Pork Liver and Kidney Stir-Fry selection saying “mostly Chinese people order that.” It turned out to be his favorite dish. Craig and I ordered 3 appetizers and what we thought were three entrees from the “New Sichuan Menu.” The New Sichuan Menu is separate from their regular menu; it’s the “Authentic Menu”. Make sure you ask for it. It turns out items from this menu feed at least three people. So we ordered enough food for 9 people. No wonder our server looked at us like we were crazy! We both ate so much; we put a huge dent in the food and split the leftovers. At one point Craig looked up and said “I’m so happy right now!” Agreed! The food was simply amazing, prepared with chili oil and handfuls of Sichuan Pepper corns and Dried Whole Chilies. There were no prepared foods that we saw. Everything was made to order including the Homemade Pot-stickers. The dishes were spicy but not out of control.

Sichuan Chili gets my highest recommendation!

This is the best Chinese food I’ve ever eaten and the best restaurant meal I’ve eaten since moving to Cincinnati! 

Appetizers

Dan Dan Noodle $5.99: Served warm in chili oil and spicy sauce. Sorry, no picture. We crushed them before we could take a picture.

Pot-stickers $6.99: Wow, the best Pot-stickers ever! Homemade dough and stuffed with spices, ground pork and ginger.

Pot-Stickers

Pot-Stickers

Mala Chicken $7.99: Served cold in chili oil with peanuts and scallions. This dish had a lot of bones in it. We both liked it but the tiny bone shards was a little too much work for us.

Mala Chicken

Mala Chicken

Entrees

Sichuan Bo Bo Beef $15.99: The spiciest of the dishes we ordered and my favorite. Beef with scallions, pickled cucumber, whole dried chilies and Sichuan Peppercorns.

Bo Bo Beef

Bo Bo Beef

Fish Fillets Stir Fried in Chili Oil $19.99: Wow! The picture says it all… Large amounts of fish and tofu in a spicy bath of chili oil and broth seasoned with mouth numbing amounts of Sichuan Peppercorns. Craig liked the broth so much he poked a whole in his last pot-sticker and filled it with it.

Fish Filets Stir Fried in Chili Oil

Fish Fillets Stir Fried in Chili Oil

Pork Liver and Kidney Stir Fry $10.99: The name says it all. Craig’s favorite dish of night. I liked it as well; very rich and earthy flavors.

Pork Liver and Kidney Stir Fry

Pork Liver and Kidney Stir Fry

Chung KIWHA Restaurant Florence, KY; Review


Chung KIWHAChung KIWHA

7800 Commerce Drive Florence

KY 41042

(859) 525-9978

Price: $$$$

Food: Below average quality for Korean

Service: Bad

Attire: Casual

 

 

 

I’ve been wanting to try Chung KIWHA for several years now as Korean food is my absolute favorite. My friend Jacob and I tried them out last night before doing some after Christmas shopping. We were the first patrons of the evening. We were met by the wife of the owner at the door and asked if “we had been there before?” We were informed that it was $30 per person and there was no menu. This was a Korean Barbecue Buffet. The place reeked of nasty charcoal residue and cigarette smoke. It became clear that it was the charcoal smell that made it smell. The charcoal they used had a horrible smell and taste. The buffet consisted of raw meats and fish including , Kalbi, Bul Gogi, Dae Ji Bul Golgi, Chicken Bul Gogi, Spicy Quid, Shrimp, Scallops, Clams and Mussels. There was also a beef broth soup and small amount of not so good Kim Chi. The marinated meats were cut too small and had a lot of gristle and fat. The best of the average bunch was the Kalbi, Chicken and Squid. The marinades were just okay; I expected much better. I believe the customers that think Chung KIWHA is good have not really experienced good Korean food. I was shocked by the behavior of the management when an African American gentlemen came in. He was met with ” We don’t do carry out, $30 per person”! The man was pretty much discouraged from coming in. It was blatant racism and stereotyping. Once again it is confirmed that I have to drive 350 miles to Cho Sun OK in Chicago for good Korean food. Or… Make it myself! I highly recommend avoiding Chung KIWHA.

Yum Yum Chinese Restaurant Cincinnati Review


Yum Yum Chinese Restaurant

Yum Yum

(513) 721-7705

909 Race Street

Cincinnati, OH 45202

Map

Parking: On street metered

Dress: Casual

Price: $$$$

 

After some friends personal recommendations and reading some online reviews I decided to try Yum Yum in downtown Cincinnati. I must say my expectations were pretty high as people claimed extremely authentic food coming out of Yum Yum’s Kitchen. Yum Yum is only open from 6PM-9PM. I showed up around 6:30 having to ring a doorbell to a locked door. I was greeted by a very friendly elderly Chinese gentleman. I walked to the dining area to find all the lights off; I was told I would have to eat at the counter because ” we just got here and it was too cold in there”. It was quite cold in there and the man put a portable heater on the counter next to me. Wow, really!!! Okay, no worries. The menu was quite small with only four chicken, four beef, four pork and four seafood dishes. Entrees were quite expensive costing from $12 to $14. I must admit I was encouraged by the simplicity of the menu and shabby look of the restaurant; this is what I usually look for in restaurants. I ordered Egg Rolls, Yum Yum Chicken Ding Dong and Aromatic Beef. The Egg Rolls were very good and home made; maybe some of the best I’ve had. The entrees were a different story heavily flavored with beef and chicken base thickened to a jelly like consistency with corn starch. I was very disappointed with the food but really liked the old guy serving me who had to nearly 80 years old. My bill with tip was $40. I will not be going back to Yum Yum and have to give them a grade of “D” only because the Egg Rolls were awesome. I had high expectations for Yum Yum but they were a huge disappointment.

Buona Vita Pizzeria Dayton KY; Review


Buona Vita Pizzeria

(859) 261-6792

441 6th Avenue, Dayton, KY4 4107

Menu

Map

Price: $$$$

Dress: Casual

Great food runs in the family with four brothers from Northern Kentucky. Mark Frommeyer owner of Blue Oven Bakery, Nick Frommeyer owner of Dolce Vita Gelato and now Joe and Mathew Frommeyer bring us Buona Vita Pizzeria in Dayton, KY. I have been buying bread from Mark and Gelato from Nick for past few years so when I heard their brothers had a Pizzeria (Buona Vita) just minutes down the road… I had to check it out. I could go into how cool the location is, the bar and the decor but food is the real attraction here. The pizza is absolutely phenomenal using fresh ingredients and sporting a very thin crust that crisps up nicely on the edges. I tried three pizzas on my first trip; the Margarita, Jeremy’s Meat Pie and one of my creations. I must say these pizzas follow the Italian cooking theory of simplicity. Jeremy’s Meat Pie had sausage, pepperoni, prosciutto and bacon. I liked that they didn’t overload the pizza with meat; just enough to compliment the crust cheese and sauce. I really liked the Margarita a great version of the classic pizza. Buona Vita is the best pizza in the Cincinnati area and some of the best I’ve ever eaten. Please support these four brothers and their businesses as they improve the very weak Cincinnati food scene.

 

Nuevo Leon Restaurant Chicago Review


Nuevo Léon Mexican Restaurant.

The new and improved sign and makeover.

1515 West 18th Street

Chicago, IL 60608

(312) 421-1517

Located on the near south side just east of Ashland Ave

Price $$$$

Food: Excellent

Service: Excellent

Attire: Casual

Menu

I first went to Nuevo Leon about 28 years ago with my parents. I was 15 and absolutely loved Mexican Food.  As we were walking in some gangbangers were flashing me signs and talkin all kinds of shit. I learned real quick how to survive on the streets with the gangbangers. Neutrality, and of course packing a Glock 19 when I was old enough! The neighborhood has changed since then but Nuevo Leon remains with the same quality and authenticity.

Nuevo Leon is nothing fancy and the food is very affordable. I was there recently with my buddy Paul and we ate until we were stuffed with our entire bill with three entrees being about $30. I ordered my favorite dish Pollo en Mole ($8)

Pollo en Mole

I also ordered the fried pork tacos that you can order ala carte but I don’t see them on their website menu. I don’t remember the third dish we ordered but I’m sure it was amazing. When you arrive at the tables there is a bowl of condiments including salsa and carrots & jalapenos. I love the carrots and jalapenos so much I make about ten pounds worth over the summer using my garden jalapenos. It was a very busy Friday lunch the day we went so the servers brought us some taquitos (small corn tacos rolled and fried) on the house. Now that’s service!  I always get Horchata to drink, a sweet rice water with cinnamon. All the dishes are quite large and satisfying. The authenticity and quality of Nuevo Leon is very high making them one the best restaurants in Chicago. Nuevo Leon’s menu is extensive and not fully represented on their website.  Aside from the food I had in Guadalajara and Oaxaca, this is the best Mexican food I have had with a price you can’t beat.

Sabor Peruano Fairfield, OH Review


Sabor Peruano (Peruvian) (513) 860-0349

Anticuchos (Grilled Beef Heart) at Sabor Peruano

7105 Dixie Hwy Fairfield, OH 45014

Plenty of parking

Steak, Seafood, Soups

Price $$$$

Dress is casual

Directions

I found Sabor Peruano on a trip out to a Korean restaurant that we left because the service was terrible! We had just driven 28 miles and were very hungry. After waiting unrecognized for 15 minutes in an empty restaurant we decided to try Sabor Peruano. We drove back a few miles to give Sabor Peruano a try. So glad we did!

I have always liked Peruvian food but had not had any since my Chicago days. My son and I arrived very hungry; the huge very well prepared dishes did not disappoint! We were greeted with kind and friendly service and a massive menu of meat and seafood. The menu may be the largest I have encountered. We started with Anticuchos (Marinated and Grilled Beef Heart); an absolute must as an appetizer served with a spicy cucumber salsa. For our entrees we ordered a steak dish and Ceviche (fish cooked in the acidic juice of lemons and limes). The steak dishes are served with wonderful rice, beans and some fresh tomato and lettuce. Portions are huge and a bit overwhelming. I have been back twice and really like the servers and their friendly demeanor. Language barrier is existent but minimal. On my next trip I plan to try some more of their Mariscos (seafood, shellfish) dishes and soups. Latin American Sopa (soup) is some of my favorites. My first experience with Sopa de Mariscos was in Chicago about 30 years ago with my dad.

Sabor Peruano has a large bar and very large dining rooms. Don’t expect anything fancy, just good authentic comfort food from Peru!

Sabor Peruano translated means Peruvian Flavor and you’ll certainly get that here. I highly recommend this restaurant; one of Cincinnati’s best.

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