I’m breaking the rules of BEDM again today, as I couldn’t think of what to write about the topic, so instead, following on from yesterday’s post, I am going to tell you about the best meal we had in Cincinnati last month.
Usually when we go to Cincinnati, we stay with my cousin and her husband at their beautiful home in the suburbs. We did that again this trip, but on our last night, we stayed in downtown Cincinnati as they had to go to Chicago for my cousin’s book launch party (bad timing on our part, we should have went, too!). We picked the Garfield Suites Hotel to stay at, which is a pretty central location – downtown Cincinnati is fairly small, so everything was within easy walking distance. We were just a couple of blocks away from the main Fountain Square in one direction and the hip and upcoming Over The Rhine district in the other.
Because we knew we were going to have an evening downtown, we’d done some research on potential dinner destinations and I had pretty much set my heart on going to Senate.
Billing themselves as pushers of beer, wine and gourmet street food, I was determined to go, even though I was recovering from a pretty harsh vomiting bug. With a menu like this, I’m sure you’d drag yourself out of bed and waddle a few blocks, too.
The menu actually has changed since we were there and possibly since this photo from their website – check the recent one here.
I wish I could have done the menu more justice, but I had pretty much no appetite but really wanted to experience the food, as I’d been thinking about it since we booked our flights, weeks before. Lee got a crazy cocktail which looked awesome – I wanted to try one but could barely keep water down, let alone alcohol, so I stuck to soft drinks and water.
To begin, we shared the pot stickers which were, quite simply, one of the best things I have EVER tasted.
They are off the menu now, so I can’t describe them in detail, but suffice to say they were crispy but soft inside, and the sauces – oh, man, the sauces. Perfection. I could easily have eaten just a plate of those and I’d pay good money to have some of them right now!
Next, I had another item which has fallen off the menu – possibly seasonality means some of the ingredients aren’t available locally? I am not sure, but it was AWESOME.
Oh, I wish I had been feeling better and could have eaten all of this, but I really struggled to get through even half of it – not because it was horrible – far from it. It was a pork rillette type of affair, in crunchy breadcrumbs with an apple chutney on a perfectly crafted bun. So tasty. Lee had the Croque Madame hot dog which came served on a little wooden board and he said was equally delicious. I was clearly too busy swooning over mine, as I don’t have a photo of it.
To accompany our dishes, we had a special – bacon fat fries. My mouth is watering thinking about them again…
I think I just wept a little there, remembering how good they were. Our other side dish was lobster mac and cheese:
I don’t even like fish, in fact, I hate it. But this – DIVINE.
We had to wait around 30 minutes for a table, on a busy Friday night, but it was well worth it. Some of the people coming in behind us were being told up to 2 hours wait, so we were lucky! We got seats at the bar and I really liked sitting up there and watching the bar staff at work. They were all really nice and attentive, refilling our drinks and generally being awesome. They seemed genuinely worried that I hadn’t enjoyed my meal as I’d left so much of it, so I had to explain that I was just a bit ill and that I wished I could eat more!
We skipped dessert, much to my dismay – I just wasn’t up to being upright any longer and had to go back to the hotel. But I’ll be back for those pretzel beignets one day, you mark my words!
Check out these other bloggers’ experiences – with great photos – here and here. That second link makes me sad for missing those beignets.
In the unlikely event that you’re in Cincinnati any time soon, you MUST eat at Senate!
I’m blogging every day in May as part of BEDM. Find out more here.