The Foodie Report
Ruminations on food, cooking in and eating out in our area.

It's entirely possible to be a vegetarian in Porkopolis. Pop culture reporter Lauren Bishop blogs about products, recipes and restaurants she's tried for others who eat meat-free. E-mail her at lbishop@enquirer.com.

Nicci King is an unabashed foodie and the Lifestyle/Food editor in The Enquirer's features department. She loves to discover new food faves, and she's on a daily quest to answer one burning question: What's for dinner? E-mail her at nking@enquirer.com.

Enquirer Weekend editor Julie Gaw tends to order the same dish every time she eats at a restaurant, but periodically ventures out to discover something new and fabulous. After living in China, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Thailand for more than 8 years, she craves tasty Asian food. E-mail her at jgaw@enquirer.com.

Food/dining writer Polly Campbell loves every quirk and secret of Cincinnati's food personality, and is on a constant lookout for something good to eat. Keep an eye out for her restaurant picks, or see how she's progressing toward becoming famous for her apple pie. E-mail her at pcampbell@enquirer.com.

Communities reporter Rachel Richardson is on a mission to prove vegetarians eat more than lettuce. She shares both her graduate work on American food culture and food-related news.. E-mail her at rrichardson@enquirer.com.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Relish opening next Saturday in Deerfield Township

So I made it last weekend to a preview night at Relish Modern Tapas in the new buildings (otherwise empty at the moment) behind Deerfield Towne Center. Polly blogged about it earlier this month, and the Relish Web site is now working (though the menu listings seem to be having technical difficulties...) The restaurant opens next Saturday, April 26.

The food's a lot of fun, and I can't really pigeonhole it. Thankfully they seem to be steering clear of calling it fusion, but it really is an intriguing combination of flavors. I enjoyed the "relish signature chorizo and medjool dates wrapped in smoked bacon and garnished with grilled red pepper sauce" ($9.50) - and I don't even like red peppers. Nor do I normally eat dates. Ditto the "balls of Italian sausage mix tossed with roasted red pepper tomato sauce and topped with baked croutons and fresh parmesan cheese" ($9.75).

The "stuffed breast of chicken with asparagus, mozzarella, fresh herbs and prosciutto served over the house beurre blanc" ($14.50) was light, delicate and easy to eat more of. And I haven't seen a dessert menu (they weren't serving any last weekend), but I'd be interested to see what's in store beyond the fresh fruit and local farmers goat cheese listed on the small plates dinner menu.

Some other interesting dinner menu listings:

wasabi rubbed petite filet mignon... $16.25
signature baby back ribs w/ bbq sauce, fried tortillas and micro greens, $12.50
wild mushrooms and bay scallops infused w/ fresh herbs and butter $14

Asian spicy shrimp fried w/ mae ploy $8.50
tuna tartar w/ crostinis $9.25
humus du jour $3.25
smoked salmon w/ capers, bermuda onions, butter lettuce, truffle oil $12.25

Relish is housed a cool space (check out the photos), which is pretty decent considering the strip mall location. It's behind the main part of the towne center, and just across the street from Regal Cinemas, which seems like a smart move. There are two distinct dining areas inside, as well as a chef's table (it's a booth that could seat up to five or six people) that looks directly into the kitchen (but is separated by a glass wall) and a cool bar area in the back, with three tall communal tables that run diagonally through the space. Yes, it's a fun spot for drinks too.

I'm excited that there will be another non-chain spot in the area. (My other nearby standbys include Sichuan Bistro and well, that's about it - otherwise you're up to Pitrelli's in Mason or The Works in Loveland).


at 2:33 PM Anonymous Chris said...

Sounds great! I would add Polo Grille to the list of decent non-chains in the area. (Sure, it is part of a local restaurant group, but it is the only Polo Grille location, I believe.) We've always had excellent food and service there. Not bad for the burbs!

at 3:27 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope that I'm wrong, but I would be suprised if the suburbanites up in that exburb supprt this place. I really hope that I'm wrong, by the way, because it sounds like a reat place.

at 11:50 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are plenty of good independent restaurants in the suburbs -- but this blog rarely travels outside of a 5-mile-radius of downtown. So thanks for a post for people who dare to live in the burbs. It's not as bad as you all seem to think it is.

at 4:14 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There are plenty of good independent restaurants in the suburbs"

Name six.

at 7:01 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please, you are showing your ignorance... The suburbs are crowded with good independent restaurants.

at 7:30 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then name them?

at 2:34 PM Blogger Kelly said...

Ooh, ooh, I'll help!

Out east you've got Latitudes, DeMeo's and 20 Brix in Milford and The Works in Loveland. Up in Symmes Twp. you got deSha's (owned by that same local restaurant group that owns Polo Grille) and Kyoto. In Mason you have Arloi Dee and Raja, suburban sister to Ambar India. In West Chester there's the White House Inn and Japp's.

I'm trying to keep it outside of the 275 loop (although those Milford places are technically inside 275, by about a half-mile), but if you add Montgomery and Blue Ash you get a host of other places, including the original Montgomery Inn.

I'm also trying to stick to "nicer" places, but there are plenty of independent sports bars and neighborhood Mexican joints in the suburbs.

I love where I live (Oakley) and its proximity to lots of different restaurants, but to suggest that one can't come up with even six non-chain eateries in the whole of the 'burbs is a little silly.

(Although I wouldn't go as far as Anon 7:01 to suggest that the suburbs are "crowded" with independent places.)

at 7:39 PM Anonymous Barry said...


I thought that the White House inn was closed? Anyone know??

regarding Polo, you are correct, they are locally owned. However I always thought that Polo & DeSha's were cookie cutter places with little character that weren;t much different than the chains.

Can you tell us about Japps? Is it related to the once great bar that used to be on Main in OTR?

at 8:09 PM Blogger Kelly said...

Hmm, not sure about White House Inn. Their website is still active, but I guess that doesn't mean much.

And darn it, I got the name of the other West Chester place wrong - it's Jag's, not Japp's. It's your basic upscale steak/seafood place, from what I can gather - I confess I haven't been myself.

I think you can find interesting meals at the Tavern group's restaurants if you stray from the permanent menu and go for the seasonal specials. I had a nice lamb and feta burger at the Pub and a trio of bangers at Nicholson's this way. (But hey - I also really like their fish and chips! I think I'm predisposed to like any restaurant with an English/Irish pub theme.)

at 9:33 PM Anonymous Barry said...

Thanks Kelly. You're right, Jags is a pretty good Steakhouse. Ditto (and maybe moreso) for Ruby's Carlo & Johnny's. I always thought that Ruby was bit of a D-bag, but his restaurants are really, really well run.

Thanks for the tip on the Tavern Group. I wust say that they do run a class act at Nicholson's, so it figures that some of that would carry over to the other places.

at 10:44 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Relish by far is the one of the best places to be in on a Friday night.. food is excellent, music is cool (great band!) and crowd is interestingly diverse...been there twice and never had a boring time.

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