By Anne Mitchell
CINCINNATI - New and notable on the dining scene is the latest addition to the Washington Park/OTR/Gateway District — The Anchor (14th and Race, Over-the-Rhine). After a few days of serving family and friends to get in the groove, full-service operations started on Sept. 18. The Anchor — not to be confused with Covington’s landmark dive, the Anchor Grill — is all about seafood, hence the anchor/boat theme. Chef/owner Derek dos Anjos and his crew will feature an oyster bar with a shareable plate they call the Bait and Tackle: eight east coast oysters, four little neck clams, four cocktail shrimp and two Jonah crab claws for $40. There’s a fried oyster plate in the starters menu, soft shell crabs, seared calamari salad, peel and eat shrimp and whole lobster. The whole grilled fish-of-the-day is served grilled, fried or Thai style. Hours for now are 5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday.
The Anchor will soon be joined by new neighbors: Quan Hapa (1335 Vine St., OTR), the new Asian bistro from the folks who brought you Pho Lang Thang, and Kaze (1400 Vine St., OTR), a sushi restaurant in the Cincinnati Color building. The Gateway Quarter just keeps getting more exciting.
Other things to look forward to: Cumin (3520 Erie Ave., Hyde Park) is extending their highly successful Sunday brunch to Saturdays as well. Owner Alex Mchaikhi told me that it will mirror Sunday’s menu and hours, from 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Chef Owen Maass’ food is always amazing, and his Croque Madame with “blow-torch mornay” should not disappoint.
The Cumin folks are also opening a sister restaurant, M, in the space next door at the end of October. M will be casual, with a focus on food that’s easy to carry out.
Speaking of carry out, Chef Renee Schuler is opening Eat Well Café and Takeaway (3009 O Bryon St., O’Bryonville) in November, in the space that was What’s for Dinner. According to Schuler, the cafe will have walk-up ordering and about 35 seats for dining in. Schuler, whose Eat Well Celebrations has been catering some of the city’s best events since 2005, is known for showcasing fresh, seasonal ingredients while keeping things fun and delicious. She recently cooked for Martha Stewart when Martha was in town for a big meeting with Procter & Gamble at High Street Studio. The café is expected to operate 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
I mentioned Tacocracy in last month’s Dish, and it looks like they’re doing well. Owner Kevin “Pogo” Curtis has expanded their hours to include lunch, opening at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Tacocracy is in the Northside International Airport gallery and shops space at 4029 Hamilton Ave.
On the lunch scene, Tom+Chee has opened a second location downtown at 420 Walnut St. The popularity of T+C has spread with their exposure on the Food Channel and the Today Show, and they opened at Newport on the Levee and in Louisville. The Court Street location is always busy, but for now, the Walnut shop is undiscovered. So get your BBQ Grippos and Bacon grilled cheese quick — I did, with a cup of creamy tomato soup, and it took the chill of the first fall day. I haven’t had the nerve to do the Grilled Cheese Donut. The Ghost of Calories Past hangs too heavily over my head to even let me go there — yet.
This is cool: According to Hoperatives.com, Arthur’s (3516 Edwards Road, Hyde Park Square), known for its burger madness and the fact that they are owned by three people who started working there as bussers and servers — really! — is switching out their taps to serve beer that’s strictly local. With Cincinnati’s brewing heritage and the current class of top-notch craft brewers, why not? It sounds like a win-win. A celebration is in the works for Oct. 23, and there will be updates on their Facebook page at facebook.com/ArthursCafe.
And this is so bizarre that I thought I’d pass it along: White Castle has opened a noodle restaurant in Springfield, Ohio, and has one coming soon to Sharonville. Yes, the folks who satisfy your post-bar-binge burger cravings have opened Laughing Noodle, featuring spaghetti and meatballs, teriyaki chicken, taco macaroni and cheese and chicken noodle soup. The website is heavy on Americana — “America’s comfort food” and “more American than apple pie” — but the dishes have international pedigrees. I have to admit, I’m completely stumped as to the connection between sliders and spaghetti, but there you have it. Calling Mike Breen for a “Lost in the Supermarket” restaurant review!
For more, visit CityBeat's food blog, at http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/flex-255-food-drink.html .
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Compassion Fest raises money and awareness for animal rescue groups in the Tri-State.