Greater Cincinnati Restaurant Week returns this week, April 17-23, with 31 participating restaurants. For $35, you can savor a three-course prix fixe menu -- a nice value for many of these places.
It’s a great opportunity to venture outside your usual stomping grounds, but call as soon as possible to make reservations. This is a popular week to eat out.
Now, here are nine restaurants to get you started.
Brown Dog Cafe (1000 Summit Place, Blue Ash; 513-794-1610)
Nestled in beautiful Summit Park, Brown Dog is known for its seasonal menu of responsibly-sourced fish, wild game and steaks. There are anywhere from six to nine different choices for each course of the three-course menu. Options range from rabbit ravioli to house-made gnocchi mac and cheese for the first course, grilled Caesar salad to smoky beets for the second course and herb-crusted lamb chops to Delmonico ribeye for the final course.
Third and Main (223 Third St., Aurora, Indiana; 812-655-9727)
For something outside the usual Cincinnati radius, Third and Main, located roughly 30 miles away from downtown Cincinnati in Aurora, might just fit the bill. Situated in a charming 19th-century building, the restaurant has a speakeasy-themed bar on the second floor and outdoor deck seating.
Chef and co-owner Josh Sweeney sources sustainably harvested and locally grown ingredients for his made-from-scratch kitchen. For Greater Cincinnati Restaurant Week, the chef offers a menu of salads, appetizers and entrees, with a few different options for each course. One of the appetizer choices, black tiger shrimp and grits, is cooked with house-made Cajun butter that’s churned in-house.
Metropole (609 Walnut St., Downtown; 513-578-6660)
Tucked inside the 21c Museum Hotel downtown, Metropole showcases harder-than-it-looks open-hearth cooking in its food lineup. Executive chef Jared Bennett keeps the menu seasonal, using sustainably grown foods from around the region.
The menu for Restaurant Week includes a choice of cress and strawberry salad or English pea soup for the first course, a few choices of entrees, including Kentucky silver carp, and the difficult choice of peanut butter cake or custard tart for dessert.
The rooftop cocktail terrace will be open should you want to sip a cocktail or two while taking in views of downtown Cincinnati.
Jag’s Steak and Seafood (5980 West Chester Road, West Chester; 513-860-5353)
This fine-dining gem serves contemporary surf 'n' turf in a posh setting of six mahogany-lined dining rooms and a piano lounge. The restaurant is known for its certified Angus beef steaks, Alaskan king crab legs and the raw bar, which provides additional fresh seafood and sushi options.
Jag’s Restaurant Week menu offers appetizers, salad or soup, and hearty entrees. Entree choices include grilled filet mignon, Ora King salmon and Berkshire pork loin.
Moerlein Lager House (115 Joe Nuxhall Way, Downtown; 513-421-2337)
This locally owned and operated microbrewery offers upscale casual dining with some items reminiscent of food at a beer garden. Located at the Banks, Moerlein Lager House has a wraparound patio and an impressive view of the Ohio River and Roebling Suspension Bridge.
Its Restaurant Week menu has a few choices for the first course, including poached pear bruschetta served with goat cheese spread. The second course has a few options as well, such as grilled chicken breast smothered with candied pork belly and onions, and beef short ribs served with cheddar mashed potatoes and asparagus. The third course includes the choice of a warm brownie served with Graeter’s Buckeye Blitz ice cream.
Kaze (1400 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine; 513-898-7991)
Enjoy sushi and other Japanese-inspired fare at this Japanese gastropub and sushi bar. The restaurant offers different experiences within its multi-faceted venue: a contemporary dining room, a stylish bar and lounge, and a year-round, landscaped beer garden.
For Restaurant Week, pick from a couple of sushi options for the first course and short rib dumplings, pho soup or pork belly for the second. Finally, choose from steelhead trout, hanger steak or katsu bowl (rice bowl with chicken) for the third course.
Tano Bistro and Catering (204 W. Loveland Ave., Loveland; 513-683-8266)
Locally owned and operated, Tano Bistro serves contemporary American fare with a full bar. Andrew Criswell leads this made-from-scratch kitchen that uses consciously sourced ingredients.
Tano Bistro offers a few options in the appetizer and salad courses, including grilled citrus shrimp, house-made ricotta cheese and honey, and quinoa salad. For the entree, choices include seared pork belly with grilled watermelon, stuffed salmon, and parmigiana stack, an eggplant dish with house Italian sausage, seared greens and roasted vegetables.
Bistro Grace (4034 Hamilton Ave., Northside; 513-541-9600)
Bistro Grace is a comfortable neighborhood spot that shines with traditional favorites served with a contemporary touch. It also offers a full complement of craft beer, cocktails and wine.
For Restaurant Week, Bistro Grace offers a choice of roasted carrot with spring vegetable salad or gazpacho with herbed yogurt for the first course, with options for the second course including salmon and braised pork shank. Finish with a choice of spiced creme brulee or assorted cheeses.
Primavista (810 Matson Place, Price Hill; 513-251-6467):
Primavista commands a breathtaking view of downtown Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and the Ohio River. This longstanding restaurant serves Italian cuisine freshened with seasonal specials.
The menu for Restaurant Week includes a few choices for each course. Choose from burrata (fresh Italian cheese), arugula salad or potato gnocchi for the first course; salmon, pork chop, or crab and fettucine for the second course; and, finally, tiramisu, budino (pudding) or chocolate custard for the dessert course.
April 17-23: Greater Cincinnati Restaurant Week
Menus for all participating restaurants: http://www.greatercincinnatirestaurantweek.com
Cost: $35 for a three-course prix fixe menu. Price is per person and does not include beverage, tax or gratuity.
Grace Yek writes about food for WCPO Digital. She is a certified chef-de-cuisine with the American Culinary Federation, and a former chemical engineer. Questions or comments? Connect with her on Twitter: @Grace_Yek.