CINCINNATI -- Local restaurants are serving a diverse variety of cured meats, made in house by chefs who've spent time perfecting their craft or carefully selecting from the world's best purveyors.
To help narrow your search, here are nine eateries where you can sample excellent cured meats, whether German-style sausages, French-style charcuterie or Italian-style salumi.
Nino Loreto, whose Panino started out as a food truck, cures every single meat he serves at his Vine Street restaurant in house. Every accompaniment is made in house; the cheeses are sourced locally and the meat and vegetables are sourced exclusively from small, local farmers. The salumi and charcuterie board rotates based on availability and makes a great first course or a great lunch. My first trip to Panino was with a friend who avoids processed carbs, so a salumi board was the perfect item to share with him. The lamb ham is exceptional, as is the 'nduja. Bread is optional but suggested. ($20-$40 depending on servings.) 1313-1315 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine.
This restaurant offers one of the prettiest meat and cheese boards in the city. Chef Stephen Williams brings out delicious local cheeses, charcuterie and house-made pickles on the Motherboard, which includes a rotating selection of four meats, five cheeses, pickles, house mustard, pistachio relish, seasonal jam and Sixteen Bricks toasts. ($38) 519 Main St., Covington.
Dutch's Larder is known for its cured and smoked meats, from house-made pastrami to smoked wagyu. If you would like to select your favorites of their cured meats, go for it. Like most restaurants, the offerings rotate and are available in portions to serve just yourself or a crowd. ($20-40 for four to eight selections). 3378 Erie Ave., Hyde Park.
Salazar doesn't have a charcuterie or salumi plate: Its sweet spot is terrine, rillettes and other more spreadable items. Chicken liver pate ($11) is super rich, and delicious on grilled bread with house-made concord grape jam. Duck leg rillette ($14), a menu standby, is served in a small crock with pickled onion and could easily be a meal in itself. 1401 Republic St., Over-the-Rhine.
Chef Jared Bennett is known for smoking and curing a good portion of the Metropole menu, which features a charcuterie bar. Pick three ($18) or five ($23) items, including smoked fish rillette, butcher's pate and duck ham. Though it isn't a cured meat, upgrade to the warm ricotta ($4). It's creamy, a little smoky and delicious on the whole-grain toast provided. 609 Walnut St., Downtown.
Chef Jackson Rouse is using the dry-aging room in Bauer Farm Kitchen to its highest potential: The Fleisch und Kase, the German version of a charcuterie plate, features house-cured meats that are locally sourced. The variety changes seasonally and includes both French- and German-inspired options. Stick with charcuterie for $17, or combine it with cheese for $28. Don't forget Bauer’s seasonal sausage with house sauerkraut ($14) or brandade ($13): Salted cod and pickled potatoes make for a creamy, cured dip. 435 Elm St., Downtown.
Head up to Price Hill's Incline District for a great wine and cured-meat experience. Somm Wine Bar has a limited bites menu, but one of those items is a killer charcuterie plate with meats and cheeses sourced from around the world, such as Iberico ham, Prosciutto di Parma and wild boar salami from Virginia. For a more substantial meal, Somm’s bucatini features guanciale, or Italian jowl bacon. ($11-$28) 3101 Price Ave., Price Hill.
Chef, bartender and owner Mike Stankovich takes as much pride in his food selection as he does in his cocktails at European-style neighborhood haunt Longfellow. You can get Dutch's chicharrone and duck rillettes, as well as a variety of meats hand-selected by Stankovich, including mortadella, 'nduja, sopressata and head cheese, to go along with your hand-crafted cocktail. 1233 Clay St., Over-the-Rhine.
Tucked into Northside, this American history-themed bar serves some fantastic bites along with its wine, beer and cocktails. True to Northside's diverse food selections, the Hamilton is the only place I can think of that has both cured meats and cheeses ($15), as well as a vegan charcuterie plate ($12) that features mushroom pate, brined tofu, baba ghanouj and pickles. No one is left out of the conversation platter here! 4029 Hamilton Ave., Northside.
Where do you like to get cured meats? Let me know on Twitter at @winemedineme!