Over the Rhine
November 28, 2011
If the Senate is a pusher of gourmet street food, then Abigail Street, it’s hipper, younger, lil’ sis is a recently returned study abroad student from the banks of the Mediterranean Sea. More or less the same in restaurant design, sleek and narrow with the bar on the right, the food and ambiance, however, give off a different vibe.
notice the Thomas Edison old school style light fixtures. cool look indeed, but imagine changing those bulbs… not so much fun i imagine
pressed tin ceiling panels on side of the kitchen area
Dan and Lana Wright, the creative team that brought us the Senate, recently opened Abigail Street to rave reviews, and after experiencing the place myself, I’m happy to add another check + to the list. For the past month that it’s been open, I’d heard of hour plus long waits before being served. Apparently all it took was a rainy Sunday evening to be seated immediately.
Inspired by cuisines from Spain, Turkey, Morocco, Italy, etc. the menu, which consists of 20 or so small plates is teeming with capital E – Excellence. Beyond the flavor filled bites, another unique aspect of this restaurant is that it serves wine on draft and beer out of a champagne like bottle. Not sure if this is a step towards the future, or if we are looking back on how the Greek Gods enjoyed their spirits, either way, it was a welcome change from the yoozh.
When everything looks good on the menu, you do the next logical thing, order everything — or just about. First up olives, seared skate, grilled octopus, then a beet salad, charcuterie, and grilled shrimp, and oh, after that, I kinda lost track. Dashing the fork from one plate to another , each equally as good or better than the next, I’m already mentally planning a return trip. In the meanwhile my pores will be sweating off plenty of olive oil today to remember the first one.
Nearly impossible for me to choose a favorite dish, I’ll highlight a few in the top 10:
*Grilled Octopus – merguez sausage, fried chick peas, hummus, parsley, tomato jalepeno (octopus is an acquired taste but when cooked to perfection and complemented with the right assortment of sides you really can’t go wrong).
*Hanger Steak – carmelized brussel sprouts, cauliflower, romesco (juicy and tender I just kept wanting more).
*Carrot Salad – cumin roasted brined carrots, heirloom lettuce, pumpkin seeds, goat cheese (wow was this good. the crunchy pumpkin seeds alongside the warm, mouthwatering goat cheese and sumptuous carrots were a killer combination).
*Mozza Dani – braised lamb shank, couscous, drunken fruit, pistachio pesto (felt like I should be eating this dish in a bedouin tent. the couscous absorbed the delicious essence of the dried fruit and tender lamb = downright amazing).
*Beets – local beets, lebna, toasted hazelnuts, heirloom lettuce, brown butter lemon vinaigrette (richness in color and flavor, you can’t help but feel healthy when eating this salad).
One thing I neglected to mention, but merely adds to Abigail Street’s appeal, is the cleaver, anchor, carrot symbology at the top of the menu and next to each menu item thereby indicating meat, fish, or veggie. Don’t worry, the options are a plenty.
We finished the night with turkish coffee, which I learned is strong yet sweet, and a sampling of the baklava and churros con chocolat (spanish doughnuts). Didn’t some Greek philosopher say, the life that is most fulfilled is one that soars on a sugar high?
When the check arrived (all the little plates do add up) we were left with a
postcard, a topographical map of Cincinnati compliments of Abigail Street. Nice touch, poetic even. While my palate enjoyed a quick jaunt through the Mediterranean, my body was still holding down the fort in OTR. But hey, if all it takes is a trip to the Gateway Quarter for the best food-cation of my life, then I think I’ll forego the cost of a plane ticket, and apply the saved expenses to soaking up more of that red wine on tap.
Dear Abigail Street… we’ll be seeing each other real soon. xoxo – iSPYCINCY.to top ↑