WORTH THE DRIVE: Cincinnati restaurants serving unbelievable dishes for restaurant week and beyond

The Golden Lamb's pan-roasted lamb loin with braised red cabbage, roasted acorn squash with a port reduction was one of several entrees on the historic restaurant's Bounty of the Fall Harvest menu in 2015. The restaurant is famous for its comfort dishes and historical charm.

Credit: FILE/CONTRIBUTED

Credit: FILE/CONTRIBUTED

More than 40 southern Ohio and Northern Kentucky restaurants have signed up to participate in Greater Cincinnati Restaurant Week, which continues through Oct. 4.

If you missed it, don’t fret. The great restaurants that are participating will still be around after the fact with many of the featured dishes still featured prominently on their menus.

Here are my favorite spots that participated and some dishes you might consider should you find yourself at any of them for a meal.

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Alfio’s Buon Cibo

2724 Erie Ave, Cincinnati | www.alfios-cincy.com

This gem serving up Italian-Argentine cuisine sits on Hyde Park Square. The veal short rib stuffed ravioli ($23) served in a truffle mushroom marsala cream sauce is divine. Start things off with a poached pear and fig salad ($12) packed with fall flavors. Both dishes are featured on their restaurant week menu.

Ché

1342 Walnut St, Cincinnati | https://checincinnati.com

This Over-the-Rhine restaurant specializes in cuisine from Argentina. They serve up 12 empanadas of your choice for $48. Options are a buffalo chicken, short rib, jerk chicken, spiced beef with hard-boiled eggs and olives, a Cuban with braised pork shoulder, ham, pickles, mustard, provolone; a spinach, mozzarella and provolone, a Korean BBQ, mushroom feta and chicken salsa verde.

Coppin’s at Hotel Covington

638 Madison Ave., Covington | https://hotelcovington.com

Energized by the original Coppin’s Department Store building in which it lies, Coppin’s restaurant is a sophisticated stop in Northern Kentucky. The Coppin’s burger ($18) is made with Sakura Farms wagyu, pepper jack, applewood bacon, chipotle aioli, fried string onions, shredded lettuce and a house-made potato bun. Served with garlic parsley fries, it’s a caloric treat. Or go big with a charcoal-grilled wagyu ribeye ($35) served with yukon potato and ricotta gnocchi, corn butter, chorizo and pickled jalapeño.

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The Golden Lamb. CONTRIBUTED / WCCVB

Credit: CONTRIBUTED / WCCVB

Credit: CONTRIBUTED / WCCVB

The Golden Lamb

27 S. Broadway St., Lebanon | www.goldenlamb.com/home

This historic Lebanon Inn that has been operating since 1803 featured its vanilla bean iced carrot cake ($6.99) topped with caramel sauce and whipped cream on the restaurant week menu. It’s a dessert worthy of the spotlight. Their regular menu features a wonderful mix of home-cooked comfort food. I am a sucker for their classic shepherd’s pie ($21.95) and their sauerkraut balls ($9.95).

Goose & Elder

1800 Race St., Cincinnati www.gooseandelder.com

This casual American eatery and bar located in historic Findlay Market is the brainchild of one of my favorite Ohio chefs — James Beard nominated Jose Salazar. The dishes are high-end, well-executed and priced affordably. The duck leg confit ($17) served with grits, bacon-braised greens in a savory brown butter is a savory treat that was featured off the menu for restaurant week.

Jag’s Steak and Seafood in West Chester Township is participating in Greater Cincinnati Restaurant Week. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Jag’s Steak and Seafood

5980 West Chester Rd., West Chester | www.jags.com/home

Jag’s restaurant week menu was all off-menu, so you can’t sample what they featured. That said, you’re probably not missing out. Their regular menu with fresh bluepoint oysters ($18) served raw, Rockefeller or fried, their amazing crab bisque ($9) their citrus herb scallops ($46), their award-winning steaks and so many other great menu items make this a supremely satisfying stop.

Libby’s Southern Comfort

35 W. 8th St., Covington | www.libbyssoutherncomfort.com

I’m a sucker for southern cuisine. It’s like eating a hug. I could eat just off the appetizer menu and be happy. For restaurant week, Libby’s featured their regular oysters on the half shell (market price) and fried green tomatoes ($11.95) topped with pimento cheese, pork belly lardons, bourbon onion jam and herb oil. If you add an order of Goetta hush puppies ($10.25) and shrimp and grits ($12.50) you’ll be set and you haven’t even hit the sandwiches, entrees, soups or salads.

Metropole

609 Walnut St, Cincinnati | www.metropoleonwalnut.com

The restaurant in the swanky 21c Hotel downtown has a new Executive Chef — Vanessa Miller. She may be new, but their signature dishes remain including one of my favorite salads ever, their burnt carrot salad ($8) made with avocado, pickled onion, feta and herbs. It’s absolutely delicious as is the rest of their menu.

Ceviche de Camarones ($15), a delicious ceviche on the menu at Mita’s in Cincinnati made with shrimp, grapefruit, fresno chilies, citrus, radish and garnished with cilantro. Photo by Alexis Larsen

Mita’s

501 Race St., Cincinnati | www.mitas.co

This is one of my absolutely favorite Cincinnati restaurants. This is the second restaurant James Beard nominated Chef Jose Salazar opened in the heart of downtown Cincinnati. Named after his grandmother, it focuses on traditional and modern foods and beverages from Spain and Latin America. The restaurant week menu featured staples from the regular menu like the ensalada de jícama y mango ($9), ceviches de camarones ($15) featuring poached Florida rock shrimp, avocado, cucumber, aji amarillo, cilantro and citrus and the empanadas de res con pique ($11), two beef short rib hand pies with a cilantro-chili sauce.

Morton’s the Steakhouse

441 Vine St Suite 1H, Cincinnati | www.mortons.com/cincinnati

Two words: Lobster bisque. One word: Heaven. It will set you back $16.50. It’s worth every penny.

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The National Exemplar

6880 Wooster Pike, Mariemont | www.nationalexemplar.com

This cozy restaurant in the very cute Mariemont neighborhood of Cincinnati highlighted their signature 28-day aged prime rib au jus ($32, $39) served with whipped potatoes, charred broccolini and creamy horseradish. A classic served up by a classic.

Subito

311 Pike St, Cincinnati | www.thelytleparkhotel.com/dining/subito

This spot is a new favorite. Housed in the stylish Lytle Park Hotel, it focuses on northern Italian cuisine with housemade pastas, scratch-made sauces and seared steaks, finished in an infrared broiler. It also features fresh seafood, flown in daily from the ports, Subito offers brick oven pizzas, a raw bar and traditional antipasti. They featured their truffle risotto ($23) for restaurant week. That’s a delicious option, but so is everything else they offer.

Taste of Belgium

3825 Edwards Rd., Cincinnati

1135 Vine St., Cincinnati

1801 Race St. Cincinnati

7800 Montgomery Rd., Cincinnati

16 W. Freedom Way, Cincinnati

2845 Short Vine St., Cincinnati

2833 Dixie Highway, Crestview Hills, Kentucky

https://authenticwaffle.com

This little waffle place grew, one waffle at a time to become a Cincinnati favorite. They featured their banana and nutella waffle ($6.50) one of 13 signature and sweet waffles. If you love waffles and you haven’t been to one of their locations yet get in your car now.

For more on Greater Cincinnati Restaurant Week visit greatercincinnatirestaurantweek.com.

Dayton Eats looks at the regional food stories and restaurant news that make mouths water. Share info about your menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes and culinary adventures. Do you know of exciting outdoor spaces, new exciting format changes, specials, happy hours, restaurant updates or any other tasty news you think is worth a closer look at? E-mail Alexis Larsen at alexis.e.larsen@hotmail.com with the information and we will work to include it in future coverage.

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