Review: Allure Cincinnati
I’d seen advertisements for this restaurant– the food looked good on TV (though on TV, just about anything can be made to look good), and I’m always up for trying something new. On Saturday evening, we decided to get a reservation somewhere, but since it was Valentine’s Day Weekend (who knew it was a whole weekend?), it was hard to get a reservation– however, Allure had some openings at 8:30, so off we went! It is located in Montgomery, near Go Bananas Comedy Club and a couple of car dealerships, and in the general direction of our plans later in the evening.
We arrived promptly at 8:30 and discovered that our table wasn’t ready. It seemed as if the staff was overwhelmed– though the place looked busy but not packed. After about fifteen minutes (and many apologies), we were lead to our table. It was an older crowd– mid-60s and up– with a couple of couples in their late 40s, early 50s. Not terribly diverse, and not something I’m used to seeing. Most of the restaurants I go to in Cincinnati have people of all ages with fairly diverse crowds, so at this point, I’m wondering if it’s the food or the location or something else.
We started out with a cheese plate, served with crostini. It had a good assortment of cheeses: some smoked mozzarella, roquefort, Welsh cheddar, gruyere and fromager d’affinois flavored with kirsch. Well balanced and a nice selection.
I had a lot of trouble deciding what to get– I didn’t want a big, heavy meal (my stomach was a bit tender from too many martinis at Twist the previous night)– so I ended up with the lobster roll. The lobster salad consisted of lobster, spring onions, and a citrus vinaigrette that had a touch of yellow madras curry to it. It was served on a very disappointing roll: I expected a good-quality hot dog roll, instead it was served on two toasted, six-to-a-pack (why do they do that? Everyone knows there are eight hot dogs in a pack) hot dog buns that you could get at any grocery store. Disappointing. However, the fries that they served with the lobster roll were great– thin, skin on, fried golden and crispy and well salted. I ate most of the fries and about half of the salad.
Terry spied a sign that said “Best Hamburger in Cincinnati” from both CityBeat and Cincinnati Magazine. You can guess what he got. It was a kobe beef burger, topped with gruyere, lettuce, tomato and onions on a soft bun. The beef was juicy, but overall it was bland– the meat itself was not seasoned at all– it reminded me of my grandma’s burgers, which were straight-out-of-the-package ground beef, slapped in a skillet. A little salt and pepper before cooking would have helped immensely.
We skipped dessert, but many of those around us ordered it: slices of cheesecake as big as my head, crème brûlée that could feed four.
I think we will try Allure again– perhaps on a weeknight, or on a non-Valentine’s-related Saturday. It was definitely a good value– around $40, without tip, including two draught beers.