Mini review: Taste of Cincinnati, Part Two

The Horse, was, of course, fabulous.

I had more crepes. A bite of the lemon and lavender sugar variety– yum!– and another caramel fleur de sel. Heaven.
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Mythos Gyros: Awesome. Better tzatziki than Sebastian’s, and surprisingly good tomatoes considering the time of year. I’ll have to swing by there sometime for a whole gyro.

Rusty Bucket’s Bucket Bites: After a night of beer, there’s not a lot better than sliders. These are White Castles with good meat and good bread. Yum.

Honey Corn: From somewhere. Not particularly honeyed or buttery, but surprisingly sweet for the season. Must be South American.

Thai Taste: This used to be next to my gym in Western Hills. Surprisingly good Thai, so good I really ought to go back out there. Their crab rangoon contains crab, but their vegetable spring roll was bland.

Moerlein’s new beer: Lager House Helles. Pretty nice. I know little about beer besides “I like Guinness” and “I don’t like it too hoppy.” This wasn’t too hoppy. I drank a lot of it. Yum.

(And yes, Terry and I split everything. Except for the beer. I made him get his own.)

Edited to add: We did Andy’s Mediterranean, too– thank you, Anonymous, for reminding me!– and though it wasn’t bad, I thought it was a bit over-marinated.

  • The Boyfriend

    Loved the gyros. I had never heard of Mythos. I’m thinking my summer should become a quest for the perfect gyro, rather than the perfect burger.

    Maybe I’ll do both.

    And the crepes! These things are going to be available ALL THE TIME at Findlay? We’ll never leave the ‘hood.

  • Julie

    We will not be able to leave my apartment, as we will not be able to fit, what with the gyros and the crepes. Yes, all the time!

  • Anonymous

    Gyros are way better at Dino’s Euro Grille in Blue Ash…just opened last week…hopefully he’ll expand.

    Balboa’s (locally owned and operated) is actually the REAL DEAL…great ingredients from the tenderloin steak, Amorosso rolls and of course you can get it with whiz and onions….the way they do it in Philly…it’s awesome…!!!…) Penn Station, as well as Terry’s taste buds are crap…!!!…have you really spent time in Philly…?…Balboa’s Pizza is also absolutely the best in Cincinnati…and I’ve eaten at almost all of the local/national places around here…I can’t believe anyone eat’s LaRosa’s and/or Donato’s…seriously people

    Crepes…not bad

    Andy’s Med…Very Nice Guy…has a good following…Though, ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA on how to make Kebabs…I’ve also had his falafel sandwich at his restaurant…again…NO IDEA…!!!

    Montgomery Inn…I have now gone there exactly 3 times…just to really give them the benefit of doubt…every time it’s very disappointing…there is much better bbq

    Being a “foodie”, and having moved here about 18 months ago and having lived all over the US and the globe…Cincinnati, literally has very few good restaurants…

    I’ve read some of your reviews…I’ve actually been to 90% of those places and in a nutshell…you and Terry need to really educate your palates and get some clue cards…unreal…!!!…and quit using the word crap…it’s food

  • Julie

    I’m sorry our opinions differ, Anonymous, but I’d respect your comment quite a bit more if your comment wasn’t, you know.. anonymous.

    And there is definitely better barbecue in Cincinnati than Montgomery Inn, and certainly better pizza than LaRosa’s, but every city has its institutions, and it’s hard to get their loyal followers to change– note the lines at the LaRosa’s booth and virtually no line for Balboa’s pizza (which I didn’t try and cannot comment on).

    As far as educating our palates– all people who enjoy food are constantly educating their palates as they travel and learn more. No one knows everything about food, though some are more informed than others. Though my tastes don’t match yours, it doesn’t mean that I am uneducated.

    As far as the word “crap”, I’ll call them like I see them. :)

  • The Phantom

    Ahhh…nothing like someone who has lived and eaten all over the world and thinks that gives them any credibility to offer an opinion. And, quite frankly, I don’t care if you are a master chef or food taster…nothing escuses this kind of borish and rude response to someone who does an excellant job of helping local people figure out the best way to spend an ever shrinking entertainment dollar.

    Julie: keep up the good work.

    Anon: If the food is that bad here…don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  • Anonymous

    I am glad to see a couple of responses to me, Anon…local institutions are great…and I try and support them almost exclusively…

    as for a line at Balboa’s, it was non-stop on the cheesesteak and pizza side on Saturday and Sunday…

    And for the record phantom…I have been fortunate to have lived in many places, and do have culinary skills,,,,,whether it lends itself to cred., I agree with you…to a certain extent…I wasn’t trying to be rude, I just feel that if one is willing to comment poorly, (as I did, to get a reaction, and I did)…you see, when you are exremely sarcastic or negative and continuously use the word “crap”… this could negatively affect local business owners…

    lastly…I didn’t say you were uneducated…just parts of your palate..

  • Julie

    Anon, I respond to all of my comments, as best I can– vitriolic or not. I am very rarely sarcastic or overly negative on this blog, and I can usually find something to like about darn near every restaurant I go to. However, I don’t deal well with subpar ingredients– bread wasn’t fresh, meat wasn’t that great– and am not afraid to say so. Again, I don’t presume to be an expert on philly cheese steak, but I sure seem to have hit a nerve!

    I, too, am a supporter of local business, but if the food isn’t good, I won’t say it is just because they’re local. That’s dishonest.

  • liz

    <3 <3 <3 mythos. my coworkers and i eat there at least a couple times a month. soooo good. i can never get past ordering the gyro, but my vegetarian friend claims the hummus platter is also awesome.

    anonymous, i have only been in cincinnati for about 2 years and have found tons of delicious places (i moved here from NYC so definitely was used to good eats there). i think you should continue your search. there are lots of really great restaurants here… it’s one of my favorite things about cincinnati.

  • Julie

    Liz– I think I had Mythos for the first time at their old Levee location. My friend Charlene used to waitress at their Sixth Street location and insisted I go. Mmmm. Unfortunately, I hadn’t been back since. I’m happy to see they have a location open for dinner hours, since I don’t work downtown.

    And Liz is right– there’s a ton of good eats here. :)

  • The Boyfriend

    Anon,

    I’ll definitely try a Balboa’s cheesesteak sometime during the summer. It’s not easy to get to Balboa’s if one doesn’t work in downtown Cincinnati. They’re open only during lunch hours, Monday through Friday. But I should be able to swing by there sometime during June or July.

    I’m not convinced that most restaurants are able to showcase their best efforts at venues such as Taste of Cincinnati. Some foods keep better in hotel trays than others. Most restaurants are, at the least, forced to cut a few corners for expediency’s sake.

    The problem I have with the cheesesteak I ate at Taste of Cincinnati is fourfold: (1) the sandwich had about half as much meat as what I recall from my time in Philadelphia; (2) ditto with the amount of fried onions; (3) there was no “sauce” option [I always ordered mine in Philadelphia as, “Cheesteak…sauce…fried onions”]; and (4) the bread was stale. It also didn’t help that it was such a small sandwich, and since Julie and I were splitting everything, I had only two bites.

    That was an Amoroso’s roll? I’d be interested to learn how they get the rolls to Cincinnati. I know that frozen Amoroso’s dough can be purchased through some company in Columbus. I did notice that they had a few varieties of Tastykakes available. But of course snack cakes last longer and travel better than sandwich rolls. I started to pick up a Peanut Butter Kandykake, but I didn’t figure it would survive the trip home intact (it’s sort of hard to fight large crowds with a gooey snack cake in one’s hand).

    I spent a lot of time in Philadelphia, including the majority of the summer months, over a four-year period. My favorite cheesesteaks were from Chubby’s and Dalessandro’s, both located on Henry Avenue in Roxborough (across the street from one another, in fact). Chubby’s was probably my favorite…they had good fries, and customers could help themselves to pickles and sweet or hot peppers. I also managed to take the Pat’s vs. Geno’s challenge. No real preference there. What are your Philadelphia favorites?

    In any case, I look forward to trying out a full-sized, produced-in-the-restaurant cheesesteak from Balboa’s.

    Terry (he of the crap-laden taste buds and uneducated palate)

  • Cin Twin1

    I was out of town for The Taste (Chicago trip) but had to comment on Mythos. I have to agree their gyro is the best I have ever had. I don’t know how it is made (is it sausage) or if it is just lamb that has been rotisseried (new word?) but it is fantastic. Unfortunately though, they are only open Friday and Saturday night downtown. Not sure if they have a liquor license or not, so I plan to call today and see if I can BYOB…

  • Julie

    CinTwin, most places use what is essentially a minced lamb/beef meatloaf on a mechanical spit. I couldn’t see what Mythos used, but the texture was similar to other gyros I have had.

    I don’t think Mythos are the best I’ve had– Zorba’s wins that one– but these sure are good. :)

  • TJ Jackson

    The Gyro at Sebastian’s is imho the best in town.

    For downtown, the gyro at Jordan Valley or at Elm Street Diner is far bettter (again imho) than the one at Mythos.

    Balboa’s is a good idea that does not come together well. Very salty, skimpy steaks plus tasteless pizza. The TasteeCakes naturally are fine.

  • Julie

    TJ– I love Sebastian’s, but my only complaint is that their tzatziki is a bit runny. I need to try Jordan Valley.

    I’m also glad that I’m not the only one who didn’t like Balboa’s.

  • Anonymous1

    the boyfriend,
    luckily im hear to stand up for balboas. you cannot judge a resturaunt on just the taste of theyre food from the taste of cincinnati… it is a outside setup, none of the usual equipment and there is so much going on, it is hard to keep your quality up. i think you and julie should stop by the newly open full service balboas on the corner of madison and obryon roads in obryonville. open from 11am-11pm soon to be expanded when they get theyre liquor license. currently it is byob.