Mini-Review: Polo Grille
I can’t call this a full review, because this meal had some special circumstances:
1. It was a vendor lunch. I tromped out into the wilds of Mason with a few coworkers because a vendor invited us. That may have affected the service.
2. It was a limited menu. We had the choice of a starter and an entree off of a custom menu. This also affects service and quality; both are generally better because there’s less that can go wrong.
That said, Polo Grille is owned by the Tavern Restaurant Group, which also runs deSha’s, Nicholson’s, and the Pubs at… restaurants. It bills itself as the “only locally-owned restaurant built on the site of the Cincinnati Polo Club”– which is correct, all the rest of the restaurants in that complex are chains. I like how they used the history of the site to build a concept for the restaurant. This is their least European feeling restaurant: not only is there Cincinnati Polo memorabilia among English polo memorabilia, but the menu is fairly eclectic, though it does have some standards like fish and chips. I very rarely go to this location, though I work in Mason, because I try to leave Mason as soon as possible.
We each had the choice of a starter– soup (tomato bisque) and several salads (chopped, citrus and caesar). Entrees included pistachio cream penne, fish and chips, a club sandwich, a crabcake sandwich, or an entree-sized portion of salad.
I chose the tomato bisque and the citrus salad. The soup, pictured, was interesting– it tasted like a thick vodka sauce, without the brightness that vodka provides. The goat cheese and salsa crostini was a nice touch, but the soup itself was incredibly rich. I suppose that since we’re in tomato season, I expected something lighter, brighter and less heavy. I think I would love it in the winter.
The salad (not pictured, I try not to take pictures at vendor lunches) was very light– perfect for this transitional summer-to-fall period, with a nice, orangey vinaigrette and plenty of fresh fruit and some crunchy peanut brittle.
The service was what impressed me– the wait staff was very good, and generally the food all came out at about the same time; not synchronized, but no one waited very long after anyone else to eat. They were very accommodating with requests for vegetarian food, and when one person wasn’t satisfied with their meal, both the waitress and the manager bent over backwards to make sure the patron was satisfied.
I would definitely recommend Polo Grille for a large-ish, fixed-menu lunch. I intend on trying it again for a full review– if Nicholson’s and deSha’s are any indication, we should be in for a treat.