Review: Take The Cake

Take the Cake opened its new location in Northside quite recently.  Formerly on Main Street, and then a little further down Hamilton, Take the Cake is known for– what else– cakes.  With the opening of the new location,  Doug Faulkner and Melissa Mileto are expanding their business into a “chalkboard”-style cafe that features house-made lunches every day.

Now, writing about Take the Cake is like writing about Slim’s– I can write all I want about what I had, but I can’t guarantee that the menu will be the same when you go.  There are a few standards:  Doug’s biscuits (which are as good as your grandma’s, I assure you), his partner, James’ barbecue (which isn’t offered nearly enough).  There are always vegetarian options, including salads– and, of course, their delicious desserts.

Full disclosure: Doug’s partner, James Heller-Jackson, is a good friend of mine, and he invited me over for lunch on a couple of occasions to discuss a project we’re working on together.  I picked a few of my favorites (in the hopes that perhaps they’ll come back, if I ask nicely enough…):

Chicken salad: This had a light, roasted red pepper aioli as a dressing, with some cold haricot verts over a green salad and fresh salsa.  Easily the best chicken salad I’ve had (that wasn’t my own).

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Pierogi:  Well, they’re sort of pierogi. These are more like potato ravioli, topped with a garlicky cream sauce and roasted red peppers– an homage to pierogi, but much lighter.  The best part were the caramelized onions on top– a friend who was eating this with me, and a vegetarian, really liked this, as it was vegetarian without being a salad.  We fought over the asparagus, which was tender-crisp.

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Sticky chicken:  This was, to steal a tagline from another kind of chicken, finger-licking good.  The honey-based sauce wasn’t too sweet, and was a beautiful complement to the cold vegetable salad topped with blue cheese.  Were I not in the middle of the restaurant, I’d have licked my fingers, plate, chewed on the bones… it was really quite tasty.

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Blackberry Jam Spice Cake:  Yum! Cream chees frosting, salted caramel, and a blackberry-infused spice cake.  This is one of my favorite cakes that TTC makes; I would love to see it filled with blackberry jam (but I’m a big jam fan).

3520111541_71fe8f5ed6_b I’d really like to try their Vietnamese hoagie (banh mi) and James’ barbecue (which he just raves about, and so does everyone else!), but since it’s in Northside, and I’m in Mason, I only get the chance to visit on Saturday. The best part about Take the Cake?  Fresh ingredients, prepared in an approachable, yet inventive way.  They cook the way I cook– but I don’t have to dirty up my kitchen.  TTC is open Tuesday-Saturday for lunch, and you can check them out on Facebook for daily updates of their chalkboard menu.

Take the Cake on Urbanspoon

  • http://5chw4r7z.com 5chw4r7z

    I can vouch for the biscuits, as good as moms!
    Cool place to hang out, I want to try it again, next time minus the hangover.

  • http://tiarabooks.blogspot.com Marla

    Cannot. Stop. Looking. I want those pierogi and that cupcake NOW.

  • http://getinmahbelly.blogspot.com liz

    wait, they do banh mi???

  • Sara

    Love, love, love Take the Cake. And my husband and I had the blackberry jam spice cake with cream cheese frosting as our wedding cake last October. (Though Melissa claimed she doesn’t normally top it with cream cheese frosting and did so for our cake as a favor, I think. She said she usually just uses buttercream.)

  • Dan

    It’s awesomely priced, too, and it’s great fun to eat while watching them whip up their various goodies in the open kitchen. They do events, too – my boyfriend and I are having our wedding reception there in the fall!

  • http://www.katesrandommusings.com Kate

    WOW. I have really enjoyed getting to “know” James via twitter and always like his daily menu announcement. The food looks fantastic and further amplifies my burning desire to get to Northside for a bite of this culinary goodness!!!

    That said, I did a triple take when reading this review because when I see TTC I have a Pavlovian reaction eliciting thoughts of massive burgers, special fancy sauces and a racy, randy owner/bartender/server who has an affinity for neon lights ;)

    Looking forward to checking the veggie-friendly TTC…

  • http://winemedinemecincinnati.com julie

    Kate, TTC is veggie friendly! They have what I hear is a really good portabello burger. Perhaps TTC can be Terry’s Turf Club, and TtC can be Take the Cake? :)

  • Jonni Lynch

    How exciting! All my cakes for special occassions have come from Take the Cake (wedding, 30th birthday, anniversary, etc…) but I’ve been out of the loop for a bit with the little one so this excites me beyond belief! I’m thrilled–I looooove their cakes, and now I have another place to eat!

  • diggy

    i LOVE all of their cupcakes, but can you please work your magic and put a bug in their ear about staying open later during the week? I’d love to meet girlfriends there for dinner on a weeknight since weekends are always so hectic!

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