Review: Local 127 (First Impressions)

The much-ballyhooed replacement restaurant for Jean-Robert at Pigall’s opened this past Tuesday.  I had intended on going on Wednesday (the opening night was booked), but ended up pushing my reservations out until Friday.  I figured that this was for the best– I really don’t tend to like to go to restaurants on opening night, but with all of the hype and build-up, I wanted to try it.

I have to preface this by stating a few things that regular readers of my blog know: I’m a big fan of Jean-Robert.  I loved Pigall’s.  I was last in the building (when it was Pigall’s) on closing night.  I tried very hard as I walked in to try to forget that this used to be Pigall’s, and look at it as something new.  I had hope that the experience at Local 127 would win me over, especially since 5chw4r7z liked his drink experience on opening night.

So on Friday evening, after a pretty bad day, I was looking for a little escape.  We walked to 4th street, and being familiar with the restaurant, walked in towards where the old reception area had been.  I was stopped– rather brusquely– by a man in a suit.  “May I help you?” he asked, in a very unfriendly way– as if I were invading his space and somehow offending him.  “I, uh, was looking for the hostess.  The stand used to be here.”  He pointed towards the door, where we discovered the station  was wedged in an unseen corner.  “It’s over there.  She’ll help you.”  He spun on his heel and walked off.

That was my first impression.

It wasn’t a very good one.

It turns out that the guy in the suit was a Jamie Smith, an adjunct at UNLV and Master Sommelier brought in for the week from Las Vegas.  He later blocked the hostess’ path in leading us to the table with his wine preparation, glanced at us, and continued blocking.  Though the hostess was nice, this first impression of condescension was disturbing.  Cincinnati is not Las Vegas, and Cincinnatians don’t take very well to anything pretentious, and aren’t so fond of rudeness, either.  A friend who was there on Wednesday told me on Sunday that she chatted with him, and he was very brusque, standoffish, and unfriendly when she was asking him about wine and being a sommelier– and she was drinking wine.  This is really not a good practice.  I didn’t order wine.

Our reservation was at 8 PM– and we were one of four tables filled at this point in the evening, which shocked me.  There aren’t a lot of tables– maybe 15-20– and the space isn’t used very well, and hasn’t been modified much since its Pigall’s days. The chandeliers are wrapped in white cloth and string, which makes the space look incomplete or unfinished.  The surroundings are very fine-dining– but the servers are all in Levi’s, Chuck Taylors, and button-down shirts.  It’s a very odd vibe– I don’t think I liked it.

Our server, Chris, was very knowledgeable and friendly, and paced the meal to fit with the restaurant’s standards– which are supposed to be leisurely, but end up feeling slow.  They want you to linger over small plates, socialize– but it doesn’t come off as lingering, but instead as if you’re forgotten.  I like to take my time with a meal, but this pace felt uncomfortable.

They purify the water on premises and offer still or sparkling, which is presented before they take your drink order, which comes before you get your menu.  If drink orders and menus came earlier, the pacing would have felt more leisurely, but instead, Terry and I felt as if we were staring at each other with nothing to do except make doe-eyes at each other.

Chris explained the concept of the restaurant, touted both at the restaurant and in their press materials as “revolutionary” in that it is “farm to table”.  This is where that word “condescension” comes in again.  The idea that “farm to table” cooking is new to Cincinnati, and that the Relish Group brought a chef in from Vegas to enlighten Cincinnati is laughable.  Farm to table has been done here quite well by Slim’s, Honey, Nectar, and many other restaurants and chefs in Cincinnati for years.  Many chefs have their own gardens, shop at farmer’s markets, or have relationships with farmers.  This is nothing new.  There were several dishes that were described to use as “_____ like you’ve never had before”, but in reality, were terribly pedestrian.  Do they think that diners in Cincinnati have never had local foods before?  More on this later.

As far as the menu, it is separated into several sections– charcuterie and other cured products, including pickles; small plates, small or large plates, large plates and sweets.  It also lists the farms they use (including favorites like Neltner’s, and Snowville Creamery), local purveyors (Colonel DeRay’s and Coffee Break), and their inspirations (James Beard and Grandma).  We decided to skip the large plates, and instead try a bunch of their smaller plates. We started out with a charcuterie sampler.  The sampler, all of which is house-made, was easily the best part of the meal.  I particularly liked the Smoked Trout with Pickled Corn– the corn was sweet, the trout deliciously smokey, with just a hint of vinegar.  The other selections on the plate were Hot Copa and spiced pears (the Copa was not hot, but the spiced pears were delicious), 127 Terrine with Pickled Green Beans (a perfect terrine, unctuous with a hint of nutmeg, tricking the tongue into thinking it was sweet.  It could have used more than just a tiny bit of the vinegar-y green beans– and I told the server this, as he said “the chef wants feedback– that’s why the kitchen is open to the public!”  I declined a tour and instead suggested more green beans) and Aged Mt. Ham with Watermelon Pickles, which were also delicious.  This is obviously the kitchen’s specialty and passion– all four were superb.  They were served with two slices of nicely toasted foccacia.

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Our next round of dishes came out shortly thereafter.  We ordered three dishes off of the “Small” and “Small/Large” sections.  First, a small order of the “creamy rice”– since everything in the restaurant is supposed to be American (no mind that Levi’s and Chucks are now made off of American soil), they can’t call risotto what it is.  Creamy rice just sounds off to me– particularly since they referred to another dish as “Prosciutto-style”.  America is a melting pot, right?  It would be nice to reflect that, or at least accurately describe dishes.  This was a classic risotto, with shiitake and cremini Rainbow Oyster mushrooms.  It was creamy and very nice, but not spectacular.

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We also had the much-touted potato skins, described as containing crispy pork, green onions and sour cream.  Polly Campbell, on her blog, hoped that they were “something different than the descrip”, and Chris insisted that they were “out of this world” and “unlike any potato skin you’d ever had”. I’m wondering if that was something management told him to say– assuming that everyone around here had only had potato skins at TGI Friday’s.  They were certainly good– small new potatoes, hollowed out and crispy, but otherwise exactly as described.  I’m not sure what I expected– I mean, they’re potato skins– but I had certainly hoped they’d be more creative.  “Crispy pork” was just bacon.  Good, yes, but not amazing.

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The third and final savory dish was a plate of roasted beets, goat cheese, some of the same ham from the charcuterie plate before, and a wine syrup, which tasted mostly of honey.  I love beets, so I enjoyed the dish– and I think its success is due to its simplicity.

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We saved room for dessert, passing up the “Kentucky Bourbon Sunday [sic]” and going for the “out of this world” chocolate cake, described as being made with Scharffen Berger The cake was not nearly as rich and dense as I expected– I loved that it had crispy edges, but was disappointed with the chocolate content.  The fortified wine was a nice touch– but it needed something to take it to the next level of “amazing” or even “I’d order it again”.

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The chef, Steven Geddes, walked around to each table and inquired as to the food– except for ours.  I don’t think he knew that we were waiting for our check, and not just arrived at the restaurant.  He did, once he saw us signing our checks, drop off two tiny chocolate chip cookies– crispy on the outside, warm and melty on the inside– which was a very nice touch and should be on the menu as a dessert in a larger form.  What’s more American than chocolate chip cookies and some sort of play on milk? It was far more chocolatey than our dessert.

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Overall, the food ranged from really good (charcuterie) to disappointing (potato skins), with the rest being just average.  The service ranged from great (our server, Chris) to abysmal (the sommelier).  The sum of the experience is awkward, self-congratulating (we’re educating these know-nothing Midwesterners!), but with potential.  It’s like it skipped from restaurant infancy right to the awkward teenage years, where they know everything and are always right.

I will revisit– again, I don’t think it’s fair to write the restaurant off on one visit so early in its existence.  I do hope that, since they say they really care about what their customers think,  they will take the feedback they get into consideration and make improvements.

And skip the Chucks.  Cute idea, but those shoes have no arch support.  Can you imagine that people actually played basketball in them?  I’m sure your servers are suffering!

Local 127  on Urbanspoon

  • Micah

    I just want to say that this forum of comments has been one of the most enjoyable moments of 2009 for me. Beyond all of the mud-slinging and curiously crafted and might I say, some generally well-written comments, there is a common positive message that should not be ignored: everyone on here loves food and wants the greater Cincinnati food scene to thrive. Bravo for food, arts and culture in Cincinnati. So cheers to all and to all a good night!

  • Micah

    I just want to say that this forum of comments has been one of the most enjoyable moments of 2009 for me, I’ve been following them like a hawk. Beyond all of the mud-slinging and curiously crafted and might I say, some generally well-written comments, there is a common positive message that should not be ignored: everyone on here loves food and wants the greater Cincinnati food scene to thrive. Bravo for food, arts and culture in Cincinnati. So cheers to all and to all a good night!

  • F&B Lifer

    I think Jonathan Quail Higgins is an illiterate that can not even spell Vintner and it is a good thing you are starving from curry overdose!

  • F&B Lifer

    P.S Tell Magnum P.I. His shirts are much better than your ignorant comments!!!!!

  • Jobe Fathman

    I have been a reader of WMDM practically since it began and have read every single one of Julie’s posts. I rarely, maybe once, have commented. I wanted to say though that anyone who is criticizing Julie has absolutely no idea what they are talking about. She is the most ethical and honest reviewer/blogger I have found and I read A LOT of foodie blogs. If you have not read her full body of work, you really cannot comment with any credibility. Even if my personal tastes do not coincide with hers, I do not think less of her as a blogger/person and would never criticize her for enjoying her hobby and taking the time to share it with all of us. All of you who made the rude, mean-spirited, or threatening comments…be ashamed of yourself…grow up and act like an adult.

    Julie, I immensely enjoy reading your blog and I sincerely thank you for opening my eyes to what Cincinnati has to offer a foodie like me. You do an outstanding job and I commend your graciousness in replying to the comments on this post.

  • CincyCapell

    “good thing you are starving from curry overdose”

    Possibly the most nonsensical comment on WMDM ever. How does one starve from a curry overdose?

    • F&B Lifer

      Whatever Anne….. With the position you hold at your day job (night job being mindless instigator) you probably should not be such a constant #$%^ stirrer. Not so good for business!

      • CincyCapell

        Who the hell is Anne? And if my night job was being mindless instigator, wouldn’t being a constant #$%^ stirrer be good for my business?? F&B is a constant stream of non sequiturs.

        I still want to know how one starves from a curry overdose, btw.

      • Orville “Rick” Wright

        Poor Martin never was a rapier sword wit, was he? Hey Marty, you should stick to doing what you do best: spending you wife’s money and mismanaging mediocre restaurants.

        • http://www.drewvogel.com Drew Vogel

          In Martin’s defense, he also mismanaged Pigall’s, which was an EXCELLENT restaurant.
          .-= Drew Vogel´s last blog ..Awesome Graph of Operating Systems =-.

  • Sara

    I read this after hearing about the ‘much ballyhooed’ thread of comments erupting on this website, and I have to say I’m a little offended. It seems to me that the writer is almost self conscious about our city. By assuming that these Vegas men came here only to educate Cincinnatians in the pretentious way mentioned, leaves me feeling that deep down under indignation the author feels the same. It is obvious to anyone who reads this that you walked in to 127 with preconceptions, and nitpicked your way to a sensationalist review.

    • http://winemedinemecincinnati.com julie

      Of course I walked in with preconceptions– everyone does. I think we established that earlier in the thread. I’m definitely not self-conscious about our city, but instead fiercely proud of it and its food scene– otherwise I wouldn’t write this blog, would I?

      The review is far from sensationalist, and in fact, most people who’ve emailed or talked with me have said it was fairly middle-of-the-road. I apparently just touched on a few nerves. It happens.

    • CincyCapell

      Sara-res ipsa loquitor. The guy’s behavior speaks for itself. He’s a schmuck.

    • Anna

      Couldn’t agree more. Very well said Sara.

  • http://www.amyinohio.com Amy in OHio

    This is so Sharks vs. Jets
    .-= Amy in OHio´s last blog ..Walk…if you dare =-.

  • first dude

    i hope this trauma is over. here is the real story… Mr and Mrs Wade are a team who use their assets and skill to help keep cincinnati from a fate like Detroit or other dying midwestern cities. if not for mr wade, mrs wade may have chosen to leave cincinnati and grace more refined cities like palm beach or san diego.
    Regardless, this new venture is brave, and i am certain that your comments have left scars on their hearts.
    I encourage everyone to go to the local 127 and the new bar next door to see how freeing and fun the new place is. dont kill our golden goose.

    • CincyCapell

      Yea right Martin. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out of town. You’re Persona non grata here. And half of your restaurants are in Covington, Kentucky by the way, not Cincinnati.

    • CincyCapell

      And spare us all your martyr complex Martin.

      • Brett Davis

        So Cincy, why don’t you reveal your true identity? You seem have a large number of strong opinions about the ethics and practices of others but share them with this board behind the safe wall of anonymity. Try putting your real identity and reputation on the table like others on this site and take ownership of all the insults and accusations you throw around. Until you have the courage to do that, your views have zero validity.

        That being said, I am not attacking anything you say just the way you go about it. I suggest you go back and read all your posts and think about if you would use the same language and tone in person in front of your peers. Or better yet, if you have children, imagine your reaction if you heard your child speak that way to someone else. Not so pretty is it? Is it not possible get your point across without being so inflammatory and acerbic?

        Come out of the darkness and stop being a troll. Really, it’s safe in the light of public scrutiny if you are honorable.

        • CincyCapell

          Oh Brett, you do bleat so bitterly don’t you.

          • Mac McReynolds

            Pay Brett no attention, he’s just a tad upset that he spent all of that time & money sitting for the MS and now he’s earning less money than Scrooge payed Bob Cratchit. That’s the thing with these MS’s, they can (and do) go on about acidity levels of Gruner veltliner, silex subsoils and such, buy not one of them can sell. Brett, I sell more wine to TPS in a month than you sell to your entire account base in a whole year. I can sell wine, and do so. Hear that sound? That’s the sound of coin in my pocket me boy, and there’s a lot of it too. How long before you become yet another over educated ‘private consultant’?

            You do know that all of those MW’s look down their long noses at you, right? Clive Coates, Michael Broadbent and Serena Sutcliffe are all laughing at you.

  • F&B Lifer

    CincyCapell,
    Apparently you love a good conspiracy theory because according to you there are at least 12 of these people parading as Martin. Get a grip and realise most people have more important things to do with their time than you do!!!!! Bitter Betty smile before you eat your sour grapes.

    • CincyCapell

      Obviously F&B doesn’t have anything better to do. Before I eat those grapes and give you a “Bitter Betty smile”, whatever the fuck that means, how ’bout you tell all of us how a person starves to death from a curry overdose? I’m in earnest, I would really like to understand the meaning of one of your non sequitur harangues.

    • Theodore Calvin

      Marty is in fact a “Food & Beverage Lifer”. Really. He’s been eating & drinking his whole life. When it comes to the restaurant biz? Not so much. Marty is more gourmand than gourmet.

  • F&B Lifer

    I am sure your reply will faux witty

    • CincyCapell

      That’s gold, Jerry! Gold!!

      • Theodore Calvin

        Banyon!

        Pwned!!

  • Please Flame Me

    First off I’m not Martin. I wish I knew who CincyCapell really was so I could choose not to do business with them because they are such a huge dick. Hopefully the moderator will block their future posts. The CincyCapell deathwatch is on!

  • Jobe Fathman

    Uh-oh, Polly Campbell just posted her review at Enquirer.com….all you haters better hurry up and get over there with your rude and snarky comments, you don’t want to be late! ;)

  • F&B Lifer

    Brett I do not know you but do not take BITTER BETTY to serious. She obviously likes to impress all with her vast vocabulary yet loses control and drops the F bomb like an angry streetwalker. She is just jealous of your credentials and having one of the most refined beverage palates in the world. P.S. Mac I did some research and found out that the original examiners for the MS exam were all MW’s and Serena along with many others have covered the exam and title with the honor and respect it deserves. Choke on your over oaked PH driven dreck Mack!!!

    • Higgybaby

      Oh Brett, your lack of humility is hi-larious! If you could have passed the MW you would have sat for it. But you can’t, can you? You settled for 2nd best. Your palate may be fine, even ONE OF THE BESTEST IN TEH WORLDS! but you still can’t sell to save your life. That’s why the guy’s with the biggest corkscrews get the biggest accounts, and my screwpull is a hell of a lot bigger than yours. You can’t even afford to buy the wines that you sell! Thank goodness for squandered samples, eh? Have fun kissing Marty’s fat ass. I hope that you enjoy the taste that it leaves in your mouth. At least Schildknecht landed that cushy gig with Parker. You don’t even have that going for yourself. “Independent Wine Consultant” is your future. and poverty. Here’s the real gulling part: you are going to see me within the next week and you won’t even know who I am. But I’ll be laughing at you Brett. look for the smirking salesman. I’m off for another Calvados.

      Thanks for revealing your identity, sucker.

    • Higgybaby

      Oh Brett, your lack of humility is hi-larious! If you could have passed the MW you would have sat for it. But you can’t, can you? You settled for 2nd best. Your palate may be fine, even ONE OF TEH BESTEST IN TEH WORLDS! but you still can’t sell to save your life. That’s why the guy’s with the biggest corkscrews get the biggest accounts, and my screwpull is a hell of a lot bigger than yours. You can’t even afford to buy the wines that you sell! Thank goodness for squandered samples, eh? Have fun kissing Marty’s fat ass. I hope that you enjoy the taste that it leaves in your mouth. At least Schildknecht landed that cushy gig with Parker. You don’t even have that going for yourself. “Independent Wine Consultant” is your future. and poverty. Here’s the real gulling part: you are going to see me within the next week and you won’t even know who I am. But I’ll be laughing at you Brett. look for the smirking salesman. I’m off for another Calvados.

      Thanks for revealing your identity, sucker.

  • F&B Lifer

    Come on Higgins another fake name based on Magnum PI. You probaly do not even know what Calavados is just like you really have no idea who you are as a person or sudo-professional(lost in space). I am guessing you could not taste your way out of a wet paper bag and any time you wish I have a thousand dollars on myself to crush you in a professional tasting ( and I do not even drink). I would even bet that cash on Brett and have never even met him but at least he has the sack to post as himself….. Mr Higgiless Vag+na
    .

  • Father Paddy McGuiness

    You caught me. I just randomly made up the word ‘calvados’. Guess it’s lucky for me that it happened to actually be something real!!

    What? Go head to head with TEH BESTEST PALATE IN TEH WORLDS?? Oh heavens no, I would have to bow to your bestest palate, oh wise Wine Stewart!! No Brett, how about a sell off. One day. Let’s see who sells more wine. I’ll even give you a handicap; For myself I will only count bottles that wholesale for more than $30. You can sell two buck chuck if you want. Hell, we can have a sell off with just category; cru classé Bordeaux; classified Burgundy; Oregon Pinot; Northern Rhone; etc etc etc. You name it, Wine Stewart, I’ll wipe the floor with you.

    And was “sudo-professional” supposed to mean ‘pseudoprofessional’ per chance? Can’t the Wine Stewart With TEH BESTEST PALATE IN TEH WORLDS spell??

    Your a buffoon Brett.

  • http://winemedinemecincinnati.com julie

    Guys? Seriously? This has gone further than it needs to– can we get back on topic?

  • F&B Lifer

    Julie is right paddy Mac what’s your name go sell and stir up your wine angst elswhere. P.S. my name is not Brett. He uses his real name and I only use one screen name unlike you who must hide in the shadows…..Must be SHY.

    • Buck Greene

      Oh yea, he’s Brett.

  • Mary B.

    I guess I’m late to this party. Here’s the thing – Julie is obviously free to comment on and blog about whatever she likes. I take exception with what I believe to be irresponsible restaurant reviewing. This may not be so important when she’s reviewing a place like Five Guys or Fatburger, which I think she’s pretty good at. But, when one is reviewing fine or semi-fine dining restauarant, at least two visits should be made to the restaurant prior to a review being published. Now, I know. Julie isn’t a paid reviewer. I get that. But as a local blogger with a decent readership, it seems important to be sure you are posting an accurate and relatively fair review.

    Also, given Julie’s unabashed (and well placed) admiration for Jean Robert, it seems it would be hard for her to write an unbiased review of a Wade restaurant. She is only human.

    The blogging world is small. Julie likes to be inflammatory. Sometimes that works, sometimes it does not. The blogoshphere is much larger than this city – as we all found out at BlogHer this summer.

    • http://winemedinemecincinnati.com julie

      I am hardly inflammatory– but I do speak my mind. That’s why I have a blog. That said, I disclosed that I had only been there once, called it “First Impressions”, and promised to return again. Though the review was not glowing, I liked quite a few things about both the service and the food. If you have issue with this, you might also check out the Enquirer’s “First Impressions”-style review. Polly Campbell is doing the same thing I did– try it out, see what the buzz is about, and return for another review later.

      I am well aware that the blogosphere extends outside Cincinnati. Thank goodness.

    • http://amyinohio.com Amy in OHio

      I totally disagree with the assertion that one needs to make multiple trips to form a valid opinion.
      .-= Amy in OHio´s last blog ..Last Chance for Disney on Ice TONIGHT! =-.

  • CincyCapell

    One wonders if Mary has a dog in this fight?

  • Mary B.

    that’s hilarious. mary certainly has no dog in this race. but i stand by my assertion. if you follow any of the well known food writers/critics, professionalism dictates that more than one visit be made to a restaurant prior to reviewing. granted, these folks are usually on a payroll, which WMDM is not. however, check the work of ruth reichl, bryan miller, read MFK fisher. one needs to have a broad and well balanced approach. and when one walks in, spends sn evening, and writes a review, it is unbalanced. it could be a bad day at work, a fight with the boyfriend, a deadline that wasn’t met. it could be as server who has family issues, a bar tender who can’t make the rent, or a sous chef who had a bad day. we’re all human. i’m afraid julie gives off the vibe of sharpening that pen to see what kind of impact she can make.

    regardless, give a place a chance. don’t review the fast-ish food places. review local, non chains. but be aware of the following you have and use that power wisely. it’s heady stuff. you’re young. do it well. be wise.

    • http://www.amyinohio.com Amy in OHio

      Mary I’ll assert that Julie’s voice here is one that is trusted by many – whether she has dined at an establishment one or one-hundred times, she is usually spot on and generally when she says she likes something (or dislikes something as the case may be), I can trust that I will most likely have the same response.

      Consumers (Julie’s audience by the way) don’t take into consideration trouble with boyfriends or bad nights – especially when they are paying top dollar. I have a terrible experience at Micky D’s, it is likely that their mega-corporation is bound to see me again. I have a terrible experience when I’m paying a substantial portion of my weekly salary for said experience, they are not likely to see me again.

      And it should be stated here that Consumers are not looking for fine dining at every turn, that is why I appreciate that Julie goes to all the offerings Cincinnati has as that is HOW MOST OF US EAT. Mary being the possible exception here I guess.

      Whether you agree or disagree with her methodology is irrelevant to me as 1) a consumer in the Cincinnati market and 2) as a longtime reader of Julie’s reviews. I need not check the myriad reviewers you list here, though I appreciate the vast name dropping. I still choose Julie – her reviews, her voice and her ways.

      Perhaps all this is just too heady for little old me?

  • http://crankybear.posterous.com Tom Streeter

    Did anyone notice that the name of the article had the term “first impressions” in it? How can you report on your first impressions after a second visit? I never read this as Julie’s definitive-and-for-all-time review of Local 127. I think my clue was that the text of the post actually included the words

    “I will revisit– again, I don’t think it’s fair to write the restaurant off on one visit so early in its existence. I do hope that, since they say they really care about what their customers think, they will take the feedback they get into consideration and make improvements.” (My emphasis)

    I think I’m going to write a comment plug-in that requires one to pass a short reading-and-comprehension test prior to leaving a comment.
    .-= Tom Streeter´s last blog ..Joe Sixpack: A better grasp of beer through chemistry | Philadelphia Daily News | 09/25/2009 =-.

  • Kathryn Whittington

    Some pretty strange postings in response to Julie’s great initial review. I find it, as usual, honest and unpretentious.
    As for some of these troll type and off topic postings. Get your own blog. And use your own name–aren’t you proud enough of what you say to claim it?
    Good going, Julie.

  • http://gourmetorgourmand.blogspot.com Lesley

    Wow Julie, I just read this for the first time and I find it to be rather fair. You call a spade a spade. If you liked something you praised it, if something fell flat you said so. How in the world is that “inflammatory”? People are nuts.

    I once reviewed Bronte Bistro and gave it a rather poor yet humorous review. I was flamed by a worker there. It was kind of funny, because her anger was indicative of the attitude I got at the place.

    Anyway, great review. I will possibly try this place one day, but now that J-R is opening something new I will hopefully go there first!!

    • http://winemedinemecincinnati.com julie

      Thanks, Lesley. That’s what I thought too. I’m not sure how “the charcuterie was excellent!” is inflammatory.

  • LiveFarAwayVisitOften

    I have followed this story for awhile and frankly have been amazed by it. A restaurant review is one thing, the personal attacks are very odd. Some nights are good, some nights are different, and some nights at a restaurant are bad and off. Making this so personal does not promote downtown Cincinnati and making restaurants provide better and better food and service.

    I used to be a frequent visitor of Cincinnati and now am a visitor only on occasion. I must say that I very much look forward to visting again and especially visiting this new restaurant. I will spend and enjoy. I am grateful that it is there and look forward to the dishes to dream about.

    I have known M&M Wade and Jean Robert. The funny thing to me in this whole string of ranting is that those of us who live elsewhere, but come in and out of your beautiful sweet city, are amazed that folks get all hyped up in the stories, that they don’t really know and can’t really appreciate the complicated efforts and stories behind the food on the dish and drink in front of each of us.

    The Cincinnati area is so fortunate to have what it has, especially in the hotel/motel industry, and it would be nice if you could do all you can to encourage them to continue in whatever endeavor they are interested in rather than continue in an attitude of “who is to blame.”

    Jean Robert is incredible with food and is an excellent chef, but at the same time has a huge personality and ego, and is terrible at running a restaurant and any other business, because, sorry, but they need to turn a profit and be accountable for the bottom line. He focuses on being an artist, not breaking even or a bottom line. I work in the hotel/motel industry and it is not a “subsidized” industry or a “bail-out” industry. He is very talented and known is certain circles, but it is better that he works for an organization that can pay him a steady paycheck for being an artist, rather than a business man.

    I would suspect that M&M sunk millions into a vision, with JR being at the mast head as an artist, in the belief that it would eventually do well, ie., help stabilize the inner city and maybe, maybe, turn a profit. I would imagine that they “ate” the losses no matter what the bloggers say. I wish the city that I live in had anyone, who would sink millions to subsidize food artists, or any other artists, for that matter, so that the inner city could be stabilized and provide a thriving destination.

    I have eaten at all the M&M restaurants over the years, as well as many others in the Cincinnati area; I have eaten not only the JR menus, but the other chefs in the group. One of the best nights of my family life has been with JR and with his menu. It was gorgeous, sweet and fun. Other best nights were spent at other local restaurants…..As sentimental as that may be, I know that JR/M&M restaurant took a loss on my family those nights. It may only be food. It may only be a place in time. Yet, it is a gift.

    I look forward to eating (and drinking) at this new restaurant and all the others that Cincinnati has to offer in the downtown area when I visit next. These places are the spark, the vibrancy and the glue that keeps the downtown from slipping further in these difficult times. Lets celebrate and participate in them all!

  • Cincylover

    Thought I would share if noone saw it on Pollys blog- Local 127 (and chalk food+wine, JeanRo Bistro, Lavomatic) are all giving US Military veterans free dinner all next week (Veterans Day is on Wednesday).

    Check it out

    http://www.relishrestaurantgroup.com/Veterans%20Apprecitation

  • MissCinciFood!

    I for one have been to 3, only 3, of the Wade’s restaurants. The food I absolutely loved, the atmosphere in one and only one, I did not care for. The Master Sommelier, Mr. Smith, sounds like someone that I would not enjoy speaking with, let alone getting possible pretentious advice about wine. I for one, don’t care for that type of behavior and I hope that as a rule of thumb, this person does not do this as a habit. I know a little bit about the Chef and some of the history in the restaurants, not a pundit, but do know enough to know that “LiveFarAwayVisitOften” is correct. Being a fabulous chef which to me, IS an artist, and running a successful restaurant are 2 dif’t things. Martin and Marilyn Wade aren’t in this business to subsidize Mr. Robert’s lifestyle and career. They are there to make money. They took MAJOR hits in the pants for several years and worked extremely hard to make it work. It didn’t and wasn’t. It’s that simple. I would love to see how many of you guys would continue to subsidize someone else’s career while you were taking a financial loss. It’s called business. Mr. Robert’s is a professional and truly gifted food artist. Let’s watch him start another restaurant on his own, in Cinci and make it thrive on his own with his own financial backing. Then if he doesn’t make the ink black, well then he can continue to foot his own bill if that’s what he chooses. But the Wade’s action was business, as every decision should be. I’d love to be on someone’s payroll even though the company’s not making a profit. Wait, capitalism doesn’t work that way, I forgot.

    This isn’t rocket science people. Don’t try to make more of it than it is.

  • furtail

    Unlike Julie, I can never, ever, frequent a Wade-own establishment. As for the Wades taking “huge hits” on Jean-Robert’s “lifesytle” and “ego” you need only read the court documents suing the Wades for illegally taking tip money and redistributing it. It’s class-action now in Federal court. Also, in 2008, Pigall’s lost only $4000 for the WHOLE YEAR as the tax returns indicate, not the huge sums that Wade initially claim. Before you believe Wade, check the facts.

    JR may have a huge ego, I don’t happen to think so. Is he talented? Yes, immensely. But there are dozens of people who know how Wade operates, and it’s not a pretty sight. The chefs and staff who work for the Wades are probably good and talented, but it is really too bad that they are working for a known crook.

    • http://winemedinemecincinnati.com julie

      Oh, I definitely don’t frequent them.

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  • http://twitter.com/JoeKikta Joe Kikta

    If you don’t have something constructive to add, please refrain from commenting. It does no good to resort to name-calling and you don’t even have the guts to use your real name. If you won’t put your name to something then maybe you shouldn’t say it.

    I’m recommending you require some sort of registered id, like through Disqus, be used, if you want to comment on this blog. Maybe that would help keep the comments civilized.
    .-= Joe Kikta´s last blog ..JoeKikta: @EthanJaynes I’ll keep you updated via Twitter on OSU-Indiana for the first half. You can catch the 2nd half after work….:) =-.

  • http://winemedinemecincinnati.com julie

    That’s weird, that comment didn’t come through on email for me to spam it. Taken care of– and looking into Disqus.