Restaurants & Reservations: Dining in Cincinnati

What happens when a rabbi and a lawyer walk into a bar? We'll let you know in a few years, but until then we'll do our best to share with you our favorite (and not-so-favorite) Cincinnati restaurants and hope you'll share some with us, too!

Eat at Melt. It is great.

Melt4165 Hamilton Avenue • Cincinnati, OH 45223 • (513) 681-MELT

His Take

Well a certain someone couldn't wait just a little longer for me to get back into town to try a new place, but I suppose I can't blame her for not making our readers wait any longer. I will say this much, though: I received a text message the other day that read: "I've had 2 bites. This place is fantastic!..." And with that, I'll leave you to the good stuff...
Her Take

Several people had independently recommended Melt to me, so when I needed food mid-paper-writing, I decided to take their advice and explore the Northside. First, I couldn’t believe how close it was. On a map, it looked to me like Northside was pretty far away, but once I got into my car, I discovered it was only about five minutes from Clifton, up Ludlow. There was plenty of parking, which always makes me more excited about a new restaurant.

Once inside, I had to apologize to the person behind the desk at least twice, because I felt like I was taking so long to decide. There are so many choices!! As someone who usually eats vegetarian, I’m used to having only one or two choices for a good sandwich. A good half of their extensive sandwich, soup, and salad menu was vegetarian—and creative—and a number of those were vegan as well. I settled on the Artichoke Melt: spinach-artichoke spread, tomato, and white cheddar on focaccia. All sandwiches come with a side: sun chips, mixed greens, or ginger rainbow slaw. I decided to go boring with the mixed greens, but with an intresting sounding maple vinaigrette. (Yes, my threshold for interesting is lower during reading week.)

Everything was amazing. I was sort of amazed that this cute little café served such a delicious sandwich—and that I had never thought to use spinach-artichoke dip as a spread on a sandwich! I was sitting by myself, which is more conducive to paper writing, but the tables were close together. At the table next to me, I overheard the comment, “we should come here more often. It’s delicious!” I couldn’t agree more.

The restaurant has 6-8 tables up front that you see when you first walk in. There is more seating in the back of the restaurant, and scattered throughout are shelves of books, magazines, and cookbooks. Just beyond the back room is a door to a back patio, featuring one of my favorite things about outdoor café seating: a no smoking sign.

A couple of hours (and several pages of essay writing) later, I decided it was snack time, and I had one of their giant (!) vegan chocolate chip cookies. I was a little nervous—vegan cookies cannot use regular eggs or chocolate chips, but I was pleasantly surprised. The chocolate chips were dark chocolate, which I generally prefer anyway, the egg substitute was not noticeable, and the whole wheat flour gave them an interesting taste. I am a bit picky about my chocolate chip cookies, but I was impressed! They were soft and yummy, and most importantly with more hours of paper writing to come, they were big, so it lasted for a while.

There were so many other things on the menu I want to try, a coffee shop a couple of doors away that looked enticing, and probably more to explore, so I will certainly be returning to Northside and to Melt. Great recommendation!

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