On Friday I joined some of the super awesome ladies I work with for dinner at Brio to celebrate our co-worker, Rachel, getting married in a few weeks. (She’s getting married at Paul Brown stadium, which is pretty nifty)
Christi (left) and Rachel, the guest of honor
I of course, brought the camera, and everyone was very patient with my special need to take pictures of all the food.
Most of us had engaged in a small lunch on purpose, so we were all starving by the time they brought out the bread--sourdough and flatbread--with oil for dipping and pats of butter. I stayed away from the sourdough because the outside is very tough and my teeth are not, but the flat bread was delicious. We also got some sort of pizza with cheese and tomatoes, and I really liked that. It was very crispy and cheesy.
When it came time to order drinks, I started with a Bellini Martini. ($7.95) It doesn’t look very impressive, but with peach pucker, level vodka and a little champagne, it was very tasty. (though for the record, the best peach martinis are at the below zero lounge in OTR)
Many people got glasses of Riesling, and I finally succumbed and tried one myself. It was pretty good. ($6.95 a glass) I also tried the Italian wedding cake martini, (also $7.95) which tasted like pineapple upside down cake, with vodka, amaretto, and pineapple juice.
I ordered the sausage bruschetta, ($10.95) and my friend Johanna ordered the salad wedge and the whole roasted chicken ($18.00)Here’s her showing her anticipation:
my boss has many skills, including making chickens out of napkins
We all toasted to Rachel’s big day… Our food came out all at once. Pasta, wedges, bruschetta…chicken...yum!
Of course, we wanted dessert: I went with a Cioccolatino (that’s a chocolate martini for $7.95)
And our server brought out the variety of small cups of desserts to help us decide.
Some people were tempted by the small desserts but could not be swayed from their course of chocolate lava cake and cheesecake. And we all wanted some
Do not come between these ladies and their dessert
When we were finished, David came to pick me up and I tipsily babbled to him all the way home about cheesecake, bruschetta and ISO settings.
I highly recommend the sausage bruschetta, especially to share. Brio also has a bruschetta sampler if you want a variety. What I really like about Brio is that they don't go overboard with the garlic like some italian restaurants. (I'm looking at you, Buca de Beppo) They have a lot of dishes to share with friends and both times I have gone there I've had a good time.
David and I have been to DeSha's Lexington, DeSha's in Montgomery, The Pub Rookwood and Nicholson's, but the only local tavern restaurant we have not been to has been The Polo Grille in Mason.
We generally don't go that far north unless we are visiting our Dads (who live in Loveland and Fairfield) so when we met David's dad for lunch last Sunday I jumped at the opportunity to go.
tavern restaurant group customized sugar packets
If you have not noticed, Mason Montgomery road has mutated and expanded to gargantuan proportions. I'd classify driving in that area as pretty hazardous, as people in minivans and SUV's on cell phones make turns without signaling and drive across three lanes of traffic often.
But despite that, we reached our destination unscathed and took a seat in a booth on the far left. The Polo Grille has a large bar, and a lot of booths and tables. It's fairly large. I saw a lot of tavern restaurant group influence.
We all ordered diet cokes and looked over the menu. They had a limited Sunday Brunch with waffles and eggs benedict, but we opted out of that for lunch food.
David and his Dad got pizzas—David chose the tandoori chicken pizza with yogurt dipping sauce, tomato, onion, olive oil and three cheese blend ($8.45) and his Dad chose the spinach, mushroom and goat cheese pizza. ($7.45)
I wavered between the burger ($8.95) and the club sandwich and opted for the club with bacon, ham, turkey, cheddar, swiss, lettuce, and tomato with avocado mayonnaise on multi-grain bread. ( also $8.95) (Yeah, I know. it was a big sandwich) and a side of tomato scallion rice, since David wanted to try it.
We also got a side of Yucca fries. ($2.95) Because we were curious. What are yucca fries? We weren't sure. But we were up for it.
We received our food pretty quickly, David got a salad which I liked with ranch and bacon.
blurry but delicious salad
I got my club, which was gigantic—one of the sandwiches where you have to plan how to eat it without getting it all over your lap—and David and Derek got their pizzas.
monster club sammich
I promptly told everyone to "not touch anything! I have to take pictures!" and they patiently waited while I took pictures of their pizzas and my sandwich as well as the fries. (Thank you!)
Goat cheese and mushroom pizza
tandoori chicken pizza
I finished taking pictures and was still determining how to attack my sandwich when David somehow managed to drop his pizza on the table. Oops. Oh well.
Oops....five second rule!
We tried the Yucca fries and they are ….interesting. David didn't like them too much, but I didn't mind. They are firmer than potatoes and just a little bit sweet. Other than that, they are kind of bland.
David didn't really like his Tandoori chicken pizza, and I really didn't either. It had dill in it and tasted a little like cedar. The chicken was kind of tangy, but all the flavors clashed in a funny way that was not pleasant.
Derek was much happier with his pizza, which he said was very good. He liked the goat cheese especially.
I liked my club. I found it very tasty. I thought it was very good and I would get it again.
I would not get the tomato scallion rice. It mostly just tasted like tomato rice. Once again, meh. I'd rather have the yucca fries.
Our total bill was about 40.00, which was not bad for lunch for three people.
Service was a little slow, but we were there for lunch on Sunday and had some time to kill, so we didn't mind. Because of Ohio's silly liquor laws I could not get a martini (they have 18 different types!) until 1.
Since we had some other places I wanted to visit in the area, I convinced David to come back around 4. I figured that if we were going to drive all the way out here, I would certainly need to scope out the food and the drinks. I submit it's only fair to my readers.
David and I went to whole foods for a while, then to spin again music, and came back to Polo Grille for what we thought was happy hour. On the tables, the menu states "happy hour 4-7 daily) but they neglect to tell you it does not include Saturday or Sunday. Ok. Fine. I was not about to let that stop my research.
Because I am….
a crocodile dundee hat is essential for hunting cocktails
We went to the bar and I gave David his ee pc netbook—polo grille has nice wifi.
I decided to get the bing cherry martini to start off ($7.75), with three olives cherry and apple vodkas and cranberry juice. The martinis are a little on the small side to be so expensive, and they weren't the strongest I've had. I'd say Polo Grille's strength lies in the variety of the drinks, including lots of Islay and single malt scotches.
They have Strongbow on tap as well as Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale—which the Nicholson's and the pub also have. They also have Hoegarden, Guinness, and a rotating pub ale.
My bing cherry was very pleasant. I liked the apple vodka in it. I made short work of it and ordered my next choice, a Key Lime martini. I think it is hard to go wrong with pineapple, midori and a graham cracker crust rim. It was delicious and it was my favorite drink I tried.
The third was a blue wave with blue curacao, peach schnapps and pineapple …..I really loved the color of this drink and it was very tasty.
I am a total sucker for this color blue
I couldn't resist ordering one last drink and got the polo punch. I told David it tasted a little like a flintstone vitamin. He thought it tasted like pretty good screwdriver. It was probably my least favorite.
I like the Polo grille, but we are far enough away I wouldn't make the trip to go up there specifically (like I would for say….Dave and Busters). I'd say that I rate them better than the Ohio DeSha's in tavern restaurant ranking, but below Nicholson's and the Pub. It lacked the personality that Nicholson's and the Pub posses, but I think they are working on it. I'd say that the Polo grille would be a solid place to take someone for lunch. I recommend the club but not the tandoori chicken pizza.
Wednesday was a glorious day, because on Wednesday, David and I opened our case of Bell's Hopslam. I picked it up a few weeks ago at Hyde Park Wine and Spirits. Hopslam, hands down, is the best hoppy beer on the market.
At 10% ABV, it's also one of the strongest. Gravity 1.087.
Hopslam is one of our favorite beers, if not our # 1—but Bells only releases it January through February! So when our friend Kyle at HPWS told me they were getting it in, I wasted no time getting a case.
It is kind of expensive, the price has jumped 3.00 a 6 pack from last year, making a 6 pack 17.99 instead of 14.99. I blame the hop and malt shortage. The case cost me 72.00. It's worth every penny.
Our fridge, where I've collected beer logos of note.
Teller's is a restaurant in Hyde Park set in a renovated bank. David and I have been there a few times in the past, and have sampled a variety of dishes.
That's our downstairs neighbor on the right!
Teller's has a pretty awesome happy hour. From 4-6 all appetizers are 6.00, and you can get 1.00 off draft beers. On Wednesdays, all martinis are $3.00-4.00. It is, bar none, the best Martini deal I've found in Cincinnati. ( I should probably get my martini fix at Teller's on Wednesdays, at 6-10 dollars a drink, I keep running our bills up at recent restaurants.)
During the times we have raced to Tellers after work for the sweet appetizer deal, we've gotten the brie flatbread, (usually $11.00) with roasted garlic, baked brie and seasonal chutney. David ordered it because he was curious and ended up liking it a lot more than he thought, especially the chutney.
the bar from upstairs
I've gotten the Chicken Quesadilla (usually $9.00) with grilled chicken, poblanos, sweet chili sauce, guacamole and cheese. There are four of them and I can usually only eat two. Something I feel I have to mention--Teller's likes to sneak garlic into a lot of their foods—quesadilla's included. David has also gotten the white bean hummus (usually $9.00), which he also found much too garlicky to really enjoy. I guess we are not garlic lovers. I do enjoy garlic—but in moderation.
We were very excited to see that Teller's has Hopslam on tap! ($6.00 during happy hour) David stuck with Old Speckled Hen ($4.00), but I couldn't resist Hopslam's siren song. Teller's rotates in very unique beers seasonally—the Hopslam replaced Founder's breakfast stout. They also have Arrogant Bastard, Lindeman's raspberry, and a variety of other beers.
Teller's is pretty quiet up til around 7, and I'd say that's when we notice business picking up. Teller's has two floors, so there is plenty of seating.
I ordered two appetizers, the stag fries ($9.00) and the buffalo chicken egg rolls (also $9.00) and David stuck with the Kobe beef burger. ($12.00)
In retrospect, I should have just gotten one or the other—the fries are definitely more than one person can eat. Lots of bacon, lots of cheese, with a vinaigrette sauce for dipping. The 6 Buffalo chicken egg rolls come with buffalo sauce, filled with chicken, pepperoni and cheese. They are hot and crunchy and delicious.
David took these totally nommular macros
For dessert, I got a crème brulee martini ($7.50):