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Epicureanism- Porkopolis Style
The true success of this new spot located just a couple doors down from Lunar is the nearly impossible blend of mid-century modern with true modern contemporary. It takes the idea behind a steakhouse and re-visits it with with a certain Mad Men aura. And, to Chef Gibson's credit, the whole climate exudes the sense that Don Draper's crew may swing in at any moment, tumblers of scotch and tie bars in hand. Explained to us in terms of the steak (which building a restaurants personality on the cooking process seems to be a damn good place to begin) the open fire and wood-burning grill is meant to emanate something akin to the primal instinct- in a simple cut of meat cooked over glowing wooden embers to medium rare perfection. While it doesn't necessarily reject the current trend of gastrique in the rest of the menu, it finds the "femininization" of pure cuts of meat the downfall of good steakhouses everywhere; that it simply gives into the current trend. Gibson and his compadres didn't miss a beat on the ambiance either, the experience begins to unfold from the lobby. Walking down the grand staircase, a floor to ceiling of the wine cellar meets you- just enough to whet the palate, right before hitting the bar. At the entrance, you are hit with what those pictures your dad showed you of his college internship held- heavy on the mid-grade wood panelling and light on the nonsense. It's a 21st century gentlemen's club- that subtly welcomes you to Madison avenue, by asking you to fix your proverbial tie and sit up straight.
As anyone of Chef Jimmy's caliber and tenure in the city of Cincinnati knows, we Cincinnatian's are big fans of a good drink, and even bigger fan's of a good place to go for that drink (hat tip German Heritage). With a bar that may have been plucked right out of modern day SoHo, the wall of liquor abutting the unfettered concrete of the street side wall makes for a great place to hang your hat and wait for a table.
In the dining room you see no mistake in the obvious mid-century vibe, and make sure you catch the shag carpets in the lounge behind the bars too, to gather the full effect.
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