Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mayberry: OTR Dining

Mayberry is on Main Street, a couple of long blocks from the action on Vine Street (aka the Gateway Quarter) but still within the urban-renewal section of Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati's classically beautiful neighborhood that has fallen on hard times, to say the least. All you have to do is raise your gaze above street level and appreciate the meticulously crafted building facades to see why OTR is considered such a diamond in the rough. A century ago, it was gorgeous; fifty years ago, it was in decline; today city leaders are uniting in a great effort to restore the area to some of its former grandeur.
Chef Josh Campbell

That's a long lead-in to my post about dinner at Mayberry the other night. We already loved chef/co-owner Josh Campbell's cooking from the earlier, closet-sided incarnation of the restaurant in the central business district of downtown, plus he helped supply World Food Bar, a stall at Findlay Market (no longer there). In February they moved to a much larger and nicer spot on Main Street -- just a block or so from the excellent cocktail bar, Japp's -- and this was our first chance to have a meal there.
Speaking of cocktails, I liked Mayberry's short but inventive cocktail list (I had a tasty blackberry old fashioned) and the feel of the bar/dining room -- lots of dark wood, nicely appointed tables, a diverse crowd of all ages. The menu is short, including a handful of appetizers (listed as Snacks & Salads) and perhaps eight entrees, divided by "from the land" and "from the sea."
We split a large salad ($10) that consisted of a hefty chunk of fresh mozzarella, a smear of pesto, piles of local heirloom cherry tomatoes, grilled slices of Shadeau multi-grain bread and a mound of arugula in a refreshing lemon vinaigrette.

For entrees, I tried ("from the land") duck breast flatbread ($17) with peaches and goat cheese, while my husband had the salmon entree ($22) with roasted beets,black rice and a few other ingredients. We thought the quality-price ratio was quite favorable.
It was a stormy evening so the expansive patio in back wasn't open -- a shame, given that the outdoor space actually is larger than the indoor dining room, so the house was at capacity. Our server sang the praises of the outdoor ambiance and told us that there's also a full bar outside.
I'll go back, and hope to hit it on a night when the patio is available.
Mayberry is open for dinner Tuesday - Saturday, lunch Monday - Friday and for Sunday brunch.

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