Monday, February 11, 2013

Another OTR Hot Spot

The hits just keep on coming downtown at the Gateway Quarter -- the section of Vine Street off Central Parkway with a few blocks of the hottest cluster of restaurants in the metro area. Sure, there are good -- some would say better -- places to eat around town. But nowhere else will you find the variety of worthy grub, and drink, than in this section of OTR (Over-the-Rhine, if you're not from around here). Expand a few blocks over to Main Street and you have even more choices, with Mayberry for food and Japp's for drinks and music.
But I digress.
Grilled meat at Kaze

Last weekend we dined at Kaze, a new eatery billing itself as a "Japanese sushi bar, Gastro Pub and beer garden." Like everything else along those few blocks, the joint was jumping. Unlike the other good restaurants and watering holes in the area, (my favorites are Bakersfield and Abigail Street, but Senate and A Tavola, among others, also have a bazillion fans) this one takes reservations. That's a great thing on a Saturday night at 7:30, believe me, when the wait for a table at these other spots can easily run an hour or even more.
Kaze has a large front dining room dominated by an open kitchen. It's very loud, unless you happen to hit the place early on a weeknight. There's a back room, with its own entrance around the side, featuring a large bar and young people getting looped and flirting.
We enjoyed the food! Japanese cuisine tends toward the healthy side, which is great for us, although I was a bit surprised by the small appearance of vegetables on the menu. It's very protein oriented, with an emphasis on seafood (sashimi, nigiri and sushi, along with cooked dishes) and pork preparations. We tried quite a few things -- portions generally are small -- and tended to like the sashimi and sushi best.
All in all, our party of four agreed that Kaze is a worthy addition to Cincinnati's dining scene.

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