Browsing Category

EAT (out)

ALL/ EAT (out)

New Places to Eat in Cincinnati Part 2: Zundo Ramen

As I said in my last post, I am excited to start 2019 with a series of short posts about must-try, new(ish) restaurants in Cincinnati.  Last week I featured my first new restaurant: The Arepa Place.  This week I’m going from Colombian food to Japanese food by sharing my love of  Zundo Ramen and Donburi in downtown Cincinnati.

My husband started searching for good ramen awhile ago.  It’s funny because I used to think ramen was simply a cheap bag of hard noodles and a packet of powder that sprung to life with hot water.   I mean, that is ramen, but little did I know about real Japanese ramen. It’s far more than something college kids eat to survive!  Real ramen has a deep, rich, meaty broth that brings comfort to the soul with each sip.  It’s a perfectly cooked egg floating effortlessly on top.  It’s noodles and noodles and noodles . . .  welp, I am officially hungry now.

Dumplings

Octopus

While I do think ramen is the star of Zundo Ramen and Donburi, there are many other superstar dishes.  I haven’t had all the starters yet, but I can recommend two very highly:

  1.  Goyza- handmade pan-fried pork dumplings
  2.  Tako Yaki- broiled wheat flour balls with octopus

I really haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like dumplings, and these pork dumplings at Zundo are so delicious.  The octopus, though, wins the award for biggest surprise.  We ordered this dish because our server recommended it (pretty passionately I might add).  The menu description does not do this one justice.  Each bite, filled with octopus and Japanese mayo, is rich and creamy and savory.  Then add to that the shaved, smoked fish on top.  It’s quite a treat. Promise.

Ramen

Since I already spoke of my love affair with ramen, let me just say that my two favorite ramen dishes at the Zundo are:

  1.  Tonkotsu Ramen- Ramen and thick creamy pork broth with roast pork, soft boiled egg and green onion
  2. Spicy Miso Ramen- Ramen and spicy creamy soybean paste pork broth with roast pork, soft boiled egg and green onion

Once I learned that the chef behind Mei Japanese restaurant in Montgomery was the chef for Zundo, I knew it would be good because until Zundo opened, Mei was our favorite Japanese restaurant.  Zundo demonstrates the same refinery in a more modern setting.  Really, you should try both restaurants because the noodle dishes are stunning.  Don’t be afraid to pick up that bowl and slurp away until every single drop is finished.  It’s perfectly appropriate behavior.  And you will want to! Trust me.

Donburi

Red Bean Ice Cream

We surprised ourselves last time we ate at Zundo by not ordering ramen (which is always our go-to) and trying the Katsu Curry Rice, one of the donburi offerings.  This rice bowl dish was another recommendation from our server.  The curry is heavenly; the smell alone was intoxicating and the pork cutlets were crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.  This is comfort food, friends.  We finished with the Red Bean Ice Cream- I’m not certain exactly what red beans are, but I can tell you this light dessert tastes a little bit like strawberries and a little bit like cotton candy.  A perfect finish to our meal.

While Zundo is a new Cincinnati restaurant, the flavors are rich, bold, and steeped in history.  Be sure to check it out, and be ready for Part 3 of my new series soon!

GO THERE (Zundo Ramen and Donburi)!  TRY THAT (Tako Yaki, Tonkotsu Ramen)! 

Zundo Ramen & Donburi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

ALL/ EAT (out)

New Places to Eat in Cincinnati Part 1: The Arepa Place

Happy (almost) New Year! 

I’m excited to start a series featuring new(ish) restaurants in the Cincinnati area!  Over the next couple months I plan to highlight my fave new places and my fave new dishes in the area.  Welcome to the first post in the series.

I absolutely love Latin food! I first tried The Arepa Place at City Flea in Washington Park.  Thankfully, this sweet family eatery now has a brick and mortar location outside Findlay Market (next to Maverick Chocolate). The Arepa Place serves up simple, traditional, Colombian street food that is anything but ordinary.  Opened in September, this restaurant focuses on Arepas and Empanadas- all made from scratch.

Plantain Chips and Guacamole

On our first visit, we started with plantain chips because the owner recommended we do so, but I am typically not a fan of plantain anything.  Guess what?!  I am now.  I ate the lion’s share of this basket; these plantains are thin, crispy, and slightly salty.  It’s the perfect partner for that guacamole.  Don’t skip this!

Empanadas

I’ve always been a big fan of Empanadas; in fact, I like meat pies of all kinds.  What I appreciate most about the empanadas at The Arepa Place is that initial crunch when you first bite in followed by loads of savory meat. We ordered ground beef and chicken empanadas, but for the vegetarians out there, you can get cheese, eggplant, or potato! Order a few for a meal, or get one or two as a snack!

Chorizo Arepa

Instead of using corn meal, The Arepa Place uses a corn grinder which, while labor intensive, adds to the quality!  The empanadas are made with yellow corn and the arepas are made with white corn.  Both delicious.  And I have to highlight the chorizo (see pic above).  This is the best chorizo I’ve had.  It’s not the chorizo I’ve encountered at many Mexican restaurants.  Instead of being ground, it’s more like links; this chorizo is fresh, not greasy, and cooked perfectly.  We had a chorizo arepa for lunch and went back the next morning for the chorizo and egg arepa! Maybe I’m planning my next trip to Findlay Market just so I can order this again! (Who has a problem?! I don’t have a problem!)

Breakfast Empanadas

I’m a fan of this place for so many reasons!  Isis, who is originally from Colombia, and her mother do all the cooking.  Isis’ husband, Chris, is also involved in the operations and he’s the first face you see upon entering.  If the people behind the business matter in regards to where you spend your money, please know that this couple are just about the nicest people out there.  Isis clearly has a passion for cooking and Chris will make you feel at home in their restaurant.

Breakfast Arepa

I think, over the course of our last two visits, we tried all the salsas; each made from scratch.  I think our top choice is the Salsa Roja: tomatoes, green onion, red pepper, and habanero.  The Arepa Place is also a small market selling Columbian staples such as candies, sodas, coffee, and cooking ingredients.  All in all, I highly suggest adding this restaurant to your “must try” dining out list!

The NEW Year is here and I am excited to share some of my favorite NEW places to eat in Cincinnati!  Stay tuned for Part 2!

GO THERE (The Arepas Place)!  TRY THAT (Plantain Chips and Guac, Chorizo everything, Arepas)!