Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cumin Eclectic Cuisine,— Where Indian Goes Innovative

Dexter Greets Charlie for His Visit

Eric’s Aunt Barbara came down to visit for the weekend and she brought her black, barky companion with her.  Neil had told me I had to be a good host and I tried.  I reached out a couple of times to shake his paw, but he jumped away.  After we’d jumped away from each other a number of times, we just decided to turn it into a game and sort of chase each other back and forth.  When Neil, Eric, and Barbara went out during the day, I guarded the outside perimeter of my house while barky – they called him Charlie – sat on my sill looking out the window.  Just as we were getting used to each, he and Barbara left for his home.

The Main Dining Room of Cumin
The Bar Area
and Additional Dining

      Auntie Barbara requested that we go to one of “those fabulous restaurants” that she reads about on this blog.  We hadn’t been to Cumin in a while and it was recently listed in Cincinnati Magazine’s top 10.  She remarked that cumin could refer to the spice or could be another way to say "come in".  It used to be a small Indian restaurant in Hyde Park East (sort of Oakley/Mt. Lookout), but they doubled their space a few years ago, updated to a sleek, au courant interior, and became Cumin Eclectic Cuisine.  This means that Indian has been fused with various world influences such as Italian, Indonesian, and New American.

      Neil and Auntie Barbara were running late so I went ahead and ordered the soup of the day, which was Corn Chowder.  It was thick, highly seasoned, filled with corn and the smokiness of bacon.  It was excellent.  
Soup of the Day, Corn Chowder
Neil ordered the Lamb Naanwich (there are a variety of meats offered), which is a large portion served on naan flatbread.  He had the curry fries on the side.  They’re curry/saffron colored and sweet with the sharpness that is both curry and cumin, its main component.  Barbara had the Lamb Burger.  She generously shared part of it with both of us since it’s also a large portion.  It’s served with yogurt sauce and zatar on a brioche bun, but she asked for the curry fries instead of French fries.  It was meaty and tender, which is difficult with lamb, but it was salty.  I didn’t notice it that much because I drank a lot of iced green tea and water.  Neil didn’t drink as much, but he had to later on in the afternoon.  I had the Contemporary Butter Chicken, which was pulled chicken with tomato makhani sauce, Serrano, covered in mozzarella, and served on basmati rice.  It was like a cross between a Chicken Bolognese and a Chicken Masala or even a Chicken Paprikash that I make from time to time.  The portion was enough for two meals and it really sang.  It was spicy and sweet with an acidic tang off-set by the mild neutrality of the rice.   

Lamb Naanwich
Lamb Burger with Curry Fries
Contemporary Butter Chicken
      We asked Meng for her dessert recommendation and followed her advice with the Warm Hazelnut Cake.  It was medium chocolate molten cake with a hint of hazelnut.  The chocolate gelato was brightly flavored and richly colored and the espresso crème anglaise was a slash of speckled ochre.  It was certainly enough for the three of us to share and felt cutting edge even though lava cakes are somewhat of a cliché.  

Warm Hazelnut Cake
      The dinner menu is more expansive and even more adventurous; it’s also more expensive.  Cumin lives up to its name, though its spice range may be intimidating to more traditional diners.

Cumin on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

Haiku for Dex

A dog friend visits.
I swat him anyway, just
For principle's sake.

Shel Burks said...

Lamb burger & curry fries?! That def would've been worth my free eats day! YUMMMMMMMMMMMM! Great review!

Who is Dexter? said...

To Anonymous,
I know what you mean but being a professional, I have to uphold my image!

Ann said...

totally enjoy the site and enjoyed meeting Eric and Neil at Ikea. Ann

Who is Dexter? said...

Hi Ann,
Thanks for meeting us at IKEA. We had a great time too! Dexter thanks you for checking out our blog.
Neil and Eric

O-Town HD said...

Hi guys,

Your enviable Cumin experience in April was quite different from our own in August. It certainly wasn't Indian food when we went.

You fellas seem in the know about food goings-on in town. What happened? Did the good Indian food go somewhere else and forget to take the name with it?

(No, I'm serious, where's the good Indian food?)

Who is Dexter? said...

If you're looking for pure Indian food we would recommend Brijmohian Indian Sweets & Restaurant on Reading Road in Sharonville. It's vegetarian and not a fancy place. You order at the counter and the food is brought to your table. We're planning on visiting again and doing a post on them. Hope you like it!