Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Maribelle’s Tavern – 5 Minutes from Downtown so Don’t Miss Out

Dex is hanging in there and feeling much better.  We've insisted that he take a couple more days off to fully recover. 

Maribelle's Tavern Entrance and Patio
      We’re going to highlight, from time to time, some neighborhood restaurants that have loyal local followings, but may not be well known to the majority of Cincinnatians-Northern Kentuckians and may not be on Urbanspoon’s Top 10 listings.  

      First up is Maribelle’s Tavern in an area that used to be called East End but, after gentrification resulted in upscale townhouses and condos, is now referred to as Historic East End on Riverside Drive.  There’s still the East End neighborhood on Eastern Avenue, but it’s further
east from downtown now.  Maribelle’s is the type of place where customers are actually welcomed by the bartender upon entry and immediately assisted by a hostess or waitress.  

      We’ve visited for lunch on a number of occasions as well as brunch and dinner.  There are a number of areas to dine both outside, downstairs by the bar, which is both cozy and a little dark, or upstairs which is brighter, but also can be loud when seated near a large party.  Let me warn you that the staircase is a little steep.  The service is always friendly, tailored to the table or party, and willing to alert diners to anything not listed on the menu.  This includes desserts.  The desserts at Maribelle’s are wonderful and well worth sharing, whether it’s the warm, moist but cake-like Brownies, the very moist Amaretto and Strawberry Torte, the old school Banana Cream Pie on a nut cookie crust, or the Cobblers that are absolutely terrific.  There are more dessert choices on the weekends and some of them depend upon what the cooks have made.  Some of the desserts are locally outsourced – I think a sweet little old lady makes the pies; they’re just like Grandma made them, but ‘kicked up a notch’ in Emeril’s parlance.

Amaretto and Strawberry Torte

      The sandwiches are cutting edge because there’s always an unexpected element that moves the selection in an upwardly mobile fashion such as the guacamole and bacon on the Scottish Salmon or the spring mix on the Egg Salad.  The Lamb Sliders look like White Castle, but there are three of them and the goat cheese points up the piquancy of the lamb.  We feel the Napa Slaw is the best accompaniment to the sandwiches.  The sides are generous and a couple of them could easily constitute a meal in themselves.  The sweet potatoes are dressed up with a goat cheese cream sauce and pecans, the kale slaw is a jubilee of color with red cabbage, but the cheese jalapeño grits are really special and match – even exceed – those I’ve had at some more upscale Southern restaurants in this area and further south.  If you happen to be visiting for brunch on either Saturday or Sunday, the Ohio Hot Brown is innovative with a sausage mornay sauce.

Scottish Salmon Sandwich with Napa Slaw
Egg Salad Sandwich with Napa Slaw

      If you’re looking for a new place to try or if you’re staying in downtown Cincinnati on business, it’s only five minutes due east.  It’s easy to find and well worth the trip.
Maribelle's on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love this place! The dessert are the best and the salmon sandwich is hearty and delicious! Try it!