Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Go out! Lavomatic, eat local in style

Lavomatic is a Jean Robert group restaurant, the newest, on Vine street. Although some people, were skeptical about Lavomatic being on the OTR side of Vine street, both times I've been there since its recent opening the restaurant has been packed. Set in an old laundromat the french Lavomatic is very casual, cute, and intimate. A long bar, decorated with broken wine glass sculptures, is on the north side of the restaurant while the south side holds benches and tables for larger groups, and there is a rooftop patio for seasonal dining!
Another plus, and this is a huge deal, is the high number of locally sourced menu items. At the bar, I enjoyed the local organically raised Rabbit Stew with Herbed Dumplings which was divine and saucy, the meat was tender and the dumplings were so comforting I almost slumped over in relief. I pulled myself together and moved on to the Snail Skewers with Dijon-Red Wine sauce, these darlings consisted of two snails per skewer flanked by grilled vegetables and drizzled with tangy, dark sauce that complimented the escargot while allowing their true flavor to permeate the palette. In the same evening I tried the Grilled Cheese Du Jour and at $4.50 it is the perfect snack with a glass of wine, on this day the sandwich was Gorgonzola and pear melted between slices of buttery white bread, it was my dining companion's favorite dish.

I went home. I thought about that grilled cheese and the wine and the adorable wall art and I went back.

My second time in I sat at a table, which is only three feet from the bar so not a hugely different experience but I had a great view of the bustling kitchen which in turn drove me to order insane amounts of food.

I started with the Three Little Pigs. A triage of pork preparations lovingly wrapped in pastry dough and enhanced with a red wine reduction it was lilting. I had to keep going so I also had the Olives and the Cheese Plate. Those are two separate dishes that are fabulous together. The olives are a mix and dressed with an orange vinaigrette, the cheese plate came with five different cheeses, candied walnuts, toasted baguette slices, and a type of quince or other fruit gelatin used to cleanse the palette between each cheese. I also had the snails again. My neighbor ordered the Cold Salad Trio which is an enormous dish of lentil salad, curried couscous, and vietnamese picked cucumbers. All of the trio participants were delicious but the vietnamese cucumbers stood out for their thin slices and sour, refreshing taste. Alas, I made it to desert and tried the Chocolate...? I was a little tipsy this point but I recall the chocolate was rich and accompanied by berries

So...go out! Even if you've never been downtown before and especially if you've never been to OTR, go out and enjoy yourself. Let me know what you had and thought at Lavomatic!


Anonymous said...

I went out and I loved it, downtown Cincinnati is really changing. Everybody should try out Lavomatic.

Anonymous said...

Although I have some qualms about the interior's feminine roughness, the grilled cheese is fully amazing. Draft selections could be improved.