Review: The Quarter Bistro

I walk into this review with a little bias: The Quarter Bistro in Mariemont on Wooster Pike, is one of my favorite restaurants. I ate there when it was The Latin Quarter, and I’ve eaten there several times in the past year or so. In fact, I have a regular entree– the diver scallops– and so does Terry (steak frites).

In the interest of you, my readers, we decided to try something different. We had just come out of the Mariemont Theater (we saw Taxi to the Darkside which was fantastic if utterly depressing and angering), and Terry dragged me right into the Quarter. No arguing, there!

I love their decor– it is warm, inviting, and very flattering– the walls are red, and that reflects onto the food and diners quite prettily. They have warm sourdough bread served in cute little paper bags that keep it surprisingly warm on the table.

We started out with drinks– a Latin Sangria for me, and a Stella Artois for him. The sangria was nice, if a little sweeter than I’d like. It was a little more on the kool-aid side than the sangria side.

We decided that we didn’t want a full dinner, just sandwiches or salads, so we ordered some soup to start. This was a great seasonal selection: Sweet Potato Bisque, topped with creme fraiche and a little hunk of pork belly confit. I’ll be honest: I’m a sucker for sweet potatoes in just about any form, and with the addition of pork belly? Ooof.

Oh, yeah. See that hunk in the center? That was sizzling when it came out. We each took a few spoonfuls of the soup– sweet, yet not overwhelmingly so, with some smokiness and a little spice. But the best part? That little hunk of pork belly. The fat quivered below the crispy, scored skin and was meltingly rich and delicious. We split the piece in half, so I figure half a piece didn’t blow my “trying to eat healthfully” too much.

Terry ordered the Torta Cubana, the Quarter’s take on a Cuban sandwich. It was ciabatta stuffed with pork, chorizo, chihuaha cheese, avocado, spicy mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato. I really like cuban sandwiches, but the only thing “cuban” about it was the pork– it wasn’t pressed, there was no tart pickle or mustard. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t good, but it wasn’t quite a Cubana. We both thought that the chorizo was a little too much– the spiciness of the chorizo really overwhelmed the rest of the sandwich. I wanted to taste the roasted pork and the cheese, too. It was served with their great french fries, which are perfectly crisp and delicious.

I chose the entree Quarter Salad, which is greens with golden raisins, seasoned almonds, croutons and sherry vinaigrette. They topped it with some nice, moist grilled chicken. The sherry vinagrette is flavorful, and the almonds are nicely seasoned with 5-spice powder. It’s a nice change from your usual dinner salad at a restaurant– light and flavorful.

We skipped dessert, but their desserts are fantastic, particularly the Key Lime Pie with Gingersnap Crust. Yum.

I will, at a later time, write up their entrees. The Quarter Bistro is a great place that’s a little off the beaten path, with solid food and great service.

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