Mini review: Taste of Cincinnati

So we braved the crowds of Taste last night, and will again tonight (so we can see The Chocolate Horse play!). We picked up a few bites, and here’s what we thought:

Taste From Belgium’s Caramel Fleur de Sel Crepes: Yeah. Get one. Get three. Tell Jean-Francois I sent you. Don’t bother with banana. This is salty, sweet, but not too sweet or salty. Messy. Delicious. Best of Taste, by far.

Pit to Plate Barbecue: We got the ribs, which were well sauced and well smoked and quite good.

Balboa’s Philly Steak and Pizza: Terry spent a couple of years on and off in Philly. He’d rather eat Penn Station than this. Tasteless beef, nasty “whiz”, boring and bland bread.

Montgomery Inn Saratoga Chips: Yeah, at least it’s local.

I am pondering some Andy’s Mediterranean kebab tonight. Not sure yet. I’ll definitely report back (and I may do some mobile Twittering while I’m there, so follow me!). We may also try Scotty’s, which uses a sauce from Terry’s home state of Alabama. I will definitely end up with another crepe.

3 thoughts on “Mini review: Taste of Cincinnati”

  • The wife and I tried a lot of the same things as you at Taste and agree with you wholeheartedly, but I am a little surprised by how much you disliked Balboa’s. I grew up outside Philly, and this is the closest thing to the real thing that I have seen in all my travels west of Harrisburg. The meat wasn’t great, but I thought that had more to do with the mass production necessitated by Taste. The bread is classic cheesesteak bread–they have it brought in from Philly–and the whiz is whiz. And, they even had Tasteecakes.

  • The bread, to me, tasted rather stale, but in a “out on a hot humid summer’s day” way — soggy, but not from the meat. And the whiz was watery. Hopefully, their food just didn’t translate to taste and it’s not really that bad. I am open to second chances.

  • Becauseweloveit,

    This is the same post I left at “Taste of Cincinnati, Part Two” as a response to an anonymous reader who responded to Julie’s post that included Balboa’s. You mention several of the same things.


    I’ll definitely try a Balboa’s cheesesteak sometime during the summer. It’s not easy to get to Balboa’s if one doesn’t work in downtown Cincinnati. They’re open only during lunch hours, Monday through Friday. But I should be able to swing by there sometime during June or July.

    I’m not convinced that most restaurants are able to showcase their best efforts at venues such as Taste of Cincinnati. Some foods keep better in hotel trays than others. Most restaurants are, at the least, forced to cut a few corners for expediency’s sake.

    The problem I have with the cheesesteak I ate at Taste of Cincinnati is fourfold: (1) the sandwich had about half as much meat as what I recall from my time in Philadelphia; (2) ditto with the amount of fried onions; (3) there was no “sauce” option [I always ordered mine in Philadelphia as, “Cheesteak…sauce…fried onions”]; and (4) the bread was stale. It also didn’t help that it was such a small sandwich, and since Julie and I were splitting everything, I had only two bites.

    That was an Amoroso’s roll? I’d be interested to learn how they get the rolls to Cincinnati. I know that frozen Amoroso’s dough can be purchased through some company in Columbus. I did notice that they had a few varieties of Tastykakes available. But of course snack cakes last longer and travel better than sandwich rolls. I started to pick up a Peanut Butter Kandykake, but I didn’t figure it would survive the trip home intact (it’s sort of hard to fight large crowds with a gooey snack cake in one’s hand).

    I spent a lot of time in Philadelphia, including the majority of the summer months, over a four-year period. My favorite cheesesteaks were from Chubby’s and Dalessandro’s, both located on Henry Avenue in Roxborough (across the street from one another, in fact). Chubby’s was probably my favorite…they had good fries, and customers could help themselves to pickles and sweet or hot peppers. I also managed to take the Pat’s vs. Geno’s challenge. No real preference there. What are your Philadelphia favorites?

    In any case, I look forward to trying out a full-sized, produced-in-the-restaurant cheesesteak from Balboa’s.

    Terry (he of the crap-laden taste buds and uneducated palate)

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