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Review: Skirtz and Johnston

A few weeks ago, I sent Terry to Skirtz and Johnston for some French bread. What he brought back wasn’t crusty, and was almost soggy, so I wrote them off.

Oops. He got a little confused and the bread was from another purveyor (it’s attached to Bean Haus), and not from Skirtz and Johnston, which we realized as we stood outside and he’d said he’d never been there before. Whew!

Skirtz and Johnston is one of the newest stores in Findlay Market. They specialize in pastry, bread and cakes, and also offer lunch service.  Their owners, Stefan Skirtz and Andrew Johnston, met in 2006 when they were both at the Midwest Culinary Institute.  Now, they own a pretty, modern shop at Findlay Market, and do a steady business of pastries, breakfast and lunch.
We’ve been here on both Saturday and Sunday, with another couple and with one other person.  You order at the counter, and polite servers bring you out your food when it’s ready (which doesn’t take long).  You  have your choice of two-tops or a communal table.  My only real criticism is the seating– there’s a large seating area, but there are no four-tops, and a good portion of the communal table is rendered unusable by some very artistic, if overly large, flower arrangements.  The arrangements could be equally beautiful, but more compact, to make up for the lack of two-tops.

So, the food.  The first time we went, all three of us got sandwiches– a steak sandwich, a veggie sandwich, and a chicken sandwich.  Katy had the steak sandwich– which she loved and which sounded delicious: grilled skirt steak, caramelized onions, and white cheddar sauce.  I had the veggie sandwich both times I went, which was really terrific.  Each time it was a bit different as far as vegetable choice (one time had roasted red peppers, one didn’t; one had pickles, the other did not) but it was delicious and fresh tasting, on high-quality nine grain bread with a lovely crust.  Each time I got a fresh side salad, topped with berries, and one of their unique dressings– once, a spicy cilantro-pepita

dressing, and the other time a tahini-based dressing with a kick of red pepper.  Terry got the chicken sandwich once– a Greek-inspired sandwich of Amish chicken, olive tapenade on a Mediterranean bread (which is essentially a tasty herbed bread).   For breakfast, while I got a veggie sandwich (I’m on a kick, what can I say?) while our friends Tom and Carla, as well as

Terry all got the Breakfast Casserole, made with Eckerlin sausage.  This I found to just be okay– a little too dense and a little too heavy.

For dessert on our first visit, I zeroed in on their cannoli.  After Scalea’s closed, it’s become very difficult to find good cannoli in Cincinnati.  Even elsewhere, cannoli are often piped with filling so far ahead that the cannoli shell gets soft and mushy.  Not here.  The cannoli shells were crisp, and the fillings were amazing.  One was vanilla topped with chocolate chips, and my favorite was raspberry with white chocolate.  I’d love to pick these up sometime for a dinner party– they’re just spectacular, and made me feel a little bit like I was in Little Italy.

They have only a couple of beverages:  Peach Iced Tea made by Churchill’s, Meyer lemonade (my favorite) and water.  Prices are reasonable– 6.75 for a sandwich, which is less than you’d spend at a chain sandwich shop, and the quality is much higher.  I’m looking forward to trying more of their bread and pastries, and definitely stopping in for many more lunches.

Skirtz & Johnston on Urbanspoon

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