Have you ever walked into a restaurant wondering, exactly, what you’d be getting into?
I’d been to D. Burnham’s before– but only to the bar. It’s a great place to drink, and I had some small plates during the All-Star Game. But it’s a hotel restaurant– and even though there are several very good hotel restaurants in town, a life of business travel has made me wary of them.
When I was looking for a space for a larger party — 12– that wasn’t a chain and wasn’t anywhere we’d been before, D. Burnham’s came up as a recommendation. I crossed my fingers. It wasn’t necessary.
D. Burnham’s, located in the Renaissance Hotel, focuses on locally sourced and seasonal food. Their menu is small but mighty, with a few surprises. Sure, you have a beet salad, charcuterie and and a four cheese macaroni and cheese, items that pop up on nearly every menu this time of year, but there were also some surprises.
We started with the dates stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped with smoked bacon; each sticky-sweet bite was full of flavor. Jalapeno added some punch to a dish that could easily be too sweet and too rich.
I love a dish that I can’t quite put down, and the papardelle with short ribs and goat cheese was one of those. The pasta was fresh, the dish well-balanced, and the portion perfect (though I did manage to leave some on my plate– begrudgingly).
Terry decided on the New York Strip, and declared it one of the best steaks he’s had outside of a steakhouse — and that he’d gladly come back again just for said steak. The bite I had made me agree: it was well-seasoned, tender, a beautiful cut and accompanied by a beautiful brandy cream sauce.
Our friend Tara was nearby and insisted that I try her sea bass: the sauce, what appeared to be a ginger beurre blanc, was smooth and delicate; a perfect contrast to the flaky, tender bass. The ginger is a nice, brightening touch.
Reasonably priced wine selections, cocktails, and beers on tap as well as a gorgeous, modern ambiance makes this a hidden gem downtown. Get past your biases against the typical hotel restaurant and pop in– it’s worth it.
A restaurant hidden in the recently-opened Renaissance adds to the Cincinnati tradition of great hotel dining.