Monday, April 6, 2009

Chalk!!!! Kick ass dining in Cincinnati (well Kentucky actually)

I'm back!!!!  Not that anyone ever reads my blog, but I am happy to be back nonetheless.  So, apologies for the lack of posts in the past 9 months.  Wow it has been this long.  My excuse?  Easy, but depressing.  Since moving to Cincinnati last August, I have been so disappointed and uninspired by the dining options that I could not find anything worth writing about (unless you wanted to hear me whinge on and on).

Alas!!!  I found some inspiration, something to dream about, something to make my mouth water and make we want to spend all my money eating out again and again.  In Cincinnati you ask?  Well, not really, but close enough.  Just across the muddy polluted river in the great bluegrass state.  Yes, I mean Kentucky...  Even harder to believe.  But it's TRUE!!! 

Yes, and that wonderful place is Chalk!  Chalk in Covington, wow!  Worth the purgatory that my taste buds have endured for the past 9 months.  Ok, where to start.  Well, it was an ordinary Monday night.  My mother was in town so we had a free night out without the boy, and I decided to take my coworker up on a recommendation he had given me all the way back when we moved here.  Yes, it was my fault I had sat on this recommendation for so long.  But I had thought, Covington, hmmm, there has to be something better on the northern and more sophisticated side of that muddy Ohio river.  Well, I wish I could turn back the clock.  So, back to Monday night.  

We rolled into this fine place with relatively low expectations for our Monday night out without the kid.   There was a nice bar, small but personable, and we were escorted enthusiastically by the host to a cool booth in one of the dining rooms.  

The first thing I ordered was a beer.  They had a good looking wine list, but the draft beer selections, although few, sounded interesting.  I opted for a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale.  Slightly disappointed when it arrived in a snifter glass when I was hoping for a solid pint, I was pleasantly surprised with the most unique beer I have ever tasted.  It was a beer that tasted as its name suggested, like bourbon.  For someone that doesn't like bourbon, it would have been repulsive, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Oh, enough about the beer, onto the food!

The menu was simple!  It wasn't the 'we do it all, but none of it good' menus I find everywhere and end up ordering a burger from.  It was a menu that said, "we have a couple great meat dishes, a couple great fish dishes."  They did still have a burger, but it looked gourmet.  

We shared the 'dip seven' to start.  Not sure exactly what it was, but it was delicious.  They also brought bread, with creamy whipped butter with sage (I think) in it.  Mmmm!

For main, I ordered duck which was served on savory sage waffles, with leeks, celery root, caramelized onions, and a blueberry sauce.  I ordered the duck medium rare, and it was cooked to perfection.  The dish was a great combination of sweet and savory, with some texture.  Fantastic.

My beautiful wife had the trout.  It must have been delicious, as I got no bites, and barely even remember seeing it other than noticing that it was white.  Good organic trout, not the fake pink stuff.  

Dessert.  We had a chocolate macadamia torte with walnut ice cream (or something like that).  It was delicious.  

The atmosphere was great, casual and fun.  The food was delicious, original, gourmet, but not pretentious.  The service was excellent.

My only beef was the beer selection.  After my delicious bourbon beer, I was looking for something less powerful.  I was impressed that they had Chimay on tap, but they only had 3 beers, and that meant that 2 of them were big, bold, flavorful ones.  Could have used a bit more variety, but no big deal.

This was our best dining experience, hands down, since moving to Cincinnati.  And our stops included fine places like Pigall's.  You have to check it out.  Here is the site: 

Chalk Food + Wine on Urbanspoon

No comments: