May 23, 2011
In the Midwest, we are often accused of being at least 10 years behind the times. They say the cutting edge of art, culture, fashion, and fine dining exists on the coast cities. Slowly, year by year, highbrow society begins to infiltrate the inner workings of America. After experiencing Cumin Restaurant, home to eclectic cuisine, I’m afraid the critics may be mistaken.
As the name illuminates, Cumin does pull some of its palette from East Indian influences but that should neither entice nor scare you away. The seasonal menu has a variety of offerings to appease any taste buds and leave them wanting for more.
On the night of my visit we started with the Prince Edward Island Mussels (chili, basil, bacon, star anise, cream, sourdough garlic bread). They were divine. I slurped every morsel and lathered my bread in the addicting sauce. Proud clean plate club member since 1997:)
In between bites my friend and I washed down the mussels with sips from our martinis (one dirty, one pomegranate). It was at this time, around 8 o’clock on a Saturday night, that the crowd began its shuffle. And just as we were graciously greeted by Alex Mchaikhi, the proprietor, I observed the rest of the incoming guests experienced the same VIP treatment. That’s a nice feeling, to know that the restaurateur has a visible interest in your experience.
Before I could get too caught up in admiring Alex’s attentive service, two colorful green salads arrived at the table. I went with the Spring Bean - haricot vert, wild frisee, grain mustard dressing, toasted walnuts, shaved sheep milk cheese. My counterpart for the night ordered the Roasted Baby Zucchini - chopped arugula, pancetta crisps, tomato seed vinaigrette, goat cheese, and aged balsamic. Daily fiber intake… check. But seriously, the salads were fantastic! Each with their own unique flavoring, I couldn’t have asked for better quality or taste.
Too full to continue we enjoyed the rest of the garlic naan bread for dessert and savored the last drops of our martinis. While on this night, we went with the lighter fare, on a previous occasion I shared the chicken entree and a side of man n’ cheese. The chicken was savory and the mac, well let’s just say it is far from Kraft. Talk about a gourmet take on a traditional dish.
Before closing, I actually want to circle back to the beginning. Often times when entering a restaurant the decor and initial atmosphere give off a few different vibes… 1.) why did we pick this place? so not feelin’ it; 2.) I’m so hungry can we just be seated so I can eat; 3.) Wow this place is sexy, sleek, and hip – I hope this positive energy continues.
I’m happy to say Cumin fits best with option No. 3 – upon your first foot in the door you can tell Cumin is a hot spot in the Cincinnati dining scene, and now, having eaten there on a couple of occasions I confidently say the quality of the food and the service from the staff match the the hip and happening ambiance.to top ↑