Hot!Southwest Ohio and Environs (Open Chat)

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Rabkin
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re: Der Dutchman 2010/11/28 20:29:49 (permalink)
May an elephant caress the Der Dutchman owners with his toes (and so forth).
donw9876
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Sammy's/Mexican in Springboro? 2010/11/29 11:46:12 (permalink)
Has anyone tried this place? Sammy's Gourmet Burgers & Beer in Springboro, in the old Encore restaurant space, near Dorothy Lane Market. It is a restaurant that combines American food with Mexican. This location is a branch of a place in Blue Ash. Reviews I have seen have been extremely mixed.
Rabkin
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Re:Sammy's/Mexican in Springboro? 2010/11/30 10:28:04 (permalink)
donw9876

Has anyone tried this place? Sammy's Gourmet Burgers & Beer in Springboro, in the old Encore restaurant space, near Dorothy Lane Market. It is a restaurant that combines American food with Mexican. This location is a branch of a place in Blue Ash. Reviews I have seen have been extremely mixed.

I've eaten there twice, and have been varying degrees of underwhelmed each time.  The first time was easily the worst, especially if you take into account only what I ordered, and not what my wife ordered.   But I'm getting ahead of myself.
 
On our first visit, we started off with an order of the Fiesta Fries, which are described thus: "our beer battered bottleneck fries covered in Mexican melting cheese, guacamole and salsa".  What we actually got was an indifferently put together plate of some tasty (but surely frozen and packaged) steak fries drowned in the ubiquitous-to-seemingly-every-area-Mexican-joint white queso dip and the house salsa, with a dollop of guac that looked and tasted processed. 
 
So, not a very auspicious beginning.
 
Moving on to dinner, the wife ordered the Hawaiian burger, cooked medium (and it came out as ordered), with fries.  I will say right here that this burger is the single best item that either of us has eaten in either of our visits to this establishment.  As a matter of fact, I filled my loving spouse with no small amount of enmity when I ate the leftover half of the burger later on that night, as she was saving it for her lunch the following day.  Anyway.  I ordered the Fajitas de Cerdo, which are basically pork carnitas with fajita fixin's, and these were, without doubt, the toughest, driest, most flavorless pork carnitas I've ever eaten anywhere.  I mean, come on, it's pork we're talking about here.  You have to work pretty hard to make pork flavorless.  But, this day at least, they certainly put in the time and effort to do so.
 
On our second visit, we both ordered burgers.  The wife got the Tex-Mex burger, which was decent, if unremarkable, and I ordered what is referred to on the online menu as the Ragita burger, but what is referred to on the menu in the restaurant as the Rajita burger.  It is described as being a burger with "Sammy's ragita chili sauce, Mexican melting cheese, ranchero cilantro dressing, lettuce and tomato".  The wife ordered her burger medium, I ordered mine medium rare (which the waiter said they'd have no problem doing), and both burgers came out medium well.  In addition, I detected zero sauce of any kind on my burger, and this time the "Mexican melting cheese" turned out to be plain ol' pepper jack.  In addition, and per the recommendation of the Cincinnati Bites blogger, we both ordered the garlic fries on the side, and what we got were the same uninspired, if tasty, steak-fries-from-a-bag, absolutely swimming in great pools of garlic butter.  It was almost comical.  Almost.  I mean, there's likely no bigger fan of garlic than me, but this was like someone asked the cook who prepared these, while he was preparing them, what "overkill" meant, and he said, "Laddie buck, instead of telling you what 'overkill' means, I'll show you!"  The leftover fries we took home after filled the car with an intensely garlicky, at times fishy odor.  Needless to say, they landed right smack in the bin once we got home.
 
As for the service at this place, the first time we were served by a slow, bored, half-heartedly polite Anglo teen boy, complete with obligatory floppy hair and contempt for anyone over the age of 25.  The second time, we had a very friendly Latino boy who worked his freaking ass off for us, and was rewarded accordingly with a very generous tip.
 
All in all, if I'm in the mood for Mexican, I'll either venture on down to Taqueria Mercado (arguably the gold standard of truly authentic Mexican food around here), Acapulco's just down the road, or if I want to stay up north, I'll either venture to Middletown's El Rancho Grande (where the food is pretty consistent, but the service, sadly, isn't), or up to El Toro, across from the Dayton Mall.  Several years ago, I also would've included Cazadores in Franklin in this list, but as long as the unconscionably obnoxious Freddy runs the place, we continue to avoid it like the plague it most certainly is.
 
Anyway, hope this helped.
post edited by Rabkin - 2010/11/30 10:40:04
donw9876
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Re:Sammy's/Mexican in Springboro? 2010/11/30 11:00:47 (permalink)
Wow, great review! Thanks. There are a million places where you can get a pretty good burger and great fries. No need to put up with that sort of experience.
It sounds like their food preparation is inept and service sucks. It would be an easy trip for us but those easy trips are usually the worst experiences.
 
We have done OK at that Cazadores but I have read newspaper reviews of people getting p*ssed and walking out because of terrible service. The Cazadores south of Mason on 42 is very good, though.
post edited by donw9876 - 2010/11/30 12:01:19
NYPIzzaNut
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Re:Sammy's/Mexican in Springboro? 2010/11/30 11:41:50 (permalink)
Rabkin
 
I have not been to Taqueria Mercado in sometime but one of my good friends has and he tells me they have gone downhill as far as their big burritos are concerned.  What is your take on them currently and in the past?
 
When I was going there more regularly I always totally loved the lunch of lengua burritos, refried beans and rice with horchata.
 
 
post edited by NYPIzzaNut - 2010/11/30 11:59:14
Rabkin
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Re:Sammy's/Mexican in Springboro? 2010/11/30 12:25:23 (permalink)
donw9876

Wow, great review!

 
Thanks so much! 

donw9876
We have done OK at that Cazadores but I have read newspaper reviews of people getting p*ssed and walking out because of terrible service. The Cazadores south of Mason on 42 is very good, though.

 
I believe that's the location where the brothers who own the local Cazadores mini-chain, and who used to run the location in Franklin with pretty great success, now spend all their time running.  Too bad, really, as the guy they have running the Franklin store (the aforementioned Freddy (last name unknown to me), who started out as a pretty good server at the place) is, for us, intolerable.  To be fair, one of the owners (Sergio) still ventures to the Franklin location every Wednesday, since it's Freddy's night off.  Knowing this, a couple months ago the wife and I decided to give the place a try again after a looooooooooooooong absence (seriously, when the place opened, and for a few years after, we'd go to the place at least once a week, many times, even more than that; but Freddy's "personality" became so unbearable for us that we quit going to the place altogether, and before our visit a couple months ago, we hadn't been in at least two years, and probably longer than that).  Freddy wasn't there, and that was certainly a good thing.  However, our service was inattentive at best, the prices had gotten higher, the portions had gotten smaller, and they'd seemingly given up on trying to add anything approaching "seasoning" or "spice" to the food at all (and this was a restaurant that, even in its salad days, could've stood to season/spice up the food a touch).  We determined that our visit a couple months ago would, sadly, be our last.
post edited by Rabkin - 2010/11/30 12:35:46
Rabkin
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Re:Sammy's/Mexican in Springboro? 2010/11/30 12:33:50 (permalink)
NYPIzzaNut

Rabkin

I have not been to Taqueria Mercado in sometime but one of my good friends has and he tells me they have gone downhill as far as their big burritos are concerned.  What is your take on them currently and in the past?

When I was going there more regularly I always totally loved the lunch of lengua burritos, refried beans and rice with horchata.



I haven't been down to Taqueria Mercado in several months, and I've never actually eaten one of their burritos, as my usual order is tacos, a torta, or their truly excellent (and, to me, who's had this dish at nearly every Mexican restaurant he's ever frequented round these parts, revelatory) chilaquiles.  I hope (hope, hope, HOPE) that what you've heard about their quality's not entirely accurate, as I love the heck outta the place, and I don't fancy driving over the river to get my autentico fix.  (Though, having said that, there is a place in Hamilton, who's name escapes me at the moment, that I was recently made aware of, and that serves tacos/tortas, etc., with all the meats that Taqueria Mercado serves, plus stuff like cabeza.  Does anyone know what the H I'm even talking about, and, if so, have you tried it?)
 
Found what I was talking about: El Valle Verde.  Anyone tried it?
post edited by Rabkin - 2010/11/30 12:45:26
donw9876
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Re:Sammy's/Mexican in Springboro? 2010/11/30 12:45:45 (permalink)
Rabkin However, our service was inattentive at best, the prices had gotten higher, the portions had gotten smaller, and they'd seemingly given up on trying to add anything approaching "seasoning" or "spice" to the food at all (and this was a restaurant that, even in its salad days, could've stood to season/spice up the food a touch).  We determined that our visit a couple months ago would, sadly, be our last.

 
Franklin and Middletown business and eating establishments in general have a tough time providing good service. That whole area has a strong ghetto mentality - entitled thinking, sloppiness, and minimal effort. Chains area there are usually a better bet than indies, with occasional exceptions. It's a shame to say "let's just go to O'Charley's" because we can't trust anyplace else.
donw9876
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Re:Sammy's/Mexican in Springboro? 2010/11/30 12:49:13 (permalink)
Rabkin, (or anyone else) what's your opinion of Acapulco in Lebanon?
NYPIzzaNut
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Re:Sammy's/Mexican in Springboro? 2010/11/30 13:04:12 (permalink)
Rabkin

NYPIzzaNut

Rabkin

I have not been to Taqueria Mercado in sometime but one of my good friends has and he tells me they have gone downhill as far as their big burritos are concerned.  What is your take on them currently and in the past?

When I was going there more regularly I always totally loved the lunch of lengua burritos, refried beans and rice with horchata.



I haven't been down to Taqueria Mercado in several months, and I've never actually eaten one of their burritos, as my usual order is tacos, a torta, or their truly excellent (and, to me, who's had this dish at nearly every Mexican restaurant he's ever frequented round these parts, revelatory) chilaquiles.  I hope (hope, hope, HOPE) that what you've heard about their quality's not entirely accurate, as I love the heck outta the place, and I don't fancy driving over the river to get my autentico fix.  (Though, having said that, there is a place in Hamilton, who's name escapes me at the moment, that I was recently made aware of, and that serves tacos/tortas, etc., with all the meats that Taqueria Mercado serves, plus stuff like cabeza.  Does anyone know what the H I'm even talking about, and, if so, have you tried it?)

Found what I was talking about: El Valle Verde.  Anyone tried it?
First I heard of it - it appears there is one on Vine St in Cinci too.

Rabkin
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Re:Sammy's/Mexican in Springboro? 2010/11/30 13:06:17 (permalink)
donw9876



Franklin and Middletown business and eating establishments in general have a tough time providing good service. That whole area has a strong ghetto mentality - entitled thinking, sloppiness, and minimal effort. Chains area there are usually a better bet than indies, with occasional exceptions. It's a shame to say "let's just go to O'Charley's" because we can't trust anyplace else.

Word.
 
The restaurant (actually not a restaurant, but a carry-out place) that could serve as the "poster boy", as it were, of the phenomenon you rightfully decry above: Shaddock's Pizza & Pony Keg in Middletown.  The people who work there are so mind-blowingly rude that it's almost akin to performance art.  " />
 
Rabkin
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Re:Sammy's/Mexican in Springboro? 2010/11/30 13:10:31 (permalink)
donw9876

Rabkin, (or anyone else) what's your opinion of Acapulco in Lebanon?

I don't think I've tried that location.  Unless it's the Mex place that's located in the building that used to be the Bill Knapp's, just round the bend from King's Island.  If it is that place, I have tried it, a couple times, and it's good, but nothing special.  Just your run-of-the-mill southwest Ohio locally owned-and-operated Tex-Mex fare.
donw9876
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Re:Sammy's/Mexican in Springboro? 2010/11/30 13:56:03 (permalink)
That's Viva Tequila you described (former Bill Knapp's right on the entrance ramp). We've hit it a couple of times and we like it OK.
 
Acapulco is on North Columbus Avenue in Lebanon, opposite the Kroger Marketplace complex.I really liked it when it first opened, but I have told my wife I don't want to go back - the food is basically varying shades of refried bean mush and soggy everything. Everything there tastes the same after awhile.
Rabkin
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Re:Sammy's/Mexican in Springboro? 2010/11/30 14:40:35 (permalink)
donw9876

That's Viva Tequila you described (former Bill Knapp's right on the entrance ramp). We've hit it a couple of times and we like it OK.

Acapulco is on North Columbus Avenue in Lebanon, opposite the Kroger Marketplace complex.I really liked it when it first opened, but I have told my wife I don't want to go back - the food is basically varying shades of refried bean mush and soggy everything. Everything there tastes the same after awhile.

Hmm.  So, really, not much like the Fairfield location?  Not that I think Acapulco in Fairfield is the be-all and end-all when it comes to Mexican restaurants, of course, just that it seems to take the items typically found on these southwest Ohio Tex-Mex eateries' menus and make rather more flavorful versions of them than the other places do.
 
Did you ever try the Casa Tequila there on Rt. 4 before it closed down?  If so, what were your (or anyone else's) thoughts?
post edited by Rabkin - 2010/11/30 14:41:48
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Re:Sammy's/Mexican in Springboro? 2010/11/30 19:01:18 (permalink)
donw9876

Has anyone tried this place? Sammy's Gourmet Burgers & Beer in Springboro, in the old Encore restaurant space, near Dorothy Lane Market. It is a restaurant that combines American food with Mexican. This location is a branch of a place in Blue Ash. Reviews I have seen have been extremely mixed.

I tried the Blue Ash location about a year ago because I saw they serve Nathan's hot dogs. Dog was good, but the bun was terrible. It started breaking up on the first bite.
 
For just a hot dog and a drink, my lunch was $9 after tip, which is why I haven't been back.
Bonk
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Re:Sammy's/Mexican in Springboro? 2010/11/30 19:04:07 (permalink)
Which Mexican restuarant is the one in the strip mall on Rt. 4 with the Mexican grocery store and the bakery attached? That's definitely the best Mexican I've had in the SWOAE area.
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Re:Sammy's/Mexican in Springboro? 2010/11/30 19:21:13 (permalink)
Bonk

Which Mexican restuarant is the one in the strip mall on Rt. 4 with the Mexican grocery store and the bakery attached? That's definitely the best Mexican I've had in the SWOAE area.
That is Taqueria Mercado.  Have you had their big burrito lately?

donw9876
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Another "new" place in Lebanon 2010/12/03 22:06:43 (permalink)
Spotted when we drove to Wally World to buy more Chinese stuff last night -
 
http://www.patriotsteakhouse.com/
 
In the building along US 42 next to Wal-Mart, in the space that formerly housed the forgettable Tin Duck Tavern and the even less remembered "Landing Bistro". 
 
I give it 73 days, 4 hours and 17 minutes of operation until it closes. Ok, so I'm kidding. It actually looks pretty good. Now, if they can only execute. The food, not the customers, I mean.
 
The name and branding seems to be cashing in on the retro conservative fad (the "Ronald Reagan Cowboy Ribeye"?)
 
 
post edited by donw9876 - 2010/12/03 22:14:15
Rabkin
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Re:Another "new" place in Lebanon 2010/12/04 01:31:19 (permalink)
How can the James Madison Filet be their "Single Best Selling Steak"?  The place isn't even open yet.  Jeebus!  This restaurant's been serving customers exactly 0.0 days so far, and it's already annoying the urine out of me (as far as the cutesy names go...let's just not go there, shall we?).  Of course, if the place ends up serving a tasty steak with good service and with a decided lack of pretentiousness (not exactly looking very promising on that score thus far), I'll be the first to come on here and eat my words, happily.
 
As it stands now, though?  I'm starting up the Official Patriot Steakhouse & Tavern Death Clock™ right now.
NYPIzzaNut
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Re:Another "new" place in Lebanon 2010/12/04 10:52:53 (permalink)
http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20101128/NEWS01/11280347/Der-Dutchman-won-t-reopen-in-Waynesville
 
This article explains the owner's rationale for not reopening this location.  Basically it was not a thriving piece of their business and they are better off without continuing its operation.  Hmmm..
donw9876
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Re:Another "new" place in Lebanon 2010/12/04 12:48:55 (permalink)
Rabkin How can the James Madison Filet be their "Single Best Selling Steak"?  The place isn't even open yet.  Jeebus!  This restaurant's been serving customers exactly 0.0 days so far, and it's already annoying the urine out of me

 
I didn't catch that.
 
Just once, it would be nice to see a new restaurant attempt to open in Lebanon that was not dripping with pretension. I think naive investors with huge egos move into the area, take one look at Broadway, and go "awww! cute! This town REALLY needs a Thai/Mexican fusion place! People will drive for 100 miles to try it!!!!!!" They don't get that the section 8 mentality drives this town much more than foodie mentality.
 
The result is generally and creates Kitchen Nightmares level mediocrity.
 
I've love to see a plain old diner and burger place open on the downlow in some decrepit space and charge cheap. Wait, we have the Breakfast Club, never mind, and it's not even decrepit.
post edited by donw9876 - 2010/12/04 12:55:01
donw9876
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Re:Another "new" place in Lebanon 2010/12/04 12:51:38 (permalink)
NYPIzzaNut

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20101128/NEWS01/11280347/Der-Dutchman-won-t-reopen-in-Waynesville

This article explains the owner's rationale for not reopening this location.  Basically it was not a thriving piece of their business and they are better off without continuing its operation.  Hmmm..

 
"Our business there has not really thrived" ? WTF? The (huge) parking lot was usually at least half full most weekends. I don't know, maybe overall, the traffic was poor. One word always comes to mind with the Dutchman - busy. OTOH, maybe this comment attached to the article gets to the heart of it: "Wow...I can't believe he would rather take the money instead of laboriously rebuilding in order to serve dinner to a bunch of cheap complaining 90-year olds."
 
It's not like they are outside Cleveland, what the hell did they expect?
post edited by donw9876 - 2010/12/04 12:53:37
NYPIzzaNut
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Re:Another "new" place in Lebanon 2010/12/04 13:03:49 (permalink)
I guess they are doing much better at their four other locations for some reason or other.  Surely the geezer brigades frequent those locations also.
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Re:Southwest Ohio and Environs (Open Chat) 2010/12/04 13:20:48 (permalink)
Seems Romeo's Pizza (out of either Cleveland or Toledo--I get conflicting sources) has opened 3 stores here in the Cincy area.
 
I'll likely give 1 a go next week, but considering the stronghold LaRosa's has on the local market, I'll be surprised if they stay around long and "cut bait" vs. fish.
 
http://www.urbanspoon.com...omeos-Pizza-Cincinnati
 
jjjrfoodie
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Re:Southwest Ohio and Environs (Open Chat) 2010/12/04 15:54:55 (permalink)
I would think just about anything would be better than LaRosa's pizzas..
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Re:Southwest Ohio and Environs (Open Chat) 2010/12/12 03:35:34 (permalink)
Barbecue.  Seems like BBQ is on fire in these parts.  Went to Smoking Aces in Xenia a few weeks ago.  It was OK but I wouldn't got far out of my way to get their.  Also revisited City Barbecue near Fairfield Commons, order the brisket sandwich, and found it to be a excellent as usual.  Hope to try out one of the Oinkadoodledoo locations (Englewood & Kettering?) as what I've heard sounds encouraging.   But my stellar find last week was the very recently opened Company 7 in Englewood, just a minute or two N of I-70.  This place is serious about their barbecue.  Oddly eating in there involves two options.  Full table service or cafeteria line service.  The seem to be advertising that you can save 15-20% by avoiding a tip and using the line.  Again, odd.  I had a half slab, fries and my daughter the pulled pork.  We shared their #1 Alarm Rookie sauce.   All was just fabulous.  Fans of Q, check it out.  Currently closed on Sundays as they've been serving so much food they are stressing their suppliers.
company7bbq.com
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Re:Southwest Ohio and Environs (Open Chat) 2010/12/12 05:10:40 (permalink)
jjjrfoodie

Seems Romeo's Pizza (out of either Cleveland or Toledo--I get conflicting sources) has opened 3 stores here in the Cincy area.

I'll likely give 1 a go next week, but considering the stronghold LaRosa's has on the local market, I'll be surprised if they stay around long and "cut bait" vs. fish.

http://www.urbanspoon.com...omeos-Pizza-Cincinnati

jjjrfoodie

 
Think this was mentioned in the Cincinnati thread, but there's one on Ohio 125 just east of I-275 in the old Garzelli's location.
 
I tried it, and I'm pretty easy to please when it comes to pizza, but I thought it was pretty average. I like Marco's a lot better, but I had the pizza so I will give it another shot at some point.

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Re:Sammy's/Mexican in Springboro? 2010/12/12 05:12:31 (permalink)
NYPIzzaNut

Bonk

Which Mexican restuarant is the one in the strip mall on Rt. 4 with the Mexican grocery store and the bakery attached? That's definitely the best Mexican I've had in the SWOAE area.
That is Taqueria Mercado.  Have you had their big burrito lately?

 
I've only been there once, and neither of us got the burrito. I've been wanting to go back -- it's kind of a hall from Anderson and Chester's is also near there -- but it would give me an excuse to visit Jungle Jim's.
 
Speaking of which, it's looking good for Jungle Jim's adding a location in Eastgate where Bigg's used to be. Good news for all foodies.

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Re:Sammy's/Mexican in Springboro? 2010/12/12 09:57:37 (permalink)
That really will be convenient for us Brown County folks.
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Re:Sammy's/Mexican in Springboro? 2010/12/15 09:29:54 (permalink)
Has anyone tried the cafeteria at IKEA in West Chester?
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