Recently we went to Cincinnati with some friends to see a Reds game. Ok, the men wanted to see the game—I was looking forward to trying a new restaurant beforehand, and am easily convinced to do whatever if I know this is in the cards (incidentally though, if I am going to watch a sport live, it’s going to be baseball).
One of the friends is picky picky about food (I’m talking about you Pat) so we agreed to find a fried chicken place. I asked around and was told to try The Eagle. And I know one of these is planning to open up in Indy in the future, so I thought it sounded like a good idea. Sadly, we were told when we got there that there was at least an hour and a half wait for a table, so we had to go elsewhere (even though they called like 40 minutes later to say we could have a table, but by then we had already gone somewhere else. Too bad, because if they had told us 40 minutes to start, we might have waited.) Anyway, after walking by packed restaurant after packed restaurant on Vine Street, we scored one of the last available tables at Krueger’s Tavern, which as it turns out, is owned by the same group that owns the Eagle and Bakersfield. The men chose this place and it is a very manly menu consisting of mainly burgers and sausage platters. I was a teeny bit grumbly at this point (the women were pushing for Taste of Belgium), but settled down when I saw the hot Gruyere dip ($6) on the menu. We ordered that as well as the hot beer cheese ($6).
Both of the dips were good—my favorite was the Gruyere dip though. It had the cheese as well as bits of bacon, caramelized onions and scallions and was served with really nicely crunchy slices of baguette that were brushed with olive oil. The bread was done perfectly. And the salty nutty cheese was complemented perfectly with the bacon and green onions. It was intensely rich, but delicious. The beer cheese was also good, but they just served this with hunks of rye and white bread that were soft, which wasn’t as exciting (although made sense with the runnier beer cheese). The consistency was much thinner on this one. It tasted good, but just didn’t have the same depth.
I split the Krueger’s burger ($9) with one of my friends, as well as a side of the frites ($4). They grind their own beef in-house and I have to say, even though the two patties were cooked pretty well through (they didn’t ask), the beef was very good quality and very moist. The patties were topped with American cheese, shredded lettuce, onion, special sauce and pickles. The whole lot was served on a Challah bun. It was a tasty burger—apparently was named one of the top 5 burgers in Cincinnati (#4 to be precise I think) and I could see that. If it were in Indy, I could see it being the 4th or 5th best burger. It was good. A little pinkness and it could have been outstanding. The frites were also very good. I liked the malt vinegar aioli that came with it. It was almost like combining my two favorite sauces at Brugge into one, which I think is sort of genius (I always get the aioli and the sherry vinegar with salt at Brugge). Creamy, yet super tangy too. The fries were pretty crisp and dusted generously with salt and pepper.
Hubby had the Cuban sandwich, which I got a couple of bites of—it was very good as well. He loved it. I thought the stuff inside it—the braised pork shoulder, ham, Gruyere, Dijon, black bean puree and homemade pickles were all very well done and in just the right proportions (you gotta be able to taste the pickles!), but I thought the bread was a little too dense for me—it overpowered the stuff inside a bit. Usually it seems like Cubans are a bit more flat. This one was pretty fat. Hubby raved about it though.
This place has a ton of beer choices—tons of random beers in cans especially, and I was happy they had a couple of fairly decent wine choices for a place like this. All in all, I was pleased with the overall quality of this place. I’m pretty sure it would likely do well in Indy too. The place was very busy, but I would say the service was pretty good, and the food exceeded my expectations based on looking at the menu (and no research).
1211 Vine Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Incidentally, since we didn’t get our fried chicken fix in Cincinnati, we stopped at Wagner’s in Oldenburg on the way home for lunch. I have written about this place before but here’s a lovely picture of our fried chicken lunch.