24 June 2015

Tom and Chee

Tom and Chee is Cincinnati's fast casual grilled cheese-ery. The small chain has three central Ohio locations - one in Pickerington, one in Hilliard and another in the University District.

The concept exists in other restaurants like Melt and Gooeyz. Tom and Chee focuses on the traditional grilled cheese and tomato soup with a few extra bells and whistles.

There are vegan and gluten-free options available. Sides include soup, salad and mac & cheese.

Sandwiches were passably better than what could be made at home. Junk-food add-ons like donut grilled cheese put a few interesting spins on the dish.

There are three tomato soups. The classic tomato and chunky tomato basil are vegan. The creamy tomato is a vegetarian dish.

The decor is bright and fun. Service is relatively brisk.

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12 June 2015


Durangos seemed to take forever to open. The inconvenient sign announcing the restaurant preceded its opening by 8 months. The business concept mirrors Chipotle with a Tex Mex spin, and the added bonus of delivery to Grandview, Upper Arlington and the Short North should help keep the place on people's radar.

There are plenty of vegetarian options on the menu. All of the beans are vegetarian, as is the cilantro lime rice. There are burritos, tacos, salads, enchiladas, salads, rice dishes and the requisite chips and dips.

A burrito is good, sure. It is a fine delivery device to carry rice, jicama, nopales, red pepper, beans, lettuce, tomato onion and guacamole to your mouth. But the delivery becomes better when the burrito is deep fried. It achieves perfection when it is drowned in red enchilada sauce.

Guacamole has a nice essence of citrus. It's a great add-on with tortilla chips for $2.45.

The laid back crew grows their own cilantro at the restaurant. The vibe is friendly.

Prices with delivery included match or are slightly lower than Chipotle. It's a fun carry out or delivery option if you can't stand the line at Chipotle.

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03 June 2015

Guild House

The Guild House is Cameron's Mitchell's latest shot in the quest to occupy every building in the Short North. The farm-to-table small plates concept is vegetarian/vegan-friendly, and business seems to have been brisk since its opening.

The decor features interesting juxtapositions. Dark wood gives the room a forest feel, the open ceilings add a modern touch, and the green chandeliers seem to have been time-warped from some past grandmother's parlor. The whole thing almost doesn't fit together.

The soundtrack was workout music played too loudly. The music seems a pinch louder than in other Mitchell restaurants, but the music also might have stood out because it sounds better on a weight bench than a dining room.

Despite minor atmosphere complaints, the menu shows promise. The menu favors local ingredients. Outstanding breads come from Dan the Baker. There are Blue Jacket Dairy cheeses. Ohio's original national ice cream Graeter's is part of the dessert menu.

Brussels sprouts were prepared with caramelized onions, white cheddar, pecans and sweet mustard dressing. The dish is rich, sweet and deeply addictive.

The house-made chips and onion dip are also a great bar snack. A couple orders at happy hour with cocktails seems like the right idea. 

The vegetable lasagna is topped with crispy garlic, asparagus pesto, cabbage, onions, peas and more. The pasta carries a deconstructed version of the dish that showcases a bounty of vegetables.

Desserts were very good to excellent. The flourless chocolate torte with peanut butter mouse and vanilla tuille looks too good to eat. It isn't, but it's close. It's a must order barring nut allergies.

The house-made doughnuts were greasy. They would have succeeded if the pasties were better executed.

 The two person cocktail served in a glass porthole looks like a blast. The wine list has a nice range of selections, and there are a few draft beers, including one from North High Brewing.

Guild House is a great farm to table concept packaged in a strange dance club. Despite a few problems, there is plenty to like here.

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