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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

2 - 2 - 2 Mediocre Reviews in 1!


In the past week - I decided to venture out to some local spots...sadly I didn't really like either of them.

I went to Through the Garden in Blue Ash and Allyns in Columbia Tusculum.

Let's go through Allyn's first...

I was hungry and had just danced my butt off in my hip hop class then decided I needed lunch so my buddy and I went to Allyn's.

(side note - if you click on the pictures you can see them full size - much more of a yum factor)

I went for the Next-Mex Chicken Burrito. The "Next Mex" menu is lower fat...now they don't tell you how much lower or what's lower but I figured no matter what - it was a smarter choice. The burrito was pretty good. The chicken is "pulled" vs. fajita - which I like. Something was spicy - not sure if it was the salsa or the chicken but I did like it. The sides were all bad. The beans were both really undercooked. The black beans had a little flavor but the refried had none. The rice was the worst. It was terrible - bland rice is bad enough - this actually had a bad taste. So I guess if you get the mexican menu - see if you can get a salad or soup instead of the beans/rice.

My buddy ordered the chicken sandwich...he enjoyed the sandwich. He said it was pretty darned good. The fries - he didn't care for.

The one other item to note about Allyn's is the decor - it's very quirky. There's a sign that says "Beware of Pick Pockets and Loose Women" - my friend insisted I was one of those (I've never picked a pocket in my life). I would have taken a picture but there was a child sitting in front of the sign and that would have been inappropriate. They have lots of loud colors (which I like) and lots of cork art.

Allyn's also has a pretty large Wine Shop! If you're looking for a bottle for the next special occasion - stop by. They have a wall of wine and a cabinet of hot sauces for sale. They also have their own bottled variety.

Overall - I didn't really like my food, friend said his was okay. The decor is quirky. I don't know - it just isn't a place I really want to go back to. I'd rather go to Terry's or Kona or RuThais.

Next up I tried Through the Garden. I came across this restaurant on Kenwood Rd because of Restaurant.com. I got one of the $25 gift certificates (off $35). This was just an utter disappointment across the board. First I had Chicken Tortilla soup - bland, unappealing and flavorless.
Friend had the smothered ribeye - smothered because it's a cheap cut of meat. Sides were veges and mashed potatoes. The veges were undercooked and extremely bland. The potatoes were "fine".
I had the crab cakes with veges and roasted potatoes. The crab cakes came with this bad sauce - it was I guess sort of buttery and mustardy - I'm no ingredient namer - but it wasn't good. The cakes themselves definitely came from canned crab and weren't impressive. The veges again - undercooked. The roasted potatoes were fine - crying for seasoning - but not as bad as the crab cakes.
We were so disappointed in our meal we didn't even bother trying dessert. I mean wilty lettuce that has nothing to do with the entree and a dried up lemon wedge - ugh - it says it all. My friend said I should have a sign that says "WWGD" for What Would Gordon Do? Gordon Ramsey would have a hey day with this place!

I do hear that Through the Garden is more of a lunch place and I can see that. It's got a good location and I'm sure that if we'd all gotten sandwiches - we'd have a different view. BUT if they're a lunch place - they should stick with that!

Allyn's Cafe

www.allynscafe.net

3538 Columbia Pkwy
Cincinnati, OH 45226
(513) 871-5779

Allyn's on Urbanspoon

Through the Garden

www.throughthegarden.com

10738 Kenwood Rd
Cincinnati, OH 45242
(513) 791-2199

Through the Garden on Urbanspoon
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