Blue Ash Dining

Blue Ash is a remarkably appealing community to the northeast of downtown Cincinnati, a part of town where local trends play out beautifully against a quiet backdrop of rolling hills. Where restaurants are concerned, the sky is the limit; at least 80 venues dot the landscape!

The inherited German ethnicity of the region is worth noting. Take Decent Deli (1149 Kenwood Rd.), where the corned beef and pastrami are piled high on signature German-inspired sandwiches. Cincinnati Potato Cakes are also an option not to be missed, and the matzo ball soup is every bit as good as homemade. Lunch can be a rather busy affair, but the fast and friendly staff provides engaging meals to rival anything in the city.

Chili, another source of German-American pride, is uniquely represented here. Cincinnati is home to hundreds of these establishments, known locally as "chili parlors," and they form a subculture the vast majority of visitors will want to penetrate. One worthy contender is the chain called Skyline, where consistency is the rule and the language of placing an order has become the standard. Chili buns come without hot dogs, and coneys do. There are a set number of extras for sandwiches, and these extend to the larger spaghetti dishes, which are ordered by the number of "ways" toppings are added. A 4-way, for instance, would be chili, spaghetti, onions, and cheddar cheese.

A more distinctive gem is Blue Ash Chili (also on Kenwood), where the unique recipe offers a slightly sweeter product. A 6-way is possible here, with fried jalapeno caps as the final option, and a series of truly monstrous double- and triple-decker sandwiches rounds out the highly recommended menu.

Fine dining is also well represented, as are other exciting ethnicities. One of the best is Ando Japanese Restaurant, on Pfeiffer, where some of the best sushi, sashimi, and tempura in the state can be had for reasonable prices. Highly recommended is the famous appetizer menu, written mostly in Japanese; ask any of the amazingly friendly staff to translate, when in doubt, or go off the menu altogether for a truly memorable experience.

Italian fare is also widely prevalent. Try La Rosa's, a uniquely local chain, for a flavor you won't find elsewhere, or Maggiano's Little Italy on Montgomery for a more formal repast, where artisanal staples are lovingly prepared from scratch.

Blue Ash will bring the hungry traveler meals to remember!