Monday, April 29, 2013

Cincinnati Eats- Local 127 and Mokka

Work took me to Cincinnati again late last week, so "R" and I decided to make a vacation out of it and extended our stay through the weekend. Good decision--- we had a blast! We finally made it onto the Ride the Ducks boat tour out of Newport. Even though the weather was a little lousy on Saturday, our tour guide more than made up for it with his humor. We also spent a lot of time at the newly opened Horseshoe Casino, the sister property to Cleveland's own casino.
The gaming floor is smaller, but I thought that overall it was much prettier and I loved the lounge area that featured live music every night.

We also had some great eats while we were in town. On Friday night, we went back to Local 127 for a late dinner. With a focus on quality, local products, it's right up our alley. While the meal wasn't as memorable as our first visit, we both agreed that we'd go back. "R's" Porkopolis dish was exceptional.

We shared the Potato Skin with duck confit, soft egg, potato chips, and white cheddar cheese whiz ($12).
The duck confit was lost in this dish, but overall it was decent. They do love playing with soft eggs at this restaurant, and I'm okay with that!

We also spilt a side of the Mac & Cheese with white cheddar foam ($8).
It was a "deconstructed" mac and cheese, which made for an interesting presentation. It was very light, and was missing some of that creamy heartiness of good mac and cheese, but the portion was large for $8 and it was a good side dish to share.

I was leaning towards another entree on the menu, but when I asked our server about it---all she said was "It's earthy." Not a great description, so I changed my mind at the last minute and ordered the Duck Breast with rhubarb, sugar snap peas, carrots, and gastrique ($29).
I was thoroughly disappointed in this dish. Very little flavor, and the duck was just chewy. The vegetables were awesome, but that shouldn't be the best part of any dish.

Our service was also laughable that evening. Poor "R" had a glass of water spilled on him, another server accidentally threw my fork at "R" when clearing the table, and there was over an hour wait in between our first course and the entrees. At least they recognized this, and sent out a complimentary dessert.

So, it wasn't as good as our last meal there, but "R's" dish alone left us with a good impression. It's expensive, and a "splurge" kind of place, so if we do return then the meal better be more like our first visit.

The next morning, we decided to stick to the side of the river that we were staying at, and we checked out brunch at Mokka and the Sunset Bar & Grill in Newport, KY. This area is the original "Sin City", before many of the casinos and strip clubs moved to Vegas. The restaurant was hip and cool, with some tempting daily specials. "R" went with the Breakfast Pizza on pita bread, and I had the Gravy Train.
This version of biscuits and gravy was good, but not compared to Cleveland favorites like Lucky's. I added some maple syrup and hot sauce, and then it was much more flavorful for my personal taste. The interesting piece of this dish? The goetta. A breakfast sausage that is popular in the area, made with ground meat and steel-cut oats. It could be found on many Cincinnati-area restaurants' menus.

More on our trip later this week, as we discovered a new place--- Zula Bistro, featuring a mussels bar. Why don't we have one of these in Cleveland?

Local 127
413 Vine Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202

Mokka and the Sunset Bar & Grill
500 Monmouth Street
Newport, KY 41071


Beth @ CraveableCleveland said...

I like that you mention Lucky's biscuits and gravy...I'm not a fan of that dish at all but Lucky's totally changed my mind! Best hangover brunch ever :).