Happy Holidays, Cincinnistas! I hope Santa treated you well and that you’re enjoying the last week of 2015!
Since it’s a slow week at the office, Ryan and I decided it would be fun to meet for lunch and check out a new restaurant together. We’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about Americano Burger Bar, the latest venture by Chef Cristian Pietoso of Via Vite and Forno Osteria + Bar, and couldn’t wait to give it a try. The restaurant is located right next door to my beloved Mita’s in the 84.51 Centre on Race Street downtown – a very short walk from my office.
Americano Burger Bar is bright and light just like the neighboring restaurant, but has a totally different vibe. It’s casual and fun, with a huge bar and a giant shuffleboard table right in the middle of the restaurant. When you walk into Americano, you immediately know that this is the kind of place where you can gather with friends for a few drinks, great food, and a good time.
We were seated promptly and were immediately offered a beverage. I was so tempted by their boozy milkshakes – if only it wasn’t the middle of a workday! Instead, Ryan and I both opted for some of their root beer on tap – the next best thing! They were brought out icy cold in mason jar mugs.
We debated over which starters to order, and landed on a cup of the New England Clam Chowder and an order of the Americano Wings with BBQ sauce, celery, and ranch.
The soup was delicious and very welcome on such a cold afternoon. Peppery, creamy, potatoe-y (is that a word?) delicousness. The only (minor) complaint I had was that it wasn’t quite hot enough – but the flavor was spot on. Too bad I had to share half of it with my husband!
And holy cow, those wings! They are insane – piping hot, perfectly cooked, with an out-of-this-world char. The best wings I’ve had in Cincinnati, hands down. They are not to be missed.
Then came the debate over which burgers to order. Ryan loves a good fried egg on a burger, so he opted for The Early Bird. This burger is topped with his beloved fried egg, along with bacon, American cheese, onion straws, tomato and Sriracha mayo.
When I try out a new burger joint, I like to stick to the classics. In this case, I chose The Americano, which comes with grilled onion, lettuce, tomato, pickles, mayo, ketchup and American cheese. Sometimes, it’s best to keep it simple, right?
When we ordered, our server, Jonathan, asked us if we’d prefer our burgers “with or without pink” and we opted to have them with pink, rather than well done. We also ordered a side of Garlic and Rosemary Americano Handcut Fries and a side of hand-battered Onion Rings.
These burgers are the kind you see in magazines. You know the kind I mean: the kind of burger that has the most insanely juicy meat and the perfect bun that is soft but can also hold up to said patty. Thankfully, these tasted as good as they looked!
Who doesn’t love a burger with onion straws? Divine. But what really sets The Early Bird burger off was the Sriracha mayo. It has just the right amount of kick, and is a totally unique flavor. No one else is doing a burger like this in Cincinnati. The Garlic and Rosemary fries were a nice compliment to the burger, with just the right amount of flavor (and not too much garlic for heading back to the office!)
See what I mean about the perfect burger? The Americano burger did not disappoint. Turns out that “with pink” is the exact way I like a burger cooked. Although there was less uniqueness to The Americano burger, I’d order it again in a heartbeat. Classics never go out of style.
In case you weren’t aware, I’m a bit of an onion ring connoisseur. I adore them and have tried them at almost every single restaurant that offers them in the city. With that being said, Americano’s onion rings are a level above the rest, and I say that as a true expert. Whatever they are doing to their batter at Americano is the best thing to ever happen to an onion. No sauce is even required for these rings – although they’ll gladly provide a side of ranch or ketchup. If you’re a fan of the humble onion ring, opt for these instead of the fries – you won’t regret it.
We all know that there are lots of good burger places in Cincinnati (like Arthur’s, Zip’s, and Sammy’s, to name a few!) In a city so blessed in the burger department, it’s tricky to make a name for yourself in the category. I think Americano Burger Bar is unique and delicious enough to land a spot with the local burger greats – not to mention that it has the best atmosphere of any of the above. This is already becoming a late-night hot spot. A local, casual, and creative place like this is a breath of fresh air in the central business district, and I’m so glad to welcome it to the area.
There’s lots more I want to try at Americano – the hot dogs, the corn-on-the-cob, and the mac n’ cheese are at the top of my list for my next visit, which I hope is very soon!
Until next time,