Week 6 — Kaze

Kaze is one of OTR’s newer establishments. Situated in the former Paint building (Cincinnati Color Company), this Japanese GastroPub finds its home in one of Cincinnati’s more incredible spaces.

As we were discussing what we should wear for the occasion (I won’t go into details—it was a special-er occasion, but nothing anniversary- or relationship-related. I may elaborate at a different time), Date described it as “OTR Nice”, which I felt was indicative of the restaurant generally: a very nice restaurant, but not someplace where we felt underdressed, poor, or like full-on vagabonds. I’ll take it one step further and say that this place is “OTR Chic” (with the likes of A Tavola, Mayberry, and Senate—very nice and sophisticated, but also a bit casual).

Location
With plenty of parking available on the street (as well as lot parking blocks away and valet parking at the restaurant), Kaze is situated in a pretty convenient location. The building is historic and the front windows are expansive, which provide sweeping views of Vine Street. This view is especially impressive at dusk.

Atmosphere
There is a fantastic ambiance inside the building. Lanterns light most of the bar and restaurant areas, as well as additional sophisticated and chic chandeliers. The bar and dining areas are very open and welcoming, and dining here is perfect for an intimate setting such as a date, or for a small group to enjoy drinks and appetizers.

Interior shot of Kaze OTR
Interior shot of Kaze OTR

Food
This GastroPub and sushi bar has about as many items on the menu as other OTR eateries (meaning a decent amount, but certainly not a ton). Date and I—both never having been to Kaze—decided that we should get a variety of food to try. We opted for two appetizers (Niku Sliders with short rib, cucumber kimchi, and Korean barbecue; and Pork Buns with crispy pork belly, apples, frisee, and mustard vinaigrette. There were two of each.) as well as a full “OTR” roll (big eye tuna, avocado, cucumber, and spicy scallion ponzu) and a half Big Ass Roll (egg, sea eel, house-made pickles, lump crab, and tsume). The former roll was definitely a bit spicy and both rolls were pretty good. We agreed that they were worth eating and very good, but certainly not some of the better sushi rolls we’ve had in the area. And for the price, we would gladly get our sushi elsewhere—at a “sushi place”. In the future I think I will forego any sushi rolls and opt for a number of appetizers (depending on the number in the party). Those were certainly the standouts of the meal. Especially the Niku Sliders. The Linger Factor—oh, the Linger Factor! They were truly outstanding.

Big Ass Roll (left) and "OTR" Roll (right)
Big Ass Roll (left) and “OTR” Roll (right)

Overall Grade: B+ [out of a possible A+]

My biggest complaint would be the amount of food for the price, and it seems I’m not the only one who feels this way. For a special-er occasion, Kaze is a fantastic place to go. There are a number of delicious food items, they take reservations, the service was outstanding, and you won’t leave feeling stuffed, which can often be uncomfortable. Date and I felt pretty satisfied as far as being full goes, which was nice, but I think for the amount that was spent, we were looking to have felt a little more full.

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