Week 10 — Ando Japanese Restaurant

I have a lot of exploring yet to do in this area, seeing as I haven’t been working in Montgomery for a very long time. Fortunately, Yelp clued me in on Cincinnati’s “most authentic” (their words, not mine) Japanese cuisine, so I was all but hell-bent on giving it a whirl.

Location: Located next to Brown Dog Café, Ando enjoys a location tucked away from the Pfieffer Road thoroughfare, but still enjoys the convenience of busy I-71. There is plenty of parking for the place, which is helpful, and so is the traffic light where you enter and exit.

Food: Date opted for the sushi lunch box, which boasts one sushi roll of his choice as well as five pieces of nigiri (did I get it right that time?). I’d been eyeing the salmon teriyaki for weeks, and was really, really impressed with the overall flavor as well as the portion size for my lunchtime tryst (not a ton of food, but pretty satisfying regardless), which was served with rice and vegetables (but not before salad and miso soup starters). Date seemed pretty impressed, too, and has since recommended that if I’m to try any raw fish in the area (nigiri?), Ando would be a great place to start. I think there’s a bit of linger factor here, folks.

Atmosphere: Ando Japanese Restaurant was a lot smaller than I thought it would be. The interior was pretty unsubstantial as far as the décor was concerned, but I particularly enjoyed sitting at the sushi bar for lunch. It was there we were able to casually dine together as well as watch the chef prepare Date’s sushi lunch box (as well as many others who were currently dining in the place). I couldn’t help but compare him to Jiro Ono (Of Jiro Dreams of Sushi fame. No one will ever be as good as that guy.), but it was fun to watch nonetheless.

It should be noted that reservations can be made and, even if it seems a little silly to make them for lunch, I recommend doing it. Date and I were lucky enough to have been seated in two adjacent chairs at the sushi bar, but if those seats weren’t available, we’d have been screwed.

While the cost was a bit high even for lunch (~$30 for two), that’s when I would recommend going. For dinner, it would probably be double the cost (if not much more). And the fact that we both got entrees as well as salad and soup, I don’t think either of us had many complaints about the cost, especially since it was all but expected to spend more than we would for just our normal lunch. I will say, however, that the service was noticeably slow for lunch. Really, that’s my biggest complaint.

In short: the food was outstanding, I had fun watching nigiri and sushi being made, and the service was definitely friendly, albeit pretty slow. This place comes highly recommended from me and, well, I guess Date, too.

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

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