A few months ago, I heard that the people of Green Dog Cafe had opened a new space, but I hadn't pursued the information further. Between a hectic work schedule these past few weeks (I celebrated it being over with a martini), trying to get our yard manicured and looking good (I did nothing, it was all Steve), and a myriad of other exciting activities, I had neglected the local new food scene. Fortunately for me, my sister had heard of Buz and wanted to give it a try.
If Green Dog Cafe is the veggie, feel good, healthy spot then Buz is the carnivorious, stylized, feel good hideaway. Both have their place in Cincinnati (which happens to be side-by-side), but I definitely think Buz is worth a little extra BUZZ at this point, because it's really that good.
Our group of four couldn't resist the appetizer list to start our meal at Buz. While the pork belly confit, edamame and bourbon popcorn all sounded delicious, we opted for the cheese beignets with crab. Sigh, I wish I could magically blink my eyes, wiggle my nose, and have these appear before me. These little spheres of warm cheese with a lime honey glaze cannot be missed. They were a delicious way to get started.
We also tried the pork belly flat bread with apples. This was a very generous serving and would make a lovely meal on it's own, but was an even better starter for our group -- we possess some very divergent palettes. This satisfied us all. I really wish I could share with you pictures of the starters, but we all gobbled them down too quickly!
Dinner was an easy decision for me. Steak. I'm a meat-eater, happily, but I don't often eat steak. I'm glad I saved this occassion for this meal. The steak was a worthy competitor to the gem of all steaks sitting right down the street, Jeff Ruby's Precinct. In fact, you'd have to offer a good steak to sit on that block without being laughed out of the neighborhood. I found the steak to be flavorful, smokey, and perfectly complemented by the bernaise and sides. And don't get me started on the sides. Green beans and mashed potatoes. The green beans were bright and fresh without being drowned in butter. And the mashed potatoes -- wow o wow. I spent the entire meal taking a bite and trying to figure out the secret ingredient. I finally had to ask the server who asked the chef. Alouette Cheese!! It adds a creamy, savory flavor that I can't wait to try in my own garlic mashed potatoes.
My dinner companions dined on short ribs over mashed potatoes and scallops over risotto. The short ribs were fall-apart delicious and full of bright flavors. The scallops were a good size and perfectly carmelized. I would try either dish the next time I visit.
Finally, while I was in a meat and potato coma, our table (rather, one person who was generous to share bites) ordered the chocolate cake. There was probably a much more sophisticated description rather than chocolate cake, but I was drowning in potatoes and didn't notice. Regardless, the dessert was generous and fun with two little milkshakes next to the slice.
Overall, the atmosphere at Buz is relaxed and intimate. The dark wood, shades of grey, and exposed brick are the perfect contrast to the friendly servers and a menu that begs for return visits. I look forward to returning to Buz!