Thursday, May 04, 2006


I almost never get out for lunch these days. Between lunch meetings and just being so busy that it's easier to heat up read-to-eat soup, it's a rarity that I take a full hour and actually dine out for the mid-day meal. But knowing that I need to stop and smell the roses a bit more, I jumped at the chance to meat a friend for lunch at Palomino today.

Even after doing a bit of brief window shopping at Macy's, I arrived at 10 minutes before noon to find my friend sitting in the bar area because the dining room was booked up and had a 30-minute wait! Who knew this downtown spot overlooking the soon-to-be completed revamped Fountain Square was such a popular dining choice?

Our service was friendly and a bit slow, but perhaps that's to be expected on such a busy day. I ordered the Greek salad with rotisserie chicken, primarily because I've had the chicken as a dinner entree in the past and found it to be quite enjoyable. But while the cucumber-yogurt sauce and mixed greens with feta, slivered red onions and Greek olives was tasty, I was disappointed with the oily, rubbery chicken on the side. The portion seemed skimpy, and the pita bread wedges that were listed on the menu were mysteriously absent. I was more disappointed to bite down on some gristly bits in the chicken twice throughout the meal. Who wants to have to deal with politely spitting that into one's napkin while in the midst of a lively conversation?

My friend's salad looked better, and the experience was a pleasant one, but I'd attribute that more to my friend than to the food itself. Despite today's lunch, I've always liked Palomino--it certainly ranks as one of the higher-quality, more dependable, slightly more unique of the chain restaurants that are so plentiful here. Hit or miss, for sure, but it's a nice spot and not too unreasonably priced. From now on I'll stick with making this more of a pre-Aronoff choice for me when they're not so rushed. Or a drinks-only delight. Those pear martinis are like no other.


The damage: $35 for two, including two "big salads" and soft drinks.

Watch out for: the gristle in the chicken and not having a reservation.

Food: 2 out of 5 forks.

Fountain Place
505 Vine Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 381-1300


Deb said...

I have to disagree because I would give Palomino a 4 out of 5 forks- as it is one of my favorite lunch spots! They have a new lunch "combo" where you can pick 2 from soup, salad or sandwich for $9.95. Since I always get the same thing every time I am there for lunch (the portabello mushroom soup and the chop chop salad - both awesome!!!) I can't speak to the gristly chicken...(yuck!)Plus, it's really worth going just for the bread and wonderful tomato/olive/feta bruscetta.

Angie and Peter said...

Our first post! I'm so excited! And I'm so excited to hear about this lunch combo deal, because it definitely means that I'll be back soon to try it out. I have had the bruschetta, and agree that it's truly delicious.

Thanks again for the comment!