4785 Lake Forest Drive
In Indian mythology, Apsaras are beautiful, young, and elegant supernatural women, similar to the Greek muses or English water nymphs. That this rather posh Asian fusion restaurant takes its name from these celestial maidens is apt; everything about Apsara - from the exquisitely carved tables to the hand-forged copper menus to the tinkling waterfalls behind the sushi bar - is breathtaking.
The building was originally built as a large brew-pub, and unfortunately the current incarnation suffers from being too cavernous. It's not that the restaurant doesn't try to make good use of the space - there's a weekly swing dance, and live music on Sundays - but there's a distinct lack of intimacy at Apsara.
The food is well worth the drive to Blue Ash though. Their vegetarian vegetable soup ($5), consisting of crisp-tender veggies in a clear, delicate broth, was astonishingly good. Each vegetable retained its taste and texture, lending a tender crunch with each spoonful. I'd happily revisit Apsara based on this dish alone.
Likewise the Jackfruit Curry: a heady concoction of tart jackfruit, caramelized onion and green chilies in a sweet red curry sauce. I'd never had jackfruit before and am amazed at how delicious it is. It has a consistency similar to cooked chicken but has a tart, sweet taste like an unripened banana.
There were a few glitches - the main one being that the jackfruit curry was supposed to be a spice level of 8, but instead the kitchen neglected to put any spice in it whatsoever. The upshot was that I got to know exactly what the jackfruit tastes like, but I have a feeling that if I'd have gotten it as it was supposed to be prepared with the green chilies, it'd be my new favorite dish.
The restaurant looks like it'd be more expensive than it actually is, although it isn't what you'd call cheap. At $12, my curry was one of the least expensive entrées on the menu, with most ranging from $14-$22 and a few of their specials hitting the $30 mark. I found it to be totally worth the dosh and am already planning a return visit.