Monday, December 20, 2010

Qdoba holds food drive for Freestore Foodbank

Local Qdoba Mexican Grill restaurants are holding a canned food drive to help restock the shelves of Freestore Foodbank after the holiday. The Cans For Queso promotion runs from January 1st through January 9th at all Greater Cincinnati locations, including Blue Ash, Colerain, Deerfield, Florence, Tylersville, and Union Centre. Customers who bring in a canned or non-perishable food item will receive one order of FREE chips & warm 3-cheese queso.

Please note that the Cans for Queso offer is valid for ONE free chips & warm 3-cheese queso order per person, per day. Donation quantity does not increase offer.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


505 Vine St.
tel: 513-381-1300

Because it isn't located at street level, Palomino isn't as noticeable as other Fountain Square restaurants. The entrance, sandwiched between Tiffany & Co. and Brooks Brothers, looks at first glance like an alternative entrance to Macy's - and it is. Palomino is an escalator ride up to the second floor. Those who persevere are rewarded with stylish surroundings and a lovely view of the Square through the floor-to-ceiling windows.

Take the escalator up to Palomino

Welcome to Palomino

The restaurant offers a good selection of vegetarian options for both lunch and dinner, including several pastas, sandwiches, salads, and pizza. Their lunch combo provides sampling opportunities, as you get a choice of two for under $10.

Modern decor with an 80's flair

While I have been known to frequent Palomino for lunch, their dinner service was an unknown quantity for me so Steve and I decided to stop in after work and give them a shot. Our server informed us that happy hour had just begun, so I ordered a glass of chardonnay ($4) and nibbled the complimentary crusty bread while perusing the menu.

Complimentary crusty bread and tomato chutney

While the Baked Four Cheese Trenne sounded tempting, I opted instead for the Farmhouse Garganelli, which consists of pasta (similar to penne) and vegetables prepared with olive oil and romano cheese. The salty cheese gives this dish a pleasant tang, but it was a little on the dry side. I also expected more than a few small hunks of carrot.

Farmhouse garganelli

Steve opted for the grilled sirloin with a side of fries and grilled onion pesto. While he found it to be a very tasty selection, he thought the dish needed a vegetable accompaniment, or a small side salad at the very least.

Grilled sirloin with fries and grilled onion pesto

Prices and portions increase in the evening, as does the noise level; urbane cocktail chatter competes with boisterous young professionals as hypnotic house music pulses throughout the restaurant and bar. Don't get me wrong - I love music (and was a DJ for many years) but when a restaurant's music is so loud that normal table conversation is impossible, the dining experience is no longer enjoyable. Palomino understands vegetarianism and gets the food right; it's a shame the volume control lets this place down.

Palomino Euro Bistro on Urbanspoon