When it comes to maximizing your restaurant week experience, getting a handle on the various menus and making a plan in advance is critical.
Reservations are almost always a must and there are only so many days you can make it count, so difficult decisions will have to be made.
This year 33 locally owned restaurants have signed up for the promotion which runs Jan. 22-29.
Condado Tacos at the Greene, Corner Kitchen in the Oregon District, CBCB Grill in Beavercreek, Greek Street in Centerville and Butter Cafe on Brown Street near the University of Dayton will join the promotion for the first time. Station House Restaurant in the St. Leonard Retirement Community in Centerville is returning after more than four years with a featured menu from Chef Matthew Willis.
In advance of the Miami Valley Restaurant Association’s Winter Restaurant Week, the MVRA hosted a sneak peek kick-off event on Jan. 18 at the Steam Plant in downtown Dayton.
The Sneak Peek event has long been a favorite of mine. It’s an affordable ticket that allows you to sample multiple dishes that will be served throughout restaurant week all at once — a task that you would have a difficult and expensive time accomplishing in the span of the week otherwise.
The restaurants, staff and owners were all elated to be back at it and in front of a crowd of people clamoring for their food and cheering them on.
“We’re happy to be here and be a part of this event,” said Kurt Loose, co-owner of Loose Ends Brewery in Centerville who was handing out cards for “a warm welcome and a cold brew” to the folks sampling dishes in a line that didn’t seem to die down from start to finish. The restaurant featured a beautifully plated Ahi tuna poke crisp that was a star of the show. They also featured beef short rib and salmon cake sliders.
The energy and enthusiasm from Loose Ends seemed to be the same from restaurant to restaurant.
As I was making the rounds each of them seemed to be genuinely happy to be back at it. From Chef Maria and Eric Walusis, who co-own and operate Watermark and Backwater Voodoo in Miamisburg, to Adrian and Maggie Shergill who own and operate The Last Queen in Enon, everyone had smiles on their faces and spoke with excitement about the kick-off and the week ahead. All of the restaurants shared that the crowd was giving them great energy with their compliments and interest.
This years Winter Restaurant Week is filled with robust menus clamoring for potential customers attention and interest. It is an exciting thing to consider and behold. For me, it requires editing. What can I feasibly get to and enjoy, and what menus speak to me?
Where to start? Here’s a look at some of the menus that caught my eye that are on my list of consideration for the week ahead. Visit https://dineoutdayton.com/project/winter-restaurant-week.
1400 Valley St., Dayton, 937-228-2511
Why it rates: It’s old school and is a total vibe. If you’re in a nostalgic mood and want some caloric comfort food this is the spot.
First course: Choice of minestrone soup, German potato soup or caprese bruschetta dip.
Entrée course: Tortellini Alfredo with Italian chicken sausage, homemade chicken sausage tossed with tri-colored cheese tortellini with Alfredo sauce or chicken schnitzel cutlets sautéed and topped with a citrus beurre blanc and served with roasted bacon brussel sprouts.
Dessert: Choice of cherry almond bread pudding or cannoli.
250 Warren St, Dayton, 937-228-2626
Why it rates: There are several Restaurant Week menus that fall on the pricier side, but this one with the short ribs and desserts looks to be a fine option if you are celebrating something special and want to splurge on price and calories.
First course: House salad or pear salad
Second course: Braised beef short rib with jalapeno grits, broccolini and smoked pearl onions, or smoked half chicken with melted herb compound butter, pommes puree and charred hot honey glazed carrots or a Thai Peanut dish with napa cabbage, onion, rice noodles, roasted peanuts and cilantro.
Dessert: Chocolate tart with a sugar cookie crust and butterscotch sauce or an espresso creme brulee.
4482 Glengarry Dr., Beavercreek, 937-705-6528
Why it rates: Any meal that includes the first round of drinks is worthy of consideration, right? Plus Condado is brand new to Winter Restaurant Week and the deal will definitely save you money on what it would cost you normally.
First course: Choose from a house margarita made with Viva Agave Maduro, triple sec, citrus, and agave or a lower calorie skinny margarita, a frozen margarita or a cactus juice made with prickly pear, pineapple, ginger beer, and lemon.
Second course: Choose from one full-sized dip of Queso or guacamole or go with Mexican Street Corn Off-the-cob, fire-roasted corn sautéed with garlic, jalapeños, lime, and red onion and topped with aioli, Cotija cheese, Tajín, and chopped cilantro.
Third course: The choice of two tacos, a bowl or nachos. Tacos include Condado’s winter feature, the tequila-lime steak taco. The fire-roasted street bowl features roasted chicken, rice, black beans, fire-roasted corn, cilantro-lime aioli, Cotija cheese, chopped cilantro, Tajín, and a lime wedge. And then, there’s my personal favorite — Skywalker Nachos. You can substitute protein and upgrade to a braised beef brisket for $1.25 more. The chicken is also quite good. The nachos have a nice amount of rice, black beans, queso blanco, roasted chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro and onions, pickled jalapeños, corn salsa, salsa roja doused over house-made chips.
613 E. Fifth St., Dayton, 937-938-5244
Why it rates: It’s four courses and I want everything on this menu. If it’s as good as it sounds Corner Kitchen is one of the places to be this week.
First course: Warm chevre and pear-goat cheese, pear-cranberry chutney, spiced honey on grilled focaccia.
Second course: Market greens-radish, onion, cherry tomato, house vinaigrette, crouton.
Third course: Chose from tempura walleye served with fries, chipotle remoulade and a brussel sprout slaw, or egg battered chicken with smashed potato, grilled asparagus and chili picatta, or a 7 oz. Keener Farm petite cut with, oyster mushrooms, spiced carrot puree and black garlic demi glaze.
Dessert: Lemon mascarpone dumpling served with strawberry preserves and whipped cream.
424 E. Stroop Rd., Kettering, 937-534-0494
Why it rates: Figlio gets me with their peasant salad every time. On top of that, the entrees sound delightful and I’ve never met a crème brulee I didn’t like.
First course: Choose from Caesar salad, their signature peasant salad with lettuce, spinach, bacon, egg, onion, cheddar, peas, peppers, and peasant dressing, or balsamic salad of mixed greens, pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes and gorgonzola.
Second course: Choose from prosciutto artichoke linguine, pesto chicken pasta with chopped tomatoes, pine nuts, feta, and roasted red peppers, truffle mushroom pizza with portabella mushrooms, prosciutto, gorgonzola and truffle oil, or basil shrimp pizza with sautéed shrimp, fresh and sundried tomatoes, artichokes, mozzarella, Romano, and basil pesto sauce.
Third course: Tiramisu or crème brulee.
Firebirds Wood Fired Grill
3500 Rigby Rd., Miamisburg, 937-865-9355
Cost: Prices not available.
Why it rates: That prime rib and pork chop are worth taking a trip for if you are feeling like a large serving of protein. The prime rib will melt in your mouth and the pork chop will have your mouth watering from start to finish.
First course: Choose from a cup of chicken tortilla soup, BLT, mixed greens or Caesar salad or burrata bruschetta toasted ciabatta.
Second course: Choose land with a slow roasted prime rib served with homemade au jus, and a loaded baked potato or Parmesan mashed potatoes, or go sea with jumbo lump blue crab cakes served with a wonton slaw and seasoned steak fries. Then there’s the tomahawk prime pork chop with a cognac cream sauce, red wine poached apples and green chile mac and cheese. Finally, there’s a Parmesan crusted chicken topped with a blistered tomato-basil beurre blanc and served with Parmesan mashed potatoes and asparagus.
Dessert: Choice of chocolate brownie sundae, creme brulée, cheesecake squares, warm carrot cake with salted caramel sauce.
127 E. 3rd St., Dayton, 937-938-9089
Why it rates: It starts out healthy and ends on a note your cardiologist doesn’t recommend. This is a dreamy meal from start to delicious finish.
First course: Roasted beet salad served with smoked lentils, herb yogurt, pistachio and greens.
Second course: Brussel sprouts with fermented BBQ, Japanese mustard aioli and scallion.
Third course: Classic Koji Burger — two patties topped with American cheese, shredded lettuce, onion, sesame soy kewpie on a milk bun.
Rip Rap Roadhouse
6024 Rip Rap Road, Dayton, 937-236-4329
Why it rates: It’s priced right, sounds like it will satisfy and the cocktail and draft beer list at Rip Rap have something that will pair well with whatever you order.
First course: Choice of house or Caesar salad.
Second course: Choice of pan seared red snapper Veracruz style topped with sauteed onions, garlic, capers, tomatoes, green olives, jalapeno, oregano and fresh squeezed lime juice. Served on a bed of garlic parmesan rice ($25.23), 8 oz. Angus reserve top sirloin served with fresh grilled asparagus and topped with bearnaise sauce ($25.23), Parmesan crusted chicken tenderloins pan-fried and topped with a garlic chive wine sauce and served with fresh grilled asparagus ($22.23) or shrimp fettuccine in white wine lemon butter sauce ($22.23).
Third course: Assorted mini mixed berry beignets or assorted chocolate beignets.
Speaking of price, the bill that you are handed at the end of the meal is also worthy of consideration. Here are the three best deals being offered for restaurant week if you are doing some belt tightening on your budget after the holidays.
101 E. Alex Bell Rd., Centerville, 937 640-3295
Why it rates: This is one of the new participating restaurants to Winter Restaurant Week. You can’t go wrong with Greek food ever and “Zeus Fries” is really fun to say. The Gyro at Greek Street is terrific. Pair it with the Greek fries and some baklava to eat in or take home and you’re in business.
Entrée: Gyro (Choice of lamb, chicken, shrimp, pork belly, keftedes or veggie), Zeus Fry (large fry with tzatziki, feta, scallions, and your choice of protein) or Greek salad with your choice of protein.
Side: Choose from a Greek Fry (tzatziki, feta, scallions), soup (Avgolemono or Greek lentil soup) half Greek salad, Spanakopita (Greek spinach pie) Dolmades (four stuffed grape leaves) or Pastitsio (Greek lasagna).
Hickory River Smokehouse
135 S. Garber Drive, Tipp City, 937-669-2271
Cost: Three-course meal for two starting at $25.23
Why it rates: The price comes out to just under $13 a person before tax and tip. This isn’t going to be a high end restaurant week meal, but it’s going to feed two people at the best price you can get of any of the participating restaurants.
Starters (choose 1 to share): French fries, seasoned waffle fries, sweet potato fries, onion rings, southern style okra.
Entrees: Two sandwich plates each served with two sides ($25.23); Two dinner plates served with two sides and cornbread ($35.23); Two smokehouse combo plates served with two sides and cornbread ($40.23).
Dessert: Choose from peach, cherry, blackberry and apple cobbler, a turtle brownie or a large chocolate chip cookie.
1443 North Detroit St., Xenia, 937-372-3202
Cost: Two eat for $33.23
Why it rates: Two people splitting a bill for just over $33 is a good price, especially when there is a New York strip steak and/or salmon involved.
Appetizer to share: Choice of shrimp cocktail, or fried mushrooms, fried cauliflower, onion rings or pork rinds.
Entrée: New York Strip served on a bed of onion straws with one side and a dinner roll; honey garlic glazed salmon fillet pan seared and finished with a house-made honey garlic glaze served on a bed of rice with the choice of one side, and a fresh baked dinner roll; or blackened chicken alfredo.
Desserts to share: Buckeye white hot Russian or Nicks chocolate brownie sundae.
Dayton Eats looks at the regional food stories and restaurant news. E-mail Alexis Larsen at firstname.lastname@example.org with the information about dining specials, new chefs, menu changes and other culinary adventures and we will work to include it in future coverage.
How to go
What: Winter Restaurant Week
When: January 22-29
Where: Various locations
Cost: Meals range in price from $20.23-$50.23
More info and complete list of restaurants: 937-461-MVRA (6872) or www.dineoutdayton.com