Despite the existence of the larger (and exceedingly wonderful) Mita’s, Chef Jose Salazar’s debut restaurant should in no way be considered an afterthought. While Mita’s innovates within the tradition of Spanish and Latin American cuisine, Salazar is a freewheeling tour through Korean, Moroccan, Italian, and French flavors—and that’s just on the current menu.
Tucked a bit off the beaten track in OTR, it brings to mind the kind of charming little bistro you stumble upon after getting lost in the Left Bank. Under the watchful eye of chef de cuisine Andy Hiner, Salazar has continued to evolve, turning out fresh, well-balanced dishes dotted with seasonal surprises: the cauliflower steak special (yes, really, a Moroccan spiced, seared wedge of the cruciferous vegetable complemented by a strong hit of lemon), the chicken liver mousse (so good it deserves its own trophy), and the succulent chicken Milanese (with its musky, sweet-and-sour notes of ground cherry). With its bustling bar and cheek-by-jowl tables, Salazar hums with energy at every meal. If you manage to snag a seat (there are only 40 including the bar), you’re in for an exceptional evening.
Salazar, 1401 Republic St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 621-7000, salazarcincinnati.com