Photograph by Jeremy Kramer
First came the building: A stunning renovation of the century-old Metropole Hotel at Sixth and Walnut that left behind a fantastic tile floor with plenty of patina, not to mention ornate bay windows that bathe the dining room in natural light. Then came the menu: inventive and primarily locally sourced with a prophetic zeal for making everything but the cocktail napkins in house. Executive Chef Jared Bennett rose through the ranks to helm the kitchen after the departure of Michael Paley this past autumn, and Suzanne Church continues to produce pitch-perfect seasonal desserts that are elegant yet accessible. Bourbon cocktails hog much of the beverage limelight, and the charcuterie alone is worth a visit, with house-made finocciona that will spoil you forever for anything packaged. Braised onion soup pairs pickled red onions with earthy rye croutons, while tender grilled octopus rubs shoulders with fresh green garbanzo beans and a confetti of minced serrano chiles. If that’s not enough, the standard menu copout—the roasted half chicken—receives the royal treatment here with plenty of fiery Aleppo pepper and crave-worthy glazed carrots. Even the check is presented with panache—nestled under a tuft of ethereal Meyer lemon cotton candy—a fitting finish for a night of high spirits and earthy delights.
609 Walnut St., downtown, (513) 578-6660, metropoleonwalnut.com