Restaurant L

Best Restaurants 2017

Editor’s Note: This restaurant closed March 15, 2020.

As “fast casual” panzers over our dining landscape, Restaurant L is nothing short of radical. It’s a throwback that’s also ahead of the curve: at once a grande dame and an outlandish upstart, Hollywood regency glamour meets New York City kick-ass. In anyone else’s hands these contradictions could lead to cacophony. But L is helmed by dual maestros, Jean-Robert de Cavel and Richard Brown, both in full command of every minute detail of your experience.

Through the dining room’s double doors, artist Chris Daniel’s striking silver tree branches out into the space. Standing 15 feet tall and made from 1,000 pounds of steel, the tree, which Brown festoons weekly with lanterns and fresh flowers, took Daniel a year to complete.

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

Dining at L engages all the senses, not just your taste buds. Passing through the lounge during dinner service, you’re accompanied by live music, thanks to a gleaming ebony Kawai grand piano.

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

The entire room shimmers, from the velvet banquettes with slightly higher backs than the Maisonette versions they’re modeled on, to the tables covered in Thibaut tablecloths (Left: Chef Jean-Robert de Cavel; right: Maître d Richard Brown)

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

From the moment you enter the dining room’s luxurious, silvery cocoon, you want for nothing—even your handbag is provided its own tufted perch—with the staff geared to anticipate your every desire. Unbidden, an amuse-bouche arrives, an inspired combination of sassafras, fennel, and grapes that signals to your palate what your eyes have already registered: Somebody—no, everybody—here loves me.

You might even be tempted to enjoy your meal at the bar, in the glow of a chinoiserie lamp, one of three Bernardaud Limoges vases that maître d Richard Brown had electrified at Palette Studios in East Walnut Hills.

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

foie gras

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

Original artwork by Hunt Slonem

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

Sweet, succulent Jonah crab, tender squab with beurre rouge sauce, flaky snapper and silky foie gras are given seasonal treatment by de Cavel, who, despite having earned the right to rest on his laurels under an umbrella on the Cote d’Azur, remains in our midst, driving himself to perfection and taking us along on his glorious ride.

Restaurant L, 301 East Fourth St., downtown, (513) 760-5525,

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