When you open a restaurant in a town pulsing with foodie momentum, you’d better bring your A-game. But based on J Bar’s “upscale pizzeria” claim—added to the fact that we consider ourselves genuine encouragers of Cincinnati’s burgeoning restaurant scene—the best we can do is offer a mulligan here, primarily on a price-versus-quality comparison. Last week, we ordered an $18 antipasti platter, but were disappointed with what came out: soft cheeses that were cut well ahead, rock-hard dried apricots, sliced salami with the rind still on, and “smoked nuts” that seemed a stranger to any sort of flame. Pie prices ran extremely high—an individual pepperoni pizza for $17! On the beverage front, a 4-ounce pour of Illuminati montepulciano set us back a whopping $10. While it’s no secret that restaurants do a heavy markup on glass pours, taking in $60 for a bottle (roughly 25 ounces are in said bottle) that retails for about $11 is highway robbery, even in a flush neighborhood like Hyde Park. J Bar, you’re sitting on some prime real estate: Your neighborhood clientele—savvy wine consumers who eat out often—won’t become regulars unless you give them a tasty and value-conscious reason to return.
J Bar, 2637 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, (513) 321-5227