Welp, Cincinnati has done it again.
Maplewood Kitchen and Bar, located snuggly between Americano Burger Bar and Mita’s, has just recently opened its doors and is currently serving a brunch/lunch menu only (although there are plans for dinner coming soon). I caught brunch/lunch there with two girlfriends last week (sup Annie and Erin) and we were all pretty blown away. Upon parking it with a glass of rosé in hand, I commented that this is the kind of place to bring out-of-town friends to show off Cincinnati and its eatery scene.
What I immediately liked about Maplewood was its large, wide-open space. The layout was clean and green and flowed rather naturally. While Maplewood is a dine-in restaurant, you do grab your own menu upon entering and then order at a counter. I imagine the lines will be long during peak weekend hours, but it was a totally easy process the day we dined.
Erin and Annie each chose a burger to split. Annie took on the veggie burger, which was house made and topped with havarti cheese, avocado, lemon-caper dijonaise, and slaw. Served on a 16 Bricks sesame bun, this burger was super flavorful and fresh. I particularly liked my bite and found the havarti and avocado inclusion to be so so right.
Erin shouldered the Maplewood burger, which was a ground chuck, short rib, and tenderloin patty, topped with Vermont white cheddar, pickles, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and served of course on a 16 Bricks bun. This was an absolutely classic burger, elevated with high quality ingredients, which made it taste rich with flavor. There was a consensus among the table that it was better than the veggie one, but as I think we all know, it can be hard to compete with good meat.
I opted to go the brunch route with the avocado benedict. From the bottom up, there was a smear of lemon and herb emulsion, a 16 Bricks piece of toast, asparagus, avocado, and two cage-free poached eggs. I was obsessed, The surprising star was the asparagus, which added an amazing crunch and freshness, to an otherwise rich and creamy plate. The lemon and herb emulsion also surprised me, especially because I tend to not love lemon-flavored things when served savory, but this whole thing totally rocked and I know I’ll be returning for it.
Self-described as a California upscale cafe in downtown Cincinnati, I look forward to going back in order to conquer the majority of the menu. I will also be keeping Maplewood on my list as a destination to visit when friends roll in and out of town.