So far, 2017 continues to just be a real kick in the knees.
It took me a while to get going and right when I felt like I did, the meanest flu on earth swept in, knocked me out for a solid week, and looked me square in the eyes to say nice try.
So while it was a rough one that took out the entire clan, we did find ourselves healthy and functional this weekend and I insisted on one plan, and one plan only – Please.
I have been dying to go to Please ever since being treated to a Ryan Santos pop up dinner for the Kit + Ace supper club. And while I waited longer than I would have liked, it was well worth it and it lived up to my expectations.
Now here is what I want to say about Please right off the bat – it is really for a special person. I think you’ve got to like and appreciate food art to like and appreciate Please. This isn’t hyperbole when I say there is nothing like it in Cincinnati – there really isn’t. No other restaurant that I know of compares (although I would say Pleasantry is maybe the closest). Please is truly about experimentation and creativity. Reading over the menu, I couldn’t really imagine what anything was going to taste like, but I was in, and everything we had was surprising and exciting. So if you are the type that enjoys going out to eat for the art and experience of the craftsmanship, you are not going to be disappointed with what is happening at Please.
Kenny and I each went for the four course tasting menu and then shared every last pick. First up was my favorite of all my meals, the sweet potato tart. This was a sweetly savory beginning that ate like pie. The radishes atop were perfect and I think there was a layer of cheese between them and the sweet potato, but I am not entirely sure. Regardless, I was a fan.
Kenny went for the beef tartare wrapped in daikon. He is going to want me to immediately report that the rock salt on top is what made the entire dish. It was the salt that made him call Ryan Santos, chef genius and owner, right over to our table so that he could shake his hand. It was only slightly embarrassing, but Kenny swears it was warranted.
I then dove into Kenny’s enoki mushroom. While it looked like it could have been a pulled pork dish, it was as satisfying as meat could have been. This one felt heartier than the cod, all the while being light, which is exactly what you should be looking for in a second course.
I personally chose the chicken as my third course, which was so not like me (but neither is really anything so far this year). Even though it looked like it could have been a fish dish, it wasn’t. Atop the cut was grilled endive, which was an awesome texture against the perfectly moist and tender chicken. It was definitely a good one.
However, between the two for this course, I ultimately preferred the pork. The best part about this dish was the pieces of sliced pears. I didn’t remember seeing that part on the menu, but it was immediately noticeable and immediately perfect. I will probably look to pair this fruit with all my pork moving forward.
Then there was the surprise pre-dessert course. I tried to commit this one’s name to memory that night but it was impossible. Skabelaters? Skeebleeaters? Skobbelotters? These were some kind of Norwegian pancake balls that had a caramely gooey epicenter and rich shredded goat cheese on top. These were served without silverware, purposefully, so we just had to get in there. And get in there we did. These were bananas.
But the real star of the whole show was the frozen avocado with white chocolate. While I was interested in this one, I didn’t think I’d like it as much as I did. I would honestly say it was this one, plus the sweet potato, that ranked as my most favorite of the night.
Again, you’ve got to be down for this kind of dining if and when you check out Please. Don’t get me wrong – it was as tasty as it was adventurous – and I will admit it is the kind of treat dining that I definitely like to do. We went, not just to get our fill, not just to eat food as a means to an end, but to be wow’ed with the artistry of what food can be. And wow’ed we were.