713 Vine Street
Cincinnati Ohio 45202United States
Midwest Living Recommends
This French favorite may seem nondescript from the outside, but chef Jean-Robert de Cavel serves some of the finest food in Cincinnati.
Chef Jean-Robert de Cavel has had a long history in Cincinnati--including his reign as chef de cuisine at The Maisonette (Cincinnati's only five-star restaurant, which closed in 2005). Fans of his take on modern French cuisine have eagerly traced his career from endeavor to endeavor. After parting ways with his business partners, he opened Jean-Robert's Table in 2010. As far as we can tell, it's another home run for the beloved chef, for the city, and for region as a whole. Nondescript from the outside (it used to be a Longhorn Steakhouse) and set a few blocks away from the hubbub at Fountain Square, JR's Table is elegant inside, but not pretentiously so. With exposed brick, swank chandeliers, and whimsical art (including a Jean-Robert effigy the staff like to dress up for various holidays), the place is charming. It's on the small side (it seats 115, including the bar), and the walkways get a little cramped. The food is most definitely French, and the traditional favorites are there, like fois gras, frog legs, snails, confit quail, duck breast, and a range of seafood and beef. But there's also a French chateau burger and a chicken breast. From plating to sauces, every detail is there, including layers of flavor. The salmon ($22.50), served with bacon and soy sauce over rice, has a complexity to it you wouldn't expect from fish. The beef short ribs ($27) are tender and packed with flavor (we're in love with the sauce that accompanies this dish). It's definitely a place to be adventurous, even if you don't know much about French food. The sweetbread confit ($12), for example, was out of this world. Do not leave without having the macadamia nut chocolate tart ($9)--it's the absolute perfect combo of salt and sweet and chocolate and caramel. Jean-Robert, who makes a habit of visiting with patrons each night, tries to source as much as he can locally (like eggs, meat, and produce) and makes frequent trips to nearby Findlay Market. He changes the menu seasonally to reflect what's fresh at the moment.