Sitting in the shadow of historic Music Hall across from the newly rebuilt Washington Park, The Anchor is one in a long line of new restaurants that have recently opened in downtown Cincinnati. Accordingly, an urban area that was once languishing has now become foodie heaven, and the Anchor is a great addition, already earning a reputation for its raw bar. There’s a complete seafood menu, including sandwiches to whole fish served with head and tail (servers will happily debone it for you).
The cozy shotgun-style restaurant sits in a row of brownstones, many in the process of rehab. Instead of the ultramodern, swanky vibe one might expect, The Anchor is refreshingly casual and unpretentious. The crab au gratin starter ($14) is cheesy melt-in-your-mouth goodness meriting scraping up the last drop. Side salads are generously sized, the kale option with hazelnuts and caramelized red onions ($7) deliciously crunchy. A fresh trout BLT ($14) puts a modern spin on the classic sandwich with just the right amount of mayo and crunchy Vidalia onion rings alongside. The sea scallops with risotto entree ($23) is a triumph of textures: The scallops are meaty and tender, and the risotto perfectly cooked.
If the crowds are any indication, The Anchor looks like it's here to stay.