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“Finally an Exciting Place to Eat” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Senate

Senate
1212 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202 (Central Business District)
(513) 421-2020
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Ranked #31 of 1,702 restaurants in Cincinnati
Cuisines: Eclectic
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night
Neighborhood: Central Business District
Columbus, Ohio
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
63 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“Finally an Exciting Place to Eat”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2012

My fiance and I just visited Senate the other night after I had read the reviews. Since we moved to Cincinnati last fall we haven't had much luck with good places to eat. But this place is pretty incredible. Yes, it's a long wait. However, if it's just you and another person I recommend putting your name in for bar seat b/c they are available a little quicker. Anyway, it's still a long wait but they take your name and phone number and call you when your seats are ready. That way, you can venture over to a bar or check out the shops in the meantime. The neighborhood is up and coming, I guess. But it's only a few blocks. If you go much further, it gets pretty sketchy. But the architecture is amazing and you can see a lot of history there.
So...the food. The menu is limited, but what they serve looks, sounds, and (what I had, at least) tastes bizarre and amazing. They serve bone marrow. it is worth trying at least once. It was a lot better than I expected. Rich, salty, buttery. Just really really good. I ordered the Linsday Lohan hotdog which was dressed in goat cheese, carmelized onions, arugala, a slice of bacon, and drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar. Strange combination that you wouldn't think much about. But, I'm telling you that it was one of the greatest things I've tasted. And this is just a damn hotdog. The goat cheese mixed with bacon and balsamic was just divine. For dessert I had to try the foie gras creme brulee. Again, bizarre combo and had no idea what to expect. But it was equally amazing. It was sweet and buttery, but also earthy from the foie gras. They also serve duck fat fries, pork fat fries, truffle fries, and lots of other goodies. My fiance had the candied pork belly sandwich and he loved it. It was pretty spicy but also had that mix of salty and sweet.
I cannot wait to go back there. My new goal is to try the entire menu. The waitstaff was incredibly nice and you could tell they really loved the food being served. I highly recommend you just sit at the bar if you have a small group--or if it's just you! They play TCM on the TVs (which I loved) and you can see them kick out all the pretty and trendy people who think they can just walk in a sit at the bar. They make it clear that you must wait just like everyone else. And that makes me smile:)

  • Visited April 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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79 reviews from our community

89% Recommend
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Troy, Ohio
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
31 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Gourmet Junk Food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2012

This place is right up your alley if you like good ole' junk food, but with a twist. The chef specializes in gourment hot dogs! I've had 2 and they were delicious and filling. My boyfriend is not too adventurous, but he had the Trailer Park dog (beef hotdog, wrapped in bacon deep fried, with cheese and crushed up grippos (chips)) - he fell in love. We were also told to try the Poutine (on the appetizer menu). If you've never tried poutine, this is a great place to start. Poutine is big in Canada and Senate's version is as follows: delicious fries cooked in duck fat, topped with gravy, cheese curds and short ribs. It sounds weird and it even kind of smells weird, but man oh man is it delicious.

We showed up on a Saturday around 5:45 and there was an hour and 40 minute wait, which I hear is not too unusual. I suggest getting there right around 4:45 or 5 or when you do get there expect to go down the street for drinks. We chose to put our name in and go get drinks - Senate then called about an hour and half later to tell us our table would be ready in 10 minutes, and when we got there it was. Great service, great food!

  • Visited April 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Columbus, Ohio
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Long wait.........Maybe”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2012

I love experiencing new restaurants and had read several positive reviews of the Senate. What intrigued me to try the Senate were the reasonable prices, unique flavor descriptions and photos viewed. The menu is limited and it specializes in gourmet hot dogs. So what they cook they do well. Be warned, if you are hungry, you can run up a significant tab. We arrived on a Friday evening about 9:00 p.m. The hostess told us it would be an hour and a half wait. We put our names on the list anyway and headed across the street to drink at another bar/restaurant during our wait. (The area is "happening" in the sense there are several new eateries in close proximity.) About 35 minutes later Senate called us on our mobile to let us know our table was read! So much for a 90 minute wait. Of course we ordered the hot dogs. They were very good, including the vegan dog. The bacon fat fries were sinful, but really good. The atmosphere is trendy and it is a small place, which can sound loud to some. I have to compliment the wait staff as they were attentive, but not pushy.

  • Visited April 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Waukesha, Wisconsin
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“a great burger with family”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2012

a very eclectic menu... half pound burger with great flavors. small or cozy depending on your point of view. 20 minute wait for lunch at 2:00 pm but worth the wait and screams 'great'

  • Visited December 2011
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Southern US
Top Contributor
104 reviews 104 reviews
86 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
“Excellent Food, Long Wait. Go anyway.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2012

The Good: Fantastic Flavors, Amazing Service, Original Dishes, Neat Decor.
The Bad: Long Wait to be seated, Small, Expensive, Dishes are Small

This is a real gem in revitalized OTR. They have awesome takes on hot dogs and burgers as well as interesting main courses. Although there is no kids menu my gang had no problems finding great choices. Duck Fries, Truffle Fires, Poutine and Creme Brûlée were all hits with the entire table. Our server was a constant presence just out of site. The decor is refurbished warehouse and the space is tight.

On the downside we waited 45 minutes for a table on a weeknight. Portions are LA sized as opposed to the normal for Cincy (Farmboy Portions) but the food is very filling. I do not mind paying for quality but be aware dinner for 4 was $110. It's money well spent but not everyone can afford it.

  • Visited March 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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