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“There was a Groupon for a reason.”
Review of Through the Garden

Through the Garden
Ranked #817 of 2,019 Restaurants in Cincinnati
Price range: $0 - $20
Cuisines: American, Seafood
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Reviewed August 3, 2014

I feel bad writing this review, but I felt so deceived by other reviews that I feel it necessary to put our experience out there.

I was planning a trip to Cincinnati for my family of four. I was trying to find lesser-known independent restaurants instead of the more popular chains that are all over the place. On a whim, I checked Groupon to see if there were any options I wasn't considering. That's when I stumbled on Through the Garden. I checked Trip Advisor, of course, and most people said that it was a plain atmosphere, a bit of a dive, but good, healthy, fresh food. I printed the menu through Groupon and saw that there were a couple options I wanted to try, primarily crab cakes with a lemon dill sauce, my favorite. And, my husband was thrilled to see that they offered all you can eat wings.

We made a reservation for wing night, and we ended up being late due to my husbands training running over, so I called ahead in case they were busy. The hostess had to check with someone to see if it was OK to arrive late for the reservation. When we got there, hardly anyone was in the restaurant, maybe 5 or 6 tables filled. Why would it have been an issue with our reservation then?

Our waitress was very nice, and because of her, I give two stars instead of one.

I guess you could say I'm particular about food, but my husband most definitely is not. He will eat anything. When we looked at the menu, I noticed the one thing I really wanted to order wasn't even on the menu. When I asked, the waitress said the crab cakes hadn't been on the menu for over a year and asked me where I saw the menu that said they were still offered. Coincidentally, I had the menu in the car and gladly handed it over as proof I hadn't imagined the crab cakes. My husband of course wanted wings, but was extremely disappointed to hear there were only two varieties of wings: buffalo and barbecue. If you are going to have "all you can eat" wings, shouldn't there be more options? Maybe an Asian? Garlic Parmesan? Bourbon? Teriyaki? I settled for a cajun chicken and shrimp salad, and we ordered two appetizers only because we weren't sure we were going to meet the value of the Groupon. The spinach and artichoke dip was good (run of the mill, but good). However, it was served with pitas that had been cut into triangles and deep fried, and they were so saturated with grease, I think I can still feel them lodged in my throat. We also ordered pretzel sticks because we knew our son would eat them. They were good as well (also run of the mill, probably frozen and reheated). The sauce they are served with, which the waitress proudly declared was made in-house, was, in the words of my five-year-old: "super gross." I used the pretzel sticks to eat the artichoke dip.
My husband said the wings were standard bar food, and he would have liked to try a different flavor but after sampling both the buffalo and the barbecue, he had eaten enough.
My cajun chicken and shrimp salad looked average. Iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and regular ranch, even though the menu advertised a cilantro ranch, I believe. The chicken and shrimp was so heavily coated in cajun seasoning that it was like a crust. I know there is a difference between spicy food and food so spicy that your lips burn for 30 minutes after one bite. I took the chicken off the salad because it was so spicy I couldn't feel my tongue, then swirled the shrimp around with a bunch of ranch dressing hoping it would cut some of the spicyness down. It didn't. For the first time in my life, I told my server the food was inedible and I would not like anything in its place.
The waitress tried to make amends and say that the salad could be ordered with light seasoning (which I wasn't told at the point of ordering when that information would have been helpful) and that her father frequently orders that salad and has to ask for light seasoning. Maybe that should be a clue to the chef that the seasoning on the food is too heavy.
I feel bad being so blunt, but I'm being honest. The other menu items might have been better, but I'm not interested in returning. You couldn't pay me to eat here again. At least the waitress/establishment didn't charge us anything above the price of the Groupon. Never again.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
2  Thank MrsAmie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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36 - 40 of 55 reviews

Reviewed May 16, 2014

I very much enjoyed an excellent lunch here today - the special eggplant parmesan with spaghetti (ordered aglio e oglio instead of with the red sauce). Followed by one of the excellent chocolate mousse desserts.

This is a great place for lunch in Blue Ash. The food is very well prepared, and things can be changed to suit your particular wishes. The service is friendly and efficient.

This is a place I should remember to visit more often.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank Cincinnati-Bill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 19, 2014 via mobile

Home-like atmosphere with very attentive servers. Healthier menu options with large portions. Hot fresh rolls were great and the house vinaigrette was perfect. We are going back on Thursday for the unlimited ribs deal!

1  Thank Greg H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 21, 2013

The food is freshly cooked in an open kitchen behind a counter just when you walk through the door. (Be careful outside .... the lot & drive need repair) We went on the "all-you-can-eat" ribs, Thursday night. What a treat! Their menu is extensive and lots of fresh food ... not the usual fare. Our only complaint is the teeny tables for four. A nice outside patio in the Summer.

Thank Armbycvg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 22, 2013

This is one of my go-to lunch places during the work week. A nice selection, including some vegetarian options for my friends. A bit pricey for every day, but always a pleasure when I go. On this trip, it was about 6 of us, and the size of the party was no problem. One of us had a hard time with the spiciness of a dish, and they happily replaced it for her.

Thank Natalie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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