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“Could have, should have been better”
Review of Nectar

Nectar
Ranked #275 of 1,970 Restaurants in Cincinnati
Price range: $1 - $20
Cuisines: French
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Cincinnati
Level Contributor
19 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Could have, should have been better”
Reviewed October 13, 2011

Nectar is in our neighborhood, but we hadn't been there in about three years. We consider it a special-occasion place, and it just hadn't made the rotation lately among similar finer-dining places in town. Now we can say Nectar needs to step up its game to compete with similar chef-owned restaurants in Cincinnati such as DaVeed's, Boca and Nada.

I'd made a reservation about two weeks in advance -- just in case. On the afternoon of our dinner, the restaurant called, confused, about a note left to call me. Huh? I confirmed that I'd made a reservation weeks ago. Apparently the time was missing from the restaurant's notes.

On a Wednesday night, there were only about five tables occupied, however, there was a large party of all men that swelled to 10. Our visit lasted about 1.5-2 hours, a nice leisurely dinner that dragged on a little too long. There were two servers for the first hour, then just one the rest of the night. Huh? Only the executive chef and a sous chef were in the kitchen. The staff did its best with keeping pace.

But I'm disappointed that my best dish was my green salad. Shrimp fritters, an appetizer, tasted too much like cheap Chinese fare from the mall food court and needed a stronger condiment on the plate. My chicken dish was warm-to-cold and too salty, while my spouse was advised that his plate of braised beef was very hot. I got the impression that my dish was ready some time before his. Dessert, a mousse, was not all that special. A second serving of bread was not available until we were nearly done with our entrees because the kitchen was overwhelmed with the party of 10 and there was no one available to cut the loaves. (?)

I'll assume the big party was the main thing hurting the experience; otherwise, the restaurant wasn't busy that night and should have been able to present a better meal. I want to support a local business, especially one that is woman-owned, but Nectar is not among the best in the city anymore.

Visited October 2011
Helpful?
Thank vacsrus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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46 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    25
    13
    3
    5
    0
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Cincinnati, Ohio
Level Contributor
192 reviews
85 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 229 helpful votes
“Finest restaurant of its type in Cincinnati -- a classic, excellent chef-owned place.”
Reviewed September 23, 2011

Nectar has become our favorite restaurant in Cincinnati (where we live) for several reasons.

First, the quality of the food is consistently both creative and delicious. Chef-owner Julie Francis really stresses using seasonal, local ingredients, and she does so with great skill and creativity. I like that portions aren't huge. I have never had a bad dish -- and we go a lot.

Second, the service is truly outstanding. Nectar has a small group of regular servers who know the menu backwards and forwards, learn their guests and their preferences, and make you happy to be there. We just love the staff.

Third, there is something special about chef-owned restaurants, and Nectar is emblematic of this. Julie's name and whole professional identity is tied up with every aspect of this place. It shows. Her passion and perfectionism and skill all come together to produce a wonderful eating experience.

It's a small place and business is sometimes not what I'd like to see. I hope it makes it, because we'd genuinely mourn if it did not. Go and help it succeed -- and have a great meal and experience while doing so.

  • Visited August 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Douglas D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Level Contributor
25 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“A Shining Gem in the Queen City's Crown”
Reviewed August 20, 2011

Julie Francis is one of the most talented chefs in Cincinnati or anywhere else. To see her at her absolute best go on one of her Dinner Nights- 5 courses for $55. Every one has its own unique theme. The rest of the time dinner or brunch is a la carte. She is always shopping for the freshest, tastiest & healthiest ingredients. She has a focus on organic produce & was an early advocate for the slowcooking movement featuring fresh, local ingredients whenever possible. Her gnocchi is stupendous! Often the entrees have unusual accompaniments such as quinoa. The only down side: the restaurant is noisy when fully occupied & there are occasional parking issues because of the popularity of Mt. lookout Square. I love her delicious food, low key ambience & winning ways. If you really care about what you are eating you can't find a chef who cares more about providing it. You must go.

  • Visited August 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank ninewinx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Level Contributor
69 reviews
37 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Delicious and Interesting Cuisine.”
Reviewed August 2, 2011

Chef Julie Francis does an amazing job with local, seasonal ingredients. Her Dinner Club is a fun and educational way for any foodie to enjoy a meal.

  • Visited May 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank JanetCincy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Neighborhood gem for locavores!”
Reviewed March 5, 2011

My wife and I were were promptly seated at a cozy window table. The server was very professional and had a great wine recommendation after inquiring about our preferences. The highlight of the evening was the crudo appetizer special; melt-in-your-mouth tuna paired with octupus. The entrees were also excellent and most of the ingredients were locally sourced.

  • Visited February 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank ArnoldEats
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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