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The Firehouse Grill
4785 E Lake Forest Dr
Cincinnati, OH 45242 | (513) 733-3473
Blue Ash’s new Firehouse Grill recently opened in a building that has been a revolving door of restaurants. The space is beautiful, the patio is awesome, the decor is cool and the bar is big enough to handle just about any crowd. It’s always been beautiful but neither Garcia’s, Watson Bros. Brewery nor Apsara could figure out how to please their patrons and hang on for more than a few years.
Firehouse is the brain child of a local ex-firefighter Bob Davis. He and his wife Molly have fond memories of hanging out on the patio on summer nights. They, along with investors re-opened the vacant space and hope to bring new life to the seemingly cursed location.
One factor in any Blue Ash restaurant is the fact that after 5 pm, the whole place is a ghost town. This is a day time lunch business town. Considering that, I was surprised Firehouse doesn’t serve any entrees until after 4pm. That bummed me out because I came there in the hopes of trying the meatloaf, but instead I had to choose from sandwiches, wraps, salads, a couple pastas and pizza. The “Back Draft burger” $8.95 featured house ground sirloin (or grilled chicken breast), jalapenos, chilies, melted Monterey jack, guacamole and bacon for $8.95. My co-conspirator had her heart set on the Pan Seared Atlantic Salmon with basil pesto, roasted tomato chutney with wild mushroom risotto ($16.95), but as we were too early she went with a tweaked to veggie Battalion Italian pizza (pepperoni, capicola ham, spicy Italian sausage, banana peppers, mozzarella and provolone $9.95). We were able to order the risotto so that accompanied.
The pizza featured a nice corn meal dusted crust and boasted fine flavor. It didn’t WOW! us but was worth buying. The burger looked like a winner on the plate but a few bites into it revealed a much too rare center for medium well. The server (Phil W) was quick to whisk it back to the kitchen and the manager was just as quick to appear table side to first; agree it was under cooked, and second to replace it with anything that I fancied. What I really fancied was a second order of the risotto. Damn fine by most any standards, rich with wild mushroom flavor, cooked perfect and creamy yet not too dense texture. It was devoured delightfully. So was the pizza.
I read the “horrible service” reviews on urbanspoon but folks I beg to differ. I’m a 15 year veteran server bartender and I can testify these folks aim to please and the service I had was genuinely competent and down to earth friendly. Sure, the cook rushed the burger, but sh!t happens. What matters is they were right on the complaint and willing to please us. The rest of the order was good, the risotto was great and I would give them a second try.
I admit I think the entrees after 4pm only is a mistake. Especially considering the locale. I think it’s the first time I’ve encountered such a faux pas on a menu for a while. Imagine if Fridays, O’ Charlie’s or what-have-you offered entrees only after 4. Financial losses for sure. Other than the restricted menu items, Firehouse should be a viable option for Blue Ash folks to try. The super patio looks perfect for summer night finger food, three finger shots, flaming fireplaces and six strings. Firehouse Grill does have live music but as of yet we have no schedule to publish. Too bad considering we have the best band schedule in print. With names like Natalie Wells we would welcome the addition.
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