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Swamp Water Grill
3742 Kellogg Ave 513.834.7067
Riverside Centre Antique Mall
“Good Morning N’awlins how are you!”... That’s what I said (inside) when the Gumbo first kissed my lips.“ Then, a thick forkful of sweet & creamy crawfish pie nearly made me blush. Right after, Real Monday Red Beans (chock full of slow roasted smoker meat in rich red gravy) soothed my soul as they slid past my tongue. They calm me deep inside. Where did I find this fabulous Cajun cuisine?
I didn’t just get back from the Southland. I just got back from Kellogg Avenue. The locally famous antique mall is now home to Cincinnati’s newest Cajun joint... Swamp Water Grill. The dining rooms were seating saws, ladders and sledgehammers but the kitchen was in full swing. The owners (Kirk & Denise Prest & Chris Ornella) were cookin’ up the new menu, Cajun style all the way. Sampling, sharing and answering my never ending questions.
The Prest’s are good South Louisiana folk. They have their own oyster beds and charter fishing vessels. They live Cajun, work Cajun and talk Cajun too. Damn if they don’t cook Cajun as well. They are up here sharing some of that Southern magik that has made New Orleans so famous. They stick to pure authentic recipes and techniques in all the dishes.
Ornella is bringing his passions to the table as well. Chris is hopelessly addicted to smoke and his slow smoked meat treats include ribs, chicken, pulled pork and even goetta! Smoked goetta logs wrapped in bacon, topped with fried egg to be exact.
Together, the trio is offering a terrific Gulf Coast menu that is certain to earn much attention and loyal customers. One half of the menu reads like a French Quarter anthem; jambalaya, gumbo, crawfish pie, etouffee, Po’ Boys (real one’s), Barbecue Shrimp (NOT to be confused with BBQ sauce in any way), unique grilled oysters (from the Prest’s own beds), Blackened fish (done the authentic way) and more. The other half is like a Texas transplant. “Tex-Orleans” if you will.
I sampled several of the menu items (over and over and over). All were awesome. Vivid descriptions came to mind. It would be easy to get lost in creative food porn terms such as “deeply layered flavor profiles, unctuous & soul satisfying, silky smooth & savory red bean gravy” and the like. But I’ll leave that for the food writers who revel that sort of over the top self-satisfaction. For my article, I’m putting it like this... This is the real deal. No twists, no “take-on”, no shortcuts, no facsimiles. This is what a New Orleans grandma would serve her family, and proudly. If you know what I’m talking about, you know you want to go. But you’ll have to have patience, Swamp Water Grill isn’t open just yet. Look for an opening date in June.
Keep an eye out on our site for info on exactly when the Swamp Water Grill opens. Then, go and feast on fine N’awlins flavor the way is was meant to be. There is a full bar, seating for any size party and breakfast on the weekends. I can’t wait to see their Marti Gras parties. Hopefully they will be as loose and lively as the N’awlins folks do it in the Quarter. I have a big ole’ box of beads just waiting. And a big ole’ appetite too.