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Swamp Water Grill
3742 Kellogg Ave 513.834.7067

In June we ran an “Opening Soon” article on the Swamp Water Grill. I sampled many items bound for the menu, hung in the kitchen and learned about the food and the New Orlean’s owner’s. I loved what I tasted and appreciated what I learned about the food and people.
Swamp Water didn’t open for weeks after that visit. I wanted to dig in and try more but just like everyone else, I had to wait. In July, Swamp Water officially opened. I headed back to try more of the Cajun treats and get my hands on some of those ribs out of the smoker.
Bringing along my partner in crime and trusted co-defendant, we sat down in the newly remodeled dining room and browsed the menu. “We have to order shrimp & grits, what’s more Nawlin’s than shrimp & grits?” Pretty plump shrimp sit in the middle of a big ole bowl of homemade grits. These grits turned out to be kicked up grits for certain. Shallots, red pepper, corn & mushroom are hidden deep inside. You don’t even notice them at first glance. The velvety creaminess comes in part from a touch of alfredo. It comes together as soul satisfying.
I stole a shrimp and several forkfuls of my partner’s grits. I loved it too but I had a big thick slab of ribs sitting on my plate. Nestled next to it were sultry sides of jambalaya and baked beans. I couldn’t resist it all any longer and tore into it.
On the first bite the ribs caused me to pause, and issue praise across the table. My confidant doesn’t dig on swine but she did hold it close and deeply inhale the aroma. Even she was tempted to take a taste.
It even looks irresistible. A beautiful bark, well rubbed for 24 hours and then slowly smoked for 5 hours over a hickory wood blend. Pull on the first bone and unmask the mastery. Perfect tenderness and texture. Rich bold flavors jump out loud and sing with spice. Not hot mind you but spicy for certain. I know Eli’s is good. Real good. I sang their praises in the last issue. But, bone for bone, Swamp Water is better. More spiced, more bark, deeper flavors. Maybe it’s just my preference, but Swamp Water’s ribs are pushed to the maximum in flavor, smoke and perfect texture. Nothing is left to do, or add. They serve it with a sweet & spicy homemade sauce that’s stellar. I tried a smear on a couple bites. Honestly, I prefer them dry.
This was my second time trying the Jamabalya. It’s the real deal. Chock full of fresh smoked andouille, shrimp & chicken. Deeply sauced and rich.
Owner Chris Ornella really pushed me to try the baked beans. I usually pass as many are much the same and mostly too sweet for me. These were different. Onions & peppers can be identified. Sweetness is balanced with a bold spice. The best I’ve had to date.
Swamp Water is a marriage of New Orlean’s and Texas BBQ, with a little Cincy in there here and there. The recipe’s come straight from the Big Easy and the seafood comes straight from the owner’s (The Prest’s) own Nawlin’s beds & boats. If Swamp Water can just get you in a seat, you’ll see and be back. I feel a ribs battle comin’ on.

 

 

 

 

 

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