In general, food is the focus of those who dine out. There are other considerations. Location is one. Hankering, or what one craves, is another. Often, setting, mood, ambiance may be on the list. Probably other marginal reasons could be added as well. And for the Jewish community, if the owner has Jewish connections, that could be in the mix also. But good food, for me, is the key draw in the restaurant game, and that is why Slatts Pub in Blue Ash is always a sound choice.
As for the Jewish connection, readers may recall as reported here that Slatts changed hands in 2017, when current owner Clint Wooldridge purchased the long-time pub-style eatery. Wooldridge attended Yavneh Day School in his youth, hence, a Jewish connection. His restaurant creds include serving as Slatts general manager since 2006, before assuming ownership of the pub. Immediately after his purchase, he went to work upgrading the pub’s menu from basic bar food to a higher quality, more culinary gastropub offering. Take it from me, one can taste the difference. We did, enjoying some imaginative, deliciously tasty entrée selections, along with a creatively cool salad choice, that I’m betting will delight Jewish diners-out for sure.
So, what’s on the menu? That’s just it: at Slatts, the menu is a 4-part taste treat, consisting of lunch and dinner as two components, and seasonal lunch and dinner as two additional options for diners. Example, on the seasonal dinner menu is a chicken “sandwich” that is huge, unusual, and really appealing. Wooldridge described his creation this way: “We have a pretty interesting hot chicken and waffle sandwich. The chicken is tossed in buffalo sauce, an 8-ounce chicken breast, deep-fried (before it is tossed in the hot sauce), and we add arugula, honey, tomato, onion, (hold the bacon), and a homemade Belgian waffle as a bun.”
We tried the hot chicken and waffle sandwich, sans bacon. Get ready for BIG! And big flavors, too. The chicken breast on this sandwich is buffalo spicy, which is to say it has an enjoyable zing to it. For me, the spiciness was in the Goldilocks zone—not too hot, not too mild, but just right. The combination of other ingredients, the onion and tomato and peppery lettuce, set against the hint of sweetness in the honey and waffle pairing, made for an intriguing complexity of flavors. We loved it!
Before the sandwich and a salmon entrée, which we’ll get to, we tried the summer beet salad. This intriguing salad is built on a bed of arugula lettuce, but the items piled atop the lettuce offer a diverse combo of flavors that bespeak summer. First, there are watermelon chunks that offer a counter-sweetness to the roasted beets. Next, there are chunks of cucumber that add to the summer cool of this salad, along with marinated red onion, fresh strawberries, and apple slices. Dried cranberries and candied walnuts are sprinkled throughout, and a goat cheese crumble completes the ingredient list. The salad is dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette, delivering a tang that is the ideal complement to all the flavors mentioned.
While we’re thinking salad, don’t forget that Slatts is the home of the Shanghai chicken salad, and now features the harvest fruit and nut salad. Both are winners in the entrée salads category.
Another entrée we enjoyed is from Slatts regular dinner menu. If you happen to be a salmon lover as I am, check out the teriyaki salmon. Wooldridge adds wrinkles to this dish that make it special: “We make the teriyaki in house, and it’s more of a soy-ginger that we make into a thick dressing (for the salmon). We cook the veggies (an Asian medley) in the sauce, and then top the salmon with the sauce. The salmon is an 8-ounce piece that we cut ourselves, and it’s as fresh as seafood in Ohio can be. When we plate it, we top the salmon with a mango salsa,” he said, adding that the entrée is a top seller. The Asian medley features matchstick cut carrots, onions, red and green bell peppers, broccoli, and snap peas, done in a stir-fry manner. The vegetables are plated and mixed with white rice, lending a more Asian vibe to the dish. The vibe we got from eating the teriyaki salmon is “delicious!” This entrée offers a great balance of flavors, and we loved every bite.
See you at Slatts Pub in Blue Ash!