Ash American Fare Opened Last Night!
Let’s rewind to New Year’s Eve. It was on New Year’s Eve that Alex Mchaikhi closed Cumin for the last time. He had bought it back in 2006, and has been working since its close preparing a new restaurant, Ash American Fare, in the same space at 3520 Erie Avenue in Hyde Park. It’s time to get back in those vehicles, Cincinnati, as it opened its doors at 5 p.m. last night. Let’s take a closer look at how everything went down.
“I had a great run with Cumin, (but) you have to look to the future,” he said. “We’re exiting on a high note. “The change is for the better,” he added. “It’s something I’ve been thinking for a while.” The particular something is a restaurant that is more personal to him and all his own. He actually bought into Cumin with a partner, so we can see where he is coming from! For his customers and patrons, he wants it to be a place to gather for drinks and a bite, or a family outing, or a couples destination for a night out. He wants it to be a place families can visit regularly, and not just on special occasions.
Ash emphasizes local produce, accompanied by a seasonal menu and great prices. While some of our old Cumin favorites, like the mussels and a mushroom salad, survived the change, the menu is mostly new dishes. The dishes are full of flavor yet simple, utilizing ingredients from Ohio’s suppliers. Entrees, priced at $20, will include rotisserie chicken, cooked in the style of Mchaikhi’s native Tunisia, and served with fries and grilled vegetables; steak-frites; a pecan-encrusted trout with bourbon butter and mashed asparagus; and a vegetarian wild mushroom lasagna. What we are looking forward to trying are what Mchaikhi calls “high end, elevated burgers”. One of this has lump crab, lobster béarnaise, pickled asparagus and potato shreds. Another is Mexican-inspired, with fried avocado, chorizo, salsa verde, pickled radish and queso, and an Italian version will have Nduja sausage, Giardiniera and fontina. How good do those all sound? Amazing, right?!
The vegetarian diners can dig into a tempeh sandwich that will have Brussels sprout “kraut,” emmental cheese, red pepper and walnut dressing, and pickled asparagus. The chef is Matthew Schroeder, whose food you may have had at the Rookwood Cafe, Miribelle’s and The Winds in Yellow Springs. With M now going strong, Mchaikhi felt this was the right time to move forward with closing Cumin and creating his new concept. “It’s time for a change,” he said, noting that with the competition on the local restaurant scene, “you can’t stay still; you can’t be mediocre today. You have got to be at the top of your game. “Every day has to be a feast,” he added. “Every day has to be fun.” We’ll be in soon, Mchaikhi!