In mid-September, the Cincinnati Chaîne toasted the waning days of Summer with an early Fall Dinner at Mita’s Restaurant located in the heart of downtown Cincinnati. This is the third Chaîne dinner our Bailliage has hosted at this hugely successful eatery, masterfully run by Chef/Owner Jose Salazar.
Mr. Salazar was born in Columbia, South America; raised in Queens, New York; and trained as a chef under culinary icons Georges Vongerichten and Thomas Keller. He moved to Cincinnati in 2008 to take the helm of the prestigious Palace Restaurant at the Cincinnatian Hotel (which closed in 2018 when Hilton purchased and renovated the hotel property for its Curio Collection). During his time at the Palace Restaurant, Chef Salazar was named a People’s Choice Best New Chef/Great Lakes by Food & Wine Magazine (2011). He has also been nominated for a James Beard award.
Shortly after leading the Palace Restaurant kitchen, Chef Salazar opened his eponymous restaurant Salazar New American Restaurant in the vibrantly revitalized “Over the Rhine” section of downtown. He was instrumental in leading a culinary revolution that locals believe has changed the food scene in Cincinnati forever. Mita’s Restaurant followed shortly after. Named for his grandmother, his “mita,” the restaurant focuses on traditional and modern food and beverages of Spain and South America. Chef Salazar also owns a third restaurant, Goose and Elder, a casual eatery with a seasonal market-driven menu situated adjacent to Cincinnati’s historic Findlay Market. During the pandemic, the Cincinnati Baillage was pleased to be able to support Chef Salazar with financial support through our “Helping Hands” program.
On the night of our dinner, members were greeted with sparkling glasses of Juvé y Camps Reserva de la Familia Gran Reserve Brut Nature, a Cava from the Penedès appellation of Spain. A trio of passed appetizers – corn gazpacho, eggplant with apple vol-au-vent, and beef croquettes – were just the right complement for the creamy mousse of this bubbly cuvée from the Juvé y Camps estate.
An exquisite five-course menu was perfectly paired with wines selected by Vice Echanson Provincial Mary Horn’s wine committee. The menu included Spanish Octopus a la Plancha, Canalone Catalan, and Herb Roasted Lamb Loin. Standout wines included a 2019 Marimar Estate “Don Miguel Vineyard” Albariño; a 2017 Familia Torres “Salmos” from Priorat; and a 2014 Gran Enemigo “Agrelo Single Vineyard” Valle de Uco Mendoza from Argentina.
The evening ended with a dessert crescendo: a dark chocolate tart in a hazelnut crust covered with dulce de leche glaze and candied Seville oranges. Dessert was paired with an outstanding 2015 Cockburns Vintage Port.
The entire evening was a wonderful collaboration between Vice Gastronomique Chuck Horn, Vice Echanson Provincial Mary Horn, and Chef Salazar. Bailli George Elliott thanked and commended Chef Salazar and his superb staff team for an incredible event.
Graig Smith, Vice Chargé de Presse