Tink's is an old favorite of mine. I used to go there all the time with the professor I TAd for at the University of Cincinnati. We would go there for lunch and talk about my future in academia (at one time, bright; now I'm incredibly glad I'm not in it), Judaic Studies (I TAd Literature of the Holocaust, American Jewish Fiction and Jewish and Women's Humor) and she always ordered the Atkins platter of salmon, capers, cream cheese and onions with a side of bread.
Paolo had a "new menu" party a couple of weeks ago which I was unable to attend, but Terry and I made it for dinner one Sunday night-- in a torrential downpour-- to try the new menu. The whole place was new to Terry as he'd never been there. We were both fairly impressed.
We started off with fried green tomatoes, which were beer-battered and served with a tomato custard. These were great-- very crisp, though the tomatoes weren't quite in season-- and I loved the tomato custard, which was like a savory pudding.
We each got an entree as well (though I'd have been happy just to try lots of appetizers). I ended up with the scallops, which were served with butternut squash, apple, arugula and sage browned butter. The scallops were huge, sweet, and cooked properly. The butternut squash was also sweet, which was a nice contrast both to other preparations of butternut squash I've had recently and to the arugula, which added just the right amount of bite. The browned butter wasn't overwhelming, but added a nice richness to the dish. I'd definitely order this again.
Terry was the clear winner in the entree wars. He got the shrimp and grits, which Paolo recommended to me with great enthusiasm. He was right. This was the best preparation of shrimp and grits I've had-- including Hugo and the place I originally tried in Nashville. The grits were not too cheese-laden, stone ground, and perfectly creamy. The shrimp were tender and juicy, and the tasso demiglace was a rich, savory accompaniment that also included substantial chunks of tasso. It was just the right amount of spice, creaminess, richness and saltiness. I stole lots of bites when Terry wasn't looking. I'm pretty sure that he would have licked the plate had it been socially acceptable to do so.
I decided that I wanted dessert. Terry instructed me to order whatever I wanted, as he was too full to do anything but take a bite. I chose the Dulce de Leche mousse. Remember how I said Terry wanted to lick the plate? I wanted to lick the glass. I've had "alternative" mousses at other restaurants, and often they consist of flavored cool whip. Not here: this was a delicate mousse made of real cream and real dulce de leche. It was heavenly-- just sweet enough without being overwhelming (as that artificial stuff nearly always is).
Tink's is such a unique experience in Cincinnati-- good food with no shortcuts, in a great neighborhood (you can head over to the Esquire on certain nights with your Tink's receipt and get discounted movie admission), and in between meals you can take a peek at some of the most innovative jewelry in the city. It's a great place to take a date (hey! you can pick out an engagement ring in between courses!) or the girls for a fun night out.