- 235 W. McMillan St., Cincinnati, OH, 45219
- Overall User Rating:
- (1 rating)
- 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. daily.
With its elongated railway-car shape, backless countertop stools overlooking the open kitchen and rickety self-serve fountain drink dispenser, nearly everything about Cilantro Vietnamese Bistro recalls a greasy, gluttonous old-school diner.
Everything except the menu.
Taking its name from the aromatic herb popularly used in Southeast Asian cuisine, this campus-area favorite nestles vegetarian-friendly, traditional Vietnamese dishes inside the cramped milieu of a vintage greasy spoon, complete with plastic silverware.
My wife Stephanie and I hit Cilantro shortly before closing time on a Thursday night and found the spot still filled with the college-aged students that use Cilantro as a respite from the fast-food joints that surround the University of Cincinnati.
When it comes to the main course at Cilantro, you're basically given three options - the meal-sized soups ($6.25), the vermicelli noodle bowls ($6.25) and the stir-fry bowls ($6.85).
Stephanie opted for a noodle bowl with shrimp, warm vermicelli rice noodles, romaine lettuce, bean sprouts and chopped cilantro after starting off with a veggie fried spring roll ($1.50) as an appetizer. I opted to play culinary mad scientist and invent my own hybrid dish. Our waitress was nice enough to indulge my wish to marry the beef meatballs from the soups with the stir-fry bowl's crispy egg noodles - and for only $3.
Stephanie went with water and I enjoyed a Nuoc Chanh Tuoi ($2.50) - which is a freshly squeezed lime drink consisting largely of sugar water. Refills of this diabetic coma in a glass were not free, but I had another anyway.
THE DAMAGE: $17.04
That's a steal considering I opted to spend $5 of my budget on lime-flavored sugar water.