- 580 Walnut St., Cincinnati, OH, 45202
- Overall User Rating:
- (0 ratings)
- 10 a.m.- 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
- Official Web Site:
Though the lunchtime-only options downtown are already plentiful, the Silver Ladle is open late enough for dinner. Its tagline – “a little of this, a ladle of that” – was a brilliant enough pun to make me want to visit just before its grand opening earlier this week.
Erica and I ran down for a quick lunch on a sunny Friday afternoon in between meetings.
The vibe: The restaurant doesn’t look too big at first glance, but it opens up to a large, deep space easily accommodating the busy lunch crowd we joined. They also have a patio with a half dozen tables spilling onto the sidewalk of 6th Street.
The Silver Ladle is modern but inviting – with stamped concrete floors, high ceilings and exposed ductwork. You order at the counter, get a number, grab your silverware, napkins and fountain drink and settle in at one of the dozens of tables. We decided on one of the high tables near the window that looked out into their patio and the sidewalk.
The food: Don’t be fooled with the word ladle in the name Silver Ladle. Yes soups and chili are an important fixture, but they have salads, burgers and sandwiches on their menu. They are also kind enough to mark which items are gluten-free and vegetarian.
The stuffed burgers – made with two fresh ground beef patties – immediately intrigued me, and I went with their flavor packed Nick and Tom’s Burger ($6.49): Monterey jack cheese, shredded lettuce, diced jalapeno peppers and diced onion all served on a pretzel roll.
As if all of that didn’t sound tasty enough, I also asked they add some of their Signature Sauce to my burger. It was described to me as a horseradish mayo. It was delicious, adding a sloppy and scrumptious heat to my double-decker burger.
The chili experience at Silver Ladle is both familiar and completely different, especially to anyone who has lived in Cincinnati for any amount of time. It’s a three-step process – order your base (spaghetti, mixed greens, French fries, burrito, coney), pick your chili (Cincinnati-style beef, or Cincinnati-style chicken) and end it with toppings (cheese, diced onions, diced jalapenos, Cuban Black Bean soup, and sour cream).
As a native Cincinnatian, Erica went well outside her comfort zone selecteing the chicken chili served over a burrito, with onions, cheese and sour cream ($6.99). The shredded chicken was infused with recognizable chili flavor, and included some visible, but subtle, flavor additions like tomatoes. It really captured the essence of Cincinnati chili. It was pretty ingenious, and wonderful, and made me wonder why anyone hadn’t thought of it earlier.
I added fries to my order ($1.99 with any meal order) and they were fresh, hot and perfect for sharing. Keeping with Silver Ladle’s understanding of all things Cincinnati, you can also order a wide assortment of Grippo’s chips.
The drinks: They serve coffee, iced tea and fountain Coca-Cola, and all come in one size for $1.79. I tried to counteract my burger and fries with Coke Zero. Erica went with water.
The damage: $17.26, plus tax.
The verdict: Although they have at least 13 soups available at all times – including Mock Turtle – there is more to experience, and love, than ladle-served dishes at the Silver Ladle. The restaurant obviously has some Cincinnati roots, and pays homage to the Queen City’s famous dishes in new ways. But they aren’t afraid to branch out with modern lunch and dinner items for a Downtown crowd in search for something a little more.