Licking our lips and cleaning the plate.

Cincinnati Bites
Grilled Cheese Sandwich from Cafe De Wheels

Posted Monday, September 3, 2012

Dear Allyn's Cafe:

It was good seeing you again. You're looking well. You remodeled since we last saw each other and I see you've changed the menu. The Mexican entrees are gone, and now you exclusively showcase all those Cajun-American themed items you'd wanted to emphasize. Good for you.

We've shared some good times together over the years, you and I. When we first met, I genuinely enjoyed some of your food --mostly the Mexican items you chose to remove. The sausage in your Red Beans and Rice is still pretty good, though you continue to be a little too heavy-handed with that spicy heat. You always loved leaving my lips tingling after a meal, Allyn's.

At times, you'd get a little jealous whenever I spoke of the Cajun cuisine I've enjoyed at other restaurants, and I remember the look of sadness on your face when I declared that nothing served in Ohio will ever hold a candle to the food in New Orleans. I regret saying that aloud, Allyn's. That was a little cruel of me. But sometimes honesty is the best policy, no matter how much it hurts. And today, I'm afraid I'll have to hurt your feelings again.

It pains me to have to tell you this, but I feel we've grown apart over the years. You're just not the restaurant I knew and loved years ago. You're trying to make changes and I respect you for that, but I feel you're not addressing some key issues about yourself: you're in denial.

So here it is, Allyn's: your food kind of sucks now. I know, I know. Please don't cry. I'm sorry to be so blunt. But in our last encounter, when you served me a $17 plate of Blackened Gator that was so overcooked and chewy that my girlfriend quipped, "it was like eating a rubber band;" a brick of burnt jalapeno cornbread; and a fiery, overwhelmingly spicy sauce that forced me to give up a quarter of the way through, I finally realized you really don't care about my feelings anymore.

When your server looked down at my barely-eaten plate and the charred underside of my cornbread, he didn't say a word, as though he were well aware of your weaknesses but had been beaten down by them, a broken young man now simply going through the motions, hoping one day you'll deliver better food so guests don't take out their displeasure on him.

Allyn's, you can't just change your menu around and hope things will magically fix themselves. You've got to rekindle your passion and instill a basic sense of quality control. I've been so disappointed in you the last couple visits; no one deserves to be treated that way. So I've decided to give up on our relationship and never step through your door again.

There, there, Allyn's. It'll be better for both of us. Here, have a tissue.

Allyn's on Urbanspoon
Allyn\'s Cafe

Price: Moderately Expensive ($11 - $16 per person)
Service: Fair
Rating: 1.5 out of 41.5 stars

Other Recent Reviews

  1. Dinner Impressions: Envision Cinemas Bar & Grill
    -posted Tuesday, January 16, 2018
  2. A Taste of Hawaii: Poke Hut
    -posted Thursday, January 4, 2018
  3. Pizza in Walnut Hills: Fireside Pizza
    -posted Thursday, December 21, 2017
  4. Breakfast and Brunch Review: Wild Eggs
    -posted Tuesday, December 19, 2017
  5. Barbecue Impressions: Bourbon Smokehouse
    -posted Sunday, December 17, 2017
Ratings Legend
four stars = Outstanding
three stars = Good
two stars = Fair
one star = Poor
  • From Natasia Malaihollo about Dope! Noodle and Dumpling Shop:
    Thank you for the review and background on the restaurant history! I was a huge fan of huit and super disappointed when they “closed.” Was wondering what’s going on with this musical chairs of a restaurant strategy so thank you for clarifying!
    posted: Fri., Jan 26th, 2018 @ 6:50 PM
  • From Jeff about Dope! Noodle and Dumpling Shop:
    Thanks for the thorough review! It honestly does seem like a new restaurant is opening every other day..but the thing about the wait staff..they might be getting paid a higher hourly rate because they are only open for lunch. I’ve worked at a restaurant where I was paid $10 an hour but the owner kept the tips, it sucked but sort of made sense for the lunch shift.
    posted: Fri., Dec 22nd, 2017 @ 9:00 PM
  • From heather about Wild Eggs:
    we liked it too - things are fresh and made from scratch and high quality - good experiences all around
    posted: Wed., Dec 20th, 2017 @ 10:55 AM
  • From Cincinnati Bites about Dope! Noodle and Dumpling Shop:
    Thanks for writing, Heather. I definitely like their other restaurants. Lalo's pazole and fish taco are better than Mazunte's, I think. But I agree they are definitely hit-or-miss. I'm still rooting for them, though. There's talent there. :)

    posted: Mon., Nov 20th, 2017 @ 1:30 PM
  • From Heather JOhnson about Dope! Noodle and Dumpling Shop:
    I tried Huit & Lalo and they were both expensive and so mixed - one thing great - another thing barely mediocre. More of the same it sounds like - hits and misses for a really expensive lunch. Nope on Dope.
    posted: Sun., Nov 19th, 2017 @ 12:41 PM
  • From TJ Jackson about Udupi Cafe:
    I do not know if it is truly a match for the product you remember, but Frostop Root Beer is sold at Jungle Jims and is a personal favorite of mine.
    posted: Fri., Sep 29th, 2017 @ 6:00 PM
  • From Jones about Haru Korean Restaurant:
    As a long time reader, I found this review to be one of your loveliest and most enthusiastically vivid. I can't wait to try this place!
    posted: Tue., Aug 29th, 2017 @ 9:48 AM
  • From Jordan about Grand Central Delicatessen:
    posted: Sat., Jun 3rd, 2017 @ 12:16 PM
  • From Tabitha about Tickle Pickle:
    Haha, love your comment: " If you were deemed "different" in high school, dressed "weird" or regularly got beat up only to go on to have a decidedly higher net worth and confidence level than the rest of your abusive, judgmental peers, Northside is your home away from home." I know I saw a Groupon for Tickle Pickle recently - might have to check if that's still available!
    posted: Fri., Apr 14th, 2017 @ 12:33 PM
  • From Tabitha about Chilango Fresh Mexican:
    This is definitely going on the list. Thanks for posting. Do they also have margaritas?
    posted: Fri., Apr 14th, 2017 @ 12:23 PM
Where The Locals Eat featured blog
Cincinnati Web Design | Cincinnati Mobile Web Design