Palomino is located in the Macy’s building downtown overlooking Fountain Square. Considered an Urban Italian restaurant serving a variety of Mediterranean inspired dishes. We went there for a post Valentine’s day seafood dinner. There are several seafood selections on their regular menu and we were hoping the daily specials would offer a few more (being a Friday during Lent). We weren’t disappointed and they offered three more fish and seafood plates. The atmosphere is elegant and sophisticated and the wait staff are attentive and informative about the dishes. The views of Fountain Square and the street scape below are entertaining if you’re a people watcher and manage to score a front row table by the windows.
We started off with an appetizer of Brick Oven Roasted Mussels with spicy rosemary butter and crispy garlic bread. The mussels were perfectly roasted, tender without being chewy, and the spicy dipping sauce was a perfect compliment without being overpowering. There were plenty of mussels for two to share.
For the dinner entree we chose Asiago-Almond Crusted Scallops with toasted orzo pasta e fagioli, and Fire Roasted Salmon with mashed yukon gold potatoes paired with an Erath Pinot Noir from Oregon. The scallops were seared and cooked just right, buttery smooth on the inside with the almond crust lending a nice texture. The salmon didn’t stand out as being exceptional. Perhaps it could have used blackening vs. the fire roasted preparation. Though it was filling it wasn’t necessarily satisfying. The paired Pinot being the highlight of the dish.
There’s a full bar and lounge area if you’re not in the mood for a sit down dinner. The wine list and beer selection is commendable all be it a bit pricy. Palomino is actually a chain with several locations throughout the US. Overall it feels like an overpriced hotel/chain type restaurant with no specific character to connect it with Cincinnati. Sure it’s nice, and the downtown location is great, but the food could have been better for what they charge. Overall Palomino gets 3 out of 5 stars.