You don’t have to look all that hard for decent French food in Cincinnati. Anything that Jean Robert has touched is a guaranteed win, plus stand alone joints like Sartre are bringing exceptionally authentic French cuisine to the Queen City.

Milford, to the east of Cincinnati, and a mere 12 miles from our house, is fast becoming our go-to place for date night. We’ve made 20 Brix our favourite place for dinner, and as we are become more familiar with the area, Copper Blue and Bite are creeping into our top 20.

Chez Renée should work. The menu reads like any French restaurants would, with staples such as boeuf bourguignon, soupe d’oignon and baked brie. But it falls short of authentic, and frankly tries a bit too hard. What should have been a decadent dish of baked sea scallops in a white wine sauce wrapped in phyllo pastry, (Food Hussy’s entrée) had a clam shell wedged into the pastry so deep she had to literally dismantle her dinner to eat it! There are deconstructed dinners, then there are plain inconveniences. Our appetizer was fine but left us underwhelmed and somewhat confused- a quick scroll through her blog, and Heather was able to find a photo from a previous visit. The goats cheese “crostinis” we got were half the size, missing some toppings plus what looked like a great little salad. If only I could have eaten her phone screen, I may have been a happier camper.

As I’d been dreaming of it all day, I opted for the classic Croque Monsieur. What arrived at our table was a humongous wedge of piping hot cheese, smoked ham and crispy bread. It was as it should taste- simple, rustic, authentic. However, it was served with “frites” that were more like pub chips and a sad little salad, so it wasn’t hard to make the grilled cheese the star of the show.

Dinner at Chez Renée was…tolerable. The over attentive staff (who checked in on us far too often obvioulsy not knowing or caring that another server had asked us the same thing only moments ago), the OK food and bland drink selection made for a sad supper, but the company was mighty fine as is always the way with my friend Heather.

For superb European fare, head down the street to 20 Brix. Or even Padrinos. The formers 28161719 page wine list is a thing of wonder and they have yet to do wrong food wise.

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