I finally feel like I am truly a part of Cincinnati again with my first visit to Terry's Turf Club. For the past two years I've heard great things about this place so I must say I did have high expectations. However, the few times I've tried to make a visit we had been told that we'd have to wait for 2+ hours for a table. I kept thinking next time we'll go earlier. That never pans out because people start going at least by 5 PM for dinner (i refuse to eat dinner earlier than that). Anyway, we finally sucked it up and only had to wait an hour this past Saturday for a table for four. I don't want to foreshadow too much but in the future you can count on me to wait the hour again.
Let me warn you - if you have an ounce of claustrophobia do not attempt to wait inside. You are better off freezing outside, standing with your cold beer in your gloved hand, shivering while the stray cat looks cozy and warm under the heaters sitting on the only chair left. It's better than inside...trust me. After about 20 minutes of dancing around the waiters in the tight quarters between tables we finally squeezed our way over to a small corner right outside the Men's bathroom. Classy is all I have to say. We ordered a couple rounds of beers to keep us entertained while we waited including the Two Hearted Ale by Great Lakes and Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA. I got a bit overheated (again with the claustrophobia) so I had to take off the sleeping bag I call a coat and ask the people at the table we were hovering over if I could slide it on the back of one of their chairs. They so obliged. Although I'm feeling a bit crowded I am liking this place if only for the patrons that are there this night. Then I start to notice the crunching beneath my feet...who thought throwing peanut shells onto the ground at a restaurant was a good idea? I know some find this "cool" or "authentic"...whatever. I don't and maybe it's just me. Anyway, thankfully the tables are high tops so your feet are off the crunchiness when you sit down.
I have to start with the Chili - this was really really good. There were a number of good size chunks of "filet" and the flavoring was perfect. Our friend pointed out that it tasted like liquid smoke was added to it and I think I may have to agree. I may have to try that in my next batch of chili...stay tuned for the posting on that one :)
The burger came out and I have to say I was a bit worried about the cheddar especially when I saw my buddy's burger with beautiful, yellow, melted American cheese. While it appeared thick and unmelted, once you took a bite you instantly realized you were mistaken. Delicious! It was just sharp enough to give a definite taste to the burger but not so strong that all you noticed was the cheese. I was a bit disappointed with the lack of onions on my burger...not sure where they disappeared to. The sauce we got on the side (Red Curry Wasabi) had a unique flavor that surprisingly meshed well with the English cheddar. Who would have thought?! Our waitress...that's who. She (who I will just call "Ma'am" for now...you know who you are) gave us the recommendation which we jumped at blindly. Props to her! However, at $2 a pop I had imagined the sauce to come in a much larger container...we didn't even use it all. My recommendation - split it between 4 people.
Now on to the fries - I know I will get a lot of arguments about this one but I am not a fan. I mean they were tasty but mainly because I love all things salted. I am not a huge fan of thick cut fries especially those that are bit browned. They weren't burnt but I like the color you find at the Golden Arches. Maybe that discounts me as a "Fry" critic but I wasn't jumping up and down for joy over the fries.
All in all I will be going back to Terry's Turf Club despite the squished waiting conditions (which really wouldn't be a problem in better weather). It had an eclectic mix of patrons - some you could tell have been going since the beginning of time. If asked...I'd pick Terry's over Zips any day. To make up your own mind check Terry's out at: 4618 Eastern Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45226
Score: 36 points
Ambiance (2), Tastiness of Dishes (8), Menu (3), Drink Selection (4), Cost (6), Accessibility (5), Service (5), Location (3)