Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lunch on Main: Around the World in 80 Dogs?

The Kraken, Lunch on Main's Mediterranean-inspired hot dog with red pepper hummus,
tzatziki, chunky feta, and sliced pepperoncini

I don’t know how sixth graders these days celebrate their birthdays. But in my girlhood, it was customary to invite all the girls in your class (our mothers didn’t want anyone to feel left out). One classmate’s birthday party stands out in memory. Not just because it was a perfect summer afternoon for splashing in the pool and having a backyard cookout, but because it was where I had my first Avril’s hot dog. Turns out my classmate was related to the Avril family that founded the Court Street butcher shop and sausage-maker in 1894, now Avril-Bleh’s. Her mother also provided “ordinary” hot dogs, in case the Avril dogs proved too spicy for our tender 12-year-old palates. I’ve come to love Avril’s hot dogs, and pretty much all the other wursts they make themselves.

Restaurateur Adam Easterling must share my affection, because he uses Avril’s 1/4-pound dogs exclusively in his expanded hot dog menu ($5 each) at Lunch on Main. And then takes them a step – or three – further. LOM offered a series of hot dog specials over the summer and is now bringing them back, a couple at a time, during the fall and possibly into winter. The most popular will remain on the menu.

The Voodoo Child, topped with Lunch on Main’s own jerk sauce, black beans and rice, red bell pepper strips, and sauteed onion with papaya

I hear the Caribbean-inspired Voodoo Child will be one that sticks around. It’s tasty, and packs plenty of heat!

The Bob Cobb, topped with fresh tomato, greens, hard-boiled egg,
bacon, and Lunch on Main's homemade bleu cheese dressing

If you’d like something cooler to complement the kick of an Avril’s dog, you can’t beat the Bobb Cobb – one of my favorites – and it’s on the menu this week! I would never have thought to put a Cobb salad with a hot dog, but this combination works.

The Conquistador, with LOM's homemade black bean and corn salsa, lettuce, 
sour cream, shredded cheese and tortilla strips

Lunch on Main’s hot dogs, like all their sandwiches, are served on breads from one of Cincy’s best bread bakers, Shadeau Breads. And you can always count on freshly sourced veg to perk up your LOM ’wich.

This place has become one of my downtown noon-meal mainstays since it opened almost two years ago. The sandwiches are hefty and satisfying at an across-the-board $6.50, and a thoughtful combination of fresh ingredients and housemade condiments goes into each.
The Main

Like the red onion marmalade and roasted fennel that accompany pastrami and Swiss on Shadeau multi-grain bread in The Main.

The Red Meat

Or the horseradish sauce and sprouts that go with the roast beef and smoked gouda on a Shadeau baguette in The Red Meat.

The Bleu Bison

Or The Bleu Bison (it’s made with chicken, not buffalo meat), a grown-up chicken salad sandwich with all the components of traditional buffalo wings, like celery and LOM’s creamy homemade blue cheese dressing, plus heat that stops just short of making you wish for a cold beer to wash down some hot wings when it’s only lunchtime.

I'm a pretty darn loyal customer when I find a lunch place I like, but I also appreciate it when my favorite vendors keep things interesting by changing up my options. Lunch on Main has started offering wrap specials, like the turkey-asiago wrap, pictured here with their signature tomato-basil soup.

Turkey and asiago in a tomato-basil wrap, with 
baby spinach, carrot, cucumber, and ginger-sesame mayo

They make a few wraps fresh each day, and when they're gone, they're gone. My turkey-asiago wrap was served cold, appropriate for the raw veg inside, and the tomato-basil flatbread it was encased in was fresh too. I'm looking forward to trying LOM's latest, a roast beef and cheddar wrap, with lettuce and horseradish sauce.

Lunch on Main always has a soup or two to round out your meal. In addition to their tomato-basil, which is almost always available, they're currently serving up clam chowder. And I'm hoping that if I ask really, really nicely, they'll bring back this spectacular squash and apple soup I had last autumn.

Lunch on Main Squash and Apple Soup, with (Legends of the) Fall Turkey sandwich

From time to time you'll also find interesting mac 'n' cheeses on the menu (from buffalo chix, to turkey + bacon, to Philly cheesesteak versions), as well as salads and Buckeye brownies and Streetpops. LOM was the kitchen home to newcomer Streetpops before Streetpops decided to move into Fork Heart Knife's old location, and continues to offer these yummy frozen pops.

Lunch on Main's name is pretty straightforward: They serve lunch only, and they're located on Main Street (633 Main Street, to be exact, which is on the west side of the street between 6th and 7th - in the same block as Izzy's, but on the opposite side of the street and a tad farther north).

There's a lot of interesting food going on inside LOM's unimposing storefront, however. They may not have 80 different hot dogs on the menu yet, but I admire them for keeping things fresh enough to manage their turnover, and creative enough to be interesting. Check out what Adam and his friendly crew have to offer, and where they'll take things next.

1 comment:

Dani said...

You live in such a great city!