Best Of 2018

Best Piggy Platter: Bauer Farm Kitchen

Best Piggy Platter
click to enlarge HAILEY BOLLINGER
Hailey Bollinger

With Cincinnati’s distinctive German heritage, it’s surprising that there aren’t more German-influenced restaurants here. There’s Clifton’s perennial favorite Mecklenburg Gardens and Covington’s casual crowd-pleaser Wunderbar!, but there’s been nothing like Bauer Farm Kitchen, a truly unique exploration of German cuisine with French accents — a farm-to-table, Alsatian-influenced eatery that no one has done here before. “Bauer” means “farm” or “farmer” in German, and the emphasis on farm-fresh ingredients is great, but really it’s chef Jackson Rouse (formerly of The Rookwood) that makes Bauer a must-visit. Seriously, his skills make even a winter salad exciting. Sexier still is the sous vide sauerbraten short rib and spaetzle that’s as light as a baby’s kiss. The sausage, charcuterie, steaks and chops are all dry-aged in house. And along with expected meat offerings (jaeger schnitzel, choucroute garnie, oxtail stew), Bauer also offers “tete du cochon:” half of a piggy’s head cooked sous vide for three days and crisped before serving. It’s full snout-to-tail cuisine and not as gruesome as it sounds — especially for pork lovers. The pig head is served on a board accompanied by housemade mustard, pickled vegetables, sauerkraut, potato salad and Sixteen Bricks bread. Bauer Farm Kitchen, 435 Elm St., Downtown, bauercincinnati.com