Friday marked our 9-year 1-month anniversary, and we used that fairly trivial date as an excuse to try out a restaurant that is a step above our normal Friday night eatery as of late. Bauer, a European Farm Kitchen with a modern twist, is located in the heart of the city. The restaurant features a blend of German cuisine with a French touch and a focus on farm-fresh ingredients. Bauer means "farm or farmer" in German, and they definitely bring a unique menu to Cincinnati.

We made reservations a few hours beforehand. Walking in, you pretty much immediately need to head down a flight of stairs to the restaurant. I'm glad we had confirmed reservations, or we may have been confused at this point and just opted to turn around. Downstairs, the lighting is rather dim, which is nice for ambience, not so nice for photos.  Each table features a kitschy salt and pepper shaker.
I had the Dame Die Wahl with bitter truth elderflower liqueur - I was thisclose to ordering the Hapsburg, but I was put off when the server described it as Negroni-esque - and Francisco had the Seasonal Collins. Both cocktails [$11 each] were smooth and well-balanced.
We were offered bread; my husband, ever the carb lover, happily accepted. Be aware that there is a $5.00 charge for the small bread basket that was not disclosed to us.
They were aware of our vegetarian restrictions, so the server went over our options with us. There were a decent number of options, and we opted just to get two shareable plates. The Spaetzle Gratin was most intriguing to me - german 'little sparrow' pasta, butterkase fondue, and fried onion. However, I found this dish to be a bit underwhelming. The flavors were mild, and it came across as an only slightly different interpretation of macaroni and cheese.  
The Parisian Gnocchi, on the other hand, was delicious. Hand-made herb dumplings, comte cheese, and local seasonal vegetables comprise this tasty dish.
We kept our entrees light, so we could be sure to save room for dessert. We'd already selected the Beinestich when we first perused the menu. Described as a brown butter brioche with caramelized almond, butter cream, and local honey, I honestly wasn't quite sure what to expect. It turned out to be sort of a light take on coffee cake, appropriate as it came served with a small cup of French press coffee.
All told, this was a pleasant dining experience at a modern restaurant with a nod to Cincinnati's European , in particular German, roots.


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