Bauer Farm Kitchen: Down-Home Southern Melded with European Classics in Cincinnati
Sometimes the most sublime experiences can be had in the most unlikely places. For example, tucked below street level in the heart of Cincinnati’s Central Business District isn’t necessarily where one would expect to find a convergence of fine dining sensibility and the best elements of home cooking, a coming together of the rustic and urbane. But that’s exactly what diners discover at Bauer Farm Kitchen in the lower level of 435 Elm St.
Bauer Farm Kitchen debuted in March 2017, the vision of chef Jackson Rouse. Rouse developed a love of food early on during his childhood in rural Kentucky, learning butchery from his father and down-home Southern cooking from his mother. After leaving the Bluegrass Sate, Rouse honed his craft in an eclectic array of eateries that ranged from the casual to white tablecloth affairs, from Charley’s Crab House in Cleveland to the Iron Horse Inn in Strasburg, Pennsylvania, to Cincinnati’s own The Rookwood. Bauer Farm Kitchen is the culmination of all of Rouse’s culinary endeavors.
Bauer Farm Kitchen celebrates the Midwest and its roots cuisine, particularly the hearty fare of the Alsace region that straddles France and Germany. The seasonally rotating menu is comforting and imminently accessible, but the dishes are elevated by Rouse’s thoughtful and creative approach. The scratch kitchen creates with the best seasonal ingredients that providers like Queen City Livestock Company, Sixteen Bricks, Carriage House Farm and Ohio Valley Food Connection have to offer. Modern techniques and rustic no-frills presentation combine for a distinctly unique dining experience that’s both familiar and brand new. The result includes offerings like skate schnitzel, bison sauerbraten, seasonal sausages and charcuterie.
The bar program is as thoughtful as the cuisine, with a selection of French, German and Belgian beers, hearty European and American wines and a cocktail list full of takes on classic tipples, from the Bauer White Old Fashioned to the Bavarian Manhattan.
All of this goodness is served up in environs best described as upscale farmhouse. The dining rooms, separated by French doors, are accented with reclaimed wood planks and bare bulb light fixtures to create a comfortable vibe that begs you to pull up a chair and stay a while, whether for a small bite or a full-on feast.
Images courtesy of Attilio D’Agostino.