|Company||The Cricket Lounge|
|Hours||06:00 - 03:00 7 Days|
|Address||601 Vine Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
|Average Price||$10.00 USD|
Located in one of the oldest standing hotels in the nation (The Cincinnatian is on the national register of historic places), The Cricket Lounge lies just up a small set of stairs no more than a few years inside the entry to the Cincinnatian Hotel's 6th Street entrance.
The lounge isn't really a tea-room as you might expect it. Surrounded on most sides by the hotel's central rotunda, light pours in from the skylight above. You can see the entrance to the conference room one floor above only because to get to it you'd have to walk over a bridge which passes directly over the lounge.
The Cincinnatian isn't one of the more popular hotels in Cincinnati. I'm saddened at the thought that it never will be. However it is, in my opinion, the best hotel in the city. Renovated a number of times over the past hundred fifty years or so, the hotel remains a magnificent and beautiful piece of architecture which has hosted its fair share of Presidents and dignitaries along the way.
The decor is light and pleasant. You would expect similar at a Hyatt or a Hilton. The music playing was pleasantly low volumed. They weren't playing top 40. More like down tempo ambient electronica. It was nice. There was a somewhat cheesy but not entirely out of place vertical lighted waterfall machine directly in front of the bar as you come up the stairs.
The Cricket Lounge is the lower class of the two restaurants located within The Cincinnatian Hotel. The higher end eatery is The Palace Restaurant, well known for its cuisine and the high prices, debatably worth it. It's little brother, The Cricket Lounge, certainly has its share of high prices. Some items are worth it, some aren't.
Let's start with the meal. I had a house special quesadilla. It took roughly ten minutes to arrive and looked like a regular old quesadilla. Thank the deity of your choice, it wasn't. It turned out to be one hell of a treat, and one of the best quesadillas I've ever had. Definite points there. It tipped the scales though. Weighing the price down a major $11 USD. Normally I wouldn't say this justified $11. It is just a quesadilla... but at that... one of the best I've ever eaten, and it was a pleasant surprise.
Onto the tea. I chose a light Earl Grey and my companion had a standard iced tea. Sadly, these did not surprise as we'd hoped they would. The Cricket Lounge failed the tea-room test. Tazo Earl Grey in a tea bag is what I got, with a small pot of water at too low a temperature for the brew to turn out correctly. It is important to note that The Cricket Lounge didn't offer any loose teas and their selection of Tazo bagged teas was very limited.
My companion received a Lipton iced tea with an assortment of sweeteners, but no spoon or straw with which to mix the beverage. It would be several minutes until a return trip allowed him to receive the required utensils. The server was kind and energetic enough, but a little more attention to detail would have prevented this issue. If I'd had wanted sugar in my tea as well, it would have been seriously noticed.
With such a high opinion of The Cincinnatian Hotel, I'd clearly hoped for something a bit classier. Not necessarily Victorian in style, but at least the option of a loose tea was expected. I've clearly been let down. The only aspect which gives me hope is the delicious quesadilla, an appetizer, which we weren't enthusiastic to order but were extremely surprised with.
I hesitate to provide The Cricket Lounge with a score above 1, but my love for The Cincinnatian Hotel and in light of the wonderful quesadilla we were presented with... I give The Cricket Lounge a remarkable 2 out of 5. They have much to improve upon for a location billion itself as a standard for which The Cincinnatian Hotel is a par. Offering loose teas, with even basic preparation knowledge for their staff would instantly double their score from a 2/5 to a 4/5 which is what I was hoping for.
It is worth noting that The Cincinnatian Hotel does offer "Afternoon Tea" in a loose fashion from 3-5 Thursday through Saturday. I will review this at some point in the future. For now, The Cricket Lounge... loses.