Mirage Mediterranean Restaurant
11379 Montgomery Rd.
Cincinnati, OH 45249
Mon-Fri: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Mon-Fri: 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Sat: 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Sun: 2:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Soups & Salads: $5 – $15
Appetizers: $5 – 19
Entrees: $11 – $18
Sandwiches: $5 – $12
Desserts: $2.50 – $4
Kids Meals: $7
Mirage has been around a long while – and we’ve known about it for a good while too – but for some reason we had always just skipped over it. It’s one of those places we always kept meaning to go to but just never got around to. Once we finally made it, we realized the mistake we had made.
Located in Harper’s Station Mirage’s exterior is pretty nondescript. Unlike it’s neighbor, Korea House, there’s not much in the way of decoration or anything really eye-catching. But, looks can be deceiving and the saying is particularly true in this case.
Once you finally make it inside, Mirage Mediterranean has a gorgeous interior. It’s dimly lit with honey colored walls accented with bold red silk table cloths, green plants and earthy tile and wood flooring. When we arrived the place was empty, but began to fill up as we ate. There is even a small stage and a few disco balls above us where they have performers on the weekend. It can get fairly packed on the weekend, but on this particular visit it was a weeknight and they had just opened for dinner.
The menu is a bit overwhelming with nearly 100 items to choose from. The owners are Armenian-American, however the menu items are not limited to Armenian food – there’s also some Greek and Russian dishes available.
Like any good meal we began with warm pita bread which was a bit bland and chalky, but served it’s job of transporting food and soaking up sauces well enough.
We got both the lentil and borscht soups to begin. I’m not generally a fan of lentils and this was, overall an average tasting soup. It wasn’t bad, and a lentil lover might enjoy it, but it just wasn’t for me. The borscht however, I did love. It tasted great with or without the sour cream (although sour cream makes everything better). The fact that the sour cream came in a plastic to-go container detracted a bit from the setup and atmosphere they were going for.
My main entree was the Chicken Kiev that wasn’t quite what I expected. Chicken Kiev is normally a pounded and spice-rolled chicken breast that is either fried or baked whereas what I got looked like a hand grenade of fried minced chicken breast. Despite not being what I had expected, once I cracked into the hard, fried exterior it burst open with juices. It was buttery and had a strong herb flavor – primarily the dill that topped it. At first I was a bit disappointed as it didn’t look like much food on my plate, however I quickly realized it was more of an optical illusion – I was stuffed about two-thirds of the way in. The sauce on the side, which was a garlicky-lemony mayonnaise went extremely well with the strong herb-flavored chicken and even better with the potatoes.
With the entrees you have your choice of rice pilaf, french fries, or Russian potatoes and lentil soup or a cucumber and tomato salad. I opted for the Russian potatoes – which were roasted potato slices with garlic and dill. The rice is alright too – it’s a touch buttery and a nice compliment to most dishes, but the potatoes are much, much better.
The Oven Roasted Lamb Shank was a lightly salted, juicy, perfectly cooked lamb shank topped with fried onions and carrots in a light sauce. On the side was a red tomato sauce that was a bit watery and tasted like thin, watery ketchup. It didn’t add much to the lamb or potatoes but didn’t detract either. We got it with the Russian potatoes as well.
We ordered the Armenian coffee to go with our desserts, it’s essentially a Turkish coffee for those familiar with them. The coffee is finely ground and boiled with water and served in a small, decorative teacup. These had a hint of cardamom in them as well, which I find makes the coffee compliment desserts even better. The coffee is especially strong and all the grounds are in there – so either let it settle and don’t drink the last sip or carefully swirl it around before taking a sip to get it more evenly mixed.
When the server brings the desserts over, they are in a plastic display case and you have your choice of a few different items. We thought about having the baklava – a classic Mediterranean dessert – but ultimately chose the Mikado and the Napoleon. Not only were they larger and better for sharing, but they also were too tasty looking to pass up.
The Mikado Cake is a seven layer caramel and chocolate pastry. It’s rich and a bit crunchy from the crisp dough, with the right amount of sweetness from the caramel and chocolate. It was delicious on its own but paired with the coffee it was perfect.
The Napoleon was an interesting flaky puff pastry treat filled with fluffy cream and neatly wrapped into a package. It was less rich than the Mikado Cake and had the simple flavor of lightly sweet fluffed cream and pastry, which was good but I felt really needed the coffee to accompany it.
The food at Mirage Mediterranean is good but a bit pricey. For the location Mirage Mediterranean is a gem – it’s surrounded by typical chains like Buffalo Wild Wings, Panera and Chili’s. I can’t say it’s the best Mediterranean in Cincinnati nor the most authentic – but it is better than many we’ve had and it’s still delicious and worth a visit if you’re hungry and find yourself in the area.
Want to see the dishes that didn’t make it into our review? Check out the rest of our photos in our Mirage Mediterranean gallery and while you are there, be sure to like us too for news, updates and more photos.
Verdict: A Delicious Blend Of Cuisines
Mirage Mediterranean isn’t strictly Mediterranean; owned by Armenian-American brothers, the menu has been influenced by many of the countries in the region. The menu is huge and has much to offer, we highly recommend the kiev, kabobs and lamb and the Russian potatoes are our favorite side.
Located in a strip mall, the exterior may not be much to look at but the interior has a classy, almost romantic feel to it and is definitely a great option for dinner. The weeknights are usually fairly quiet, however on the weekends it can get very packed and very loud.