One of several recent additions to the Gateway Quarter, the much-anticipated Kaze OTR blazed the way for new eateries north of 14th and Vine Street. Located in what the neighborhood calls the "Paint Building" (due to the large sign on the façade), this easy-to-spot eatery should top your list for a night out on the town.

With the bar in full swing serving cocktails, Japanese light bites, and signature sushi rolls, the full-service restaurant should be ready by late January. Excitement builds as well for the historic beer garden. Historic, you say? It looks relatively new. The green building located next to Kaze was once Wielert's, home to the largest beer garden in Cincinnati. It was also the favorite saloon of 1890's political leader Boss Cox. Now it is part of the restaurant's property, and is being renovated to again serve spirits to the masses.

A good night for some of Kaze's hot tea.

Back inside Kaze, the trendy bar area will make guests feel like they've been whisked away from OTR to a posh drinkery in Tokyo. Nine giant sake casks sit illuminated on shelves above the bar. Among the collection of spirits, be sure to spot the jars of Betta fish. Kept separate to prevent them from fighting, your bartender can give you a fact sheet about each fish's battle stats. Additionally, ample, intimate seating and tremendous statement lighting fixtures create an electric atmosphere perfect for both group outings or dates.

Momo the Betta

A sampling of the food and drink led me to discover a variety of new flavors. The Sake Sangria is a must-try cocktail, filled with a heaping scoop of diced fruit. Needing warmed up? Their menu of hot teas offers tastes from mild white tea to a potent tea some describe as "sipping liquid smoke." For sushi, the OTRoll is one of the best spicy tuna rolls I've enjoyed. For something different, try the Cobra Kai roll filled with kampachi and shiso. The "Wa" Castle Sliders put an Asian twist on an American classic: the mini-hamburger. These delicious fusion appetizers include turkey burgers, tare, shitake mushroom, sugar bacon, onion, and the crispiest housemade pickles.

Sake Sangria with kiwi
OTRoll and Cobra Kai roll
"Wa" Castle Sliders
Edamame Hummus with Lotus Root and Sweet Potato Chips
Crispy pork belly with frisée apples on a yeast bun

Rarely do I find the chance to brag about Over The Rhine bathrooms, but the facilities at Kaze are too stylish not to share. With a bright, tropical motif and individual water closets, the attention to detail throughout this bar lives up to its name. Defined as the Japanese word for "wind," Kaze will impressively blow you away.