Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Restaurant Review- Nicola's

Well last week was Restaurant week in Cincinnati, which is always exciting, because it gives me a chance to try out some of the fancier places in town that I usually don't get to frequent. I have been dying to try Nicola's and when I saw the restaurant week menu, I decided it was finally time to go try it.



Now I know perfectly well that you can't always judge a restaurant by it's restaurant week menu...but I think it's a great place to get in there and see what the place is all about. Located in Over the Rhine, this place used to be where they kept and repaired the old street cars (according to Rob, information not verified) but either way it was a very pretty place. Brick interior, crisp white linens, high ceilings...a very pretty place. We had a table with a view of the beautiful outdoor veranda. It was very pretty out there, but a little hot of a night to be fine dining outdoors.. We sat down, ordered one of the most inexpensive wines available and started perusing the menu.

If you've never been to Restaurant Week before....basically, the menu is much more limited than the regular menu. Sometimes the restaurant menu items are items that are on the regular menu, and sometimes they are "special" just for the event. At Nicola's we had the choice of 2 first courses, 4 second courses and 2 desserts. Our waiter did the whole fancy put my napkin in my lap for me and all that...which always makes me feel a little fancy and a lot silly.... and then he brought out this basket of bread. ohmygoodness.... you have never seen a bread basket like this. It was fabulous. Warm, soft, all different...some with vegetables baked right on top of the bread....yummm. These babies didn't even need olive oil or butter or anything else...they were all so delicious. I had half the bread bowl and then willed myself to stop so I could enjoy my dinner...but that bread with a glass of wine...a meal in itself!



For the first course we both had the Caprese salad with buffalo mozzarella, crostini and locally grown cherry tomatoes and basil. I have to say I'm not a HUGE caprese salad fan... I love tomatoes and basil, but I think fresh mozzarella is majorly lacking in both the flavor and texture dept. I know people will think I'm crazy...but that's how I feel. This starter was good. The Tomatoes and basil were delicious and pretty and the crostini was crunchy and salty...mmm. I think it could have used a drizzle of balsamic....but other than that...it was pretty yummy way to start the meal.




For our second course Rob had the Seared day boat cod with roasted eggplant and asparagus caponata, citrus asparagus puree and roasted red pepper. He thought everything on the plate was good and very fresh tasting...and his plate was clean...including all of the pretty sauces. I tasted the cod and being the non-fish lover I am, was really suprised by how much I liked it...it was tender and not super fishy tasting...which is apparantly how I judge a good fish.


I had the Pork tenderloin wrapped in pancetta with potatoes, fava beans and white wine pork jus.



Um...so apparantly I LOVE fava beans. They were the most delicious thing on this plate. I wanted to eat a whole bowl of them...and now I will be on the hunt for fava beans at the grocery store to see if I can find these tasty little niblets. The pork was cooked perfectly...still just the slightest pinkish in the middle...and the potatoes were tender...although I would have swapped every potato on that plate for some more of those fava beans... all in all it was good. but nothing that completely blew me away.


For dessert I had the Creme Brulee with Fresh berries.



It was a good creme brulee... I wanted about a million more berries...but this is fine dining and that's not how it works :)



Rob had the Tiramisu with espresso creme anglais and zabione gelato. yummmm


All in all, I liked this restaurant a lot, but I am not sure if it is worth the money. I would definitely like to go back again and try the regular menu items...and enjoy the atmosphere again... Also I have read that there are some specials there if you go on Monday nights and sit at the bar...so that could definitely be an option worth exploring!!


Nicola's on Urbanspoon

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