Monday, February 27, 2012

Good spot -- no, better than good -- in a neighborhood that needs it

Dinner at Emilia
With so much wealth clustered on the east-central side of Cincinnati, you'd think there would be better dining choices, or at least more interesting and inventive ones. But Hyde Park, Indian Hill, Oakley and Walnut Hills have a lot more chain restaurants (Bonefish Grill, PF Chang's, J. Alexander's, First Watch, Chipotle and the like), casual diner style spots (Arthur's, Hitching Post), or mediocre Thai/Asian places than independent eateries. The ones that are there are either limited in scope (Essencha teahouse, great at what it does) and/or tired (Teller's) or are about to exit from the area (Boca, Hugo's).
That's a long intro to bringing up a new restaurant in O'Bryonville that is packing people in -- grateful, no doubt, for the excitement of a place worth seeking out. Enoteca Emilia couldn't be more welcome to the area. Owned by a couple who used to run the bistro at Joseph-Beth bookstore in Rookwood/Hyde Park, the former home of several failed concepts seems to be firing on all cylinders and boasting packed houses most nights.
Faro/Beet Salad, yum
The food is relatively casual but well executed -- Italian, and mostly small plates. We had a couple of meat skewers (lamb for me, chicken for my husband) and split a couple of excellent side dishes -- roasted cauliflower and a cold faro salad with beets and mint.
Everything was delicious and we loved the feel of the place -- very lively and with a friendly and happy vibe.
My husband declared this his new favorite restaurant.

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