Sunday, September 2, 2012

Small plates, Italian Style

If you live in Cincinnati and haven't tried Enoteca Emilia in O'Bryonville, you need to do so.

It's in a fun neighborhood along Madison Road (between Walnut Hills and Hyde Park) with several cute and unusual shops, antiques stores and the yummy baked goods and charming atmosphere of Bonbonerie Cafe & Bakery. Across the street from Bonbonerie, Art of Entertaining holds wine tastings, cooking demonstrations and other food/spirits oriented events while also running a catering service where the long-gone-but-not-forgotten Chateau Pomije used to delight city dwelling wine-lovers. But full service restaurants in O'Bryonville? Not so much.
Starters at Enoteca Emilia

That is, until Enoteca opened about  a year ago, taking over a space that several other restaurants of various styles had tried to turn into a successful operation. Now, someone finally has gotten it right.
They specialize in small plates, pastas and pizzas, and everything on the menu feels authentically Italian. That's not at all common in Cincinnati, which has a dearth of interesting Italian restaurants, excepting the high end Nicola's and its more casual Fountain Square cousin, Via Vite.

To celebrate the restaurant's first anniversary, they're chopping prices in half on all bottles of wine on their somewhat short but varied list of Italian whites and reds. That deal only works between 5 and 7 PM, but it lasts for the entire month of September. Great reason to get on by!

Check out their current menu here.
The photo from our recent dinner shows two starters -- shiitake and baby arugula salad with a butternut squash custardy cake, and farro salad with beets (listed on the menu under sides). We also shared a plate of Spaghetti Nero and a side of grilled Italian bread. My husband probably could have used a bit more food but that was enough for me.
I've also liked the cocktails served by the talented bartenders, although this time I just stuck with a quartino (about a glass and a half in a small carafe) of red wine.
By the way, Enoteca Emilia bills itself as an "Italian Wine Bar with Handcrafted Menu by Chef Jeremy Luers. The whole staff is super friendly and welcoming.
This has become one of our favorite new restaurants and a favorite overall. (Here is the graphic from their website promoting the half-price wine special.)

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