Over the Rhine
August 1, 2011
The first thing you’ll spy when stepping inside A Tavola is that it’s packed, and I mean to capacity. This hot spot in the Gateway Quarter has yet to wear off its new car smell. The place exudes a status of hipness, a vibe that says “we’re the cool kids on the block — hang here anytime.” And boy, the kids are hanging.
Of course the other thing you’ll observe upon those baby steps into pizzadom is the noise. Without many sound barriers, this place does not bode well for the aged of the ears. But hey, we came to eat and that we did. It was a Thursday night about 8:30/9ish and being a party of six, we had to wait a few for the table. No problem, in the meantime we stood guard by the bar and procured our bearings.
To pass the time I played iSPY my little eye on something that cooks pizza. A look inside the wooden fire pit harkened memories of Mt. Doom, the fiery end point to Frodo Baggins’ journey with that bewitched ring. Here at A Tavola, however, the kiln represents a significant beginning (rather than a symbolic end), it is the beginning of my voracious appetite for quality pizza. And just like that, in the nick of time, we are seated.
With the menu in hand, it’s only a single page (loving the simplicity) we eagerly prepare our order: primi — dates, house salad, and wagyu meatballs; pizzas — margherita, soppressata, and fig jam. The primi’s all arrive in a fastidious manner. The dates wrapped in applewood bacon are just that, so if you are into mr. piggy then this appetizer is right up your alley, however for the few who do not appreciate a bacon flavor encapsulating all else then it may be best to steer clear. The wagyu meatballs sounded delightful but I was apprehensive as to how they’d compare with Mom’s. No need to worry, they were fantastic. Truly, magnifique.
Before too long the pizzas made their way to the table. Based on looks alone they were an Easy A, but there is more to life than looks. Thankfully the taste proved to be equally as satisfying. Of the three ordered my favorite had to be the fig jam, the way the sweetness of the fig complements the saltiness of the prosciutto is divine. The margherita and soppressata were also gratifying but the fig jam was the only one to hit it out of the park.
Just like that I was no longer a newbie to A Tavola, of course I still can’t pronounce the name. A little research revealed this phoentic spelling: ah tav-ah-lah. Now I just need to come up with a mnemonic device so I remember. Thankfully it is the only neopolitan pizza place in OTR so it won’t be too lost in the shuffle of my inoperable subconscious. And I’m confident with a few return trips, one expected tonight, those memory problems won’t matter much anyway. Cheers.to top ↑