December 16, 2012
When I first heard about Enoteca Emilia’s emergence on Madison Rd. in O’Bryonville, I gave an internal nod of approval. Considering the high valued real estate in the area, there aren’t enough quality dining options on that stretch of road. Plus, who doesn’t like Italian food? Exactly, nobody raised a hand.
In my pop-the-cherry first time experience at Enoteca, I’ll admit I left feeling a little unsatisfied. The service was superb, but it seemed in the hit or miss battle of picking the right menu items, I sunk my own battleship. Of course this was shortly after the restaurant had opened last fall. Thankfully my mother taught me to give second chances in life. So, I did. And that’s why we should listen to our mothers.
On this second visit to Northern Italy, my party of five dined on a Sunday evening. We started with the salumi plate. The speck (smoke prosciutto) was spectacular. We also enjoyed the mussels, soaked in a delicious saffron, spicy tomato, basil and chives broth. There’s nothing like forking a mussel and then soaking up the succulent sauce with that divine dipping bread.
Following the apps, my avocado and grapefruit salad arrived. I wasn’t sure if I’d like the combo of flavors. But, it worked. The avocado was buried underneath a nice allotment of mixed greens, cucumber, and ricotta salata tossed in a light balsamic vinaigrette dressing. On the other side of the table sat Mr. Caeser.
Like a strong handed restaurant dictator, I required everyone in the group to pick a different entree so we had a plethora of tastes to critique. I went with the cavatelli (black kale, brodo, fennel pollen & pecorino romano). Normally, it comes with Italian sausage, too, but I put the kabosh on that in favor of a meat free dish.
To my left, I dove into the bucatini, which included guanciale, frisee, white wine, black pepper, and pecorino romano. The noodles were impeccable. It’s definitely a dish I’d highly recommend.
To my right, I skewered some chicken with arugula and a kalamata olive spread. Have I had better chicken? Yes. Have I had worse chicken? Yes. That pretty much sums it up. Finally, across the table, I stuck my fork into a just-out-of-the-oven piping hot dish of short rib ragu lasagne with celery root bechamel and horseradish gremolata. It’s really freaking good — like European fingertips kiss it’s amore good.
By the time my utensils had sailed around the table two times, and – mind you – I still had my own dish to consume, my belly was no longer calling out for more. The quiet purr of a happy customer was the only sound buzzing by our table.
Give the place a try or – if required – a second. I’m glad I did.
Enoteca Emilia is located at 2038 Madison Rd. Cincinnati, OH 45208. They’re open seven days a week starting at 11 a.m. daily.to top ↑