Monday, September 7, 2009 by Alexandra
A few weeks ago, I made reservations at Nicola's, one of my favorite restaurants in Cincinnati. The restaurant is owned by Nicola & Maureen Pietoso and operated by chef Christian Pietoso. It was Downtown Cincinnati's Restaurant week so the usual extremely expensive (but well worth it) prices were down to $35 for a three course meal.
Last October, my mother brought Justin and I here for my birthday dinner. Probably one of the best meals I've ever eaten. It was also very expensive! This restaurant makes you feel so special, the service is to die for! With three people eating, three servers brought out each plate, and synchronized the placement of the plates onto the table. They place the napkins on your lap for you and refill your sparkling water every two minutes. The servers are courteous and friendly.
Unfortunately Justin wasn't able to attend the planned date for restaurant week, so I invited my mother who also loves this restaurant! You can find her blog here.
Now for the meal:
The first thing to hit the table was their always impressive bread basket. You can see some that are cooked with a slice of zucchini or tomatoes, and a really long skinny one sticking out of the side. There was two of those, but I ate one. ;) The first time we came here, the waiter (who happened to be our waiter again this evening) joked about how the first course wouldn't come until we'd eaten all of the bread in the bread basket. He was very humorous!
My mother and I both had the same first course. A caprese salad with buffalo mozzarella, a delicious garlicky crostini, and locally grown cherry tomatoes and basil. The olive oil that was drizzled on top was SO green and so delicious. That's another thing I love about this place, they use a lot of local ingredients, not everything, but what they can.
For the second course, my mother had pork tenderloin wrapped in pancetta with potatoes, fava beans, and a white wine pork jus. She seemed to enjoy it!
My second course was the house made Maine lobster and ricotta ravioli with peas and pancetta. I'm not exactly sure what the sauce was, it was creamy and green...any ideas? Either way, it was incredibly delicious!
For the third course, my mother had the crème brulee with fresh berries. It was delicous! I had to work her down to let me have a small taste. She wasn't going to part with any morsel of this dish. The top of it crackled perfectly!
And I finished things off with their tiramisu with espresso crème anglaise and zabione gelato. This dish was absolute heaven. Every single bite was pure pleasure. The whole thing appeared as a piece of toast. The lady finger type bread was almost like pudding, and it surrounds the white creamy stuff in the center. The brown liquid it was sitting in is the espresso. The little swirls in the dish were a raspberry sauce, which added a great contrast to the dish!
My mother and I also both had a nice glass of Chianti with our meals, which pushed the price up a bit, but we had a good time! We were both very full and kinda tipsy in the end.