This was my boss' choice for our first dinner in the Cincinnati area, and I have to say I was pretty impressed. For being in a chain-dominated suburban area, this was a unique place with a pleasant, upscale feeling atmosphere, and most of all tasty Italian food. I don't know that I was blown away enough to rank it amongst my favorite dining experiences ever, but I'd definitely come back next time I'm in Cincinnati.
We started with what turned out to be the highlight of the meal - the mussels in arrabbiata sauce.The mussels were plump and tender, i.e. very fresh, cooked to perfection in a slightly zippy sauce with lots of flavorful herbs. And we got a lot of them, too! After eating the mussels and the free bread, I wasn't sure I'd need my entree.
The entree I did get, the Chicken da Vincenzo, was good, but not quite as exceptional as the mussels. This was a penne pasta dish in a white cream sauce with asparagus, artichokes and mushrooms. It was creamy and hearty, satisfying in a comfortable sort of way. The vegetables seemed fresh but overall the dish lacked a little oomph in seasoning maybe to really make it top-notch. I liked it, but if I return, I think I'll try something different.
The atmosphere seemed nice, although we were dining quite early due to our work schedule, so the place was nearly empty. Hard to gauge atmosphere in that situation, but the restaurant was spacious and had a high end feel to it. For less than $20 a plate, and for a very filling dinner at a local authentic restaurant, I would definitely recommend Vincenzo's.
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