Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cincinnati's "Via Vite" e molto BENE!!

I went for my second dinner at Fountain Square's "Via Vite" restaurant yesterday. Each trip has left me and my husband enormously impressed. The restaurant sits right on the square and the exterior walls are basically all glass, so you can see all the salsa dancing, the crowds, the families, the singles mingling out on the square. You can feel the positive energy out there, and it's like you're in another city altogether -- not somewhere tucked in the mid-west. The restaurant also has outdoor seating, which would be ideal on a perfect summer or fall evening.

Equally as impressive is the interior of the restaurant. The decor in this place is pure class: beautiful wood tables, lovely banquettes covered with a tan and brown fabric, a sparkling bar, gorgeous lighting. It's modern and sleek without being intimidating. The waitstaff is young and seems to be mostly male, and while they are not perfectly polished they are eager to please.

The food: We went to Via Vite yesterday for Cincinnati's Downtown Restaurant Week -- a group of downtown restaurants are offering $35 3-course dinners all week. I chose to start with a warm goat cheese salad with truffle oil and pistachios. That salad could have been my entire meal, not that it was so filling but it was so GOOD. The flavors blended perfectly together and the vinaigrette they used was light and didn't mask the delicate truffle flavor in the oil. They paired it with a Pinot Grigio which was a really great pairing.

For my main course I had something called gnudi. It basically means "nude" in Italian, and it is the interior of what would be a ravioli or a tortellini (ricotta and spinach) with a light egg coating but no pasta. It was very delicate, served in a buttery sauce (which may have been a bit too heavy) and with shaved truffles. I LOVE those truffles, they just make my toes curl. They paired this dish with an Italian red wine...I can't remember which but it was good. And their glasses of wine are VERY generous.

For dessert, I had the espresso creme brulee. It was simple, but the texture was perfect and it was a bit lighter than most creme brulees I've had. Nothing to write home about, but nothing to be disappointed in either.

I feel like Fountain Square has been reborn, with the evening activities all summer and the new restaurants that flank its sides. Via Vite was packed yesterday evening, and I suspect it will remain packed as long as it keeps serving up such wonderful Italian food.


Lisa said...

Love your blog. It has inspired me to bake again.

Lesley said...

Oh dear God you are nice. I have let it go so badly. Mostly because I was gaining weight! Then because the photo download thingy on my computer broke and I have all these pictures but noplace to put them! I'll get back to it though, thanks for your inpsiration!

Lisa said...

You are welcome. I am a friend of Julie Evan's and through her I discovered your baking blog and my jaw dropped. I just made your hot chocolate and there are not enough words to describe how wonderful it was. My husband loved it to! It was the perfect thing for this rainy cold Cincinnati day.

Next I will try the macarons :)!!
They are one of my favorite treats when I have been in Paris.

Lesley said...

Oh that's cool! Julie's great!

Ok, now that I know people actually come here I have to get on the stick.

Lisa said...

I made your chocolate macarons and they were wonderful. I even let my husband have some:)