In support of Downtown Cincinnati Restaurant Week, Steve and I visited Fountain Square on a Thursday evening. To my surprise, there were many people downtown on a week night -- on a night without a Reds game! 3CDC has been so committed to pumping life back into the Queen City and last night was no exception. Hundreds of people crowded fountain square to eat Skyline and Graeter's and go SALSA DANCING! How fun!
While I enjoyed seeing such a unique crowd downtown, I was there for the restaurant on fountain square. Via Vite, the same owners of Nicola's, offers a modern space to serve their contemporary take on traditional Italian cuisine. For $35 we both ate a 3-course meal featuring some of the restaurant's most popular dishes. Overall, the food was great and the service a tad disjointed. The server we had was definitely knowledgeable about the food, but our courses were not well spaced. This isn't a deal breaker and my guess is the restaurant was busier than normal for a Thursday night, but it was definitely noticeable.
We wanted to try EVERYTHING on the menu -- each of the three courses offered a decision between two courses. Fortunately, I have a partner in crime for my culinary escapades, so Steve happily obliged to order opposites.
Sadly, I only have pictures of my dishes, but let me assure you, if you ever go to Via Vite, order the warm goat cheese salad with the raspberry truffle vinaigrette. To. Die. For. This was Steve's first dish, and likely the best dish of the night.
My First Course:
Gazpacho with Jonah Crab -- wow o wow. How is it possible for a gazpacho to be creamy and light without any cream? High quality olive oil streamed into the blender, that's how. This dish was a high quality, light start to the meal. I pretty much licked the bowl clean.
My Second Course:
Penne with bolognese sauce -- This dish was definitely good, but not spectacular. The penne had a little bite like pasta should, but the bolognese was just different. It wasn't bad, it justmade me feel like the secret ingredient mixed into the finely ground meat was Velveeta. Yes, the non-descript, orangey-yellow brick of cheese.
That might sound harsh, but the Reynolds family grew up on melty velveeta. Mmm. Mmm. Good.
Steve's 2nd course was the gnocchi with vodka sauce. The gnocchi were light and tender, but the vodka sauce had little taste.
My Third Course:
Bacon wrapped pork tenderloin with caponata - I don't usually order pork. Maybe it's the Jewish thing or my protest of eating pork for 8 years, but something about it doesn't usually resonate with me. This was no different. The pork was nice and crispy on the outside and moist on the inside, but it just wasn't my favorite. It was salty, which should have been a nice balance to the sweet caponata, but it just wasn't the complete dish I was hoping to eat. The caponata, the mixture of sweet peppers and tomatoes, was the real star of the dish.
Overall, I'd try Via Vite again, if for no other reason than the gazpacho and warm goat cheese salad.