Vincenzo’s Ristorante Italiano

by Bryan on March 26, 2010

One of our favorite Italian restaurants, if not the favorite, is Vincenzo’s on Chester Road. If it wasn’t for the fact that it was way out in Springdale, we would go a lot more often. It is on our list of special event restaurants, and for my wife’s birthday we made a visit.

It is not an inexpensive restaurant, but not too pricy. Appetizers are typically $9-$12, entrees can be anywhere from $14.75 to $25.75. The restaurant started in a converted gas station a few miles away. The atmosphere is nicer in the new place, but I miss the old dining room. I say “new” but they have been at this location for years now. Here is a picture towards the bar area:

Frankly, I am not a huge fan of the dining area. There is nothing wrong with it, everything is nice, and it is spacious, but it is kind of bland. Maybe if they put in some vinyl seats with tears in them it would seem more like the old place. OK, not really.

The dining area does not take away from the food. They serve bread with a nice garlic compound butter. For an appetizer we chose Mozzarella Capricciosa ($9). It is our standard appetizer here:

It is roma tomatoes with fresh mozzarella served with crostini di muffalata. You can also see that it has some pesto and is drizzled with balsamic vinegar. It is delicious, and although my wife would probably like to be more adventurous with the appetizer choices sometimes, this is a sacrifice she can shoulder.

The house salad is by far the weakest part of Vincenzo’s menu. I did not even care for the balsamic vinaigrette dressing, and I adore balsamic vinegar. It just seems so out of place on an otherwise fantastic menu.

Vincenzo’s has a nice selection of entrees, but for me, I could only see this:

That dish is Pollo Tre Formaggi($17.75):

It is not the most photogenic dish on the menu, but it is delicious. The three cheeses involved are mozzarella, provolone, and parmigiano. Underneath the sauce and farfalle pasta is a pan-fried chicken breast. If we lived any closer, this sauce would probably be the death of me. You can also get the sauce on tortellini or ravioli.

My wife had a tougher choice. They have gnocchi on the menu, and she is a big fan, but the special was Misto Di Mare Aglio Olio ($23). This has always been one of her favorite dishes, so she went with that:

This is a very photogenic dish and deserves a closeup:

The dish includes shrimp, scallops and salmon with angel hair pasta. When I had mentioned on twitter that we were headed here, someone lamented that it is not as good as the gas station days. I mentioned that to the wife on the way, and we discussed that we did not find that to be the case. I actually thought they scaled nicely to the new place. After eating this dish my wife confirmed that, at least for her, this was as good or better than the gas station days.

Of course, this was a birthday celebration, so we needed dessert. My wife selected the Panna Cotta (4.95) which is an Italian-style flan made with heavy cream, rum, espresso and caramelized sugar.

My wife loved it. I can’t stand coffee, so the expresso ruined it for me, but it seemed very tasty besides that detail.

This is most definitely a pFav. Far and away this is my favorite Italian in Cincinnati. And I am not meaning compared to Olive Garden, Maggiano’s, or Carrabba’s. This is in the group of Baressi’s, Nicola’s, and Via Vite, and (for me) stands apart. Now if they could just move closer to town…

Vincenzo's Ristorante Italiano on Urbanspoon

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