NICOLA’S – CINCINNATI, OH

1420 Sycamore St, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Hello! We’re finally back after a pretty long break due to moving and trying to get our lives together. I moved back to Cincinnati and got back into the college routine and Darius arrived safely in Costa Rica a little over a week ago!

Before Darius left we decided to go to a nice restaurant since we won’t be able to see each other this summer. We decided on a place called Nicola’s located in Over-The-Rhine which is Italian in nature. And let me tell you this was one of the best experiences of my life! We weren’t expecting it to be a big-time fancy restaurant (for us) where the forks are ACTUALLY different sizes and where they treat you like you are the Queen of England or something but it was! We felt a little out of place and weren’t quite sure how to act and we were slightly underdressed but we saw a couple at a table who looked a lot like us so we felt a little better. The staff were all super helpful and knowledgeable about the dishes and really took care of their guests. The decor was amazing and it was a lot different than what we were expecting based on the exterior.

On to the food! Before we got anything we ordered we received a pretty fancy looking piece of toast that was complimentary for the night. It included Prosciutto, Capers, a spiced cream, and little purple flowers. It was a very good few bites and really set the tone for the night. We then decided to start out with the Seared Diver Scallop with smoked grapes, frisée, and a brown butter vinaigrette. The first bite we were blown away! The smoked grapes really stood out in this dish and added a pop of contrast. The scallop was cooked beautifully and overall the dish was super unique and had a lot of contrast.

Next on the menu was picking a salad to start with. We decided to split the Shaved Asparagus Salad.  It was composed of kale, a soft boiled egg, lemon ricotta, parsley vinaigrette, and kalamata olives. This dish was also super delicious. I never thought I’d put lemon and egg together but it was surprisingly a great combo. The lemon helped to add a bit of acidity and the olives gave it another note of flavor.

At this point, we had chosen our entrees: Darius got the Mushroom Risotto confit chicken, portobello mushrooms, and marsala jus grana padano and I got the Potato Gnocchi with a four cheese fondue, truffle oil, and chives. The Risotto was cooked perfectly and there was an appropriate amount of chicken and mushrooms. Overall everything in it including the garnishes made it a delicacy. I am not a huge mushroom person but even I admit the dish was good. The Gnocchi was great as well and they even topped it with edible flowers. (I ate more flowers that night than in my entire existence). It was rich, creamy, and everything I wanted. The gnocchi was seared just slightly and that really helped the dish texturally.

Overall I highly recommend this place for a special occasion or if you just want to have a nice night out. It’s all around great.

-Madison

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