....forge a new trail. - "Bounce" from Bounce.
So it's a Monday night and I'm supposed to go to Edward's again for Cincinnati Night with Tyler and Julie but because of circumstances out of our control we thought it best to not go. There is always next month! So we try to figure out where we should go and then I remember that I had promo from Blackboardeats.com to Marc Forgione. We quickly whip out Tyler's iPod touch and find out where it is...only a block away! Great!
We walk up to a dimly candle-lit space that matches the address. We're sold. The very nice hostess seats us at a table and we tell her about the Blackboadeats.com code and we're all set. This place is so warm and rustic and cozy and sexy. Exposed brick walls, chunky wood tables, big lanterns with large pillar candles hang everywhere, a wall behind us with shelves holding antique odds and ends, a mini exposed "kitchen" acts as a waiter's station, shelves held up with industrial wires holds the wine glasses. It feels like home, yet industrial. We all approved.
We are greeted by our waitress, Erica, who we fell in love with. She was so nice, SO knowledgeable of not only the food but the restaurant itself, and funny. She was a good match to our kooky personalities. She gives us the rundown of her suggestions and the special for the night.
We decided on our wine, a Malbec from the Mendoza region of Argentina, Tierra Divina. Tyler has a blog, thetyblog.com, where he reviews wine among design things, etc. We decided our review of the wine was "light bodied, full flavored, fruity but not gay....like Jason Mraz, so a metrosexual wine." Yep, we're weird.
Our meal started off with a basket of their homemade bread and butter. I was sold already. Warm, light, delicious....just how I like my bread. We decided to try their "mac & cheese" simply because we all like mac and cheese and it was made with Guinees spaetzle. Their version is made with gruyere cheese and oxtail. OK, so here's the deal with this one, it's a VERY loose interpretation of this comfort food fave of mine so I was disappointed in that aspect. HOWEVER, it was pretty f-ing good. Very meaty and full of flavors. The oxtail was so juicy and tender and basically fell apart. I could have had a little more cheese, but when can't I? So I do give this dish a thumbs up on taste and I agree with their decision to add quotes around "mac & cheese" suggesting an interpretation.
For our entrees we decided that we would share three in order to get the most options. Plus I like sharing. Sharing is caring, after all. I always feel closer to someone when we can share our food. Anyways, we opted for the Black Sea Bass, the Suckling Pig, and the Duck Breast. Where to start? AMAZING!!!!!!! There was not one thing that I did not like. The Black Sea Bass was served with Olde Salt Little Neck clams, a rutabega fondant, and a carrot emulsion. So delicious. Bass is one of my favorite fishes to eat. Firm yet light, and the earthy flavors of the carrot and rutabega added such a combination of flavors. The Duck Breast was cooked to perfection and probably one of the best duck dishes I have ever had (not that I order it THAT often). Moist, tender, flavorful and served with native wild rice, black trumpet mushrooms, and a squash emulsion. WOWZA! This one knocked my socks off. There was a spice in there that we could not pinpoint...something sort of smokey and something sort of sweet....we eventually found out it was a smoked cinnamon from Upstate NY where the chef has a friend makes spices for him. I need to find this place and marry this person. So good! Now the Suckling Pig (go on Tuesday night from 6-9 for all you can eat Suckling Pig sliders for only $16 and a drink special to go with it....who wants to go?) I could not get enough of. Braised in beer, bacon and butter (three of my favorite things ever) and served with spiced red cabbage and smoke whipped potatoes. I want to eat this dish when it's snowing out. Made me feel warm and cozy and like a man that had been out chopping wood all day and came in for a nice dinner. So rich and so delicious. The bowl was topped with fried pork rind that I could not stop eating. Smokey, chewy and salty.....if all jerky was like this I'd eat it all the time.
Of course we had to save room for the dessert and after mulling it over with Erica we decided on the caramelized banana souffle with milk chocolate peanut butter sauce. We were warned that it takes a little longer as it has to properly rise which we were fine with. Next thing we know there is a very sexy man in a black chef's coat standing at our table with three shot glasses. It was Marc Forgione himself bringing us a special treat just for us. He was so great and so nice and so thrilled that we loved the place. We raved about his food and the restaurant, asked about the mystery spice which is how learned of the smoked cinnamon. He puts a shot glass down in front of each of us with a spoon and tells us to close our eyes, put it in our mouths and it will remind us of our childhood. Like I said, he's sexy. So we follow our new friend Marc's instructions and he has brought us a homemade creamsicle sorbet. YUM! And a nice palate cleanser. Thanks Marc!
Up comes the souffle. Upon presentation, the food runner digs a hole in the center with a spoon and pours in the chocolate peanut butter sauce. People, I have no words. So light, so chocolatey, so tasty, and so moist (even though I hate that word and so does Erica because we had a good laugh about it). And there are few things better than the chocolate peanut butter combination. Great end to a great meal.
I really can't rave about this place enough. Please do yourself a favor and go. You really won't be disappointed.
Dirty....just dirty.....and I mean that in the sense that it was dirty f-ing good!