For hubby’s birthday, he wanted to go to Cincinnati to see a good friend and to eat at Boca, which is one of his favorite places. It’s a beautiful restaurant, it’s GREAT Italian food (hello Indy, I’m talking to you) and the service is wonderful.
There were 6 of us, so we got a lovely round booth and promptly ordered a couple of orders of pommes soufflé “1942” ($15). These are a hold over from the restaurant that was in the same spot for years and years before Boca took over. The old restaurant was the Maisonette and hubby and I dined there once when we were very young. Anyway, these things are delicious (and you can sometimes get a version of them at Vida here in Indy). They are basically like a three dimensional potato chip. I am not really sure how they make them, but I don’t care. They’re a super tasty treat. They serve them with Bernaise sauce for dipping. Also delicious. We also got the bread plate ($2/person), which is a mild sourdough local bread served with Vermont creamery butter. It’s good bread, but nothing spectacular.
We all decided to get three courses, so I started with the Hamachi crudo ($21). You guys, this might have been my favorite item of the evening, it was so so good. And everyone who I shared a bite with agreed. It was a pretty generous portion of the raw fish sitting on top of compressed avocado, which just tasted extra buttery somehow….not sure how you compress avocado either, but after tasting this, I recommend it. There was a ponzu sauce as well, which was perfect. It had some soy in it and wasn’t overly sweet. The tart wedges of grapefruit were perfect with it to bring a sharp acidic hint (sorry I forgot a picture). If you go here, you should order this.
My second course was a scallop and Brussels sprouts dish ($24). These Brussels sprouts were apparently slow-cooked in butter for like six hours of something. They were so rich—they were dark and took on an entirely different texture—almost like a mushroom. There was a perfectly cooked scallop sitting on top as well. The whole thing was dressed with brown butter vinaigrette, giving just the hint of acid you need to cut through this insanely rich dish.
Several at the table moved on to a pasta course for their second course, and one in particular that I got to try was the gnocchi con fonduta ($16). Again, super, super rich, but so, so delicious. They were little crispy potato gnocchi topped with a rich taleggio fondue and shavings of black truffle. That cheese sauce was the thing that made it so rich, but I loved the slightly stinky edge it gave the dish. And I loved the texture from the slightly crisp edges of the dumplings themselves—even under the sauce, you still could get the texture. And the little bits of truffle on top were perfect. I love real truffle.
For my main dish I actually got chicken ($29), which is very unusual for me. But last time we were there I remembered trying the chicken that was on the menu then and really liking it. Plus, this one was served on top of mushroom and truffle risotto, so that sold me. I love risotto when it is done right, which is rare in a restaurant. But I had faith in Boca. And they did not disappoint. The risotto was creamy and full of beautiful mushrooms and the chicken was seasoned wonderfully and was so tender, it seemed almost impossible. Great crispy skin too. Everyone who had a bite was shocked at how good it was. I mean, it’s chicken right?
For dessert I had the “buckeye candy bar” ($10). Not that I really needed dessert, but I was intrigued by this. It was like a rich creamy chocolate brownie with peanut butter nougat and gelato and a little sprinkling of salt on top. A great way to end the evening.
They also let us bring a couple of bottles of wine into the restaurant for a corkage fee, which was nice because we got to split a couple of nice bottles of red that would have been way too expensive to order from the menu.
This place knows how to do a meal just right from top to bottom (and Italian food no less!). The atmosphere, the service, the spectacular food, etc. I would kill to have it in Indy.
114 East Sixth Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202