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Monday-Thursday 5-9 PM, Friday 5-10 PM, Saturday 4:30-10 PM, Closed Sunday
Credit Cards Accepted
$ - Cheap Eats (Under $10)
$$ - Moderate ($11-$25)
$$$ - Expensive ($25-$50)
$$$$ - Very Pricey (Over $50)
Good for Kids
Reviews of Alfio's Buon Cibo
06/23/2014 - GregS18348
I had just read of Alfio’s unprecedented feat, winning all three categories (Appetizer, Entrée and Dessert) at The Taste of Cincinnati, when by happenstance I was invited to join some friends for Alfio’s monthly Six Course Wine Dinner. As this restaurant was now on my radar, I eagerly accepted. When I previewed the menu, which included Nutella Mashed Potatoes in the 5th course (yes, you read that right – Nutella Mashed Potatoes), I knew it would be interesting, to say the least.<br />
Situated on Erie Avenue in Hyde Park Square, Alfio’s Buon Cibo (Alfio’s Good Food) is easy to find. Parking was not difficult, but then again I was there on a Monday at 7:00. Friday/Saturday may be a different story. There is a nice classic bar area at the front of the restaurant, and the crowd seems to be a little more on the upscale side. I didn’t see many of the “shorts and sandals” crowd the night I was there. The tables were nicely set for the six-course dinner (there were approximately 60 people there for this event, pretty much closing the restaurant for almost 3 hours), with white tablecloths, small candles, and plenty of silverware. Each course was paired with an appropriate wine, and prior to the course being served, the chef himself, along with one of the two wine representatives who helped with the pairing for that course, explained what we were about to have. The show, I mean the meal, started promptly at 7:00.<br />
Without making this too long winded, let me say that overall, the meal was magnificent and well worth the $75 cost. Not something to do every day, but to treat yourself to this now and then with a group of friends is certainly very much worthwhile.<br />
The courses were varied, but flowed well as a meal. Our 1st course was a fried goat cheese salad with micro greens, candied pistachios with apple compote in a truffle Champagne honey vinaigrette. The goat cheese was fried perfectly, and served at the most perfect of temperatures. The accompanying sauce was very flavorful, and not too sweet. This was paired with a nice rose. <br />
The 2nd course consisted of lump crab cake ravioli in an organic spinach and grape tomato spicy cream sauce. The ravioli was delicious, and the filling tasted of fresh crab. The cream sauce was magnificent – silky with just the right amount of spice so as to not overpower the crab. The wine, my absolute favorite of the night and one of my favorites now of all time, was a Terra Doro Petite Sirah. Smooth to start with a great finish and warm earth notes, I fell in love with this wine. It impressed Alfio’s so much that they have now put it on the menu. I would go back just for that wine.<br />
So as not to turn this into a novel, the other courses were: 3rd – Lamb ragout wrapped in lasagna stuffed with a five cheese blend. Paired with a pinot noir. 4th – Thai basil sorbet with watermelon, pomegranate, cucumber and passion fruit, along with a nice Prosecco. 5th course – Pan seared pecan bacon wrapped pork tenderloin, crusted in serrano cinnamon sugar over Nutella mashed potatoes with a mint bourbon reduction. The pork was cooked perfectly and simply melted in your mouth. Best bacon I have ever had, and the Nutella mashed potatoes, although odd sounding, were delicious. Try that one at home with pork sometime, it is really excellent. The mint bourbon reduction was fantastic, too. This came with a strong B Side red Blend to stand up to the bold flavors. The 6th course – Dessert – was an inverted Zucotto cake with caramel cherry mousse topped with chocolate ganache, and came with a sparkling rose. Fantastic.<br />
The servers were excellent, and except for one small misstep with a dropped wine flute from a very full tray, they performed well. The meal’s pace was nice, with enough time to discuss each course and share some small talk with your fellow diners. The crowd seemed appreciative, and I heard no complaints from anyone, except for a few who didn’t like a wine or two. I personally have nothing but compliments, and the 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th courses were what you would refer to as memorable. The 1st and 3rd, while very good, just didn’t have the same outstanding culinary “oomph” that the other four did.<br />
After the meal, which took 2 hours and 45 minutes (as it should), Alfio and the wine experts were available to answer any questions you might have had. I spoke with the chef for several minutes, and he was as nice and receptive as could be. He seemed to really enjoy having people in his restaurant who were as passionate about food as he was. It was an enjoyable evening filled with good company, good food, good wine, and we even had a local celebrity in the crowd. I look forward to gathering up a few friends and doing this again. Alfio’s does this the second Monday of every month, at least for now. Buono!<br />
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