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Bravo Boca!

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Lowell K

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Bravo Boca!

by Lowell K » Tue Feb 26, 2008 6:21 pm

Dear Cincinnati and Louisville food lovers,

I have traveled the world and eaten in restaurants ranging from three star Michelin restaurants (in New York, Las Vegas, LA, & San Francisco) to charming French bistros in Paris, France to hidden gem “hole in the wall” eateries in China to name a few. I am not a food critic nor do I assert to be a food critic. I am just someone (like you, reading this) who enjoys and appreciates exceptionally planned, prepared, and presented cuisines from all cultures. There are few times in one’s life when you experience a gastronomic delight that truly deserves adoration and acclaim. Hence, I write my praise for Boca:

Recently, my wife and I decided to take a day trip to Cincinnati from Louisville. At the end of our day and prior to returning to Louisville, we had dinner at Boca (http://www.boca-restaurant.com/main.html) and the exquisite repast we experienced ranks in the top 3 meals we have ever eaten.

Boca is located at 3200 Madison Road in Cincinnati, Ohio [(513) 542-2022]. The minute you walk into Boca, you enter into an intimate and refined restaurant that transports you from Cincinnati to a chic restaurant in New York or LA.

On the weekends, Boca has an a la carte menu or a prix fixe menu consisting of 2 or 3 courses selected from a delightful list of entrees. We opted for the prix fixe of 3 dishes [$67 per person]. Boca also offers a Chef's Grand Tasting Menu which consists of 7 courses specially selected and prepared by the chef [$95 per person].

The cuisine was perfectly prepared and tasted amazing. Every bite made us desire more. The food was expertly presented on the plate and each course was brought out by its own server. This type of attention to the food and the eater is rarely found at even the highest rated restaurants.

I highly recommend the sea scallop which is crowned with a crispy seared surface and is nestled on top of the most marvelous tasting 3-hour caramelized brussels sprouts. You have never had brussels sprouts like this before. They melt in your mouth and have a sweet taste that masks the traditional bitter brussels sprouts taste. This delight is placed in a shallow pool of brown butter truffle vinaigrette which infuses the scallop and brussels sprouts perfectly to create a harmonious union of tastes.

I also highly recommend the gnocchi “Mac and cheese.” Boca’s refined take on the traditional American classic catapults the established to the orgasmic. Each gnocchi is seared, mixed with taleggio fonduta, and lightly covered in a burgundy black truffle cream sauce that is heaven on earth. The dish was not heavy as one might expect for a gnocchi dish and makes you forget that you are eating a version of “Mac and cheese”! All this is topped off with some bread crumbs. Absolutely divine!

I also recommend the Moroccan braised short ribs. The ribs come without the bone, are succulent and tender, and are resting on a bed of wilted spinach seasoned with horse radish sauce. The sweet taste of the ribs is pleasantly contrasted by the horse radish sauce. I would have preferred the ribs positioned atop a refined mashed potato cake instilled with horse radish sauce but Chef David Falk opted to mingle in some roasted potatoes.

For desert, I highly recommend JD’s sundae. This sweet gem consists of a flat flourless torte made of warm chocolate and bourbon (a nod to KY bourbon fans) topped with a scoop of hazelnut gelato. The gelato is made by a local gelato maker and the hazelnut flavor mixes flawlessly with the rich cocoa and hint of liqueur.

Our server, Christopher, was friendly, knowledgeable, and attentive. We spent a small fortune but every bite was worth the expense! We could not have dreamed for a better meal.

Bravo Boca!

Sincerely,

Lowell K.
Last edited by Lowell K on Thu Feb 28, 2008 3:40 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Bravo Boca!

by Jay M. » Tue Feb 26, 2008 11:09 pm

Great review, Lowell!

We enjoyed our visit to Boca while visiting from Louisville and after reading high praise from our host, Ron Johnson. It was absolutely slammed when we were there on a Saturday night (sans reservation) and we ate at the crowded bar.

We may be visiting again soon. Do you know their reservation policy? At one time I believe they did not accept reservations.
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Re: Bravo Boca!

by Ron Johnson » Wed Feb 27, 2008 8:19 am

Boca was just named best restaurant in Cincinnati by Cincinnati Magazine for the second year in a row. No small feat considering that Pigall's is in second place. I have reservations for dinner in a couple of weeks, and I can't wait.
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Tip on getting a table sans reservations at Boca.

by Lowell K » Thu Feb 28, 2008 12:39 pm

Jay M.,

Thanks for the reply!

Boca’s hours of operation are from Tuesdays to Saturdays beginning at 5:30 PM. Boca does accept reservations and they begin taking reservations by phone from Tuesdays to Saturdays beginning at 12:00 PM. You can also reserve a table at any time online through their website which plays mellow and smooth blues by Miles Davis. Just click on ‘Reservations’ and you will be transferred to http://www.opentable.com. Making reservations online is fast and convenient.

Here is a tip for eating at Boca sans reservation. Luckily, my wife and I stumbled upon this serendipitously:

Boca has 2 tables available for guests without reservations. If you do not mind eating early, arrive at Boca’s just as they open at 5:30 PM (or a little earlier). If any of those two tables are free, you will be seated promptly at one of them. Each table is located on either side of the entrance to the restaurant and situated in intimate nooks with tall windows overlooking Madison road. From these tables, you have a nice view from which to people watch. I applaud Boca for an excellent business move of fashioning eating areas from what appeared to have been their waiting areas.

My wife and I arrived without reservations (and without a clue about the 2 non-reserved tables) at 5:25 PM on a Saturday evening. Despite having arrived 5 minutes before the restaurant officially opened for business, one non-reserved table was already filled with a party of four! Thankfully, the remaining “no reservations required” table was available and we were seated immediately. Despite being at the entrance, we did not feel any cold air rushing in (we dined in February) as the entrance has a heated portico. The two nooks appeared cozy but there was ample room for my wife and me (and two large winter jackets) at our table. We were very comfortable and enjoyed the intimacy of our table. Our table was also next to the opening into the main dining room. Even though I sat closest to the traffic streaming into the dining room, I was never bumped into nor did I notice any excessive noise throughout the evening. The party of 4 at the other table (which required 2 extra chairs) did not seem to be cramped nor were their extra seats jutting too far into the bar area. We absolutely enjoyed the accommodations (not to mention the fantastic cuisine)! We were finished with dinner by 7:30 PM and on the road back to Louisville with smiles on our faces.


Sincerely,

Lowell K.

p.s. Two other advantages of arriving as early as 5:30 PM to Boca sans reservation is that there will usually be available parking near the restaurant on Madison Road and after an early but amazing dinner, you will be able to return home to Louisville at a decent hour! Bonus!
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Have a great time at Boca!

by Lowell K » Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:06 pm

Dear Jay M. and Ron Johnson,

I hope that you both have a great time and a great meal at Boca!

Good eats,

Lowell K.
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Re: Bravo Boca!

by Ron Johnson » Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:25 pm

Another stellar dinner at Boca Saturday night:

We had the following:

Grilled octopus
Bulgogi flatbread ( absolutely amazing)
grilled langoustines
foie gras (off tje hook)

Gnocchi in cheese fonduta with truffles (this was so good I almost cried)
another pasta dish that was forgotten in light of the gnocchi

Grilled Branzino
Filet with deconstructed bearnaise
Lamb sous vide

assorted ice creams and sorbets
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Re: Bravo Boca!

by Jay M. » Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:14 pm

Ron Johnson wrote:Filet with deconstructed bearnaise


I'm imagining a deconstructed bernaise. How was that done?
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Re: Bravo Boca!

by Ron Johnson » Fri Mar 21, 2008 7:46 am

Jay M. wrote:
Ron Johnson wrote:Filet with deconstructed bearnaise


I'm imagining a deconstructed bernaise. How was that done?


It was brilliant. Ok, you know the components of bearnaise are egg yolk, vinegar, shallot, arragon, and melted butter, right?

So a beautiful piece of filet is on a plate with a beurre blanc sauce made from butter and tarragon and splash of white wine vinegar and then topped with a poached egg. You cut into the egg and the warm yolk runs into the sauce around the filet, making a "bearnaise". Truly awesome.

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