Shortly after moving to Cincinnati, Kerrie and I found this little Italian restaurant in Clifton by the name of Biagio's Bistro. To make a long story short, Biagio's is excellent.
Before I get going, I'd like to make it clear that I'm not talking about Biaggi's Italian Restaurant. Biagio's is a small, comfy and classy bistro with a limited menu of beautiful rustic Italian dishes. Started in 1999 by Biagio Lamassa, Biagio's was a perfect choice for Kerrie and I celebrate our first 2 years together. Dimly lit, roses and photographs of Italy for decoration, and some of the most amazing, yet utterly simple dishes possible.
Kerrie and I got there just before 6:00 and the place was close to empty. We chose a table near where the chef, Biagio himself, was working in plain view. Although there is a back kitchen, the chef works on a range of five burners facing the dining room. The first things you really notice as you walk in are the sight of the big guy working a range top, the sound of Italian opera, and the lovely but damn near overpowering smell of garlic.
BONUS: Watching the chef walk to the kitchen, while not even slightly busy, and yelling in jest to the cooks - "What the fuck is going on in here?" Oh yes, it's that kind of human touch that makes me feel like I'm in a real restaurant and not some homogeneous chain which filters the soul and love of food right out of every single one of it's employees. This place is REAL...
We started with the house Caesar Salads. Unlike most "Italian" places, there was a perfect balance in the dressing between the Anchovy, lemon juice, and Parmesan.
For the entrees, Kerrie had a heaping portion of Fettucinni Alfredo with Chicken breast sauted in White Wine. I had the Penne with peas and mushrooms in a rustic meat sauce. Both were ample in size, and the interior flavors were not drowned out by over seasoning. Simply put, dinner was delicious.
By the time we ordered dessert, the place was packing up. It fills up quick, but it never feels cramped. There is always room to breath, so to speak. For dessert, I had a cappuccino and a chocolate chip Canoli while Kerrie had the Creme Brulee. Both were sweet and filling, but very light and delicate in texture and flavor. Again, most "Italian" places don't even think twice about serving desserts that are hard, heavy, and usually straight out of a walk-in. The desserts at Biagio's were refreshing.
All in all, the meal was very well prepared and the price (for two people) was reasonable. $15 per entree, $5 per dessert, and my coffee was $2.50. Biagio's is a place I hope does well, and judging by the traffic that flooded in before we left - I'm sure they do.
308 Ludlow Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45220
Paul Oakenfold & Spitfire - Feed Your Mind
Frank Sinatra - Fly me to the moon
Joy Division - Dead Souls
Nescobar-a-lop-lop & The Camden County Band - What Goes Around Comes Around (Theme from 'My Name Is Earl')