Restaurants & Reservations: Dining in Cincinnati

What happens when a rabbi and a lawyer walk into a bar? We'll let you know in a few years, but until then we'll do our best to share with you our favorite (and not-so-favorite) Cincinnati restaurants and hope you'll share some with us, too!

Indigo: Casual Gourmet Speaks for Itself

Indigo 2637 Erie Avenue • Cincinnati, OH 45208 • (513) 321-9952

His Take

I’ve been to Indigo on two occasions, both to meet up with friends and both based on someone else’s venue selection. Indigo’s dishes offer plenty of food, semi-decent taste, and reasonable prices — often all you can ask for in a neighborhood restaurant. So while I’ve been there twice and will probably end up back there again sometime, it’s unlikely I’d ever request we go there.

The restaurant prides itself on its Italian offerings, and pasta is usually where I head on their menu. The last time I was there it was absolutely frigid outside, and I came in longing for a hot bowl of soup. And that’s exactly how I started. Our server recommended their chicken soup, which she said was so popular that people come in just to get it for take-out. I thought the soup was pretty good, but far from amazing. The soup had plenty of vegetables and plenty of chicken in a fairly unsurprising broth. So while it didn’t blow me away, I’m not sure my homemade soup would come out much better, so it fit the bill just fine.

I will admit, though, that I spent plenty of time ogling the focaccia appetizer that the rest of the party devoured because all that melted cheese looked delicious. But I was busy warming up with my soup.

My main dish was the artichoke tomato sauce pasta. All of the pasta options on Indigo’s menu let you choose the pasta you want and select from a variety of different preparations, or “sauces” as Indigo uses the word. So, I chose the spinach fettucini noodles with their artichoke tomato sauce. The sauce includes black olives, garlic, and herbs in addition to the obvious tomatoes and artichokes. And I threw in grilled chicken just for good measure. The dish had plenty of pasta, and I never quite finished it. But my progress had more to do with being hungry than the taste of the food. The sauce wasn’t very impressive, although I liked the combination of the olives and artichokes. And the pasta itself was good, but nothing to write home about. So all in all it was . . . fine.

My only real qualm with the meal was the bread that came with the pasta. The bread had a very potent taste, which rubbed me the wrong way. I never quite figured out what it was, and it didn’t seem to phase anyone else with me, but I took one bite and then left the rest on the plate. Never a good sign.

So, in short, Indigo is fine. You won’t likely be amazed or dying to come back, but you’ll probably be back from time to time as will I. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Indigo Casual Gourmet Cafe on Urbanspoon
Her Take

I have been to Indigo a handful of times, and I have always been satisfied with my meals there, although never blown away. I always intend to try one of their many creative salads, but I tend to be thrown off track by the variety of pastas, pizzas, and calzones, many of them interesting combinations, many of them vegetarian, and all of them more exciting than a salad. This trip was no exception, except that with the cold weather, I don’t think I ever really intended to have a salad.

On a middle-of-the-week night, the restaurant had some other tables occupied but was by no means full, and we were immediately seated at a table in the middle of the room. The décor is fairly non-notable; the neon “Indigo” sign in the front window kind of prevents the place from even appearing too upscale, and they call themselves “A Casual Gourmet Café.” Since we were all hungry, we immediately looked to the appetizer section. With the friend who dined with us that evening, I split the Focaccia Appetizer, an Italian flatbread split (the long way) and filled with melted mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, and basil. I suppose it’s much more of a summery dish, but this is not the kind of place that seems to change the menu seasonally. They served it to us and it was yummy, regardless of the season. I was a little disappointed that the bread wasn’t warmer, and the whole sandwichy concoction fell apart somewhat in the eating process, but luckily, that didn’t impede the eating process too much.

Once we were slightly less ravenous, it was time for the main course. I ordered the Eggplant Lasagna. I am a lasagna lover, and finding meatless ones is a difficult task, so I will almost always order them when I find them that way. It was good and more than enough food, of course, but I felt like there was more sauce and ricotta than noodle or eggplant, which was a little sad. It was certainly good and warm, of course, but on my next trip I will probably return to their (Cincinnati Magazine) award winning calzones (or pizzas). I have had the black bean calzone before as well, which includes beans, cheese, and salsa inside the calzone, and it was TONS of food and delicious. I am noticing that this calzone isn’t tagged as vegetarian on their website, which means I would ask first, but I also see that the Blackened Chicken Pasta is tagged as vegetarian, so…well, I’d ask about the calzone.

None of us were so enthused that night about the idea of dessert, strangely, so I can’t report on it, other than to say that they advertise some amazing and rich sounding desserts under the glass tops of the tables.

I will certainly return to Indigo, if for no other reason than that their food is decent, the location is convenient, and one of these days, I’ll try one of their salads!

1 comment:

Michal said...

When Jonathan and I were there, he had the raspberry white cake (which was quite good). I really liked my "drunken monkey," which was a big brownie with caramelized bananas, whipped cream, and fudge sauce. The bananas were a great touch, but the dish would have been better with more fudge.