Review: Boca

Over the past eleven months, BK and I have been celebrating our monthiversary on or around the day we got married (the 8th). This has been a great way to challenge us to continue dating each other even (especially?) now that we’re married. For our first anniversary we wanted to commemorate the occasion with a truly great dining experience at a price point we don’t often treat ourselves. Thus, we made reservations more than a month out for a Friday night meal at one of Cincinnati’s premier restaurants, Boca, the gorgeous David Falk-run ode to Europe nestled between sister restaurants Nada and Sotto.

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Chandelier above our Maisonette table
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Interior from our table, including the beautiful bar area

We made reservations for 5:30pm even though we assumed that it would probably be early enough to where we shouldn’t need to, but we didn’t want to take our chances. (5:30pm because we eat early and also because we both work in the CBD and went as soon as the workweek was over.) When we arrived, we were told by the hostess, “Happy Anniversary!” which really confused us. When we were seated at the “Maisonette table” (a secluded table in its own sort of room) and told “Happy Anniversary!” again — this time by our server — we knew something was up. As it turns out, my mom had called ahead to inform them of our anniversary and to have a gift card waiting for us (aw!), but I’m going to go ahead and assume that our service would have been as thorough and outstanding regardless. No detail went untouched as we enjoyed three courses at dramatic and beautiful Boca.

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Blackberry Buffalo Smash
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Pommes Soufflées

To start we ordered cocktails — a Bottled Old Fashioned for him and a Blackberry Buffalo Smash for me (we both love bourbon drinks when drinking cocktails) — and Pommes Soufflées, the latter being a “Maisonette classic” served with béarnaise and that was highly recommended to us. For the first course, we decided on the Corn Eloté (R.A.D.) because it sounded outstanding as our server talked the small plate up to us. For our entrées I ordered the Boca Burger and BK got the Beef Tenderloin Boca — medium for me and medium rare for him.

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Beef Tenderloin Boca
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Boca Burger

Guys. The food was outstanding. There’s really no other way to put it. The Pommes Soufflées were properly crispy, carb-y, and delicious, plus the sauce was great. BK’s steak was cooked perfectly and was so good. I knew the burger would be great (I mean, it’s not on this list for nothing), and I know I’ll get crap for ordering a cheeseburger. But I did it because I knew it would be awesome and I’m on a never-ending quest to have all the best cheeseburgers in Cincinnati. And it was awesome. It was topped with cheese, red onion, tomato (86), and maison sauce; served on a brioche bun with pommes frites on the side. Price aside (seriously, it was pretty expensive), it was one of the best cheeseburgers I’ve had in the area. The quality of beef was outstanding (and, as expected, cooked perfectly), the cheese was awesome, and the maison sauce was a subtle yet great condimental touch.

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Corn Eloté

But the real standout of the meal was the Corn Eloté. This small plate was considered “deconstructed corn” — ravioli filled with sweet corn, topped with cojita, piment d’espelette, and thinly-sliced jalapeño (not for spice, but for flavor). It sounds like a complex dish, but it was wonderfully flavorful with not too much going on. Even with the jalapeño’s BK made me eat. “We didn’t come here to insult the chef.” He was absolutely right and it was perfect.

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Saison and Bottled Old Fashioned

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When asked what is the worst fad in the restaurant industry, David Falk, chef and restaurateur, said in this interview, “too many ingredients on a plate, without a doubt.” I really appreciate this response because, not only do I agree, but this quotes lives out in the dishes we were fortunate to have had. Boca has mastered some truly basic and great dishes.

Between two drinks apiece, a starter, a small dish, and two entrées, our meal was not cheap. But if you’re looking for a special occasion dinner in Cincinnati, I can’t recommend Boca enough. The service, cocktails, food, and ambiance were all fantastic.

Follow Boca on Facebook and Twitter.

Address
114 East 6th Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

Hours
Monday–Thursday, 5–10pm
Friday–Saturday, 5–11pm

Parking
Valet, some street, nearby garages

Other notes
Takes reservations

Featured image: interior shot from the second floor of Boca’s beautiful space

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Some background
Every month on our around the day we got married (the 8th), we decided to challenge ourselves to try somewhere new. This seems easy enough, but we want to be sure that we are still exploring, trying new places, and essentially still dating each other, even now as an old married couple.

In 2013, after about six months of dating, I started Tour de Cincinnati. I set out on a journey to try a new place or restaurant every week for 52 weeks of that year. I’m happy to report that I achieved that goal in both 2013 and 2014 despite the fact that it got to be pretty expensive and obligatory at times. We got to try so many places in this area and I am thankful for that, but over the past few years we have exhausted ourselves by always trying somewhere new (and not often being able to return to places we like). Making a point to do this once a month is not only a way to commemorate our marriage, but also give us the motivation to get out and explore this great city without breaking the bank.

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