Vincenzo’s Ristorante Italiano
11525 Chester Road
Sharonville, Ohio 45246
Rating: Overall *** 3/4
Sole Piccata ***
Frutta di Bosco *****
Lunch at Vincenzo’s
Walking into Vincenzo’s Ristorante Italiano, the first thing you notice is the atmosphere of pure class without being standoffish or snooty. The walls are a warm crème color, with splashes of burnt orange, the wood is dark, and the brass chandeliers add character. There is a beautiful mural of the Italian countryside over the hostess area, and dashes of art everywhere. The effect is ornate and lovely without being gaudy.
Vincenzo’s was originally a tiny hole-in-the-wall located on Rt. 4. Its current location on Chester Road, just off Kemper in Tri-County is an impressive improvement and testament to the quality of Vencenzo’s food and service. The room is spacious, the bar unobtrusive, and tables adequately distanced for a private meal.
Our party was seated immediately and promptly brought a bread basket with a warm, fresh baked loaf of hearty home-style bread and garlic herb butter. Our waitress was quick in fetching our drink orders and our water glasses were always full.
Do not expect the standard, American Italian menu with pizza, pasta, and French fries. Vincenzo’s is the ‘real deal’ with pasta full of spices, vegetables, and a selection of meat, fresh fish, and eggplant parmesan.
Sarah, my co-diner, ordered the fresh catch of the day, sole, in a piccata sauce with fettuccini alfredo and the house salad. The salad arrived without delay, although it was unimpressive and lacking in originality. The pile of romaine lettuce was punctuated with only one fresh tomato slice and one slice of cucumber, and the entire plate was drenched in balsamic vinaigrette. The sole was lightly sautéed and cooked properly, but the white wine and lemon piccata sauce was overly heavy for the delicate sole and a bit light on the lemon flavor. The fettuccini alfredo was by far the best part of the meal with a perfect level of creaminess.
I ordered the soup of the day, cream of broccoli, and zingara, one of the primi piatti, or main courses. Although the waitress claimed the soup was made in-house, it lacked the chunky vegetables normally associated with homemade soup. Still, it was flavorful and filling, if a little on the salty side. Zingara is spicy tomato sauce with mushrooms, garlic, and penne pasta over a choice of pork, veal, or chicken. I ordered the chicken, and it was amazing. The homemade sauce had a nice fiery burn with generous chunks of tomato, mushrooms, and garlic cloves. The chicken was cooked to succulent perfection.
Both of us were impressed overall with the quality of food and the atmosphere of the restaurant and there was a mutual feeling of necessity to round out the meal with a shared dessert and some coffee. The coffee was fresh brewed and flavorful, but the absolute highlight of the meal was the dessert.
The seasonal dessert, frutta di bosco, completely overshadowed the rest of the meal. Any shortcomings experienced earlier were virtually forgotten as we indulged in an Italian pastry cookie topped with light raspberry syrup, fresh raspberries and blueberries, decedent mascarpone custard, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream. The only word to describe dessert is “wow.” It’s an absolute must.
The price-for-quality and quantity of the meal was impressive. Lunch with a drink and shared dessert totals around $12 - $17 per person with ample leftovers for dinner or a midnight snack. Tack on an additional $5 for dinner, still a great deal for a 3+ course meal.
Although its Tri-County location is slightly undesirable for some, it is absolutely worth a visit. With such reasonable prices, you walk away with more than you paid for. It’s a great place for a family dinner, business lunch, or private party. The wait staff is prompt and friendly, the food is really good, and the dessert seals the deal. A great place for any Italian food lover.
Restaurant Evaluation Criteria
One Star (*)
- Overall experience unsatisfactory
- Would not recommend and if possible would wipe the memory
Two Star (**)
- Still sub-par
- Either food or service is lacking
- Hygiene of the restaurant may or may not be an issue
- Price is unreflective of quality
Three Star (***)
- Overall a satisfactory experience
- A little lack-luster, but not bad
- You’d go again, but only if someone else was paying
Four Star (****)
- Overall positive experience
- Fireworks didn’t go off, but still a great meal
- Really good service
- Great price for quality
Five Star (*****)
- One of a kind
- Worth any price
$: 5 – 14
$$: 15 – 24
$$$: 25 – 34
$$$$: 35 and up
Do you have a comment about this review or a review of your own? Post here!