Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Primavista: Serving Northern Italian on a Western Hill

The Dining Room and Spectacular View
     It’s been many years since we went to Primavista and I don’t have an excuse. The food was always good and the view is unparalleled in the metro area.  In fact, it’s primo.  Although it’s been updated, the interior still has the look of a restaurant from the ‘60s or ‘70s where middle-class families had special occasion dinners with ‘Continental’ cuisine, i.e. before the big bang of nouvelle French and nuovo Italian created a new American dining scene and a tribe of curious
eaters that became the foodies.  This was true of The Sovereign in the Queens Tower in Price Hill until it became Primavista in 1989.  

     Chris suggested going to Primavista for Restaurant Week and we thought it would be a good opportunity to catch up.  The carpet’s been changed, which has lightened up the space a little, but pretty much everything else is the same and that’s a good thing.  Downtown and northern Kentucky shine from the huge picture windows.  Interior terraced levels give every table that view.  The chairs keep diners focused and aware, even though they’re so old, they look retro.  

Now that's what I call a view!  I'll check it out in the morning.

     Besides the view, the food has always been really good and, though expensive, it’s not obscenely priced, while Maggiano’s – a chain I like – and Buca di Beppo – a loud, theme park restaurant with dreary food and kitschy surroundings – both have more expensive entrées on the higher end.   Almost everything is more expensive at Barresi’s and there’s no view.  Primavista’s menu focuses on northern Italian cuisine and you could think of Price Hill as a Midwestern version of Tuscany, sort of.  The parking lot seems to be a bit of a pain in the ass for residents of Queen’s Tower when they have to compete with diners.  

Fried Ravioli

     We were combining some of the Restaurant Week choices and those from the regular menu.  The Fried Ravioli were flash fried yet still tender with finely chopped eggplant (a vegetable Neil usually doesn’t like, but it was really good here) and a tomato caponata that was complexly seasoned and not acidic. The Gnocci with pine nuts were lovely.  Chris liked the Pasta and Fagioli soup, while we
Gnocci with Pine Nuts
were impressed with the Caesar Salad, which was crisp and fresh.  I wish they’d prepare it tableside.  I ordered anchovies because I like them and I think that salad needs the saltiness that cuts the blandness of the lettuce.  
Classic Caesar Salad

Pork Rib Chop
     Our server, who was professional and personable, recommended the Pork Rib Chop.  Chris followed her suggestion and said it was excellent.  Mark had the Veal
Veal Saltimbocca
Saltimbocca, which he’d ordered another time and liked; the consistency in preparation held this time.  We ordered the Veal because it’s usually pretty expensive so we thought we were getting a deal and it’s a specialty of Primavista.  Yeah, I know calves are raised horribly and we shouldn’t take part in keeping the industry going, but we never eat it at home and order it maybe once every three years or so.  The sauce was full and zesty, the polenta held its shape,

Veal with Artichokes and Prosciutto
but was also creamy and the green beans, artichoke, and prosciutto were cooked beautifully.  Though the Saltimbocca was tender, ours was more like a chop and was tough.  We needed a steak knife.  I think it needed to be pounded or maybe placed in a marinade, though veal is young meat and most chefs wouldn’t presume to do so.

Milk Chocolate Mousse

     Desserts were excellent.  The Milk Chocolate Mousse special was more like a terrine – thick, but also silky – with meaty raspberries and a nice complement of Madisono’s tiramisu gelato.  The Latte alla Portoghese is their version of a panna cotta or Italian flan and Mark really liked it.  

Latte alla Portoghese   
Primavista on Urbanspoon

No comments: