Monday, April 6, 2015

Restaurant Review + Giveaway: Bravo Cucina Italiana

If you haven't noticed - the Rookwood area has pretty much exploded in the last couple of years.  A couple of weeks ago - another restaurant opened in the new area across the street from Rookwood Commons. 

Bravo Cucina Italian has two other locations in Cincinnati - West Chester and Mason. Their sister restaurant, Brio Tuscan Grille, is located at Newport on the Levee.

When they opened they invited a bunch of the Cincinnati bloggers out to try them out - so I grabbed a friend and headed out! We met up with Kristin from and her daughter for a wonderful night out.

Crispy Mozzarella Ravioli

With creamy horseradish, pomodoro 10.99

First up - toasted ravioli - served with a creamy horseradish sauce and a pomodoro marinara. This was pretty good. Everybody at table gobbled it up. This is one of those apps that is crowd-pleasing but not all that flavorful to me. It's fried cheese - so of course it's good! The creamy horseradish sauce was delicious though - that definitely stood out.

They brought out bread with olive oil & seasonings. I didn't love the bread and knew there would be a lot of food but my friends inhaled it - so it must have been ok. :-)

Lobster Bisque

With sherry, diced shrimp 5.59

Our dinner was four courses - so we could choose soup or salad - they have 3 of each to choose from - but we all went for the Lobster Bisque. I forgot I've had it before at Brio - or I would have chosen something else - but I still enjoyed it. It's like a creamy tomato soup with a few perfectly cooked chunks of lobster.

Crab & Shrimp Cakes

Creamy horseradish dressing, crispy potatoes, seasonal vegetables 21.49

Danielle went straight for the crab cakes - which are hard to ever turn down. This was an entree-sized portion with 3 cakes and the same delicious horseradish sauce that came with the ravioli. She swapped out the crispy potatoes for mashed and was very pleased with her dinner. There was plenty of crab & shrimp with very little filler.

Strip Steak*
14 oz. cut, Tuscan mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables 26.79

Hannah skipped all the pasta and said she was having steak! She's so tiny though - barely cracked into it before she was full - but she went home with a big box of yum. Luckily she's smart enough to order it medium rare. We both have a love for the mooing meat.

Medium rare yum. 

Kristin & I decided to go halfsies and share a special and a classic. First up the special - these were short rib ravioli with sweet potatoes and sage in a brown butter sauce. This was delicious! I actually didn't think I would like it as much I did. I've had the whole sage/ravioli thing and usually it was too much but this was a perfect balance. The beef was rich, the potatoes added a little sweetness and the butter was oh so buttery. Loved it. Loved every bite. Wishing I had more of it right now. Kinda bummed I had to share it. :-)

Mama's Lasagna Bolognese

With creamy Alfredo and BRAVO's signature meat sauce 17.79

The other half of my dinner was the Lasagna. It was fine but not my favorite lasagna. The alfredo didn't have a lot of flavor and I was hoping for more layers. Poor Kristin didn't even get to try her half! She boxed it up to take home and I think the dog got to it! :-)

Next up was dessert - they brought us Tiramisu and Bread Pudding - which we all immediately dove into and I realized I forgot to take pics!! (What the hell? Bread pudding kills brain cells.) So I went up to the open kitchen and sweet-talked them into letting me hang out for a bit to take pics of the desserts. Whew!


Lady fingers, coffee liqueur, Mascarpone, cocoa 6.99

I'm not normally a fan of Tiramisu because I don't like coffee but this was really good. I only got one bite but I enjoyed it. It was incredibly light & fluffy with a touch of coffee. Why did I only get one bite? Yeah - cuz they all killed it.

Layered Chocolate Cake

Decadent chocolate cake, milk and white chocolate mousse, fudge ganache frosting 6.99

This came up to the counter so I took a quick pic. Looks tasty - especially when I see the words: white chocolate mousse.

Seasonal Bread Pudding

Housemade brioche bread pudding, vanilla bean gelato 6.99

I saved the best for last. Chocolate chip bread pudding. WHA???? I was completely and utterly in heaven. I could have not eaten anything else all night and just had 3 of these. Thank goodness I didn't know it was coming - or I probably would have. This was delicious. Decadent. Too rich. Thick. Sweet. It was incredible...oh yeah - then top it with gelato. No - I'm not in heaven at all. 

Why Should You Go? Well I enjoyed it - the thing is - you can't really expect to like EVERYTHING when you have a four-course meal. If you do - you're really lucky. My gauge is was there one thing you loved?! Was there one thing that you can't wait to go back for. Lucky for me - I had two! So yeah - you should go! And to help you out - enter my giveaway for a $25 gift card! 

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