Critic's PickDo you recall the time when one dined in hotels with well-appointed lobbies? Elevator rides taken to a dining room nestled between living quarters where one imagines very highbrow things happening? Me neither.
Upon arriving at View restaurant in the Edgecliff Private Residences on Victory Parkway, however, I was transported to a more sophisticated time.
The Edgecliff's elegant lobby is a striking first impression with its marble floors, chandelier and personal greeting. From there, an elevator ride to the fifth floor.
The Stephens Restaurant Group (of Bella Luna fame) has done a superb job of continuing the transportive feeling diners experience pulling up to the Edgecliff. A wall of windows overlooking the Ohio River and the quaint Northern Kentucky town of Bellevue provides a picturesque backdrop. On the evening of our visit, and with Mother Nature bestowing Cincinnatians with the tease of summer, the windows were open and a breeze could be felt as we made our way through the dining room to the balcony.
I was told by a friend that we had to sit on the balcony, and we were glad we did. It's cozy and intimate with only 10 or so tables, and perusing the menu while watching seemingly motionless barges navigate the river is the perfect way to make a drink selection.
I began with a Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc ($8) and my dining companions each had a draft Christian Moerlein Doppelbock ($5). The wine was light and added to the summer feel. View, aside from its main menu, offers a Four-Course Parallel Tasting Menu ($42). On weekends, all diners at the table must order from the menu, as the chef personally delivers and explains each course; however, on weekdays, you're not required to order from it.
We began with the Crab Cakes ($8) and Warm Gorgonzola Dip ($10). I have to say without the least bit of hesitation that the Warm Gorgonzola Dip was the best thing I've eaten in quite a while. Rich, creamy, sweet and a little crunchy and salty from the Applewood bacon, it was the perfect balance of flavors and textures.
The crab cakes were pretty darn perfect, too. The crab was prominent, yet not overpowering. I could have done without the avocado puree, but the Cajun aioli gave the crab cakes a nice kick.
There are so many appealing options on the menu that we had a difficult time deciding. Our server recommended three entrees: the Stuffed Breast of Chicken ($23) with herbed goat cheese, roasted tomatoes, fennel and fingerling potatoes (he also recommended the vegetarian version, substituting a Portobello mushroom for the chicken); the Red Snapper ($24) sautéed in seafood stock with bacon crawfish potato hash; and the Bison Strip Steak ($30) with fingerling potatoes and sautéed French green beans. After much discussion, we chose the Stuffed Chicken Breast Vegetarian option and Bison Strip Steak.
The house salad with cranberries, walnuts and raspberry dressing that accompanied our entrées was a bit too sweet for my taste and would have benefited from less dressing. I've never had a more delicious bread and butter serving, though. View seasons its sweet, creamy butter with red sea salt and serves it with asiago bread and an herbed flatbread. It's absolutely addictive. We had three orders and were assured by our server that our repeated requests for more was quite common.
As the first bite of the Bison Strip Steak passed our lips, my companion, with all earnestness, said, “This makes me feel feelings.” Perfectly medium rare (not an easy task) and caramelized, this steak was delicate and melted on the tongue. The Stuffed Portabella Mushroom was nicely grilled, giving it a hearty texture, and the herbed goat cheese was rich and complimented the mushroom well. We didn't exactly “feel feelings” with this offering, but were satisfied. The vegetable accompaniments with each meal were good, but the Bison and the Portabella mushroom were the stars, as they should be.
Feeling relaxed and intoxicated by the river view (and maybe the second glass of wine), we pondered dessert. View offers an Orange Marmalade Cheesecake, Chocolate Paté (I know!) and a Bread Pudding Sampler. I couldn't take my eyes off two in particular: the Cookie Dough Pie with a scoop of Graeter’s Vanilla Ice Cream and the Raspberry Strawberry Bread Pudding with Butter Rum Sauce ($8 each). Our server indicated that bread pudding is “what we do” — how could we possibly say no?
Our Cookie Dough Pie was served to us warm and had chocolate chips peeking out of a moist pie and an incredibly flaky crust. It sent my sweet tooth into ecstasy, and I was glad to have shared this dessert (which I typically regret). Bread pudding is certainly what View does. It was surprisingly light, and the butter gave it a delicate richness.
View was a truly memorable experience, from the walk into the lobby to the walk out. It's been open only since February, and I suggest you visit sooner rather than later. If the success of Bella Luna is any indication, once View restaurant is on the radar, reservations will be hard to come by. Let’s just keep this between you and me.
Go: 2200 Victory Parkway, Walnut Hills
Hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; Dinner 4:30-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 4:30-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 4:30-9 p.m. Sunday; Sunday Brunch 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Entrée Prices: $18-$34
Red Meat Alternatives: Varied
Accessibility: Fully accessible