Best Of 2020

Best Riff on a Dinner Bread Basket: Staff Pick

Best Riff on a Dinner Bread Basket

Instead of a complimentary bit of bread to start dinner, quite a few upscale restaurants have made bread service a menu item, which of course means you have to pay for it. Perhaps the most unusual entry into this trend is something called The Dunk at the new pasta-centric Pepp & Dolores. Named after their grandparents Giuseppe and Addolorata, the restaurant is both the most upscale and the most personally meaningful of those owned by brothers Joe and John Lanni under their corporate umbrella, the Thunderdome Restaurant Group (which also oversees Bakersfield, The Eagle, Maplewood Kitchen and Bar, et al). Instead of butter or olive oil, the rolls (from nearby Allez Bakery) come with a bowl of what essentially is salad dressing, or an herb-heavy vinaigrette topped with a generous portion of grated cheese. You tear off pieces of the bread and dip — or dunk — it into the dressing. If you’re opposed to vinegar, you might want to consider a different bread option, such as grilled sourdough with olive oil, sea salt and housemade ricotta. There’s also a couple of crostini appetizers to satisfy your carb cravings if one of the nine pasta dishes isn’t enough. Pepp & Dolores, 1501 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, peppanddolores.com.