Cincinnati's German immigrants used to make daily treks across the Miami and Erie Canal from their homes in Over-the-Rhine into downtown. Today, as restuarants and condo developments breathe new life into OTR, the trek across the Rhine (Central Parkway) is shifting in direction. And Enzo's (1106 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-579-1106) is helping this shift along.
Enzo's has only been in its current location for four months, but it already seems to be an anchor of the neigborhood. As my professor and I lunch one day, folks from adjacent businesses move in and out a back door to pick up some lunch or grab a cup of Joe, and regulars are hailed as they come through the front door. The staff is no less friendly with us first-timers, joking as they open the windows to get the smell of a stray burnt croissant out of the room.
Along with a menu that offers sandwiches and salads, as well as soups in the cooler months, Enzo's has a full coffee bar with frappés, zebra lattes (white and dark chocolate, espresso and whipped cream) and other standard coffee fare. Oddly, each time I ordered my standard Americano I seemed to confound the staff — the order always resulted in two or three employees puzzling over the espresso machine about the drink preparation, a couple shots of espresso with hot water. They never did get the proportions right, but on follow-up, co-owner Al Sheets said that they are training staff in order to extend their hours through the weekend. So we'll just it chalk it up to that.
My professor was a little disappointed in the foccacia that bedded her Grilled Tuscan Turkey ($6.50) with smoked turkey, fresh mozzerella, red onion, spring mixed greens and pesto. She said it was bland and could have used some rosemary, but after a few more bites she concluded it was probably better that way since the pesto packed so much flavor. My double-decker Joe's Big BLT ($6), on the other hand, was perfect comfort food, chock-full of crisp bacon and slathered with mayo.
On other trips across the Rhine to Enzo's I enjoyed a piquant Curry Chicken Salad sandwich ($6) with grapes and walnuts and the towering Grilled Cuban ($6.50). The Southwest Salad ($5.50) topped with green onion, corn, black beans and tortilla strips is also a good choice, even though it lacks a little color — nothing a few strips of red pepper couldn't fix. Grade: B