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Best Restaurants 2012

Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar

Is there anything we love more than a great neighborhood bistro?

Nicola’s

Willpower is usually what I need when dining at Nicola’s.

Cumin

Chef Owen Maass’s menu inevitably has a couple of dishes that raise an eyebrow.

Senate

Phone message overheard being left by a man sitting next to me at Senate’s bar: “Yo bro, what up? I am in a restaurant in Cincinnati eating something called poutine. Fries, topped with short ribs, cheese curds, gravy, and an egg. It is man love bro...pure man love. Made me think about you. Miss you, bro.”

Hugo

We love Chef Sean Daly’s elegant and slightly bad-ass Low Country food.

Best Restaurants 2012: Boca

Chef/Owner David Falk has sustained a velocity that’s rare in a business that demands it.

Sichuan Bistro

The pleasantly numbing huajiao—the keenly aromatic, citrusy peppercorn indigenous to China—is the star of this family run bistro.

Best New Restaurant: Abigail Street

Where Senate, its older sibling next door, has a penchant for street-smart food and chaotic energy, Abigail Street possesses a more easygoing spirit. The imaginative and original menu of small plates with a Middle Eastern lean owes a debt to co-owner (with her husband Dan) Lana Wright’s Jordanian heritage.

Best New Restaurant: A Taste of Belgium

Jean-Francois Flechet claims Belgians can find a beer for every palate. For this wine lover the Liefmans Cuvée Brut proves his point. Aged with cherries, the sweet-tart, effervescent ale is an able partner to the hot cheese croquettes or boulets Liégeoise—meatballs glazed in the fruity sirop de Liège and served with salty frites.

Best New Restaurant: Enoteca Emilia

Two questions may occur to you upon your first visit: What the diavolo are lardo and nduja? And should you eat them? To answer the first question, lardo is cured and seasoned fatback, an Italian delicacy. Nduja is a fiery, spreadable Calabrian sausage.

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