Home Authors Posts by Donna Covrett
Silver Spring House is Mo Egger’s favorite restaurant. Ranked No. 1 on his Top 10 restaurant list (posted on his blog as a foil to my list in the annual restaurant issue), he’s dined at the Symmes Township establishment “hundreds of times”—sometimes several times a week. No one could accuse Mo of being capricious. He even orders the same meal—the Spring House Chicken—every time. “I’ve never really looked at the menu,” he admits.
Smudgy black rivulets of mascara have made a Tammy Faye Bakker mess of my face. This is not due to an unswerving devotion to the Lord on my part but rather a hissing, seething platter of spicy sizzling beef in the center of the table. The plate was delivered two minutes ago with little flourish by the bistro’s lone server tonight, a Chinese woman whose hyper-focused style of service suggests it may have been honed under the guidance of a kung fu master: mostly swift and nimble, occasionally unhurried, but always quiet and economical.
Mo Egger is sitting amid the sophisticated comfort of Boca’s dining room at a table draped in starched white linen and laid with gleaming silver. Diners dressed in dressy casual swirl and sniff an old world sangiovese nearby. Mo raises his glass of Bud Light. “My wife made me wear a sweater,” he says, referring to his departure from a uniform of T-shirt, jeans, and baseball cap.
It’s the sixth inning and outfielder Jay Bruce has smacked his second two-run homer, driving in four runs in the final game of an early season series against the Atlanta Braves. The crowd is on their feet chanting “Bruuuuuce.” Normally, I would be too, but a Big Red Smokey is occupying my lap.
It’s impossible to talk about restaurants on Cincinnati’s west side without noting how inadequately fine dining is represented. That doesn’t mean there’s no good food or good restaurants there. Simply, west side neighborhoods have, for the most part, lacked the sort of establishments that bring together the elements of menu style, preparation, service, and atmosphere in a way that feels greater than the sum of its parts.
Growing up amid the 1960s convenience-food revolution, I was enamored with the familial ambience of Italian restaurants. I begged my father to take me to Caproni’s (near his office at Sixth and Main) as much for the way the owner greeted every customer like family as for the steaming bowls of minestrone, heaping plates of spaghetti, and footed dishes of spumoni ice cream.
Dining out is an activity most of us take for granted. Nada’s outdoor patio for tacos and margaritas? Meet you there in 30 minutes. Dinner at Via Vite before a show at the Aronoff? Love to. But for the 20 percent of Americans with disabilities (which includes temporary disabilities) a simple meet-up raises considerable inquiry regarding accessibility.
First there was The Caspian, a full-service Middle Eastern restaurant in the tangle of strip malls north of Fields Ertel Road. Then came this streamlined lunch-only downtown version, which features inexpensive Persian style wraps, soups, and sides in a small shotgun café tucked along Court Street.