It’s only been nine years since Maisonette shuttered, but it might as well have been a century. Food and beverage talking heads declared fine dining dead, and picking up where the Comisar family left off seemed like an impossible gamble. Undeterred, Boca owner David Falk doubled down against the odds, relocating from Oakley and giving Maisonette’s former home on Sixth Street an exquisite rehab. Boca’s third incarnation, powerful and refined, is a pitch-perfect aria that shatters conventional expectations while proffering rich, complex dishes originally created for comfort.
And oh, what comfort. Housemade pasta with slowly simmered Bolognese—a nod to the restaurant’s origin as a Northside trattoria—is prepared with such attention to detail that it easily holds its own next to the more continental beef Wellington. Chef Jeremy Lieb’s gnocchi con fonduta is another simple stunner that soars with expert technique. Luxe dumplings with the lightest kiss of crispness mingle in a velvety taleggio-and-fontina sauce. Shaved black truffle adds an element of rich earth, taking the dish from satisfying to sensational in a heartbeat.
The plush men’s club vibe of the lounge area is punctuated by the pewter bar, where casual diners can dig into dry-aged Pat LaFrieda-blend burgers while bartenders happily guide them through a 200-bottle wine list, rich in Old World choices. Don’t miss the Isole e Olena, a stellar Chianti Classico available by the glass.
Boca version 3.0 does not simply pick up where the previous iteration left off. Rather, its high-powered luxury is poised to propel fine dining back onto Queen City foodie radar.
114 E. Sixth St., downtown, (513) 542-2022, bocacincinnati.com
Originally published in the March 2014 issue.