Eighth & English’s mussels in vodka sauce is a dish of wonderful contradictions. You can cut to the good part and shell the whole bowl first or take the scenic route and let the experience unfold bivalve by bivalve. Serving as the base for the sharable plate, a chunky garlic-tomato sauce—creamy and a touch spicy from the peppery vodka—balances the lightly salty, tender mussels. A few large slices of crusty oiled and grilled bread are your vehicle to soak up all that glorious sauce at the bottom. In cooler months, it’s a stick-to-your-ribs comfort food—but one that won’t weigh you down. Together it all works rather swimmingly; and for the weeknight-friendly price ($16), it sure tastes expensive.
Eighth & English, 2038 Madison Rd., O’Bryonville, (513) 386-7383, 8thandenglish.com