Thursday, October 1, 2009

Vito's Cafe, "A Music And Dining Experience"

Before I get started with talking about this week’s Taste Casting event I just want to thank the new followers of my blog. We are now up to 4, and that means we doubled our viewership in one week! Look out, if people starting reading this for real I will have to learn how to write in complete sentences.

As for this week’s TasteCasting event I have to say it was the best dining experience since I started TasteCasting. This week we visited Vito’s Café in Ft. Thomas, KY. Even before I walked through the front doors I was greeted by a very quaint outdoor dining area landscaped with pink flowers. As I walked through the front doors Vito, and his lovely wife Mary greeted me with open arms and smiling faces. It was as if I was walking into their house and we had been friends for years. We shook and then they directed me to the cozy bar area where Vito began to describe his new micro brewed beer. How about that for service, walk in, and within minutes I am drinking a beer and being told the story behind the beer.

Started by Vito’s son Matt on August 9th 2009, The Red Ear Brewing Company is Ft. Thomas first and only microbrewery. I was able to sample the Cattail Ale, which is a classic full-bodied American Ale with attitude. With its whole leaf Cascade hops it brings just the right amount of bitterness to this Autumn Ale. If you are like me, and enjoy a fresh locally brewed beer I would check Vito’s Café on Wednesday night for Pub night. You can receive a free sample of the Cattail Ale as well as complimentary appetizers.

Once everyone showed up we were led to our table which was laid out very eloquently. Although Mary did tell us they refer to it as Brothel Sheik, I think it was very beautiful and inviting. Once I sat down and noticed there was a menu with all of the night’s courses and as I read it I knew this was not going to be just a normal dining experience. Before we ate Vito came out to let us know that the items we would be sampling are not even on the menu yet and we would be their guinea pigs. For me that would be just fine.

The first item or the Primo Assaggio or first taste was a Roasted Beet with Ricotta Salata. This was served in a spoon, was very refreshing, and really awakened my taste buds. This is always nice when you are having a multi-course meal

With a Beet red tongue, I sat patiently for the next course, which according to my menu was Beef Tartar with Sriracha Aioli and Fried Caper Berries. Shortly as the server filled my glass with wine I was presented with my dish. I love Tartar and especially beef tartar. There is just something about the freshness of the meat that gets me every time. With a fresh egg presented on top of the meat it was a classic dish but with and updated flare. I hope this makes it to the menu because I would love to have it again.

With some more wine and a smiling face I scanned my menu for the next course. This was Shrimp Bisque with a Petite Shrimp Salad and Micro Parsley. Soup, just what I have been craving ever since the temperatures dropped just this past week. As the Bisque arrived, it was served in a small Espresso cup. As I began to dig in Vito came by the table to describe how the Chef prepared this creamy and velvet soup. When the soup is made the Chef cooks it with shrimp shells and all to retain the natural flavors and bring out the slight salty flavors in the shrimp. Then the Chef sifts the mixture through cheesecloth and the result is a well-executed bisque.

One of my favorite parts of Vito’s Café is the singing servers and live piano. That’s right, you heard me correctly Vito’s Café offer live entertainment by having local students sing while you enjoy your dinner. This is a great value and something you just do not see anymore in fine dining. Another huge reason for the singing is Vito himself is a singer and a very good one I might add. He even got up in the evening and sang for us and it was excellent. When you have dinner next have Vito tell you his story of being a singing bartender, it is priceless.

As the singing ended we were presented with our next course, Baby Arugula Salad with a Citrus Gastric and Shaved Parmigianino. Yet again the Chef surprised the palate with a light and a nice break between courses. The arugula was gently drizzled with the orange gastric so not to break down the peppery taste of the Arugula.

The next dish I was a dish I had been eyeballing the entire evening ever since I looked over the menu. It was the Squid Ink Fettuccine with a Lemon Sage Butter. The best part of this dish to me in the presentation. Nothing like eating something that is black. Aside from the wow factor, Vito's Cafe does makes all their pasta in-house and that translate to lovely silky fresh pasta. There is a difference and it is what puts this dish at the top of my list for the evening. I was told by the Chef that this is going to be added to the menu so I will have to get it again for sure.

So by now my expectations have been met and exceeded, but what is that? There is another course? Its a good thing I am a hefty human because this was certainly a feast. The course was "Brasato Al Barolo" Braised Beef with Porcini Mushrooms with a Parsnip Puree. This dish was very hearty and cooked to perfection. There is a tendency when braising meat to over cook it slightly which makes it tough. But not at Vito's Cafe, because their attention to detail is unmistakable. I also like that they used a hearty wine like Barolo to braise it with, good choice.

So by now I was enjoying more wine and the server asked us if we would like coffee. I said sure and at that moment I realized it was time for dessert. I truly believe all meals should start with dessert but oh I can dream right. As the table got cleared and the coffee made it the table the desserts came out. I got the Raspberry Budino. Oh my goodness it was just the smoothest dessert I have had in a long time. There was also a Carmel and Chocolate offerings which we shared which each other. It was truly a perfect end to a wonderful adventure in food we all got to take that evening.

My bucket list is still very long and I hope one day I live long enough to the see the bottom of it. Meanwhile I try to experience as much as I can to knock items off one by one. One I feel like I could scratch off is vacation in Italy. Because tonight I feel like Vito and his staff took me there and exposed me what true Italian cuisine is supposed to be.

Thanks Vito and Mary I will be back soon.

*Note – The TasteCasting Team Members are not professional food critics. TasteCasting combines socially networked people and the social media platforms and applications they use to help establishments build awareness, announce grand openings, introduce new menu items, distribute special offers and encourage people to visit the establishment.