I took the opportunity to put the CityBeat 'Best of Cincinnati' card to work. It's a program that offers members a 40% discount at a slew of local restaurants. There's a $25 fee to get your own card started, but once you've got one you'll add money to it like a gift card. The 40% discount comes out when you load the card with money. Take a look at all the rules here.
Full disclosure for you, me and the FTC: CityBeat gave me a card with $50 so that I could give it a try. They're offering the card now at a $25 discount (so, for free basically) if you use promo code boc4free when you sign up for one.
Like the great adorkandhispork once said, I don't like calling what I do reviewing a restaurant. There are plenty of people in Cincinnati who do that, and they do it very well. I'll just tell you about my experience and let you decide whether you want to take your dining dollars to Lavo or not.
The dining room is elongated like a train car and stacked with a bar on the first floor and more seating upstairs. The kitchen is partly visible from the doorway, like an invitation to hurry up and get something to eat. We started off with the tater tots: your standard tot, but with bacon, truffle, and a tomato-based puree. Delicious, sort of greasy, and pretty filling.
We moved on to more re-purposed diner favorites. Alex got the meatloaf cupcake and I ordered the grilled cheese. He cleaned his plate if that tells you anything about the quality of the meatloaf cupcake. My grilled cheese came alongside a bowl of thick tomato soup with a generous sprinkling of basil and garlic. Simple and very good.
Our server was fairly attentive, though the wait times for an appetizer plate to be cleared and a glass of wine to arrive were longer than we would have preferred. Full credit to our waiter, though, who had to make mini cardio workout trips up and down the staircase to deliver food and drinks from the first floor.
Take a look at the restaurant list if you're interested in the card. It's not a bad option for a holiday gift, especially if you get in on the $25 off promotion. If one of their partner restaurants is on your usual dining out hit list, then it would be a better value for you.
A couple of facts:
- There are no limits on what you can order
- Tip isn't included
- Can NOT be used on Valentine's Day, Mother's Day or New Year's Eve
As for Lavomatic, I couldn't be happier that I finally made it. Though you could easily spend more than $50 on dinner for two there, the options are flexible with many less expensive plates to share over a cocktail or glass of wine. Next time I'm in the Gateway Quarter shopping for a set of trendy kitchen towels, count me in for another meal at Lavomatic.