- 3077 Harrison Ave., Cincinnati, OH, 45211
- Overall User Rating:
- (2 ratings)
- 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 3 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday
- Official Web Site:
Sure, you could eat a piece of cheese, but wouldn't you rather eat something called Awesome Pan Seared Cheddar? It's a big old plate loaded down with crackers and bread and a brick of breaded Vermont White Cheddar swimming in a wine and berry sauce, and when it hit the table, Dale and I kind of oohed.
And then I tackled it.
We were at Henke Winery, a charming restaurant with big windows on a street corner in Westwood. I've driven by Henke before, looked into those windows and saw people drinking wine, and I always had to force myself to continue driving.
This time, though, we stopped, parked in the restaurant's lot and walked in. We were met by a sweet greeting and taken to a table near one of those street-side windows. The restaurant was whimsical and wine-themed - seriously, corks are everywhere - and just as I'd imagined.
I decided early on that we'd be getting the Awesome Pan Seared Cheddar, but I wasn't sure where to go from there. The restaurant offers a great Tuesday deal where couples can share a pizza and each have a salad and a glass of wine for $20. It wasn't Tuesday, and I wanted to see if the pizza was worth a return visit. Dale wanted to try the salmon. We got both.
But before the food, we had wine to think about. Joe Henke has been manipulating grapes for years, starting with a batch of rosé, and now has a bunch of medals that prove he knows what he's doing. Dale had the sweet, German-style Riesling, and I started with a glass of the dry but fruity Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.
Then came the cheese. It was huge, much more than two people could handle, and I liked soaking a cracker in the berry sauce before carving off a chunk of the cheddar and placing it on top. I ate too much. By the time my fresh little salad arrived, I was feeling full, and when the server placed my big pizza in front of me, I knew I'd never be able to deliver on my boast that I could eat the whole thing.
The pizza was the Blackburn Special, which is basically any three toppings on the crust of your choosing. I picked the restaurant's Ziza Crust, with pieces of garlic pressed into the dough, and added sausage, onions and green peppers. Overall, the pizza was fine. I admit I expected more from the crust, because I can't eat too much garlic, and found myself a little disappointed.
Dale, however, loved her flaky salmon and sides of crispy asparagus and piping-hot French onion soup. She liked it so much she ate it all, which meant she was no help in the pizza-eating arena. I got a box and took home three-quarters of the pie.
I almost forgot - just before our entrées arrived, we tried a couple more wines. She had the French-style chardonnay, and I moved to the Vendange A Trois, a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and cabernet Franc that paired nicely (yes) with my pizza.
I'll be back to Henke for the Two for Tuesday, that $20 pizza special I mentioned earlier. I think if I play with the options a bit, I'll find the right pie for me - and I'll force my dining companion to eat half of it.