Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Last Friday night I had dinner with two very handsome men. Aren’t I the lucky one! Bob, our friend Donald and I went to check out a new restaurant in Upper Arlington, Cibo. Carla Piolata (one of the owners of the now closed Davinci’s) and her sister-in-law Carrie Ciotola opened Cibo on October 7, 2010. Often they have live music, mostly jazz. As you all know there is a certain jazz singer here in Columbus that is near and dear to our hearts. And guess what … Dwight Lenox just happened to be playing there on Friday. Oh, this just keeps getting better and better!

When we walked in the door, I immediately loved the ambiance. There is a lovely fireplace that greeted us with the warmth from the fire. They have a full service bar with a wine list that according to Bob and Donald had some very good Italian wines. There are two rooms and we were seated in the “music” room so we could listen to Dwight when he began to play.

The restaurant seats about 100 people and is decorated in warm tones. The tablecloths are black and each table has a candle surrounded by coffee beans and a beautiful vase of fresh flowers, making it all feel quite cozy.

We started off with a few appetizers since the three of us were hungry enough to begin gnawing on the tablecloth if we didn’t get something soon. We munched on the breadsticks until they arrived. I was quite smitten with the breadsticks.

Here’s the thing … I can’t show you a picture of our appetizers because by the time I remembered I had my camera and that I wanted to take pictures … um, they were gone. Darn those boys, anyway. I really wanted to show you what we had. The arancini was made with saffron risotto and had a center of fresh mozzarella and prosciutto. The outside was crispy and the inside was creamy. The sauce was a perfect compliment. Oh, I could have eaten those all night. They truly were the best I have ever tasted … the best ever! Our other appetizer was the calamari. Those tasty little squids were absolutely perfectly cooked. The sauce that accompanied them had a little kick to it. We definitely made great choices!

Donald had the bucatini all ‘Amatriciana. Bucatini is a long hollow spaghetti-like pasta. The sauce is tomato with pancetta and usually chili or chili flakes. I tasted the dish and I’m thinking this might be what I get next time. It was really delicious.

Bob’s entrée was the pan roasted free range chicken. The skin was a gorgeous brown and crispy. The meat was moist and succulent. The chicken was finished with a caramelized garlic sauce that I found to be exceptional. As in, I could drink this stuff with a straw! The dish included asparagus and butternut squash puree with rosemary. The squash puree totally worked for me. It was scrumptious.

My dinner was divine. I had the spaghetti carbonara. Cibo’s carbonara sauce is made with egg and no cream. According to Carla, no one in Italy would consider making carbonara with cream. The pancetta was crispy crunchy and oh so good. I fell in love with this dish. (I did share a bit of it with Bob so that I could pirate some of his squash. Hey, I’m not entirely unreasonable.) I would so order this again in a heartbeat. It was awesome.

We moved on to dessert. Each of us ordered something different and we tasted all around.

Donald’s choice was the lemon mascarpone cheesecake with blackberry compote and basil syrup. Not only was the presentation gorgeous but the taste was divine. This was everything a cheesecake should be; creamy, rich, light and decadent.

Bob chose the triple chocolate torte. I don’t have the particulars on this. I remember that it had three different chocolate layers with three different kinds of liqueur. This is was I distinctly remember; when I put a small bite of the torte on my tongue and let it melt, it was almost like the chocolate wrapped itself around me and each flavor became singular and yet combined all at the same time. Whoa … it totally was a sensual experience. I kid you not.

My dessert was the bonet ala piedmontese. This is a baked custard-like piece of heaven made with espresso, cinnamon and chocolate sitting atop a amaretti cookie crust with caramel sauce. I know. I know.
And when I didn’t think it could get any better, Dwight Lenox and the trio began playing. Dwight’s voice never fails to thrill me. Simply no one sings jazz better than Dwight. And then, Lee Savory joined him on the flugel horn. Oh my goodness. Then to my delight, who should walk in but Carl Sally, toting his sax! The music was unbelievable!!!

I also had the pleasure of meeting Chef John Beck. What a charmer! His use of ingredients and execution of Italian specialties is a true thing of beauty. And he told me he makes the desserts himself. I was so impressed. Chef Beck previously was in the kitchens at Abbracci, RJ Snappers, Capital Club and Hyde Park. He is most definitely talented.

I do want to note that Carla makes the gnocchi herself. I didn’t have the opportunity to taste them this trip but I plan to soon.

A trip to Cibo needs to be given high priority on your list of restaurant visits. I suggest you call for reservations because the place was hopping! Let them know you read about them here at Dishing-it-Up Columbus!

One more thing; don’t forget to finish your dinner off with a glass of Sambuca (with three espresso beans). Carla will totally appreciate it and you will definitely be glad you did!

4740 Reed Road
Upper Arlington, OH 43220
Mon – Thur: 5-10pm
Fri & Sat: 5-11pm
Closed Sunday

Cibo on Urbanspoon

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