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Restaurant Review: Ciao Vino Italian Kitchen

Miriam Bowers Abbott Miriam Bowers Abbott Restaurant Review: Ciao Vino Italian Kitchen
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Gahanna’s Creekside is quiet. That’s probably not a really great thing for a shopping center, but it’s a great thing for guests who aren’t into the whole butt-to-nut crush that is The Weekend Shopping Experience.

Instead of being flooded with people, the outdoor mall is flooded with water. It’s a maze of pathways that wind their ways around water features, fountains and some occasional art. Instead of screaming children and self-important cellphone conversations, the sound of flowing water is what fills the air. It’s nice.

And Creekside is a nice place to eat. It’s got lots of options: ice cream, a cantina, a wine bistro and a place called Ciao Vino Italian Kitchen has set up shop in the shell of the original Mezzo.

It’s been years since the last Creekside Mezzo visit, but the replacement looks different inside: less booths, more emphasis on tables and chairs. There are shelves of wine as part of the decor. The staff seems awfully nice.

And the food? It’s sort of a mix of trendy and old-fashioned.

From the trendy side, the salad section includes a solid CV Wedge Salad ($6). It’s got a BLT thing going for it with bacon and tomato mixing it up with a buttermilk dressing.

Or Pork Belly ($9) is another hip way to start, it’s served with polenta and shredded apple slaw. While pork belly is sort of trendy, the homespun flavors make the combo turn out oddly plain and comforting-ish.

A couple of entrees hit an old school note. Lasagna is on the menu – Carmella’s Lasagna ($20). It’s a big price for pasta, but it’s a big portion too. Between the noodles there’s a dense, meatloaf-like layer of ground beef and also a thick layer of ricotta. The whole combo is slathered in a marinara that’s more tangy than sweet. It’s sort of like a mom-made version of lasagna. It got a mixed review from the table: for those who require sausage or sweet sauce in the mix, this is not a good choice. For the comfort crew, it does just fine.

The same homespun style is found in the Chicken Marsala ($18). Again, the portions are generous. The marsala mushroom sauce turns out to be a kissing cousin to southern gravy (and that’s fine), and its dotted with a big supply of little sliced mushrooms. It’s served with mashed potatoes and long, thin green beans.

The pizza toppings veer a little more to the edgy side — blackened chicken or shrimp are both possible toppings. A classic Pepperoni Pizza ($11) makes the most sense at an Italian restaurant, though. And it delivers the requisite pepperoni with a good drippy dose of mozzarella to tie it together.

Throw-back Italian might not be everyone’s bag. Still, from the looks of it, Ciao Vino is doing just fine finding its own crowd at Creekside.

Ciao Vino Italian Kitchen serves dinner from 5pm until 9:30pm Mondays through Thursdays. On Fridays and Saturdays, it’s open until 10:30pm. And on Sundays, it’s open for Brunch from 11:30am until 5pm. You can find it at 121 Mill Street in the Creekside development in Gahanna.

More information can be found online at www.thewineguywineshop.com/ciao_vino.htm.

Photos by Mollie Lyman of www.fornixphotography.com.


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