Three friends and I had dinner at Seny at DeSalle's Corner in Walnut Hills Tuesday evening. We arrived around 5:30 and there were a couple of other customers at tables. By 6:30, the place was packed which, I think, is pretty good for a Tuesday evening.
The waiter started us out with a small glass of sangria, on the house. Sangria is a little too sweet for me although it can be refreshing on a summer evening. Treating us to a taste was a nice touch.
Seny is a tappas restaurant which serves a variety of hot or cold appetizer-sized dishes. On Tuesday, they also had a couple of full entrees including a sailfish selection which the waiter was promoting and traditional paella which must be ordered by two people and takes 30 minutes to make.
My friends and I decided to order from the tappas menu two items apiece and then share them. The waiter accomodated us by bringing a lot of small dishes so we could share. We ordered:
$ 12 Roasted scallops with pimientos, green risotto chips, and honey-thyme caramel;
$ 10 Prince Edward Island mussels steamed in cava with chorizo and fresh herbs;
$ 7 Champinones; mushrooms stewed in oil with garlic and parsley;
$ 10 Gambas al Ajillo; shrimp sautéed in garlic, crushed pepper, and olive oil;
$ 9 Calamares; Andalusian style calamari strips with lemon;
$ 6 Croquettas; potato and herb croquettes on potato cream;
$13 tart of Marinated and braised belly of pork with dried cherry jus;
$ 5.50 Caldo Gallego; Galician pork, white bean, and vegetable stew
We split a bottle of a Tempranillo (Spanish red similar to a cabernet). Crusty bread and olive oil were included.
Most of the dishes were generous enough to be shared. There were 3 scallops but they were large enough to be split among us. The sauteed shrimp, scallops, and mushroom selections were outstanding...savory and full of flavor. The calamari lovers (which doesn't include me) thought the same of that dish. They insisted I try it, which I did, and I was surprised to find that the meat wasn't rubbery. The breading was light and tasty, not at all greasy, and the squid was only slightly chewy. I thought the mussels were very fresh and very good but not outstanding. The pork and white bean stew, similar to cassoulet, was also very tasty. One of my friends really liked the braised pork belly tart but I thought it was too fatty and just alright. The potato croquettes were pretty bland and were the only real disappointment.
For dessert, we each had a dish described as a flan-like custard but it really was more like creme brulee with a nice orange/vanilla flavor. The waiter also touted their avocado ice cream. This sounded very appealing and I'll probably order it the next time around.
By the end of the meal, we were all sufficiently full. We split the bill four ways and the individual share was around $40, including the tax, tip, and the bottle of wine.
The atmosphere is appealing, "Goya-inspired" (to quote Polly Campbell) blacks and reds. We had no difficulty hearing one another without raising our voices.
The waiter told us that they will be serving lunch on a terrace out front when the weather warms up. For some reason, he told us we would be able to see the terrace when "you drive by". I thought "drive by" was an unfortunate choice of words given the neighborhood. Actually, I hope this neighborhood revives. I have lived near this area for two different periods of my life and loved the convenient proximity to Eden Park, Mt. Adams, Hyde Park, and Downtown. In the '70s and early '80s, it was comfortable to get carry-out from some good 'Q places in Avondale and Evanston. We loved to take long walks all around the area when the weather was nice. That changed by the early '90s when things became pretty dicey. However, Seny and the coffee shop nextdoor "Mocha" seem to be doing well and attracting a more upscale clientele.
Here's a link to Seny's website: http://www.senycincy.com/index.asp
Sorry if this was too long!