When we arrived, I knew to look for minimal signage on the corporate building off of Chagrin Boulevard in Beachwood. The sign could be easy to miss.
I had no clue what "R" and I were getting ourselves into when Zach invited us in for a tasting of the menu. We hadn't discussed it much, and I had left it in Zach's hands. We were shocked when presented with a very lengthy tasting menu upon our arrival.
The meal started off on a high note with the Chilled Cuttlefish Salad with squid ink romesco, almond, lemon, and parsley.
Our second course was equally as delicious and impressive; an Ohio Raised Beef Tartar with bone marrow, radish, crispy egg yolk, pesto, mustard seed, and garlic toast.
Our third course brought House-made Ricotta Gnudi with shaved black winter truffle, parmigiano, and brown butter.
Fourth course was a Horseradish Crusted Alaskan Halibut with peas, fava beans, lollipop kale, and a sweet corn veloute.
Our fifth course arrived, bringing us the Chef's favorite...Porchetta of Gaspor Farms Milk-fed Porcelet with polenta, sausage, fennel, grapes, mustard, and natural jus.
Next up was a Milk-fed Amish Veal Cheek "Pot Au Feu" with potato, mushroom, carrot, tomato, brussels, and gremolata.
Our last savory course of the evening was an Elysian Fields Lamb Loin with onion ash, potato charcoal, romanesco, endive, and lamb shank jus.
Then, we headed into the last three courses...all dessert. Mr. Sweet Tooth, "R", was in heaven. The cool thing about Giovanni's pastry chef? She's not only talented and creative, but she's the wife of Executive Chef Zach.
Chef Alyssa wowed us right away with her "Milk and Cereal" dessert, a play on classic Fruit Loops, featuring kaffir lime anglaise and crispy meringue. The crispy meringue were a variety of brightly colored loops, and you literally felt like you were eating an adult version of the classic kids' cereal. Unfortunately, the lighting was poor and it didn't photograph well.
The second dessert, and ninth course, was a Blueberry Polenta Cake with lemon curd, blueberry, and sweet corn ice cream.
All good meals end with chocolate, right? Our final course of the evening did just that. We had Mint and Chocolate, with 72% araguani cremeux, fresh mint gelato, devils food cherry, crispy mousse, and maldon sea salt.
Completely stuffed at this point, we felt like we had had it all. I left the meal feeling like we truly got to see exactly what the chefs have up their sleeves, and had experienced such a well-rounded meal. Highlights for me were the Cuttlefish Salad, Beef Tartar, Halibut, and Lamb Loin. This tasting menu was representative of current items, favorite specials, and just some plain fun in the kitchen.
Service was also impeccable, and certainly lived up to the reputation that Giovanni's has been known for. Our server in particular, Reem, was knowledgeable, passionate, attentive without being intrusive, and she let her sense of humor peek through at times. Exactly how fine-dining service should be. But it wasn't just Reem, and it wasn't because we were there for a special Chef's Tasting. I carefully observed the entire staff as they attended to the dining room and interacted with the diners and each other. You can't find this level of service just anywhere.
Many of our dishes were finished at the table. As sauces were poured, covers removed, truffles shaved, cheese grated...you were involved in the process, and watching the dish come to life in front of you.
The restaurant has done away with their suit jacket requirement, but you'll still receive one of the best fine-dining and high-quality service experiences here. All in the comfort of a warm and inviting dining room, and an abundance of fantastic menu options. This isn't your average Italian restaurant, and we left with such a lasting impression of the food and staff. We are already plotting a return visit. It was that good.
Have you been to Giovanni's before? Whether you had or not, what was your impression of the restaurant? I hope that this post encourages you to check out this gem of a restaurant.
25550 Chagrin Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44122
Disclosure: I was invited to the restaurant for a private Chef's Tasting. All food was complimentary, and we paid for alcohol and tip. I was not asked to blog about the meal, but chose to share this experience with you. All opinions stated are 100% my own.