Thursday, December 17, 2009
Here are just some of the highlights:
Assorted cheese plate with 6 or 7 selections
Shaved carrot and cheddar cheese salad with nuts, dried cranberries, and a citrus dressing
Beef carpaccio sushi rolls
Pepper-crusted ahi tuna with a pineapple chutney
Lamb patties with a mint, thyme, and cucumber yogurt sauce
Crispy calamari served over creamy polenta (one of the table's favorites)
Warm bread salad with roasted tomatoes and melted mozzarella cheese
...and the finale were house-made cinnamon and sugar dusted donuts with chocolate sauce.
"R" and I have been to Light once before and enjoyed the three appetizers that we shared. This event helped remind me that we need to go here again, and again, and again! It also doesn't hurt that they offer $10 bottles of wine during happy hour- which are also very good. Don't let the low price scare you away from these quality wines.
2801 Bridge Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Now I can't write about the atmosphere or decor because my boyfriend is a huge fan of sitting at the bar, and I happen to give in on this night. Is it just me, or do any other short girls out there have trouble sitting at the bar for a long time with your feet just dangling?! What does a girl have to do to get a supportive foot rest at a reasonable height for a shortie like me? We didn't even get a glance in the dining room.
So on to the food....We started with the Don’s Sampler- mozzarella & tomato napoleon, two jumbo shrimp cocktail, crab cake ($12.50). The napoleon included fresh mozzarella, olive oil, crostini, vine ripe tomato, basil, and a balsamic reduction. The tomato was sweet even though the season was certainly over, and the balsamic reduction added just a little "zing" to the dish. My only complaint was that the crostini was a little over-toasted. The shrimp cocktail was pretty standard, but good. Both of the Don's locations are famous for their crabcakes- each prepared slightly different. It had a nice fresh crab flavor, and the pieces were quite large. The sauce was tasty but not overpowering, and the corn added a hint of sweetness to it.
I ordered the George’s Bank Sea Scallops- cast iron seared, asiago pine nut risotto, swiss chard, lemon beurre blanc ($27) off of the Dinner Menu. Don's Lighthouse offers a Dinner and Lounge Menu, and both are available in the lounge which is nice. The scallops were cooked to perfection, and the lemon beurre blanc sauce was heavenly. The light sauce complimented the risotto and swiss chard as well, so I made sure to get a little bit in every bite. The risotto was very nice, and "R" stole several bites off my plate. He ordered the King Crab Mac N Cheese- penne pasta, king crab, grilled shrimp, manchego & asiago cream, English peas, lemon chive crust ($13). The dish was very rich, but very good if you are prepared for it. It was a beautiful balance of chunks of seafood, pasta, flavorful cheeses, and a little crunch when you mixed the crust in.
While it didn't become one of our top restaurants in Cleveland to frequent, I think we'll be back. Overall the food was impressive (besides the terrible dessert that isn't even worth mentioning), and we are always up for a good crabcake!
8905 Lake Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44102
Monday, November 30, 2009
I vaguely remember reading a review in The Plain Dealer about how dimly lit the restaurant was- and they were spot on! "R" even commented that they must save a lot of money on their electric bill (what a jokester he is). Once we got over the lighting situation, I started to take in the place. The seating arrangement is a little odd, with the focus being on the classic black and white movies playing through a projector onto the main wall of the restaurant. Is anyone really watching while they eat? It boasts that it is a "Mediterranean bistro", but I really think that it was an excuse to decorate by slapping up random wall decor (ex. tribal mask next to our table) and lots of candles. I certainly did not feel "transported to the streets of Rome, Barcelona, and Athens" as their website claims. Trust me, I've been there.
I ordered the Fettuccine Fellini with gorgonzola in a tomato cream sauce ($18). When the dish arrived, I was severely disappointed in the presentation. The noodles were drenched in a pale pink sauce close to the shade of the pasta, and the dish was seriously lacking some garnish. The whole plate just looked bland. The sauce wasn't bad after I made sure that each bite had a substantial amount on it, and the noodles were clearly home-made. A vegetable or something else to add a little color to the plate would have gone a long way in my eyes. Overall, it was just ok. "R" tried the Vagabondo pizza with spinach, tomato, red pepper, red onion, kalamata olive, french feta, and mozzarella ($11). The crust was so thin that it cracked and crumbled as you bit into it, and the pizza was lacking any sauce or a desired amount of cheese. He was pretty disappointed in his selection.
While I am glad that we finally tried La Strada, I can't see us going back with so many wonderful options popping up on East 4th.
2050 East 4th Street
Cleveland, OH 44115
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Read more about the event, and seriously consider attending. We're talking about $6 for Sawyer's highly sought after Chicken Wings- what a deal, and it's all for a great cause!
Monday, November 23, 2009
We started with the Lamb Sliders- topped with tzatziki & onions ($6). The sliders were thick, juicy, and flavorful. My slider had more sauce on it than the other one, also "R" was a little disappointed with his because of this. I opted for the Ohio City Cheese Steak with grilled onion, assorted cheeses and au-jus ($8.5). The cheese steak sandwich was giant, and the steak was clearly shaved fresh in-house. I will argue that the cheese tasted like American, not "assorted"- but it was still gooey and good. The au-jus is what really brought this sandwich home. "R" had the Grilled Cheese with duck confit, tomato, American & Swiss cheese ($8). It was out of this world. The thick Texas toast supported the hearty portion of cheese and other fillers. The duck confit added just the right amount of richness to the sandwich. All sandwiches are served with fresh-cut french fries, slaw, and amazing thick-cut dill pickles. I am a french fry lover, and rarely want to mess with the flavor by using ketchup- but the Old Angle's house-made ketchup was fantastic. The hint of spices and chunks of tomato complimented the fries perfectly.
This is a great happy hour spot, or if you're settling in for a casual evening of drinks and food that is up a notch from other local taverns. It's also a plus that it is only a few miles from our house! You can be assured that we'll be back (soon!).
Old Angle Tavern
1848 W 25th Street
Cleveland, OH 44113
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
They have a nice happy hour, with several food specials including the house burger for $5.
However, we stopped in for their famous brunch last Sunday and what a disaster it was! For once, I will not be writing about the food- because it was that terrible. My Steak and Eggs was missing the red onion relish, the steak was well done, and the eggs were severely under cooked. I will be writing about their service and how well they responded to an unfortunate situation.
Brunch begins at 10 AM on Sundays, and we arrived around 10:10. There was one other table seated. Our waitress quickly informed us that the chef had not arrived yet, and everything that included a hollandaise sauce was not available (which is nearly half the menu). We didn't mind, and placed an order for two items sans sauce. As the bar and dining area began to fill up, we realized that the chef was still not there. Over an hour later, our food had still not arrived and the staff was scrambling to handle the situation. Both owners were present, and stopped by our table several times to apologize. The food finally arrived- prepared by a sous chef in over his head but he served us with a smile and great attitude. It was pretty bad. As we finished our meal, one of the owners- Christopher Lieb -stopped by one last time. He apologized profusely and gave us his business card. "Next time you want to come in, just give me a call and we'll get you a gift certificate, " he said. Apparently his partner had run to grab some, but would not be back before we left. We were thrilled with the offer and thought that it was very appropriate. Then came the surprise. We received the bill and they had taken $15 off the $34 bill- almost half!
Things happen. Anyone who has worked in the restaurant industry understands this more than most people. It is all about how you handle the situation, and the owners and staff at the Tap House handled it better than I've ever experienced before. I will not hold this disastrous brunch against them, and you can believe that we'll be back there soon!
Tremont Tap House and Grill
2572 Scranton Road
Cleveland, OH 44113
*photo courtesy of Stuartblog2
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Last night was my second time dining at PSC, and the food experience was much better than the first. We arrived early to take advantage of their great Happy Hour deals from 4-7PM. Domestic bottles were $2 and micro brew drafts were $3.75. They also have great wine and cocktail deals. During happy hour, several appetizers are on special, including a dozen mussels ($3) and the hummus plate ($5). We started with the mussels, which are sauteed in a garlic butter white wine broth and served with warm bread. The broth was delicious, though heavy on the garlic so consider yourself warned! The toasty warm bread was the perfect avenue for soaking up the broth. The hummus is made in-house. It was unique and we really enjoyed it, but I did think that it lacked some acidity. The plate came with toasted pita bread (not as bad as my first experience, but still overly crisp), tomatoes and cucumber slices. It was a large bowl of hummus for the $5 price.
They have week night specials, and Tuesday is $5 Cheeseburgers day. The patty was cooked nicely (medium as requested) and the bun was very fresh. It was a little messy to eat, but delicious. The house fries that come with the burger were fresh cut. It was a great deal for $5! I've also heard that they have excellent fall-off-the-bone ribs and that the Friday Fish Fry is very good. It is a great casual bar with tasty food, so if you're looking for a relatively cheap night out and some good old fashioned fun with board games you should check this place out.
Prosperity Social Club
1109 Starkweather Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
We started with the "French Toast" served with ragout of wild mushrooms and balsamic syrup ($8). Our waitress stated that it was their signature starter and very popular. The dish was very rich, but inventive and flavorful. The carmelized mushrooms and hint of balsamic syrup was a wonderful combination. The light, fluffy french toast squares just melted in your mouth. Two of us ordered the pasta special of the evening which included house-made noodles smothered in a light goat cheese fondue with grilled cauliflower. The dish was tasty and the portion was perfect, but I think I would have enjoyed my first choice off their regular menu a little better. I think it was the words "goat cheese fondue" that got me! Luckily, our other dining companion ordered my top choice: Seared Sea Scallops with brussel sprouts, noodles and pernod cream ($20). The gigantic scallops appeared to be seared to perfection, and they were nestled on a bed of house-made noodles. I may be back to try this dish for myself! We finished with the Warm Chocolate Brownie served with crème anglaise and vanilla bean ice cream ($7). It arrived warm as promised, and the ice cream was melting right into the thick gooey brownie. Umm, can you say heaven?!
Overall, I was impressed with the food and will probably overlook the atmosphere of the restaurant while dining there again. Rumor has it that Bruell is opening a fourth restaurant on East 4th in the near future. Keep your eyes peeled!
L'Albatros Brasserie & Bar
11401 Bellflower Ct.
Cleveland, OH 44106
Monday, October 19, 2009
We arrived around 8:30 p.m. and the place was packed. The wait was short, but the bar and dining room were both hopping. I was immediately struck by the atmosphere: warm, cozy, modern without being cold, and the restaurant has a casual feel with a touch of class. We settled into our table (unfortunately tucked away in a small room off of the main dining room) and ordered drinks. The waiter was knowledgeable and funny, and we instantly liked him. We started with the Shrimp Bisque (on special) and the Poached Pear Salad. The bisque was creamy and complete with small chunks of tasty shrimp. The salad was refreshing, but with arugula as the base it was a little hard to get it on your fork. Originally I ordered the pork tenderloin entree, but sadly they were out of the dish and I moved on to my second choice: Beef Tenderloin with Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes and Root Vegetables ($29). "R" ordered the Maine Lobster Pizza with Manchego Cheese, Caramelized Cipollini Onions, Roasted Garlic Puree, and Fresh Herbs ($15) from the appetizer menu. Our soup and salad had arrived quickly, but our entrees seemed to be taking a while. We had just started to notice this when the manager appeared at our table to apologize and offer free desserts. We didn't mind waiting, and were really enjoying the evening over a glass of wine, but it certainly was nice to know they cared that it was taking longer than it should. Let me tell you- it was worth the wait! The filet fell into the category of top three steaks in my life, and the pillow of mashed potatoes was creamy and satisfying. My only criticism is of the sauce that accompanied the root vegetables. It was overpowering and tart, and I quickly pushed them aside. This rarely ever happens, but "R" was happy to steal them away. His pizza was tasty and topped with quite a lot of lobster meat. The manchego cheese was a nice discovery. We were absolutely stuffed by the time we had finished our entrees, but we gladly accepted their offer of a free dessert and took home an order of the Goat Cheese Cheesecake- the wait staff's favorite.
Three Birds exceeded my expectations, and they were pretty high to begin with. We will certainly be back! Possibly to check out their beautiful brick-enclosed patio during the warmer months.
18515 Detroit Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44107
Monday, October 12, 2009
We started with the house soups of the day, Pumpkin Bisque and Hot Banana Pepper Bisque and a Local Greens salad ($8- Soft Herbs, Croutons, Sherry-Garlic Vinaigrette and Manchego Cheese). Both soups were fantastic, but the pumpkin bisque was the perfect end to a beautful fall day in Cleveland. It warmed you to the core and left us excited about the season. We also shared thier famous Tempura Battered Green Beans ($7- Ponzu Sauce and Pineapple Caramel), which were fabulous. The lightly battered green beans came with soy sauce and a delicious sweet and sour dipping sauce. Then we literally told the waiter to bring us "one of everything" off of the Savory Smalls menu section. This was inspired by their menu option of combining selections for a Trio of Small Plates (Choose 3 items) for $24.50. The items included: Herbed Ricotta Gnocchi (With Braised Plum Creek Farm Rabbit, Caramelized Onions, Wild Mushrooms and Romano Cheese), Seared Scallop (Stuffed with Braised Beef, Horseradish Potato Puree), Morrocan Spiced Crispy Tofu (Lentils & Rice, Harrissa Yogurt and Preserved Lemon), Medjool Dates (Stuffed with Chorizo and Wrapped with Smoked Bacon and Smoked Pepper Sauce), Stuffed Banana Pepper (Housemade Italian Sausage and Tomato Thyme Coulis), and finally a Crispy Polenta Cake (Tomato and Fennel Sauce with Mascarpone). The real highlight were the stuffed dates. The chorizo and bacon added a smokey flavor to the sweet date, and we were fighting over the last bite. The scallop was seared to perfection, and the gnocchi was hearty and flavorful. The only dish that was not a huge hit at our table was the tofu dish. It was a little dry and under seasoned.
Overall, we were extremely happy with the meal and the service was very good. Several of the entrees sounded creative and appealing, so we will certainly be going back for seconds!
2523 Market Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Selecting a menu item was difficult, as many were very tempting, but I settled on the Breakfast Burritos: veggie scrambled eggs rolled in flour tortillas, covered with a guajillo pepper sauce & cheddar cheese, baked in a casserole and served with hash browns. The dish was piping hot and smelled amazing as our server set it down in front of me! The pepper sauce had a nice level of heat behind it, but was not overwhelming for first thing in the morning. "R" had the Biscuits: cheddar scallion biscuits topped with soft scrambled eggs and sausage gravy and served with hash brown potatoes and grapes. The biscuits were freshly baked and melted in your mouth. The combination of eggs and gravy was hearty and tasty. The gravy was nicely seasoned, with just a little kick to it. We decided to split a side of the Pecan Bacon, and I am so glad that we did! The thick-cut bacon was lightly breaded with crushed pecans, and was perfectly sweet and savory. Also, Lucky's coffee is fresh brewed and served in gigantic coffee mugs that leave you smiling. This restaurant is quite a gem, and although it was a little pricey we will definitely be going back!
Catch Heather and Lucky's Cafe on the Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives on October 12th!
777 Starkweather Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113
Friday, September 25, 2009
I ordered the Heirloom Caprese sandwich- Heirloom Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella, Balsamic, Basil, Arugula, and Herb Mayo ($10). The ingredients were nestled nicely between toasted ciabatta, which was clearly freshly baked. The tomatoes were sweet and bursting with flavor, and the combination of the balsamic vinaigrette and herb mayo was a nice partnership. The three bean salad and greens served with the dish were refreshing and seasonal, a great pairing. My dining companion ordered the Cropicana Bowl- Choice of Shredded Beef, Pork or Grilled Chicken, Black Beans, Cilantro Rice, Lettuce, Salsa, and Sour Cream ($12). It looked amazing, quite the artistic presentation and attention to detail, and she was very pleased with the flavor and combination of ingredients in the dish. For the high quality of food and atmosphere, the prices are very reasonable. This is one restaurant that I will be frequenting!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
We started with the Delirium Mussels- Delirium tremens steamed jumbo mussels, bacon, garlic, and herbs served with belgian frites ($9). The mussels were swimming in a tasty garlic broth, with a small drizzle of creamy sauce that had just a little kick to it. The belgian frites are best eaten after letting them soak in the broth for a while! I then moved on to the Mac and Cheese- Cottswold, vermont cheddar, port salut, taso ham with petite peas ($11). When I took my first bite, I didn't like the dish. Oddly enough, it grew on me as I continued. One thing to note is that the kitchen staff forgot to include the petite peas, which is never a good sign. Their attention to detail and presentation is obviously lacking. "R" had the Lamb Ravioli– Arugula and tomato feta salsa ($16). The dish was served cold (still not sure if that was on purpose or not) and lacked flavor. I took one bite and turned down his offer of more. The dish was quite disappointing. The shining star of the meal was the Berries Foster dessert. The warm puff pastry was smothered in raspberries, black berries, and blue berries and topped with two mounds of melting vanilla ice cream. It was quite a way to end the meal. The only other thing worth mentioning is that the restaurant serves cucumber water. The slight hint of cucumber is refreshing and left us wanting more!
After leaving Touch, we headed over to West 25th Street. I wanted to check out Bar Cento's new bar called Speakeasy. They opened this new establishment in their basement, and I was curious to see what they had done. We walked through the packed house of Bar Cento/Bier Markt and wandered down the staircase. We turned the corner and were sadly disappointed. "R" exclaimed that it felt like a dark dungeony basement, and apparently we weren't the only ones who felt this way because there was only about eight people at the very large bar. We turned on our heels and headed back out to the street.
We ended up at Market Avenue Wine Bar's new location across from the Great Lakes Brewing Company. It's cozy atmosphere and extensive wine list was a perfect end to the evening. The exploring did not end on Friday night, so stay tuned for another blog post later this week!
Touch Supper Club
2710 Lorain Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113-3470
1948 W 25th Street
Cleveland, OH 44113
Market Avenue Wine Bar
2526 Market Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113-3434
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
We started with the calamari appetizer. It was heavily breaded and greasy, with almost no flavor, and we left half of it on the plate. This never happens. I decided to order a filet mignon. How can you screw up filet mignon? Well it happened. The beautiful steak (not cooked the way I ordered) arrived with a massive lump of herb butter perched on top. The steak was swimming in it, and after one bite I knew I was in trouble. Rosemary...the one herb that I absolutely can not stand. Did I mention that the steak was served with mashed potatoes? Not just any mashed potatoes, herb mashed potatoes. Rosemary mashed potatoes to be exact. Now I am a huge filet lover and have always had a soft spot for mashed potatoes, but I had to leave half of them both behind. It was unbearable. By the time we finished dining, it was around 10:00 PM. I had to order coffee just to get the overpowering rosemary flavor out of my mouth- it arrived cold. Thankfully this experience gave us something to chuckle through and joke about for days, but you better believe that I told my brother it was one of the best steak dinners I'd ever had!
Porter's Seafood and Steakhouse
3663 Park East Drive
Beachwood, OH 44122
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Now I have to admit that I have only had one of their famous melts- the Parmageddon. This hearty sandwich takes a classic grilled cheese to a whole other level. Stuffed inside warm, buttery Texas toast are potato and cheese perogies, fresh napa vodka kraut, onions and cheddar cheese. Pure cheese and carb heaven! Each sandwich is served with fresh-cut french fries and sweet slaw. I can personally vouch that it is just as good as leftovers, and trust me there will be leftovers. Not only is the menu filled with fun (and interesting) grilled cheese sandwiches such as The Kindergarten, Wake & Bacon, Municipal Stadium Magic, The Lake Erie Monster, Purple Parma, and the Big Popper- they also feature a Melt of the Month. Avid fans stop in at least once a month to taste the limited special creation.
Not only is the food outstanding, and original, the atmosphere is fun and hip. Just be prepared to wait in line! We recently went for dinner, and the first person of our party arrived at 5:15PM. We waited an hour to be seated, and at least thirty minutes for our food to arrive. The kitchen is limited, and they actually have more seating than they are able to supply at any given time, but the wait is truly worth it. East-siders will be rejoicing when Melt's new location opens up soon. The opening has been delayed, but stay tuned!
Melt Bar and Grilled
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Now on to the delicious food...we started with a spicy shrimp appetizer served with mango salsa that was a special that evening. The rub was a little dry, but overall we were happy. The juicy mango helped balance the dish. "R" had the Hanger Steak with pommes frites, spring greens, house Worcestershire sauce, and added bleu cheese sauce. The steak was cooked medium rare, and it was simply perfection. The bleu cheese sauce was not overpowering and added a little something special to the steak. I had the penne special with sweet sausage, mushrooms and green beans in a spicy marinara sauce. I was torn between this dish and the scallops entree, but the waitress recommended the penne. She was right! The sausage was sweet with just a little kick to it. The sauce was delicious and left me wanting more. As if we weren't full enough, we ended with the cheese plate appetizer for dessert. The two of us can never turn down a good cheese platter. It consisted of three goat cheeses (all soft), walnuts, and pickled grapes. I think the assortment would have been better with at least one hard cheese selection, but overall I enjoyed all three options. The unusual piece of the dish were the pickled grapes. It sounds so odd, but they were strangely good.
If you are looking for a laid-back, comfortable dining experience with excellent food and an amazing view, I highly recommend Fat Cats. This is one little restaurant that I will no longer overlook! It left us smiling and feeling like happy "fat cats".
2061 West 10th Street
Cleveland, OH 44113
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
On a lighter note, we dined at Cozumel in Independence last night and it was to die for! They have great food, good prices, and you almost feel as though you are really dining in Mexico. The staff is always warm and friendly, and the margaritas go down a little too smoothly. Once again, I ordered a combination platter with a beef burrito, cheese enchilada, and a chili relleno. All three were flavorful and authentic. My love for Mexican fare has been restored!
2071 E 4th Street
Cleveland, OH 44115
5555 Brecksville Road
Cleveland, OH 44131
Friday, August 7, 2009
The food lived up to my expectations. I opted for the Pommes Frites with two poached eggs & black pepper. The fresh-cut fries were cooked perfectly, and the black pepper seasoning was just right. They had just the right amount of kick! The real highlight of the dish were the two poached eggs perched on top of the pile of fries. I broke the yoke and spread it over the fries, and thoroughly enjoyed the warm gooey goodness. My dining companion ordered the Vegetarian Entree special, which that evening was a risotto. Her dish was flavorful and the plating was very artistic.
The only complaint (ok two) that I have are that the chairs on the patio are very uncomfortable and the drinks are a little overpriced. I went with the House White (a dry white) that was $6, but my friend's wine selection was $10 a glass. The price of drinks and uncomfortable chairs kept us from settling in, but maybe that is the goal. The place was packed and the turn over was quick. This has definitely become one of Cleveland's hot spots overnight. I want to give some credit to their PR person (or persons). Whoever you are, you've done an amazing job. Congrats to Sawyer and the Greenhouse team- you delivered!
By the way- they are now open for lunch!
The Greenhouse Tavern
2038 East 4th Street
Monday, July 27, 2009
Now the restaurant boasts "accents and murals of the sun drenched Provincial countryside". My dinner date commented that you felt like you were in an upscale Olive Garden. I agree. The decor was odd and a bit tacky, but I wasn't focused on that since our table (one of the only four) had an amazing view of Public Square through large glass windows. I did notice as we left that our small section of tables were the only tables in the place with that view. Their restaurant is broken into several small areas, which creates a cozy atmosphere, but interrupts the flow of the room.
Ok enough complaints, now on the food- the highlight! I wasn't sure what to expect, but the food blew any expectations that I had out of the water. We were in no hurry for dinner, so we took our time and ordered several different courses. We started with the Chef’s Garden Squash Blossoms with Jonah Crab Squash Blossom stuffed with Sweet Crab, Marscapone and Lemon, Sun Gold Tomato and Basil Oil Garnish. The dish was so creative and the presentation was artful! The crab was slightly overwhelming, therefore the other flavors were hard to taste, but overall the dish was very good. A+ for innovation. Then we sampled the Wood Grilled Mussels in a Cilantro & Tomato Fondue. The mussels were some of the best that I've had, which says a lot since I am obsessed with Southside's mussels in Tremont. The broth base was earthy, and the smokey flavor really enhanced the mussels. For my entree, I opted to try one of the "Signature Items"- Angel Hair Pasta with Lobster Cream, Fresh Basil and Pasta. The portion was perfect. Many pasta dishes completely overdo it, but this was just right. The presentation was interesting as well. The pasta was twisted into a long roll, with the sauce and fresh lobster meat poured on top. The sauce was spiced well, although a little runny, but the real highlight was the abundance of fresh lobster chunks. The plate was filled with succulent meat! My dining companion ordered the Veal Osso Bucco with Saffron Risotto, Sautéed Spinach , Braising Jus Reduction. The waitress stated that it "fell off the bone", and she was spot on. As soon as he touched the bone with the tip of his fork, it slid right away from the meat. The veal was cooked perfectly, but the sauce was a little heavy. It overwhelmed the saffron risotto, so it completely lost its flavor. We ended by splitting a flourless chocolate cake, which was decent but not worth writing any more about.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with our dinner and commend the chef for her creativity and presentation.
24 Public Square
Cleveland, OH 44113
Friday, July 17, 2009
Bar Cento & McNulty's Bier Markt
1948 West 25th Street
Cleveland, Ohio, 44113
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
We decided to just get a couple of appetizers and share so that we could sample several dishes. I'll be honest- the entrees just didn't sound as good as many of the hot and cold starters. We started with the Farmers Market Tomato Salad (local sourced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, kalamata olives, basil, olive oil, aged balsamic). The fresh mozzarella was firm and creamy, but the tomatoes were a little mushy. Overall, the dish was ok but it was probably my least favorite of the evening. We then moved on to two hot starters: Lobster & Lump Crab Cake (local sweet corn and black bean salsa) and the Goat Cheese Fondue (Lake Erie Creamery Goat Cheese, Seasonal Fresh Fruit, Toasted Bread Assortment). The crab cake was good and full of large chucks of lobster and crab meat, but I've had better. Now the fondue was the shining star of this meal. The thick, creamy goat cheese was so tasty and rich that I fully admit I was scraping the bowl. The only complaint that I have about this dish is that they only serve enough bread and fruit for about half of the fondue. We had to order extra bread just to finish the dish. There was no way that I was leaving half of that cheese behind! Finally, we ended the meal by splitting a Cheese Plate (on the cold starters menu) and The "Candy Bar" dessert (pretzel, peanut butter chocolate mousse, caramel, salted peanuts, chocolate covered pretzels). The cheese plate had a nice assortment of artisan cheeses and fruit. The interested aspect of this dish was the sesame seed spread, which our waitress informed us that most people won't even try this. It certainly looked a little odd, but it was a nice addition to the cheese in moderation.
I was not blown away by Melange, but I would dine there again. The atmosphere inside is quite different than the patio. The plush booths and funky lighting was very upscale but almost stuffy.
2101 Richmond Road
Thursday, June 25, 2009
3120 Superior Ave
Cleveland, OH 44114
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Tonight, Spice of Life Catering will be preparing a specialty dish. They are one of my favorites. I can't make it tonight, but you should! For a complete list of restaurants featured, click here.
The Gardens is also offering "Cocktails in the Garden" this year. The good news- it's the same night at Gourmets in the Garden! What goes better with delicious food samples than a glass of wine or fun cocktail?! Click on the link above for a list of featured cocktails.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Hummos: Puree of chickpeas, tahini, and lemon topped with fresh herbs and extra virgin olive oil.
Tabouli: A delicate mixture of parsley, onions, cracked wheat and tomatoes seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, lemon and herbs.
Baba: Puree of charbroiled eggplant, tahini, garlic, and lemon topped with fresh herbs and extra virgin olive oil.
Falaffel: Mildly spiced vegetarian patties made with chick peas, fava beans, parsley, and scallions. Fried in peanut oil and served with Tahini Yogurt sauce.
Dawali: Grape leaves stuffed with rice, chick peas, tomato, and parsley, topped with Aladdin's dressing, feta cheese and parsley.
Their hummos is excellent and very smooth, with just the right amount of lemon. My other favorite is the grape leaves, or "dawali". The small rolls are fresh and filling, and the Aladdin's dressing is one of the best dressings that I've had on grape leaves. There are several locations, so click here to find one near you!
Monday, June 1, 2009
We started with the BRAISED ANGUS BEEF SHORT RIB PIEROGIES served with Caramelized Cippolini Onion Jus. The angus beef was rich and savory and the pierogies' dough was heavenly, but the caramelized onion jus was overpowering and ruined the dish for me. We also sampled the HEARTH ROASTED BLUE HILL BAY MUSSELS with a Rustic Tomato and White Wine Broth. The broth was flavorful but the mussels didn't seem to absorb the broth as much as I would have liked. I almost didn't know that the dish was as good as it was until I took a spoonful of the broth. For my entree, I tried the FRESH LOBSTER PAPPARDELE (Chunks of Fresh Maine Lobster, Fresh Pappardele, Roasted Red Peppers, Haricot Verts, Light Cognac Cream Sauce), which was a little rich and heavy. The "chunks" of lobster were minuscule, but the haricot verts were a nice addition and added a slightly crunchy texture to the dish. Overall, it wasn't bad but I think that I would have been happier with the diver scallops or halibut dishes that I was eyeing up. One of my dining mates ordered the BASIL SEARED #1 HAWIIAN BIG EYE TUNA, served raw with a Potato and Leek Tart, Tomato Jam, Sweet Onion Coulis and Basil Oil. The fish was very fresh and tender. The basil leaves on top of the fish gave it a slight basil flavor, which was very light and complimented the tuna. The sweet onion coulis was flavorless and did not add anything to the dish. It should have remained in the kitchen. We finished with a Lake Erie goat cheese plate, Riesling Poached Granny Smith Apples with homemade cinnamon ice cream, and a Godiva White Chocolate cheesecake. The Poached Apples were unique and creative, but the cheesecake was only so-so. My favorite dessert was the cheese plate. The cheese boasted a "bloomy rind" that was soft and edible. Spread on a toasted piece of raisin nut bread and fruit jam, it was delicious!
While Pier W fell a little short, it is worth trying again and you can bet that I'll be back to give it another go. Maybe for their famous brunch this time...
12700 Lake Avenue
Lakewood, OH 44107
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
2221 Professor Avenue
Thursday, May 21, 2009
This is where is starts to head south...It took the waitress about 15 minutes to take our drink order, and half an hour later we still didn't have menus. Once our waitress resurfaced, she realized that we didn't have menus and took our order quickly. As with most Mexican food, it came out shortly after, but at this point we had been waiting for almost an hour. At least we had tortilla chips, two types of fresh homemade salsa, and pickled carrots to keep our tummies from rumbling too loudly. The salsa was a highlight of the meal. It was very fresh and just the right amount of "kick". One unique thing about Mi Pueblo is that each dinner is served with a cup of chicken soup. Bizarre concept, but tasty nonetheless. I ordered the Enchilada Rojo Combinacion, which included two cheese or chicken enchiladas with red sauce, two small cheese quesadillas, refried beans, rice, salad and guacamole. The enchiladas were savory, but I did need to add a little hot sauce to satisfy my love for spice. The tortillas on the quesadillas were a little grainy and tough, so I left one on the plate. I am a huge guacamole fan, and this was pretty good. You could actually see the fresh cilantro leaves and it was chunky, which I love. I just could have used a little more.
All in all, it was an adequate meal with tasty, and CHEAP, margaritas. While there are many other BETTER Mexican restaurants in Cleveland, I do recommend their half-price Wednesday special on margaritas if you are in the area. Just don't go out of your way, and don't carry high expectations.
11611 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106
Monday, May 18, 2009
The restaurant itself was a lot smaller than I expected, with only about a dozen tables and seating at the sushi bar. I realized very quickly that they have a loyal following in the area as several patrons greeted the sushi chef by name and he commented on personal details of their lives. This is always a good sign! We started with the Black Pepper Tuna appetizer- black pepper coated tuna seared then thinly sliced, served with cucumber, scallion & the special honey mustard wasabi sauce. The tuna was finely coated, pan seared and served raw with a delicious sauce lightly drizzled on top. It was tasty, but not the highlight of the meal. I've had better.
I am not terribly adventuresome with sushi. I tend to stick with my favorites, and willingly try anything that my table mates order as long as it doesn't include eel (childhood story that still gives me nightmares). I ordered a California roll and a Spicy Crunchy Shrimp roll. Both were excellent and you could taste the freshness of the ingredients. The spicy sauce was one of the best that I've had- one of the plus sides of always ordering the same thing! "R" ordered a Manhattan roll, which was outstanding. The large roll was stuffed with shrimp tempura, vegetables and spicy sauce, and then topped with fresh avocado and a creamy lobster sauce. The lobster sauce was savory and included medium-sized chunks of fresh lobster meat. The sauce really brought the dish all together, and it was one of the best rolls that I've ever had. This is one Japanese restaurant worth checking out!
Pacific East Japanese Restaurant
1763 Coventry Road
Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Ticket To Tokyo
55 Public Square
Cleveland, OH 44113
Monday, May 11, 2009
I had been meaning to for quite a while now, so even though it was our second choice I was very excited. To start, we split the "Fahrenheit Spinach and Artichoke Dip- Artichokes, Lemon, Parmesan, Tabasco, Toasted Chips and Pita". The pita bread was warm, soft and fresh, and the dip was tasty with large chunks of artichoke hearts and spinach in a gooey delicious loveliness. I then had the "Coffee & Mustard Crusted "Heritage” Pork Tenderloin, Maple Sweet Potato, Toasted Nuts". The pork was lean and lightly crusted. The waiter recommended it be served medium, and he was right. The meat was juicy with a slightly pink center. The tenderloin was served on a bed of maple sweet potato mash (delish!) and a small serving of fresh spinach. My table mates ordered the "Wild Mushrooms, Local Goat Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Rosemary pizza" (which was fantastic, but even better later that night after hitting up the bars downtown), "Pan Seared Sea Scallops, Potato-Wild Mushroom-Edamame Corn Hash and Truffle Buerre Blanc" (scallops were cooked perfectly and the light sauce was very flavorful), and "14oz Strip Steak, Balsamic Roasted Shallots, Blue Cheese Herb Butter, Crispy Onion Straws". Rocco's "comfort classics" as he calls his menu is just that. He takes basic dishes and adds a special flare that puts it over the edge. His dishes are artistic, flavorful, and I can't wait to go back again.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
The Tremont Tap House
2572 Scranton Road
Monday, May 4, 2009
1st Course- Fried Flour Tortilla Chips, Salsa Fresco, Guacamole
This dish was a simple classic, but the chips were delicious and the guacamole was tart and salty-just how I like it!
2nd Course- Crab and Local Sweet Corn Fundido, Spinach, Sharp Jack Cheese, Pickled Chilies, Lime, Cumin Rubbed Pita, and Flour Tortilla Chips
By far our favorite dish of the evening! This "dip" was filled with large hunks of real crab meat, the sweet corn just shined, and the pickled chilies gave it just the right amount of "zing". This should be on the regular menu at Fahrenheit!
3rd Course- Red Chili Roasted Duck Quesadilla, Smoked Red Onion, Pico De Gallo, Sour Cream
Tasty and rich in flavor!
4th Course- Mexican Pizza, Fresh Avocado, Roasted Tomato, Chorizo, Cilantro, Sharp Jack and Cheddar Cheese, Garlic Oil
This was the weakest dish on the menu, but mainly because our plate did not include the fresh avocado. When the plate arrived, it looked bare. All of the chorizo was clumped together on one slice of the pizza, and the avocado was mysteriously missing. It was still a tasty dish, but fresh avocado and extra cilantro would have given this dish the extra push that it needed.
5th Course- "Rocco's" Taco's" Walleye and Shrimp Tempura, Napa Cabbage Slaw, Secret Salsa, Flour Tortillas
Served off of Rocco's truck parked on the sidewalk, this course was one of the best. The battered walleye and shrimp were light and tasty, and the cabbage slaw was one of the best that I've had in a while. All of the components worked wonderfully together, and getting them off his "roach coach" was part of the fun!
6th Course- Choice of Spiced Mango Cheesecake with Mint or Fahrenheit Fried Ice Cream, Crispy Crust, Double Scoop, Truffle Honey, Chocolate Sauce
I went for the fried ice cream, but both desserts were fantastic. The ice cream was coated in sweet crushed corn flakes and drizzled with honey and chocolate sauce. The cheesecake reminded me of key lime pie- it was so light and refreshing. The flavor of mango was well thought out and not overpowering. A perfect finish to a wonderful tasting!
All of the dishes included in the tasting really highlighted Chef Whalen's talent. It just goes to show that a true chef can create simple dishes that are packed with flavor and tickle the tastebuds.