Monday, October 19, 2009

Three Birds Gets Three Thumbs Up

It was a weekend of dining out in our household, but unfortunately Luxe Kitchen & Lounge left such a sour taste in my mouth on Friday night that I won't even bother with a blog post just for them. Marlin Kaplan and his team did not deliver on Friday night (aside from the Harissa Dusted Chicken Wings with Yogurt Honey Sauce), and I have sworn off pork cheeks for the rest of my life. Three Birds in Lakewood was the real highlight of our "Fall Fun" weekend, as we called it. We have both been dying to go there but just hadn't made it there yet. I've heard nothing but rave reviews about what James Bell and executive chef Rachel Speith are doing with the restaurant, and I couldn't wait to check it out for myself.

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.

Three Birds
18515 Detroit Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44107
(216) 221-3500

Three Birds on Urbanspoon


Allison M. said...

i've been to luxe three times and I've had great meals every time. They had some amazing salad and cod dish before but that was about 6 months ago, too

Bite Buff said...

I have been there twice before, and was impressed with a few dishes but not all. However, this time it was a disaster! We had six dishes and only two were good. Also, I noticed that he changed several of my favorites from past visits. Why mess with perfection?

Bite Buff said...

Just a note--- Three Birds has now closed.