Wednesday, April 29, 2009

East Siders will "Melt"

For those of us that live on the West side, Melt Bar & Grilled in Lakewood is a well-known staple. Owner Matt Fish hit the nail on the head when he opened a restaurant focused on one of America's classics- a grilled cheese sandwich. My personal favorite is the "The Parmegeddon". This sandwich includes potato and cheese perogie, fresh napa vodka kraut, onions and cheddar cheese. Yum! The sandwich names are almost as good as the dishes themselves! "Purple Parma", "Municiple Stadium Magic", "Wake and Bacon", "The Lake Erie Monster" and the classic grilled cheese sandwich "The Kindergarten" are just a few. Now the East side has something to look forward to. It has recently been announced that Fish will be opening a new location in Cleveland Heights very soon. The exact location has yet to be revealed, but keep your eyes peeled and your bellies ready!

Melt Bar & Grilled
14718 Detroit Road
Lakewood, OH

Monday, April 27, 2009

Best Kept Secret

One of Cleveland's event scene's best kept secret is Market Under Glass, which took place this past Thursday at the Galleria downtown. This may be the 14th annual event, but most of Cleveland has not heard about this fabulous evening of food and drink from over 50 of the best restaurants our city has to offer.

This year's line up included: Bar Cento, L'Albatros/Parallax, Lago Restaurant & Wine Bar, Gusto! Ristorante Italiano, Grotto Wine Bar, Don's Lighthouse/Don's Pomeroy House, Americano, XO Prime Steaks, Pearl of the Orient, Great Lakes Brewing Company, Grovewood Tavern, La Strada, La Dolce Vita, Jekyll's Kitchen, Pickwick & Frolic, Sans Souci, The Melting Pot, Three Birds, Henry's at the Barn and much much more!

My favorite dishes of the night were Don's signature jumbo lump crab cakes, caramelized scallops served over butternut squash puree with candied pecans with a brown vanilla butter sauce from Corleone's Ristorante & Bar, and warm grilled ciabatta bread with goat cheese, honey and a small sliver of fresh orange from Orlando Baking Company (a surprise favorite, but definatelty worthy of a top three spot). I loved the Orlando dish, and it is something simple that anyone could do at home (which I plan on doing!).

This event benefits Harvest for Hunger, and is really one of Cleveland's best food events that shouldn't be missed! For more inforamtion, including photos from the 2009 event, visit

Monday, April 13, 2009

Marlin's Done It Again

I had the pleasure of dining at Luxe Kitchen & Lounge, Marlin Kaplan's newest creation on Saturday night. This hip new hot spot on Detriot Avenue was hopping, and as soon as the food arrived- we knew why.

We started the meal with the Pesto Board, which included Sun-dried tomato, Three Cheese, and Basil and Spinach pestos served with fresh grilled bread and crackers. The Basil and Spinach pesto was a perfect balance of an old classic, but the real shining point of the board was the Three Cheese Pesto. So innovative and original! The breads were thick, soft, and lightly grilled- yum! Our table then feasted on Five Cheese Mac w/ Wagon Wheels (Fontina, Asiago, Cheddar, Gouda and Parmesan), Angel Hair with Romano Crusted Chicken Breast and Marinara, the Luxe "Grinder" and the hanger steak special. The Mac & Cheese was delicious and hearty, although the pasta was a little overcooked. The highlight of that dish was the side of spinach with lemon. The fresh spinach was blanched and served with lemon juice, grilled red onion and garlic. This is one dish that I am going to try to recreate at home! The Chicken Breast was pounded and then lightly breaded and coated with Romano cheese. It was moist and flavorful, but the Marinara sauce left something to be desired.

All in all, it was a wonderful meal and reasonably priced compared to Marlin's other restaurant- One Walnut. Two of the best meals I have had in Cleveland were at One Walnut, but Luxe is the less expensive way to sample Kaplan's talent in the kitchen. There was no sign of a recession in this place, and it's easy to see why!

Luxe Kitchen & Lounge
6605 Detroit Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44102
(216) 916-8732

Friday, April 10, 2009

Gift Certificate Sale!

Each quarter, member restaurants of the Cleveland Independents offer a special gift certificate sale. $25 gift certificates are offered for $17.50 and $50 certificates are offered at $30 each. If you're not taking advantage of this deal, then you are missing out. It is a wonderful way to try that new restaurant you've been meaning to get to, or save some bucks dining at your favorite restaurant that you know you would have gone to anyway. They are good for 6 months, and totally worth getting up early in the morning on sale day. That's the only thing- set your alarm and get online as early as you can to be sure you get the ones you want. They go quickly! I have spent four quarters trying to get one to Three Birds, and I am determined to get one this time. So mark your calendar and set your alarm- they go on sale on Tuesday, April 14th!