Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I Understand the Name...

The first time I went to Fat Cats in Tremont was almost two years ago, and at the time I had stated that I wanted to come back and bring my foodie boyfriend. Well it is so darn tucked away on West 10th Street, that I forget about it when selecting a Tremont restaurant. Luckily, it sprung into my head on Friday evening when we were trying to decide where to go to dinner. This funky, trendy, laid-back restaurant is not only known for its good food but its amazing view of the city. We had the pleasure of dining during the Friday fireworks show at the Cleveland Indians' game, which was outstanding! The restaurant has a perfect view (with a few branches in the way) of Progressive Field and the city skyline. They also have a nice little (and I do mean little) patio outside for warm weather dining.

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".

Fat Cats
2061 West 10th Street
Cleveland, OH 44113

Fat Cats on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tour de Mexican

It is unusual for me, but I have had Mexican fare twice in two weeks. It's not that I don't like Mexican food, but it has always been one of the cuisines that I need to be in the mood for. We had a gift certificate to Zocalo's Mexican Grill and Tequilera, so we decided to use it last week before it expired. I have been there before (three times actually) and the food has been so-so, but this time it was so terrible that I will not go back. I know that they brought in celebrity chef Aarón Sanchez to recreate their menu when the restaurant started to flop after its opening, but it has not improved and I swear that they keep changing how their items are prepared. We tried to start with the Calamares Fritos appetizer, but they had sold out. A little disheartened, we opted for the Empanadas de Carnitas- three crispy empanadas filled with slow roasted pork and marinated onions served with a tomatillo avocado salsa and pickled onions. The empanadas looked and tasted as though they came from Sam's Club in frozen bulk. They were flavorless and chalky, and we didn't even fight over the third empanada. I always like to order combination plates when at Mexican restaurants. I like to try a couple of smaller items and have variety on my plate. I have ordered their enchiladas before, and I have never seen what came out on my plate. The enchilada was covered in what tasted like a marinara sauce- not what I wanted with my Mexican. It too was bland and ruined the enchilada for me. The only highlight was the burrito. It was very good, not the best, but very good. The ingredients were fresh, and the blend was tasty. My companion ordered the Tacos de Pescado (fish tacos), and was very disappointed. The mahi-mahi was overcooked and dry, and the tacos were soupy. The highlight of your meal at an "authentic" Mexican restaurant should not be the rice and beans, but unfortunately the side dishes were the best part of our meal.

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
(216) 781-0420

5555 Brecksville Road
Cleveland, OH 44131
(216) 447-1070

Zocalo Mexican Grill & Tequileria on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 7, 2009

It Ain't Easy Being Green

Since its opening this spring, I've been meaning to get over to East 4th and try Jonathon Sawyer's The Greenhouse Tavern. As the first green-certified restaurant in OH, it has created quite a buzz in the restaurant world. I'd enjoyed his dishes at Bar Cento in the past, so I was really looking forward to trying out his new restaurant. I had stopped in for a peek a few weeks ago when I was in the area, and was impressed with the decor and atmosphere. The "green" elements are everywhere.

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
Cleveland, 44115