In an effort to get out to the east side of Cleveland more often, a recent Girls' Night Out brought us to Flour- Paul Minnillo and Chris DiLisi's (formally of the Baricelli Inn) newest venture. Offering rustic Italian fare in a sleek, but casual, atmosphere was what they were going for, and I personally think that they delivered.
They offer a small area for patio seating out front, but this evening we decided to dine inside. Picture lots of clean lines, minimalist decor, tons of stainless steel, and plaid shirts on all the waitstaff (this last bit I found a little odd). Our server was pleasant, attentive, and knowledgeable about the menu, although she had some missteps later in the evening and also proved that she knows nothing about how a cheese plate should be presented and enjoyed (start with the mild, end with the stinky).
This particular group of diners LOVES a good cheese plate, so we decided to share the 7 Piece Formaggi ($19) with strawberry compote and crostini as a starter.Overall, it was a decent cheese plate but I don't think that it lived up to Baricelli cheese fame, and it certainly couldn't compete with our personal favorite- L'Albatros. But the cheese selection was nice, although every good plate with this many varieties should include a bleu- in our opinion. But we were off to a good start.
I decided to try the Melon salad ($11) with arugula, ricotta salada, chili, and lime.There were a few different types of melon in the salad, and they were all crisp and refreshing. The chili added a subtle heat to the dish, but we agreed that it was "missing something". Maybe some prosciutto? I don't think that I would order it again.
Then on to the main course- Gnudi ($18 entree portion) with pancetta, corn essence, corn salsa, and crema.Some helpful tweeps had suggested this dish to us, and it didn't disappoint. This was the highlight of the meal for me, and the portion was so large that I was able to take half of it home for lunch the next day. The gnocchi were a probably little dense for some people's taste, but the wonderful sweet corn flavor and crispy pancetta bites just did it for me. It was a little rich towards the end, but I really enjoyed the dish and it reheated nicely. I would order this again in a heartbeat.
So, overall we enjoyed checking out one of the area's newer additions, and I think that they will continue to thrive. The (free) parking and location are convenient, the food is good with some standout dishes, and the atmosphere is casual yet modern and sleek.
34205 Chagrin Boulevard
Moreland Hills, OH 44022