Monday, May 10, 2021

Rood Food and Pie

Alright, I've been sleeping on the Salt & Honey Pie ($5.75) from Rood Food & Pie in Lakewood, so I'm hear to tell you to stop making the mistake that I did.

First, the restaurant is super cute. Just look at this adorable bar as you enter the dining room.

They've pivoted their business model a couple of times since opening, but they currently offer Dinner and Brunch with a Late Night Pie Bar coming soon.

But we were there to try the signature Salt & Honey Pie that I've seen on Instagram hundreds of times (it feels like). With wildflower honey custard, Euro butter, maldon sea salt, and bee pollen...it's certainly unusual and not too sweet.
The bee pollen even comes in this tiny, cute glass container for you to sprinkle it on for yourself. 
While this pie was definitely our favorite, we also tried the Tequila Lime ($6.5) with blanco tequila, organic sugar, orange zest and orang liqueur, fresh lime, whip, and lime zest.
We need more places like Rood where you can pop in for just a quick piece of pie! From this experience, I'll definitely look forward to checking out their savory food menu. But I won't be skipping that Salt & Honey pie...

Rood Food and Pie
17001 Madison Avenue
Lakewood, OH 44107
(216) 712-4506

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Home Bistro

Home Bistro opened in August 2020 on Mayfield Road, right in the heart of Cleveland's Little Italy neighborhood. They've been making quite a splash, despite us being in the middle of a pandemic. Including recently being named Best New Restaurant of 2020 by Cleveland Magazine readers.

So as my two friends and I got together for our very first patio dining experience since the pandemic began, we were excited to try this new spot out. The owners, Victor Morenz and Emily Gilbert, had a restaurant in Chicago (by the same name) with rave reviews from my friend's family there. I may have been counting down the hours before our visit all week!

Let's just say, it did not disappoint. From the Starters, we shared Beer Battered Asparagus ($12) with IPA beer batter, and salt & vinegar aioli.
And Shishito Peppers ($8) with sea salt and olive oil.
I then got super torn between several of the Mains that all sounded good, so my indecisiveness led me to two additional Starters instead. First, the Grilled Haloumi ($12), which is a Mediterranean cheese with strawberry, pickled green garlic, black pepper, and arbequina olive oil. Isn't that plating stunning?!
And the Artichoke Edam Fritters ($12) with garlic aioli and lemon.
My friends enjoyed the Korean Fried Chicken ($24) with crispy-fried smoked chicken thigh, sweet & savory soy, peanut puree, snap peas, and spring onion kimchi; Caesar Salad ($13); and one of the Mussels specials (Tuesday was Mussels Night with several options for $18). Every single dish was wonderful.

Now, service definitely had minor issues. Food arrived out of order, we were out of water for quite a while, and they seemed stretched thin. But our server and the manager were very sweet and attentive overall. The manager shared with us how difficult it still is to find restaurant workers that will come back to work in the pandemic, and how busy they've been since the Cleveland Magazine coverage and the warmer temperatures. I have no reason to think the service won't improve as things continue to get back to "normal." 

We dined on their patio, but the interior was just adorable too. Parking is a real issue in that neighborhood, but with some patience and lots of circling I did eventually find a street parking spot right outside the restaurant. 

This was one of the best meals I've had out in a long time, and that's not just the pandemic talking! I'm already looking forward to a return visit with Mr. H.

Home Bistro
12022 Mayfield Road
Cleveland, OH 44106
(216) 795-5582

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Conforti

When Conforti opened in January in Tremont, we knew that we'd have to try it because as chef David Kocab has made his way through kitchens like Trentina, The Black Pig, Ushabu, and Bar Oni...we've become big fans. 

Chef/owner Matt Spinner and Kocab are focusing on takeout only, Thursday - Monday. Delivery is available from Uber Eats. 

Immediately their Meatballs started hitting my Instagram feed. They did not disappoint!

But our favorite of the meal (and Kocab's personal favorite combo) was the Tomato Braised Cod with red sauce, capers, olive tapenade and parsley salad and a side of the Grilled Rapini with fried garlic, red chili flake, and lemon.
The Fried Arancini is served with garlicky pesto aioli for dipping.
The Gulf Shrimp are cooked in caper butter served with parsley and grilled lemon.
The menu changes slightly, so you want to keep your eyes peeled. There's more that we plan to try (hello, Personal Pan Lasagna and Gnocchi Alla Romana), but that Cod, the Rapini, and Meatballs will be hard to resist ordering over and over again.

Conforti
2173 Professor Avenue
Cleveland, OH
(216) 334-9746 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Apparently I've Lost My Mind

Maybe it's a sign that I've been blogging too long, but something happened that has never happened to me before. I forgot that I had previously been to a restaurant. 

And it gets worse...

I named that restaurant to my 2021 To Dine Challenge list of 10 restaurants to dine at this year. *face palm*

As Mr. H and I drove to Han Chinese Kabob & Grill to pick up our takeout order, I got a gut feeling and sure enough...before we even pulled in, I knew I had already been there (in 2014, to be exact, if you'd like to read more about that visit).

The good news? Only one of the five items we ordered was something I'd had before (Lamb Kabob).

We had asked our friends (thanks Joe and Laura!) for recommendations, and got several things from their list: Dry Chili Chicken ($14.95), Fried Chinese Potstickers ($5.95), and Wonton with Chili Oil ($5.95). We had wanted to try the Salt and Pepper Prawns they suggested, but the restaurant was out of them that night.

The last dish we tried was the Spicy Duck Dry Pot ($15.95). This dish was a huge bust for us. Every piece of duck had multiple small shards of bone in it that were impossible to eat around. There's no pulling the meat off the bone on your plate, there's too many small pieces to navigate around in your mouth if you're attempting to chew the meat off and remove the bone...am I missing a logical way to eat this??? Help! 

My favorites were the Wonton and the Chicken (although it's very spicy so beware). 

So, it wasn't my first visit there as I had intended when I added it to the Challenge. Does it count? Do I replace it with another restaurant? I'm stuck. New waters here on this old blog, haha.

Han Chinese Kabob and Grill
3710 Payne Ave #110
Cleveland, OH 44114
(216) 769-8745

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Gyro Guys

Surprisingly, there are still a few eateries in our neighborhood that I haven't tried yet, and Gyro Guys was one. Right on Pearl Road and owned by two brothers, I've driven by countless times. Mr. H had been a long time ago, but it was time for a Saturday lunchtime visit after being inspired by our friend and neighborhood Kate Warren (who is running for Cleveland City Council, yo!) when she posted a picture on Instagram of her favorite order.

It was much larger inside than I expected, with plenty of seating for dine-in. You order at the counter (he was so nice and helpful for this newbie!) and get to watch your food be made.
I had to go right for the Original Greek Gyro ($6.95) with layered beef and lamb served on a warm pita with onion, tomato, lettuce (which I omitted), and their homemade tzatziki/cucumber sauce. Kate's pro tip: Add feta cheese!
Their slogan is "It's All About the Sauce!" and honestly, it doesn't do it for us. The thicker, creamy texture I do appreciate. I hate when tzatziki is watery and runs all over. But, theirs doesn't pack the bold flavors of garlic, herbs, and an acid that we really love. We like it pretty extreme, and Mr. H has mastered a recipe at home. 

Otherwise, the meat is flavorful and moist. The pita was lovely, and there was a generous portion of all toppings without being excessive. The only real miss for me were the Fresh Cut Fries ($2.75 for Small), as they were too crispy and seasoned with a very heavy hand. I like 'em salty, but these crossed that line for me. 

While it may not quite have stolen the title of "top gyro" for us (Fergie's will forever be #1), it was a solid gyro that I'll happily order again. But I'd love to try more of their menu. Thanks for the reminder that we needed to check this spot out, Kate!

Gyro Guys
4348 Pearl Road
Cleveland, OH 44109
(216) 739-3033