Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hyde Park Group Launches New Concept

Ever since they closed the Blake's Seafood Restaurant location in Chagrin Falls in 2008, I have been awaiting the opening of their new concept. Well it's here!

Write-up courtesy of Joe Crea from The Plain Dealer:
But the Falls' splashiest (and most anticipated) newcomer debuts Thursday. Hyde Park Restaurant's latest concept, Jekyll's Kitchen, opens its doors at 4:30 p.m. Hard to imagine a more beautiful setting. Housed in the former Blake's Seafood Grill, Jekyll's is poised above the Chagrin River with a four-star view of the falls. With a window wall that provides a view like that, the operators might have settled for a quick scrub-and-polish. Instead, co-owners Joe Saccone and Rick Hauck opted for a complete redo of the restaurant's two levels. "It was time for an entirely different concept and a new look to go along with it," says Saccone. Intense black, bronze and red tones set the motif. Dramatic contemporary lighting and well-burnished original floors lend drama to the space. In addition to an open exhibition-style kitchen, a sleek new raised bar affords guests a clearer view of the spectacle below. Booths and low, bar-side chairs provide comfortable seating for those who don't do bar stools. (Daily happy hours, 4:30 to 6 p.m., will include a full cocktail menu priced at $5. Cocktails are normally $8.75, including the signature Jekyll, a black martini topped with strawberry foam, and a hauntingly fragrant Elderflower Pear Martini made with St. Germain cordial.) The food's not bad either. During a session to acquaint the restaurant's staff with the menu, I had the opportunity to sample a few dishes. Cardboard calamari has become all too common, but here the rings and tentacles are first marinated in a combination of fish sauce and spices, then coated and deep-fried to yield a lively depth of flavor ($9.50). Saccone installed a wood-fire oven that burns a mix of local hardwoods, and its advantages show with the menu's pizzas. If you're in for a lusty indulgence, go for the combo of lobster meat, lobster sauce, mozzarella and parmesan ($16.50). Executive chef Kevin Foley builds a cream reduction and lobster butter into a lush base that leaves most Alfredo sauces begging, then tops the pie with nuggets of tender shellfish baked to a turn. Safe-bet steaks and seafood populate the docket of main dishes, and the standard bases are covered. A couple of pastas and rotating daily features round out the entrees. A brined then beautifully crusted 16-ounce double-cut pork chop ($18.90) was one highlight. Surprisingly, even more delicious was a perfectly roasted marinated half-chicken ($15.90). Juicy within, crispy on the outside, it's served with tender green beans and a big mound of mashed Klondike potatoes, a cross between redskins and Yukon golds that neatly marries each variety's best qualities. There's more in progress at the restaurant. Three private dining rooms and a covered deck are being completed on the lower level and a pair of patios are being installed. One offers street-side dining and a cabana bar, the other a smaller, lower-level patio closer to the falls. New public-access steps enable visitors to have a closer look at them. As if this picturesque town and its cascading waters aren't enough of a draw, these new destinations might be enough to make you rethink your dining plans.

This is one foodie who will be checking this new hot spot out very soon...