Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It May Have a Funny Name...

Anyone who pays attention to the restaurant scene in Cleveland has heard of Zach Bruell and his popular contemporary cusine at Parallax (Tremont), Table 45 (located inside the InterContinental Hotel by the Cleveland Clinic), and his newest restaurant L'Albatros Brasserie & Bar (University Circle). I've had the pleasure of dining at Parallax before (delicious modern seafood), haven't made it to Table 45 yet, and last night was my first time experiencing L'Albatros since its opening. I have to say that if my decision was based on the decor and atmosphere, I would not be going back. Bruell's contemporary trend was taken a bit too far with the cold white plastic chairs and table, minimalist artwork and decor, and simplistic (a.k.a. boring) bar area. Also a glass of wine runs you about $10. Now on to the food- which is where he really shines!

We started with the "French Toast" served with ragout of wild mushrooms and balsamic syrup ($8). Our waitress stated that it was their signature starter and very popular. The dish was very rich, but inventive and flavorful. The carmelized mushrooms and hint of balsamic syrup was a wonderful combination. The light, fluffy french toast squares just melted in your mouth. Two of us ordered the pasta special of the evening which included house-made noodles smothered in a light goat cheese fondue with grilled cauliflower. The dish was tasty and the portion was perfect, but I think I would have enjoyed my first choice off their regular menu a little better. I think it was the words "goat cheese fondue" that got me! Luckily, our other dining companion ordered my top choice: Seared Sea Scallops with brussel sprouts, noodles and pernod cream ($20). The gigantic scallops appeared to be seared to perfection, and they were nestled on a bed of house-made noodles. I may be back to try this dish for myself! We finished with the Warm Chocolate Brownie served with crème anglaise and vanilla bean ice cream ($7). It arrived warm as promised, and the ice cream was melting right into the thick gooey brownie. Umm, can you say heaven?!

Overall, I was impressed with the food and will probably overlook the atmosphere of the restaurant while dining there again. Rumor has it that Bruell is opening a fourth restaurant on East 4th in the near future. Keep your eyes peeled!

L'Albatros Brasserie & Bar
11401 Bellflower Ct.
Cleveland, OH 44106
(216) 791-7880

L'Albatros on Urbanspoon


Katie said...

I've had lunch at L'Albatros and have to say the mussles were the best I ever had and the portion was very large for about $10. My companion got the delicious goat-cheese quiche and for $10 had a tiny sliver of pie, which left her hungry about 3 hours later. It was good, but very tiny! I think their food is very, very good (and their patio is much nicer then inside) but their portions/price are hit & miss.