Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ode to the GHT Wing!

It was a rough week at work- filled with events, deadlines, and stress- and I was in need of a good night out to truly celebrate T.G.I.F. I quickly convinced "R" that we needed to head downtown for dinner and drinks. It really didn't take much arm twisting!

I recently purchased a gift certificate in the Cleveland Independents' quarterly sale for The Greenhouse Tavern. I jumped online and made a reservation through Open Table (thank you, thank you, thank you for being on there!). Even though the snow was coming down, East 4th didn't look like it was hurting for business. Take that Forbes!

We were seated immediately, and I hungrily started to peruse the menu. This would be my first time truly dining there- only stopping in for Happy Hour treats and quick bites before. We decided to start with the Bread and Butter- with grilled bread, goat's milk butter & sea salt ($3.5). "R" deemed this the "best bread and butter I've ever had", and he was probably right. The bread was lightly grilled, which gave it just the right touch of crisp to support the creamy butter. The butter was smooth and rich, and the salt added a nice balance. I just wish we had more than 3 pieces of bread- we had to fight over splitting the last one!

The next course demands its own paragraph. The one dish that everyone talks about is Sawyer's Crispy Chicken Wings- with roasted jalapeƱo, lemon juice, scallions & garlic ($11)- and rightfully so. These were hands-down the best chicken wings that I have ever had in my life and I didn't even know that chicken could fall off of a wing bone that easily. Flavor aside (which had a nice soft heat to it), the wings were beautifully crispy on the outside and the second that your lips or fork touched the tender meat it fell right off the bone. There was no work needed here! We were so excited to experience chicken wings like this that we asked the server how they were prepared. Oops Chef, she gave away your secret. Confit and then duck fat. "Everything is better with duck fat", she said. Agreed! On Saturday night we actually attempted to replicate the way that the meat fell off the bone by slow cooking wings for just over 4 hours and then flash frying them. The flavor wasn't nearly as good as Sawyer's, but the meat was just as tender and juicy, and the desired result of it falling off the bone was accomplished. Thanks for the tip Chef!

We then moved on to "thirds". I had the Oxtail Pasta- with dry cured olives, cotechino sausage, chili flake & tomato ($19). It was a cold, snowy night so I told the waitress that I was looking for a dish that was filling and would warm me up from the inside out. She was spot on in her recommendation. "R" tried the Ohio Beef Burger- with raclette cheese, preserved tomato, guss' pickle, pommes frites & house made beer vinegar ($14). I've actually read a few bad reviews of this dish before, and I probably should have steered him towards another dish. Sawyer's selections are so well thought out and executed, but this one dish seems to be missing the mark. It was a disappointing burger, and in my opinion it is not what we have come to expect from this fabulous chef. We split an order of the Gravy Frites- with mozzarella cheese curd & brown veal gravy ($8.5) from the "halfs" menu. The melted pools of cheese and thick, rich gravy was a perfect topping for Sawyer's famous fresh-cut frites on this cold evening! Even though I was stuffed, I kept going back for more.

Sawyer and his infamously fabulous wife have truly created a wonderful treat on East 4th. I think you can feel their dedication and passion for what they are doing while dining there. The atmosphere, prices, drink menu, and of course the food is setting the bar pretty high. We are lucky to have them here in Cleveland, and they make me #HappyinCLE! Thanks for turning my week around- one chicken wing at a time!

The Greenhouse Tavern
2038 East 4th Street
Cleveland, OH 44115
(216) 393-4302

The Greenhouse Tavern on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

I agree that the food is pretty awesome, but the drinks are way over priced!

Joe Harvey said...

Wings: STELLAR, but everyone knows that.. I also have had the Ohio Beef Burger and and would put it at the VERY top of my short list of BEST ever. It was it another try...I'll even treat!

Bite Buff said...

Ha, I'll take you up on it Joe. I'm the type of girl that gives everyone (or dish) a second chance. :)