Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hodge's to Open Today!

Many Clevelanders are overjoyed today, as the new restaurant Hodge's is opening in downtown at 4PM for their first dinner service. The brain child of popular food truck owner Chris Hodgson (Dim and Den Sum and Hodge Podge) and restaurateur Scott Kuhn, Hodge's moved into the old Zinc space on Euclid right around the corner from East 4th Street.

We enjoyed their patio on St. Patrick's Day, and had the privilege of attending a preview party last night to sample some of the menu. If the food we were served is any indication of what is to come from this new restaurant, then Cleveland is in luck.

Please keep in mind that these are sample portions.

Brought over from the food trucks, Hodge's will serve a specialty tot (changing every month) and piping hot cornbread for every table.First course was off of the Snacks section of the menu- Tuna Poppers with ahi tuna, ponzu, and crispy rice (two for $6).These, along with four other starters, are available to order at your table, or you can enjoy them at a designated area at the bar where the chef will prepare dishes right in front of you. It's Hodge's take on traditional dim sum. These poppers were something that I would order myself. The rice cake had lost some of its crispiness since they were producing many at a time for our event, but the tuna tasted fresh and I look forward to trying them again.

Next up, our favorite dish of the night- "Pork & Beans" with braised bacon, pine nut baked beans, red cabbage, and parsley ($10).This dish is featured in the Appetizers section, and conceptually it is pure genius. The fatty bacon was braised down so that it was so tender that it just melted in your mouth, but then still had a great crispy layer for added texture. The pine nuts are where this dish stands out. They are prepared to take on the texture of true beans, and really made this dish special. I want more.

Then we moved on to samples of the Entrees. First, we had the Hanger Steak with tomato creamed heirloom beans, potato shards, and salsa verde ($23.5).The meat was prepared medium rare, and I really enjoyed the kick of the salsa verde. We did feel that the potato shards could be elevated with adding a spice to it. They were a little basic, but nice and crispy on the outside.

Then we tried a sample of the "Peas and Carrot" Scallops with smashed peas, pea soubise, cumin, chef's garden carrots, grapefruit, and cilantro ($26).It was the prettiest dish of the evening, that's for sure. Components of this dish on their own were not working well, in our opinion (grapefruit overpowering if you took too much of it, scallop salty), but once you took a bite that included small portions of the components together- then it all made sense. So just be careful to do so if you order this dish.

Last up- dessert. Chris playfully told us that this dish is a result of hankering for a McDonald's apple pie when he's been drinking. I love hearing about a chef's inspiration.Overall, we really enjoyed the preview meal and it left us wanting more. I liked the space- a rustic "barn" feel with upscale red leather seating and a sleek bar area. We also sampled two cocktails, and I ordered an additional two. All were interesting combinations, and quite refreshing. My favorite was the White Cosmo with ketel one vodka, triple sec, white cranberry, lime, and blackberries ($10).

Hodge's will also be doing a 2 for $40 Tuesdays special, where diners can enjoy one starter, two entrees, and one bottle of wine for just $40.

With one of my favorite Cleveland chefs heading up the kitchen- Adam Bostwick (formally of Melange)- it looks like these guys have the Dream Team in place. I wish them well with the opening today, and I already can't wait to go back.

Disclosure- I was invited to attend the free media preview party, and bring a guest. We were provided with a gift certificate to return once they are open. Thank you to Chris, Scott, and their team for a wonderful event! Best of luck.

668 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114


Alana said...

Looks great - can't wait to try it!

Jen @ Why CLE? said...

It all sounds fabulous! Can't wait to check it out!

alexa @clevelandsaplum said...

everything looks wonderful, can't wait to try everything!

Crystal @EatDrinkClev said...

Love that pork and beans - can't wait to try it!

Bite Buff said...

Cleveland is in for a treat!

Amanda said...

Before I knew about the Tuesday special, I was planning on going there this coming Tuesday -- now I'm even more thrilled to check it out this week!

Ben said...

Definitely agree on your assessment--pork and beans were great, potato shards needed seasoning--and sorry I didn't get a chance to say hi on Wednesday. I was never able to get Sarah to Melange to try Adam's food, but I'll be taking her to Hodge's soon!