Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Burnham

The Hilton Cleveland invited Mr. H and I to come in for a tour of the property and dinner at The Burnham this past weekend. The hotel is full of Cleveland influence, from the steel-themed design in the lobby to the local artwork featured throughout, and that influence carries over into the restaurant.

Named after famous Cleveland architect, Daniel Burnham, the restaurant offers a fine-dining experience with a seasonal menu and Ohio-sourced products wherever possible.
We were seated in the more casual area near the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Mall B and Downtown Cleveland views.
The menu boasts use of products from local suppliers like The Chef's Garden, Mitchell's Ice Cream, On the Rise Bakery, and more. We were asked to make our own selections from the menu for the tasting.

We started with a cup of Lobster Bisque ($5) with Cognac whipped cream and puff pastry. While it was missing the noticeable chunks of lobster meat that I love, it did have rich lobster flavor and was thinner than the often overly-heavy versions of this classic. Locally, I think the version at Chez Francois can't be beat. A bowl is available for $10, but this was more than enough to share with other dishes coming.
We also shared the 63 degree Egg salad ($12) with asparagus, baby spinach, prosciutto, and a truffle vinaigrette. The vinaigrette in particular really stood out for me on this dish.
The last item we shared was the Grilled Octopus ($12) with cauliflower puree, smashed fingerling potatoes, radish, and chimichurri. The flavors and textures on this appetizer were well-balanced and really enjoyable, but I do wish there was more octopus on the plate. The portion also seemed a tad small for the price.
Mr. H ordered the Crispy Skin Salmon ($34) with Ohio City Pasta's sweet pea and sun-dried tomato gnocchi, charred onions, and asparagus coulis. It was a pretty plate of food, and even I had to steal a bite even though I don't care for salmon.
I went for the Scallops and Pork Belly ($36) with sweet potato puree, charred onions, and bacon jam. The portions of scallops and pork belly were very generous, and I loved the sweet and smokey flavor that the bacon jam added.
We were way too stuffed to try any of the desserts, but I hear that the Sweet Potato Cheesecake is worth getting.

My only real criticism of the experience was that service was not quite up to the price point of the menu. Our server, while friendly, seemed quite inexperienced and forgetful. There was very little knowledge of the menu, we had to ask twice to learn what the Steak of the Day was, and he wasn't attentive enough on drink refills or the pacing of courses. With entrees ranging from $28 - $44, I expect a bit more service-wise.

Mr. H and I travel quite a bit, and I can honestly say that Cleveland area hotels have set the bar high on the food quality, local sourcing of products, and overall atmosphere. Now when I visit other cities and find myself dining in hotel restaurants out of convenience, I long for home even more. These restaurants in Cleveland shouldn't be overlooked by locals.

If you find yourself at The Burnham, head on up to Bar 32 for an after-dinner cocktail. Located on the 32nd floor of the building, it offers stunning views of the lake and Downtown. We headed right up there after dinner, and look forward to coming back when the weather is nice to experience the outdoor patio. Being up there was worth my wobbly legs and flip-flopping stomach. Heights are not my friend.

The Burnham
100 Lakeside Ave East
Cleveland, OH 44114

Disclosure: I was invited to sample the fall menu at The Burnham as part of their media outreach. We paid for our own alcohol and all food over the $100 allotment. All opinions are 100% my own.