Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Zhug Knocks My Socks Off

My mom was in town last weekend, and it was the perfect opportunity for a girls' night out along with one of my besties for the three of us to check out the brand new Zhug by Doug Katz (of Shaker Square's fire food and drink).

In Cleveland Heights, near Nighttown on Cedar Road, the restaurant is serving up Middle Eastern Mezze (or "small dishes"). Lucky for us, my friend had already dined there, so she helped guide us on how many and what to order.

Top of her list was the Harissa Peanut Hummus ($10) served with fresh pita. They have three different versions of hummus on the menu.
Next we tried something she hadn't had during her other two visits, the Leeks and Feta ($8) with ramp-pistachio pistou, toasted shallot, and dijon vin.
Then came another dish she recommended, the Warm White Beans ($7) with local tomato and a basil aioli.
Followed by the Duck Fat Fried Parsnip Pancakes ($9) with apples and sage.
The only savory dish that didn't wow me and I'd suggest skipping over was the Butter Roasted Shrimp ($14) with garlic and pil biber chili. It was certainly fine, but not unique or full of the interesting flavors and textures the other dishes had.
On the heartier side of the small plates are dishes like the Miller Grass Fed Beef Kofte ($15) with smoked feta, shaved fennel, and radish...
...and Yemenite Curry Fried Chicken ($14) with harissa honey.
My friend had raved about the Tahini Ice Cream Sundae, and in hindsight I wish we had just gotten that because the Lemon Cake was only ok. We all shared it, and still left a good piece of it behind.
Other than the long line of diners waiting to get in and the hour and a half we waited for a table, you'd never know that the restaurant just opened. There were no service issues, and the quality and pacing of the food was top notch. But word is spreading fast, and they don't currently take reservations, so be prepared to wait if you're trying to dine on a popular night or time. No fear, there are good drinks just down the street at Parnell's Pub or Fairmount. My only "complaint" is that a few areas of the dining room are communal seating, which I personally don't care for.

I walked away thinking that this was one of the best meals I've had in Cleveland in a while, and that says a lot because you all know that we eat good around here! I purposefully didn't order a few small plates that I knew Mr. H would love to try, so we'll be going back soon.

12413 Cedar Road
Cleveland, OH 44106
(216) 862-2508


Kate @ GreatestEscapist.com said...

I'm desperate to try this place, but not desperate enough to have tried yet, in part because I just haaaaate waiting for a table. It was only when Zhug opened that I realized that I almost never go to sit-down restaurants without a reservation anymore! That said, this peanut hummus is HAUNTING ME, & I need to try it, like, IMMEDIATELY, so I think I'm gonna have to suck it up.