Archive for September, 2009
Brennan’s Fish House
About four times each year, we drive to Grand River and eat at Brennan’s Fish House. We both know what we’ll order, there is no mystery, no scouring the menu, no anxiously awaiting to hear the daily specials. The menus never having been cracked, Michele orders a half-serving of walleye, (baked potato rather than the greasy fries) fisherman’s chowder and a diet Coke. Jeff has the crab cake dinner, (with the fabulous fries!) clam chowder and a Blue Moon draft. For almost twenty years, the food is consistent and tasty, the atmosphere friendly and inviting.
Even though fried, Michele insists this is the best walleye in the area, hence the reason for our repeat visits. Crisp and light with a delightful breading, the full taste of the fish comes through. The fish chowder is also chock full of seafood flavor. While not classic east coast crab cakes, Jeff feels they aren’t bad for the North Coast. The cakes are rather large by other restaurant standards. The clam chowder is a good starter. The fries are advertised on the menu as unapologetically greasy (we do occasionally peak at the menu!) and they will substitute them for a baked potato upon request. If you are reasonably health individual, have the fries, add a little malt vinegar and enjoy. The accompanying coleslaw is creamy and spunky.
Over the last few years, the only change in food appears to be the desserts. The banana cream pie and coconut cream pie were always tagged onto the end of our afternoon, but recently they have slipped in quality. Most notably, the crust has taken a serious dive. A newly added key lime pie was however, not bad and if it reappears on the menu, might be a permanent change to our pre-recorded order.
List Status: Existing
http://www.brennansfishhouse.com/ 102 River Street Grand River, Ohio 44045 440-354-9785
Mention pizza and people get very defensive about their favorites. We’re not talking about the chain stores that work to make cheap pizzas and sell them for pennies on the dollar. We’re talking about real parlors that are honestly trying to make good food in a flat shape. Depending on where you were raised or live, you have some geographic favorite. We’re no different.
Jeff has a soft spot for Theresa’s Pizza. He was raised in Maple Heights, a half block from the original store. He likely bought one of the first pies they made in 1969 as a teenager with money earned from his Plain Dealer route. When we were first married, we lived in Warrensville Township (now Highland Hills). Some relative of Theresa opened Augie’s and that then became out go-to pizza joint. After moving to Cleveland Heights, we had some brief flings with the now defunct House of Za, Captain Tony’s and the fabulous Diffrnt Pizza. As our list now indicates, Dewey’s has taken that paragon place, but it is facing stiff competition from a new contender, Crostita’s.
Dewey’s makes a nice, crisp crust offered with a wide variety of conventional and interesting specialty toppings. We especially like the Green Lantern (Mozzarella, Mushrooms, Goat Cheese, Artichokes, Pesto & Red Sauce), Billy Goat (Olive Oil, Mozzarella, Mushrooms, Goat Cheese, Sun-dried Tomatoes, Peppers and Tomatoes) and Socrates’ Revenge (Mozzerella-Fontina Cheese, Spinach, Black & Green Olives, Feta, Red Onions and Tomatoes. To begin, we usually share a large Peppercorn Ranch salad. Michele insists she could eat it all by herself, if it weren’t for the waiting main course. Jeff appreciates that they always offer a White/Wheat beer (currently Bell’s); the light, fruity flavor mixes perfectly with Dewey’s delicate pizza flavors.
Just recently, a new contender opened and could easily take over our top spot. Crostatas, hidden away in Highland Heights may be making the best pizza in the city. Jeff believes it is the closest he’s had to the pizza he enjoyed in Italy. Neither have much in common with the stuff produced by “Papa Donato’s Hut.” Using a wood burning oven, all the toppings stay flavorful because the pizzas take almost no time to bake. The subtle wood taste lingers. The cheese used is exquisite and the remaining ingredients couldn’t be fresher. While there are some tempting antipasti offered, we have heretofore stuck with the salads. The Caprese is a wonderful combination of tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. Insalata Caesar uses house made croutons and paper thin slices of parmesan mixed with a beautiful dressing. After first ordering the Prosciutto E Arugula pizza, on subsequent visits it has been very difficult to try the others. The prosciutto is perfect, rich in flavor and a perfect match to the crunchy arugula leaves and curls of Parmigiano reggiano. Pizza just doesn’t get much better than this. We have also tried the Classico pizza. As expected, it was very good. There are others that also sound flawless and I expect we will try them in the future, but we’ll need to get our fill of the Prosciutto E Arugula first. For desert, the Nutella Pizza can’t be beat. Imagine a calazone stuffed thick with the rich hazelnut and chocolate spread, the woody flavor ever present. Finally a pizza restaurant with a worthwhile “dolce” to end the meal.
Pizzas, even we can’t agree upon the best, but we can suggest you try them all!
List Status: Existing
http://www.deweyspizza.com/ 2194 Lee Road Cleveland Heights, OH 216-321-7355
http://www.crostatas.com/ 558 Bishop Road Highland Heights, OH 440-449-7800
Today, we enjoyed dinner at Molinari’s in Mentor. For a couple of Cleveland Heights residents, this is a haul for food, but we have always heard nice things said about the place and thought it was time to pay a visit. We’re glad we did.
Dinner started with complimentary bean dip and cracker bread while we reviewed the menu. A number of things looked good and the specials for the evening were plentiful. Michele selected the Walleye special and Jeff chose the menu’s Veal Four Seasons. We shared the calamari appetizer. Michele claimed the walleye was her second favorite preparation, ever (nothing tops the simple preparation of Brennan’s in Grand River.) The calamari was light and delicate and far less “rubbery” than most places. Jeff’s veal was topped with artichokes, mushrooms and roasted red peppers. The vodka cream sauce and risotto rice cake were a nice complement to the tender veal. Desert was the obligatory tiramisu. Very nice.
We arrived early (as always) and by 6:00, most of the dinning room was full. With so few restaurants in this eastern suburb, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. Service was very professional and we were asked about our experience by the chef and the front desk personnel. We definitely will add this to our recommendation list and we will return.
List Status: Added
https://www.molinaris.com/ Molinari’s 8900 Mentor Avenue Mentor, OH 44060 1-888-MOLINARIS