Archive for July, 2010
In a summer filled with beautiful weekends, this was no different. The sun was bright, the skies were pure blue and the temperatures were warm. A bit less humidity and this could have been one of the yearly allotted “perfect” Cleveland days. We took the opportunity to visit the Willoughby Arts Festival. Like so many other weekends this summer, we walked around the festival, talking with artists and reviewing their creations.
After a few hours in the sun, we needed some air conditioning and food. As we’ve passed through downtown Willoughby over the last few months, we’ve noted the new, sleek storefront that has emerged amongst a sea of restaurants and bars in this cozy little quadrant of historic buildings. We made a mental note to try this place and now the opportunity arose.
The menu is straightforward. There are a collection of salads, pizzas, pastas and meat dishes. Many sounded good. We decided upon the Chicken Parmesan (Michele) and the Veal Limon (Jeff.) Each entrée was preceded by a house salad. The house Italian dressing was very, very tasty. This was a nice mix of various greens that we both agreed was among the best complementary salads we’ve enjoyed recently. The flatbread accompaniment was warm, fresh and very tasty. The chicken was pounded flat, breaded and then baked with a nice, slightly sweet sauce. A side of penne was included. The lemony butter sauce was very appealing and was completely mopped up by the end of the meal, but the veal could have used a few more “pounds.” We would have had a dessert, but the waiter forgot to offer. Instead we stopped by the Baby Cakes sidewalk booth and took home a few cupcakes.
We like this place enough to consider a return, when we’re in the neighborhood. We could not find a website, despite the address on their business car that links to an insurance blog, but assume there is a slightly different evening menu. There was also no wine available either, but we do not know if this was the result of substantially more afternoon traffic, or the lack of a liquor license. The wait staff was a bit overwhelmed, so we didn’t get a chance to ask. When we try again, perhaps it will be a bit more staid. Hopefully, the food will be as good.
4066 Eire Street Willoughby, OH 44094 440-946-7827
The weekend was wonderful. Low humidity and fabulous sun urged us to drive to Westlake to witness the St John’s, Westshore Arts Festival. After a leisurely walk, admiring the artwork, we needed some replenishment. Jeff had been advised that the Wine Bar in Rocky River was a place to visit. Hidden away, just off Detroit Avenue, the Wine Bar is indeed a place to seek out.
We weren’t that hungry, so we simply had a sandwich and a drink. Jeff enjoyed a delightful white Bordeaux and Michele her requisite Diet Pepsi. Michele ordered the Cajun Crunchy Shrimp sliders. Jeff had the Crabmeat Salad Croissant. Both of us ordered the “wino” fries and both of these sandwiches were fabulous. We agreed to return when we could try more of the menu’s offerings. If you’re considering this place, please go and let us know if it is indeed as good as the two sandwiches indicate.
http://www.winebarrr.com/ 1313 Linda Street Rocky River, OH 44114 440-799-4300
Jeff was on vacation and Michele is not a fan of deli food, so Jeff took the opportunity to enjoy a guilty pleasure. The argument about the “best” corned beef sandwich in Cleveland has been going on since time immemorial. Jeff has tried the version at Danny’s. He’s tried Jack’s. He was practically raised on Corky & Lenny’s (Cedar Center, please!) With all of that history and all of that cholesterol, the corned beef sandwich to which he continually returns is Slyman’s.
The sandwich is piled high (yes, it is excessive, but you don’t eat here every day!) The slice itself is thin. The meat is lean. Each bite is soft, tender and flavorful. Jeff prefers his corned beef “naked” no mustard, horseradish, etc. If the meat cannot stand on its own, then nothing can help the sandwich. Without question, this is the finest corned beef sandwich in Cleveland.
Yes, there are other things on the menu. The potato salad is unearthly creamy, but a bit bland. Michele (when dragged by Jeff) enjoys the turkey sandwich, but if you are going to stand in line for a take-out, or arrive early/late for a seat, you are coming for the corned beef and it is worth any amount of time or delay. They are that good. If you have not lived in Cleveland for fifty years and have not tried innumerable versions, take our word, Slyman’s is the best. Period. End of sentence. Done.
http://www.slymans.com/ 3106 St. Clair Avenue Cleveland, OH 44114 216-621-3760
Based on an ad in the Scene Magazine, we headed downtown on July 4th to the Waterstreet Grille. They offered what sounded like a great deal. Unfortunately, they forgot to include in the ad the fact that the restaurant was shut for a private party and it would not be open for the very hours the special was advertised. Quick, switch to plan “B.”
Heck’s was closed. Switch to plan “C.”
Deep down inside, we expected Li Wah, in the Asian Plaza to be open. They seem to always have liberal hours and luckily, the food is pretty good. Like so may other Chinese restaurants, over a number of years, we have developed pre-recorded orders. Michele has tea and Jeff has a Tsingtao beer. At Li Wah, we always split two dishes. Jeff thinks this is the best Singapore Mai Fun served outside of China. Michele loves the Shrimp and Broccoli with Walnuts in Creamy Sauce. The curry flavored vermicelli contrasts nicely with the candied shrimp. Together, this is a good duo.
Over the years, some of the polish has fallen from this particular apple. The restaurant could use a good cleaning and an overhaul. There has been a bit of a slip in the food quality as well. While we still enjoy the food, we’re hoping they realize how close they are to the abyss and make some much-needed improvements.
List Status: Tentative
http://www.liwahrestaurant.com/ 2999 Payne Avenue Cleveland, OH 44114 216-589-9552
There is probably no better restaurant view in Cleveland than at Pier W. For years, this place slide by on those “looks.” The food was marginally adequate, but droves arrived to sit by the window and admire the lake. A few years ago, the owners realized the jewel they possessed and did an upgrade and overhaul commensurate with the scenery. Now, the food is as much a reason to visit this place as the remarkable vista.
Tuesday afternoon was a clear, crisp day. The sky was a flawless blue and the lake had a bit of a chop. We were seated at a large banquette table with a panoramic view of Lake Erie. This was a perfect setting to celebrate Michele’s birthday.
Occasionally, we comment on the bread. Michele really enjoys bread before a meal, sometimes so much so that she is forced to take some of her food home. The bread at Pier W was flavorful, crunchy and served with butter and a smooth, delicious hummus. This was a nice preamble from such a simple culinary element.
We both had a salad first. Michele enjoyed her Caesar with fresh slices of crispy romaine and a spunky dressing. Jeff truly enjoyed the wood roasted heirloom beets with blue goat cheese and marinated watermelon. For our lunch entrees, Michele ordered the Pistachio-Almond crusted tilapia. Flavored with lavender honey butter, there was a touch of unexpected sweetness to this light white fish. Simple mashed Yukons accompanied. Jeff ordered the seared scallops served with roasted fingerling potatoes and a fabulous spinach-sun dried tomatoes mix. We were both extremely pleased. To finish, the chocolate wrapped lemon cake with raspberry drizzle was flawless. All that was missing was a candle to celebrate. A quiet “Happy Birthday” sufficed.
After many years, it is nice to find a place continuing the quality that it established upon reinventing itself. It sure makes enjoyment of the view that much better.
List Status: Existing
http://www.selectrestaurants.com/pier/index.php 12700 Lake Avenue Lakewood, OH 441 216-228-2250