Archive for September, 2010
Let us put our prejudices up front. We do not like to wait for a table when it is time to eat. We make reservations, we arrive early when places are not busy and we freely walk away if a table is not almost immediately available. This makes us poor candidates for the new trend at premium restaurants that no longer take reservations. (The concept has not yet hit Cleveland except for fast food places like Outback and Red Lobster.) When they first opened on the Westside, we visited Melt and managed to abide by our self-defined rules. About a year ago, it became almost impossible for us to dine there, even at the oddest of hours. Skip ahead to the opening of the Eastside Melt and the same clogged line of patrons, eager to wait two-hours for a sandwich. Because of the marauding crowds and our “rule” it has been a long time since dining at Melt.
That changed Friday afternoon. Jeff arrived back in Cleveland after a business trip and Michele had a large lunch, so Jeff went to Melt alone. At 3:00PM on Friday, there were no lines and no wait. There is clear reason why Melt has lines at almost any time you visit. The food is VERY good and the price is VERY reasonable. In addition, the quantity and variety of draft beers makes the visit doubly fun.
Food is printed on a menu that has been applied to the back of an old album cover (yes, the 12” square record cover.) If you are of the right age, you might remember or even own the recording previously enclosed in the cardboard. A wide variety of grilled cheese sandwiches and hamburgers are offered. We’ve tried a number of different versions and have not yet found a clinker. This visit, Jeff had the Monte Cristo. Lots of ham, turkey and cheese wrapped in battered bread, it was almost too large to finish, but finish he did. The same can be said for all of the sandwiches we’ve had over the years. No one goes hungry here.
This restaurant has really developed a blueprint for success. The atmosphere is fun, the food is great and the price is right. While we will never endorse waiting in line for a meal, for this place, we might make an exception.
http://www.meltbarandgrilled.com/ 13463 Cedar Road Cleveland Heights, OH 44118 216-965-0988 and 14718 Detroit Avenue Lakewood, OH 44107 216-226-3699
We have been dining at Anatolia Café almost since they first opened in Cedar Center. As we drove to a repeat restaurant last week (Brennan’s Fish House in Grand River) we both had a “V-8” moment. “We should have gone to Anatolia!” Jump ahead one week and that is exactly what we did.
The old Anatolia was nice, but the owner decided on a Cleveland Heights location when Cedar Center closed. He bought a rundown corner and reinvigorated the aged storefront into a beautiful open and totally inviting space. The even better part is that nothing changed in the quality of the food.
As with so many “old favorite” restaurants, we go in with a pre-defined idea on what we will order. Michele loves their red lentil soup and Jeff enjoys the Sigara Borek (pastry rolled with a feta and parsley interior). For dinner, Michele usually has the Chicken Kebab, tender chunks of chicken that have been nicely spiced and served over a bed of rice. Jeff “loves” the Iskender. Thin slices of seasoned lamb and beef served over grilled croutons and tomato sauce. Fresh yogurt is on the side. Jeff likes the Turkish white wine as a complement to the food, Michele enjoys the Turkish tea. For dessert, we always share Kadayif, shredded wheat and nuts soaked in honey and covered with ground pistachio nuts. There are other VERY good desserts here, but we have this because we have never seen this on another menu.
So what is Turkish food? Don’t tell anyone, but it is kind of like Greek food with touched of Lebanese thrown in for good measure. The food is wonderfully fragrant and appealing and Anatolia prepares it very well. If you’re interested in an adventurous treat, try this restaurant. You won’t be sorry.
List Status: Existing
http://www.anatoliacafe.com/ 2270 Lee Road Cleveland Heights, OH 44118 216-321-4400