Tour de Bruell
We have written comments about all of Zack Bruell’s great restaurants on these blog pages. Parallax is our favorite place in Cleveland (don’t tell Fire!) L’Albatros is remarkable and getting better with each visit. It is easy to visualize this place soon becoming the best in the city. Michele feels a certain elegance each time we dine at Table 45. The menu at Chinato may be the most interesting and exciting in Cleveland. Together, they represent a fabulous quartet of eateries. There is little convincing needed to stop in any of these places. However, the Tour de Bruell was an interesting campaign to attract patrons during the summer.
It started for us, innocently enough. We simply went to Parallax for dinner one Friday and the waitress explained the promotion. We took the marked cards and didn’t think about them again until visiting the Cleveland Art Museum to see the Indian Kalighat paintings (which incidentally were exceptional!) An early dinner took us to L’Albatros and we remember, “Hey, we have those cards!”
The third stop was equally innocent. Before going to a last minute dinner at Table 45, we tried to get into three or four other places and all were full. Luckily, a table was available at 45. After that dinner, we started to read the instructions on the back of the card and realized we had two weeks to visit Chinato.
We like Chinato, but the crowded downtown location makes it, for us the least visited of Chef Bruell’s restaurants. We typically try to schedule visits to any of the East 4th Street restaurants between baseball and basketball seasons, to avoid the exorbitant parking prices. The lack of a crowd also makes garnering a reservation easier, especially for us, as we almost always make last-minute arrangements for food. To complete the “Tour” we actually reviewed the baseball schedule and picked a day without a game.
Our personal Tour de Bruell started on the first week and ended on the last day. Discussing the event with the waiter at Chinato was interesting. He indicated that in the first week, a number of ultra-competitive people completed the tour in four days to secure the first-place prize. He thought somewhere around 100+ people took advantage of the event and stopped by each location over the three months. Like us, we’re sure they did not do this for the tee-shirt (but it is nice!) They did it because Chef Bruell has kept a constantly high level of quality in each location. Regardless of the time of visit and the place, the food is always excellent. What is even stranger, more times than not, Mr. Bruell is at the restaurant when we are there. We’re not sure if he has a clone, but he appears to be ever-vigilant to insure his high standards are being upheld.
In the coming months, Zack Bruell has decided to open Cowell and Hubbard in the old Cowell & Hubbard jewelry store building nearPlayhouse Square, stretching his empire to five places. We of course will go, eat and already know, enjoy. Like Paul Kahan in Chicago, Chef Bruell continues to stretch his talent and open only quality outlets. Unlike Chef Kahan, Chef Bruell hasn’t been properly recognized on a national level. He should. The Tour de Bruell reminded us again that he is the best chef in Cleveland and the nation should start taking notice. Thanks Chef! We’re looking forward to the 2012 quintet version of the Tour de Bruell!
http://parallaxtremont.com/ 2179 West 11th Street Cleveland, OH 44113 216-583-1111
http://albatrosbrasserie.com/11401 Bellflower Road Cleveland, OH 44106 216-791-7880
http://tbl45.com/9801 Carnegie Avenue Cleveland, OH 44106 216-707-4045
http://chinatocleveland.com/ 2079 East 4th Street Cleveland, OH 44115 216-298-9080