Posts filed under ‘Cleveland Restaurants Review’
Like so many people “of a certain age” our first introduction to Greek food in Cleveland was The Parthenon on Euclid Avenue. At the time, no one really knew about “gyros” unless there was Hellenic heritage in their background. Forget about saganaki or spanakopita. The first taste of blended lamb and beef slices is still in our heads. Jump ahead a few years and The Parthenon slipped into mediocrity, never to be seriously replaced…until now. Cleveland finally has a good Greek restaurant again.
We found ourselves WAY on the Westside and had been hearing rumblings about a new place in Avon Lake. It was the perfect opportunity, but later than our normal dining hours, so we simply ordered entrées and dreamed about the next visit. Jeff had the Pastitsio special. Nicely baked, with a thick topping of rich Béchamel, it was a well made treat. Michele ordered the Macaronia Thalassina, a beautiful dish of shrimp, mussels, artichokes hearts and Feta served over Bucatini with a fresh lemon wine sauce. It was excellent.
With only two dishes to compare, it might be considered rash to judge, but this place has a great vibe and quickly filled-up, despite the weekday evening. We are going back and can’t wait. It has been a long time since we could rely on a local Greek restaurant and we hope this one sticks around.
http://www.takisgreekkitchen.com/ 377 Lear Road Avon Lake, OH 44012 440-930-8888
We don’t typically find ourselves in Valley View, but we had heard favorable comments about The Oak Barrel, so we thought we’d go on a “road trip.” We’re glad we did. We enjoyed a tasty meal that was fairly priced and served by an overly-accommodating waiter. Three for three…perfect score!
We started with the “Shared Plate” house made sausage served with a nice grainy mustard crème fraiche. The sausage was nicely spiced, very lean and expertly grilled. Michele fully enjoyed the roasted salmon beautifully served over a bed of watercress and garlic mashed potatoes. The ginger-honey sauce was a nice finish. Jeff ordered the Dr. Pepper Braised Pork Shank. This was TENDER meat that wantonly fell off the bone and into a hungry tummy. The chili jam had just the right amount of kick.
The menu offers a number of exciting options that entice you to return. We immediately began to plan subsequent trips. Michele quickly spotted the Sea Bass and Walleye. Jeff thought the Chicken & Waffles, Roast Chicken and Duck Confit Salad sounded good. Beer Nuts, Deviled Eggs and Duck Fat Popcorn appetizers are designed to invite a second drink. A lot looked good here and if it is as good as the things we sampled, we’re going to make the trek back to Valley View sooner than later.
http://www.theoakbarrel.com/ 5975 Canal Road Valley View, OH 44125 216-520-3640
We don’t often go out for sushi, but when we do, we have always fully appreciated Pacific East. The fish simply tastes fresher and the dishes look beautiful when delivered. We enjoy our trips to this restaurant. While we never sampled the other side of the menu, they offer a number of Malaysian dishes as well.
Unlike most meals, we typically share a sushi dinner. We enjoy the same things and occasionally we order something the other will not appreciate. Jeff sometimes wants a piece with more spice. Michele will select a fish that is “too fishy” for Jeff. In all, it works out.
This trip we ordered some Miso soup, salads with ginger dressing and then the Tri-Color Sushi consisting of Tuna, Salmon and Yellowtail. We also ordered a California Roll. Each piece was perfect. Dessert was deep fried Green Tea ice cream.
We like Pacific East. We are however, not sushi experts. If you’re a casual enjoyer of this Japanese treat, we think you’ll fully enjoy this Coventry landmark.
http://www.pacificeastcoventry.com/ 1763 Coventry Road Cleveland Heights, OH 44118 216-320-2302
It is very clear why Cedar Creek Grille has become so popular, so quickly. The owners have overhauled the interior into a warm, wood-filled, comfortable space. They have created a menu that is accessible and unlikely to offend anyone. Finally, they have priced the menu very fairly, dollars below comparable places (with a few minor exceptions.)
We’ve tried to get into this new place on a number of occasions and found them fully booked. We finally succeeded with a late weekday lunch. Upon arriving, we found only a handful of tables open. Patronage such as this would be the envy of any restaurateur.
After battling back and forth, Michele decided on the Caesar Salad and Jeff ordered the Lobster Bisque. While Michele enjoyed this staple, Jeff thought it was a bit bland. Michele also liked Jeff’s bisque, but Jeff was hoping for a bit more spunk.
For our entrées, Jeff intended on ordering the Chicken Paillards, but switched once a roast chicken passed on its way to a neighboring table. Michele toyed with ordering the daily fish special, Grilled Trout, but instead stuck with the menu’s Grilled Salmon. She found the coleslaw side bland, but fully enjoyed the cedar plank grilled salmon. The chicken was perfectly roasted and full of the flavor, only a well roasted chicken can deliver. The side of rice/wild grain was good, but the raw onion pieces were a bit disconcerting and could have been eliminated. Our shared dessert, a Molten Chocolate Cake was chocolaty and rich. The accompanying Mitchell’s ice cream was of course excellent.
We have no doubt this place will be a huge success. The fact that Michele enjoyed her meal, a bit more than Jeff makes sense. Because of her sensitive stomach, she naturally gravitates to less aggressive seasoning. It is for that reason; many will also pine for this restaurant. Within a comfortable setting, non-offensive food is served for affordable prices. For many, you can’t ask for more than this, for others, more is required. You decide.
http://www.cedarcreekgrille.com/2101 Richmond Road Beachwood, OH 44122 216-342-5177
A little know secret about the original Lola restaurant in Tremont was that it opened for dinner at 4:00PM on the weekend. Because of this unusual start time, after a matinee theatre performance, we often walked in on Saturday or Sunday afternoon without a reservation and were seated immediately. When mobile phones became more popular, we started to call ahead. Regardless, while the throngs were complaining about two-month waits for weekend reservations at this hot-hot spot, we never did. If you’ve read many of our comments about eating out in Cleveland, we’re not very good about planning far in advance and we don’t typically wait at a place if there is a line. There are too many good restaurants in the city to do so. Consequently, when Lola abandoned their 4:00 opening in favor of the standard 5:00, securing a table has been more complicated. We simply haven’t gone there much.
Following an afternoon at the theatre to see “Sister Act” the very funny musical based on the very funny Whoopi Goldberg movie, we started thinking about Lola and our post-theatre Tremont ritual of the past. Lola is now anchoring the East 4th Street food destination and Michael Simon has replaced the original Lola with Lolita. His daily presence may be gone, but the funky interior and neighborhood vibe remains. So too does some very good food.
Our 5:02 arrival for a 5:00 opening reservation found the bar hopping and multiple tables already filled. We were rewarded with what we felt was the best seat in the house, overlooking the door, the bar and the kinetic excitement of a vibrant business. Even on the weekends, there are a number of early bird specials and we decided to give a few a try. The house red wine was a real bargain and a nice option. The mussel appetizer was so good, we asked for another basket of bread and sopped up every last drop of the excellent tomato, garlic, chorizo broth. Jeff was also eyeing the Fried Brussels Sprouts, but knew Michele wouldn’t be interested. Perhaps next time. We were off to a good start!
The seafood special was a beautifully grilled bass. Jeff had the full flavored Hanger Steak over a bed of spinach and a pool of creamy-cheesy goodness. Each entrée comes with a side and Michele’s potato gratine and Jeff’s polenta were both excellent, but ultimately went home. (Too much bread and mussel broth? Perhaps.) We of course saved room for dessert, a wonderful Pumpkin Pound cake with tart cream cheese ice cream, drizzled with caramel. Rich, yes, but we persevered and cleaned the plate.
By the time we finished, the place was fully filled and a number of the bar patrons were enjoying the assorted Early Bird snacks and libations. It was impossible not to be drawn into the electric human interaction. Tremont is alive and there is no better definer of this pulse than Lolita. Need a pick-me-up? Lolita is just what the doctor would order, if he weren’t at the next table!
http://lolitarestaurant.com/ 900 Literary Road Cleveland, OH 44113 216-771-5652
Don’t come to Nano Brew for the food. It’s just OK. Instead, come for the warm atmosphere, the friendly people and the beer.
Jeff had a serviceable Chicken Paprikash and Michele had the “Best Wurst”. The price was very reasonable, but they were both average at best. The hamburgers served at the next table appeared to be of similar quality.
None of that maters, because you really don’t come here to eat. They have lots of beer on tap and each one sounds better than the next. Jeff enjoyed on of Nano’s own IPA’s with a heavy citrus flavor, lots of hops and a beautiful color that made drinking enjoyable. If you’re not interested in the house made options, they also pour some of the best microbrews in the city, including the excellent Fatheads, Great Lakes Brewery and neighboring Market Garden Brewery varieties. They also have a collection of nationally recognized brands, such as Dogfish Head, (one of Jeff’s favorites!) Belle’s and Three Floyds.
Sometimes, enjoyment of a new restaurant comes from the most unexpected reasons. That was the case with Nano Brewery. Have a beer, enjoy!
http://nanobrewcleveland.com/ 1859 W 25th Cleveland, OH 44113 216-862-6631
In the latest issue of Bon Appétit, a picture of Roberta’s in Brooklyn, New York is pictured in an article about the twenty most influential restaurants in America. Roberta’s entrance consists of a graffiti-strewn steel door and a ragtag red sign overhead. So much for first impressions. Upon seeing this image, Jeff was reminded of his visit to Indian Delight with a friend earlier that week.
Indian Delight is not a restaurant designed to visually impress. The raggedy storefront looks abandoned and the inside is constructed of yeoman tables and bland, beige walls. The menu is a multi-page tome featuring every conceivable Indian dish one has ever heard of, had or hopes to have. It could take months to sample everything offered here, yet, what Jeff and his friend tasted was very good.
In other Indian restaurants, Paneer Pakora is a uniform dominos of deep fried non-dairy cheese. The Indian Delight version is irregular shaped and wonderfully flavorful. More attention was paid to taste and flavor than consistency. The accompanying chutneys, familiar in look to other venues, were packed with spice and flavor. Jeff’s dinning companion also enjoyed his vegetable samosa.
Jeff’s friend ordered the Tandoor Prawns, which looked a little small for prawns, but he was happy with the results. Jeff decided on the Lamb Saag, lamb pieces cooked with spiced spinach. While there were a few tough sections of meat, the intense flavor made up for the inconsistency.
While it would be a stretch to liken Indian Delight with Roberta’s, Roberta’s did force New Yorkers to reassess their concepts of first impressions, It tasked them to look beyond the surface and discover the inner value hidden inside a deceivingly rough exterior. If you are considering a visit to Indian Delight, look beyond the stained windows and local hangers-on from the neighboring deli. The glory is inside. The spicy Indian glory is inside! Enjoy!
http://www.classicindianfood.com/5507 Detroit Avenue Cleveland, OH 44102 216-651-4007
We’ve never kept a secret that we love Fire, Douglas Katz’ fine restaurant located on Shaker Square. When we heard he would be responsible for the food in the fabulous new renovation of the Cleveland Art Museum, we were thrilled. We ate once at the old café and were uninspired. Like most art museum food stops, it was uninspired and yeoman-like. Unless you were starving (and really, who is actually starving outside of the third world?) there was no reason to patronize.
When you enter Rafael Viñoly’s glass roof atrium, the Provenance Café is immediately visible. The Café is a more casual stop and abuzz with patrons. A quick look around and Michele thought a few things looked good. Maybe museum food isn’t all bad? The table-service restaurant is hidden from view to the left. The décor is clean, with modern furnishings in shades of grey and a wall of windows that looks onto the garden that serves as a barrier to bustling, neighboring MLK Boulevard. On this snowy Saturday, it was an oasis of peace and calm. What a perfect place to set a restaurant and oh, what delightful food followed.
Michele started with the Kale Salad, a beautiful pile of green and purple kale leaves mixed with mushrooms, chick peas and pine nuts. It was as tasty as pretty. Jeff decided upon the Mussels. They arrived in a compact bowl filled with a tangy tomato broth that clung to each mollusk. The grilled pugliese bread allowed for the mopping of all the rich goodness once the last shell was empty. Michele even jumped in with her own piece of table bread.
For her entrée, Michele elected to have the Lump Crab Spaghetti. It was a slightly sweet dish tempered by the spinach, leeks and lemons. Jeff enjoyed the rich lamb stew poured in a ring around a ball of mashed potatoes. Thank goodness for spoons, because we both needed them to scrape up the bottom of the dishes.
Dessert was good, but it didn’t excite us as much as the room or the first two courses.
We never need an excuse to stop in at the Art Museum. This has always been one of our favorite weekend excursions. The new building has already improved the interior ten-fold and it isn’t even done yet. The atrium will be one of the most used interior spaces in the city, it is that fabulous. Now, the restaurant has added its own sirens call. Should we just fill out the change-of-address cards now?
http://www.clevelandart.org/tags/provenenace at the Cleveland Museum of Art 11150 East Boulevard Cleveland, OH 44106 216-707-2600
Imagine our surprise. The new storefront eatery in the revitalized North side of Cedar Center is good, really good.
A quick Google search for Piada on the Internet will state that this is an Italian version of Chipotle (with no connection to that fresh-food giant.) The simple approach that works so well with Mexican fare is employed here as well. First, choose your core product, a bowl of pasta, a salad, or a piada, a tortilla-like flat bread roll-up. Second, fill that with chicken, steak, sausage, salmon or veggies. This filling step establishes the cost. Third, add a sauce. They have a few hot and a few cold. Standard salad dressings are offered. In addition, there is a host of topping that can supplement your choice, including cheeses, greens, condiments and aromatics to add zest. A number of sides and soups are also available.
Michele tried the pasta. She added grilled lemon-rosemary chicken with a reasonably nice Pomodoro sauce. After seeing the result she was certain a portion was going home. It seemed huge, but was gone pretty quickly. Jeff tried the piada, which was prepared almost exactly like Chipotle’s burrito. He stuffed his with a very tender lemon-rosemary steak, mozzarella and a creamy parmesan sauce. Because the piada is a bit more brittle and thinner than a tortilla, it turned out to be a sloppier task to eat, but it was very good. We shared a bowl of Lobster Bisque that was also surprisingly tasty. In addition to the obligatory American sodas, Piada offers an assortment of Italian waters, cold teas and fruit sodas. They even have Peroni beer and wine by the glass. This was a nice touch and absolutely sets the place apart. During our visit, we felt more folks were sampling the Italian soft drinks than the Coke products. Maybe it was wishful watching, too!
While it would be nice to dine at Crop and Lola’s every day of the week, it is not practical and Piada’s will now be added to our roster of GOOD fast foods, Chipotle’s, Skyline Chili, Five Guys and Chick-fil-A.
http://www.mypiada.com/13947 Cedar Road South Euclid, OH 44118 216-862-8872
Zero for two on the new restaurant-front and 2013 is only a few days old. This does not bode well!
Valenti’s, a reasonably new Italian restaurant in Beachwood is not really bad, it is just boring. We both started with the Italian Wedding soup and it wasn’t bad. The complimentary bread and butter was also pretty good. When a sausage sandwich served at an Italian restaurant lacks spunk and is accompanied by well cooked, but flavorless French fries, something is wrong. Jeff’s appetizer sized lunch of pasta Carbonara was dominated by the taste of carrots and peas, rather than the rich pancetta and parmesan. This was not what we expected.
The menu had a lot of options, in addition to the pasta and sandwiches, pizza was also available for lunch. Dinner added panini’s, salads and entrees. While we only sampled a few things, we hope that the other offerings are more memorable, or this storefront tucked out of the way and across a business block from Moxie/Red, the Steakhouse is going to be empty again, soon.
http://www.valentisitalian.com/ 3365 Richmond Road Beachwood, OH 44122 216-464-4665