Posts tagged ‘Cleveland’
Just as we began to tell everyone to visit La Boca, like it predecessor Crazy Mac, it closed. This corner must be jinxed! Let’s hope not, because (like its two predecessors) the food at the new RoseAngel is very good.
We spent a nice afternoon at the Lakewood Arts Festival and on the way home stopped at this spanking new restaurant. If you remember what it looked like in the past, you will think you walked into the wrong building. Entering from the corner door, the bar room is electric orange and gray with wonderful copper mesh lighting fixtures. The next room is deep magenta red with white table dotted with black. With such a nice overhaul, you might expect an expensive menu, but nothing could be farther from the truth. This is a modern-day tacqueria, filled with interesting filling choices, all at a VERY reasonable price that invites adventurous eating simply because of the low cost. Would you try a braised beef tongue taco? At $4.25, your darned tootin’ you would!
We started with a dish of guacamole and house made chips. The “guac” was creamy with just enough spunk to demand one last scrap of the dish with a finger before being whisked away. The menu offers a platter of three tacos for $11.75, so we assumed three was a typical meal. All three must however be the same. We opted for the ala carte option and each ordered three different tacos. First, three tacos is a LOT of food. Michele took the luscious perch taco home and Jeff soldiered on and barely finished his avocado. Michele would immediately reorder the Walleye. A beautiful piece of perfectly grilled fish sat atop diced tomatoes and cilantro pesto. Jeff started with the duck confit and corn salsa, both also included flavorful cabbage, rather than the typical taco lettuce. This crunchy green made a big difference. Soft or hard shells are available. We both choose soft and think it was a good idea, they were easy to wrap around the heap of filling and the whole grain goodness really stood up to the flavorful insides. Michele’s Shrimp taco was less successful, the pepper and onions apparently were not enough to enliven the wrap. Jeff found the braised pork to be almost as tasty as the duck. The green chili and onion was spicy, but not in a way that deadened taste buds. To gently cool down the combo, diced pineapple was included. What a nice combination! The Avocado was mixed with cilantro and onion, but most importantly dense sweet soy. Again, the mixture was a winner.
Even after all of this, we still had to have dessert! The rice pudding with currents was house made. The rice was nice and nutty with a bit of a crunch in the center. Best of all was the poblano whipped cream that slowly melted down the cracks and crevices of the warm rice mixture. The spicy pepper on the sweet finale summed up this restaurant. They really know how to mix ingredients!
There is no question we will be back!
List Status: Added
5800 Detroit Avenue Cleveland, OH 44102 216-961-5800
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
Michele was to attend a business dinner downtown at Blue Point (lucky lady!) and Jeff agreed to drop her off and pick her up. Knowing she was about to enjoy a great meal, Jeff desperately tried to figure out how to spend his time. Food was of course the answer!
Both of us have visited Bar Cento in the past. Under the ownership of Jonathan Sawyer, Jeff always enjoyed the eclectic menu and the unusual beer choices available. Michele could only find limited things to eat, usually centering on the roasted chicken. She always felt it was good, but was displeased to find only one desirable item on the menu. For that reason, we did not visit often.
With Michele away, Jeff felt this was the perfect time to see what has happened to the place (and more importantly, the food) since ownership has been switched. He is pleased to report that the food is still good, but a bit of the oblique creativity and polish that was evident when Chef Sawyer was on hand may be lost. Regardless, this is a fine place to catch a meal and a drink.
The beer special of the day was Belgium Blanc de Chambray. There is something elegant and wholly flavorful about Belgium beer. The taste is unlike beer from anywhere else. On a warm Monday evening, the definitive sparkle was welcome. A small salad arrived before the main course, rich with Parmesan cheese and greens. The wild mushroom and duck confit pappardelle had only one flaw. The wide pappardelle noodles were a bit TOO al dente. A few more seconds in the boil, they would have been perfect; a few additional stirs and they would have avoided sticking together. Regardless, the duck, arugula and wild mushrooms were bathed in a buttery rich sauce that made each spin of the pasta a heavenly mouthful of flavor. Jeff did something uncharacteristic once the last of the food was gone; he sopped up the remaining liquid with the crusty bread. The plate went back to the kitchen, almost ready for the next patron. It was that good. Michele usually pushes a shared treat toward chocolate, but without her influence, Jeff ordered dessert with two things he really enjoys, lemons and bread pudding (lemon bread pudding) to finish the evening. Made from flavorful fresh slices of crusty bread that has been cubed, soaked and baked, the edges were crunchy, the center soft, tart and the whole lighter than most bread puddings.
Despite Michele missing from across the table, Jeff really enjoyed the evening. When he picked-up Michele at the end of her meeting, she reported a wonderful evening of crab cakes, calamari, lobster mashed potatoes and perfectly prepared grouper. Blue Point has always prepared a fine dinner, but not fully reviewed here because this was a catered menu. Jeff believes the highlight of the evening was a return to a restaurant that he would not otherwise suggest. Perhaps more of these singular outings are in order…but not too many. We still love to eat together at great Cleveland restaurants.
List Status: Existing
http://barcento.com/ 1948 W25th Street Cleveland, OH 44113 216-274-1010
As indicated in our comments on Fire, Parallax is our favorite restaurant in Cleveland. On every visit, we are treated with remarkable food, a classy urbane environment and professional staff. The level of quality afforded the customer is what all good restaurants want to be “when they grow up.” Our latest visit was no exception. As always, we walked away happy and satiated.
Both of us “swear” the waiter said, “Cauliflower and Leek” soup, so were quite surprised when the soup of the day arrive and it was green. Puzzled, we both dug in to the delightfully sharp tang of chilled “Cucumber and Leek” soup with a shrimp and cilantro garnish. We almost never order the same thing, (how can we possibly taste multiple foods if we did?) but the description was too intriguing and we were vacillating over the menu’s collection of interesting appetizers and salads. When we both tried to lay claim to the soup, Michele stated, “We’ll both have the soup!” We’re both happy we did.
For the main course, Jeff did what he seldom does, he ordered fish. The tuna was seared on the ends and sliced and served alongside a light mix of greens, peas, olives and feta. Michele had the Black Cod served with bok choy and a tangy glaze that worked well with the black sesame peppered fish. Together we shared the dessert special, chocolate mousse cake with fresh red raspberries and blackberries. This may have been the quintessential summer meal of light preparation that allowed the lovely fresh flavors to emerge. Fabulous.
Time and again, the local (and national) spotlight continues to fall on Michael Symon and Lola. We have nothing but admiration for him and his place and have enjoyed many meals there, but we have said it before and will continue to believe that the real genius and dean of Cleveland cooking is Zach Bruell. If you have not been to Parallax or one of his other places, we urge you to remedy that error and sample the best of Cleveland’s food.
http://parallaxtremont.com/ 2179 W 11th Street Cleveland, OH 44113 216-583-9999
MANY years ago, Sutters was located on E 140th Street in a typical neighborhood tavern-sized building. If you wanted food, without waiting, you got there early. The owners then inexplicably built a HUGE new place down the street, very near the I-90 freeway. The food was still great and they did manage to entice patrons despite the continued deterioration of the neighborhood. Inevitably, people stopped risking the trip and the restaurant closed. Sometime after, they moved to Route 87 in Newbury, bringing with them recipes for the some of the best veal in town. Now unfortunately, if we want Weiner schnitzel, it is an hour trip instead of a 15 minute ride. Every few years we fill the tank and take a journey to the relative eastern end of the planet (or at least Cleveland.)
There is really only one reason to drive an hour. It is for the veal. If you don’t like flattened, breaded extremely tender and luscious veal or sautéed slivers of scaloppini perfectly prepared, don’t go. About 85% of the menu items are variations on veal. Each entrée comes with a salad. Choose between Italian or ranch dressing and bide your time waiting for the meal.
Over the years, Jeff has found two favorites, Weiner schnitzel ala mode and Veal Marsala. Michele rotates, this time ordering the Veal Swiss. Ala mode is topped with mushrooms (still prepared better than almost anywhere) and a sherry-cream sauce. Swiss is topped with ham, mushrooms and Swiss cheese. The side dish today was herb-garlic sautéed potatoes. Uneventful, but again, you’re here for the veal. Always keep that in mind. Almost twenty-five years after our first visit, it remains the draw and the preparation remains very close to the first time we visited. We’ll leave it up to you to decide if the drive is worth it, but we’ll be back in a few years and we’re reasonably certain that Sutters will still be serving up some of the best veal this side of Pennsylvania.
List Status: Existing
10665 Kinsman Road Newbury, OH 440-564-9656
Normally, we do not write about chain, corporate or franchise food establishments. We occasionally dine at these places, but instead prefer to give our business to local chefs and owners who reside in the Cleveland area. When a chain restaurant moves into a community, the corporate food people usually send one of the experts to the new location to train and assist in the food preparation. For example, when Maggiano’s first moved into Beachwood Place, the food was tremendous. We went a number of times. After about three months, the quality slipped to its normal passable version. The same occurred when Bravo and Bahamas Breeze opened in Woodmere. Good, good food at first and then a slip into what becomes the norm. We no longer frequent any of these places.
Today, we’ll break our self-imposed rule, because after many years and numerous visits to the Woodmere location of The Original Pancake House, the food is still remarkable.
Since opening, we have tried a number of the options, but like so many places with a consistent menu, we have adopted favorites and have stuck by them. Jeff finds it near impossible to order anything, other than the Dutch Baby. It is like no other breakfast food you’ve had. The “baby” is a thin, rich layer that is curled up at the perimeter, which is baked crispy. Rather than gooey syrup, fresh lemons, butter and powdered sugar are served. Jeff advises using ALL three. Squeeze a lemon across the open top of the whole, wipe the butter (don’t forget the crispy ends) and then gently tap some of the powder sugar over the lot. The tangy lemon and sweet, sweet sugar mix with the butter and the “baby” for an exceptional breakfast treat. Michele likewise has trouble moving beyond a favorite. Hers is the Georgia Pecan Pancakes. Like all of the pancakes we’ve tried, they are light and fluffy with this version filled with toasted pecans. A smattering of pecans is also spread around the top. Served with whipped butter and citrus based warm tropical syrup, they are gone in a flash. Recently, she found they offer a small portion and that has removed some leftovers from our refrigerator that Jeff usually finished off. We’re not so certain how Jeff feels about that decision.
If we have one complaint about the place, it is the coffee. It tastes like something this place has avoided since opening, corporate. If it was better, you’d assume this was a chef-owned and spouse managed little place run by a couple of Cleveland natives. How ever this management team has accomplished this feat, let’s hope they can continue. This is one franchise we’ll frequent again and again.
http://www.originalpancakehouse.com/ 28700 Chagrin Boulevard Woodmere, OH 216-292-7777