Middle East Grille

November 1, 2010 at 9:16 PM Leave a comment

For over twenty years, we regularly patronized the Middle East restaurant on Prospect Avenue in the Carter Manor Hotel. At the risk of sounding exaggerative, this was the BEST Lebanese food outside Beirut. The Middle East regularly won the Cleveland Magazine “Best Restaurant Award” each year. A wall of those plaques greeted you, just inside the door. In the evening, there was no need for a reservation. Only a few tables were taken, some of the patron’s faces soon became familiar. After a few visits, the staff recognized us and we always felt like we were stopping by our Lebanese Aunt’s house (Jeff is Polish, Michele, French-Canadian) for a home cooked meal. After sampling most of the menu, we settled into a few favorites. Michele, not a lamb-eater, always ordered the Kafta (ground seasoned lamb with parsley) and Jeff religiously requested the Baked Kibbie (ground lamb mixed with wheat or bulgur and pine nuts.) Their hummus is that by which we measure all others. The ice cold Mediterranean salad was always refreshing and fresh. Unfortunately for other places, this is the benchmark we use for Lebanese food.

Skip ahead to this weekend. We heard that a new place had opened serving the food of Lebanon. The Middle East has been closed for a number of years and we hoped for a replacement. With a few exceptions, the Middle East Grill may very well be what we have been looking for.

The Middle East Grill version of baked kibbie was very good. Pine nuts were missing, or non-existent on Jeff’s squares of this treat, but theirs was moist and tasty. The accompanying rice was flavorful. Michele had the grilled marinated chicken breast, not ready to venture onto the lamb-train until the restaurant proves itself. She was very pleased and things look good for a Kafta throw-down in the future. The hummus appetizer was also a very good version. The Middle East Grille uses a bit more olive oil and parsley, but to their credit, included remarkable marinated turnips. The salads were good, but we still reminisced. The baklava dessert was a definite miss unfortunately. It was quit dry with only a dot of sweetness. Michele’s chocolate tart fared better.

For folks who never had the opportunity to taste the food of the Middle East, the food at the Middle East Grille will be a revelation. We love this food and are sure you will too. If you are among the chosen few who had the opportunity to sample the delectable offerings, you will find the Middle East Grille a welcome addition to the Cleveland food scene, not a replacement, but awfully darn close.

List Status: Added

http://www.middleeastgrille.com/ 20126 Chagrin Boulevard Shaker Heights, OH 44122 216-752-7500

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Entry filed under: Cleveland Food Comments, Cleveland Restaurants Review. Tags: , , , .

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