July 18, 2021 at 4:39 PM 1 comment

Happy Birthday to Jeff! Had it not been his birthday, we would never have gone to Alea. As anticipated, Jeff was ecstatic with his meal and Michele confirmed it was not a place for her.

Jeff was getting excited about the prospects of trying this new place when it opened in late 2019, but the end of the year and the beginning of the next are VERY busy time for him, so we put it off. We all know what happened then. When it was announced that Alea would reopen, we both got excited. A quick look at the online menu and Michele reverted to her blasé attitude. The menu is VERY small and unfortunately, even less appealed to her. She only agreed because it was Jeff’s birthday.

Michele had the Grilled Oysters and while it was an appetizer portion, she was perplexed as to what else she could add. She considered the Crudo, or one of the salads, but there was an ingredient or two in each that was off-putting. Jeff was just the opposite. He didn’t know where to start. Everything sounded appealing. Eventually, he honed in on the Raw Beet Salad. Can you recall the last time you had raw beets? They have a unique texture and flavor that gets lost in pickling and other prep methods. These were topped with red basil, pistachios and coconut shavings in a milky base. It was a delightful start.

Alea – Grilled Oysters
Alea – Raw Beet Salad with Red Basil and Coconut Shavings

For entrées, there are only three options, all meat. The root of Michele’s concern. Jeff had the Duck Breast with vibrantly flavorful roasted carrots. He would have preferred a second or two more of a cook on the breast, making it a touch difficult to cut, but it was delightful. It sat in puddle of Chermoula sauce. Neither of us had ever hear of it. Apparently it is Moroccan, consisting of parsley, cilantro, garlic, olive oil and a pile of spices. It was a dynamite combination alongside the duck. We split a very tasty Yogurt Panna Cotta for dessert.

Alea – Duck Breast with Roasted Carrots in Chermoula

As is pretty obvious from the information above, Alea is a split decision. The limited menu left Michele with a very narrow selection. Although slim, the things offered were exactly what Jeff likes to find. The likelihood of a return is small, but if you are not us, do try Alea. The bold flavors and high quality preparation sets it apart from so many of the new post-pandemic places now openings. The interior design is also spot-on with the exposed materials and high ceilings of a former industrial space. Also keep in mind, this is a place that does NOT take reservations. While we arrived early, by the time we exited, most tables and bar seats were filled. Cleveland has reopened and the word is out that Alea is serving up some great food. Get in line. 2912 Church Avenue Cleveland, OH 44115 216-912-8890

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

Home Bistro Local Tavern

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. judith hiinski  |  July 18, 2021 at 8:43 PM

    Remember how Schitt’s Creek mocked the restaurants with HUGE menus?!?!


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