Saturday, September 22, 2012

North Royalton has a Ukrainian Gem

Inside Olesia's Place
A gem of a new restaurant has opened up at 11204 Royalton Road in North Royalton.  This American - Ukrainian restaurant and bar offers an upscale dining experience beginning when you walk through the door.  The ambience is warm and inviting with vistas of the outdoors as seen through their glass wall and ceiling.  I must exclaim no expense was spared when Olesia Pochynok chose the dining room chairs-- making her guests comfortable was forefront on her mind.  Olesia’s knowledgeable staff also has your dining experience in mind with courteous service and a sincerity I don’t often encounter.  This is the kind of place you’ll want to make one of your regular night outs. 

Red Borscht
However, regardless of how beautiful the restaurant is or accomplished the staff is, it’s the food that’s going to keep you coming back.  My Ukrainian experience began with a traditional Ukrainian made with beets and root vegetables, Red Borscht.  Finished with a dollop of sour cream, this hot soup was refreshing and hearty.  Throughout the courses served, we enjoyed Ukrainian beer, wine and Russian sparkling wine.  Olesia’s bar is eclectic in the libations they offer; beer, wine, top-shelf liquor and their own infused vodkas.  The next appetizer was perfect with the velvety Obolon beer I was drinking.
Charcuterie Board
A Charcuterie board comprised of 3 meats, 3 cheeses, pickled veggies and toast.  This is one of my favorite ways to eat and included ham, Capicola, grilled kielbasa, Manchego, smoked Gouda and cheddar cheeses and pickled shallots.  This appetizer is the chef’s choice and changes daily.  I admit it, I love beets and our next embellishment brought that flavor front and center!  It begins with salt roasted beets, arugula, goat cheese mousse, orange segments and an olive oil honey drizzle served with it beet vodka martini.  The flavor combination of the goat cheese and beet is a new favorite.  The orange slices really brought a lot to the overall freshness of this salad.  The arugula was the perfect choice of a green to accompany the heartiness of the beet.  The beet martini you’ll have to try for yourself to believe how good it is.

Chicken Crepes

Beet Salad
Our first main course is one of Olesia’s Ukrainian specialties, chicken crepes.  The crepes were light rather than heavy and they were filled with light and dark meat, accentuating the flavor of this special dish.  The white wine mushroom sauce finishes this dish as well as our next, Short Rib Pierogies.  Just like the crepes, the Pierogies were light and allowed the filling to take credit for this phenomenal dish.  The slow braised short rib is tender and its flavor deserving of being Olesia’s favorite.  This is comfort food that sets a new level to comfort and will create a following of customers of anyone who experiences this dish.  This original creation is unique and has a lot of time and TLC invested in order to bring this level of cuisine to the table.  Other items you’ll find on Olesia’s menu include salmon, blackened scallops, grilled rib eye, stuffed cabbage and breaded pork chops.  See a complete menu here.  There’s no doubt that Olesia’s Place has a menu item to delight you and a dining experience that will make you a little bit Ukrainian.
Short Rib Pierogies

We complete our venture with two outstanding raspberry desserts.  First was the homemade Napoleon with raspberry drizzle, a custard filling in a light layered pastry that will become a frequent request.  Then that same fresh raspberry drizzle atop a decadent raspberry cheesecake made an entrance.  Slices of white chocolate and whipped cream adorn this rich and creamy slice of heaven.  Finding Olesia’s Place is easy, look for the tractors on Royalton Road and drive into Ukrainian hospitality.

Raspberry Cheesecake
Olesia's Place
Olesia Pochynok - Owner
11204 Royalton Road
North Royalton, OH 44133
(440) 877-9054

Open Hours
Monday 11:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Tuesday 11:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Wednesday 11:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Thursday 11:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Friday 11:00 AM - 1:30 AM
Saturday 11:00 AM - 1:30 AM
Sunday Open for private parties only

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Great Food - Great Beer - Great Times

Kettle Chips Supreme
I’d like to begin this review with a summation of my dining experience at the Brew Garden… out of this world!  I just didn’t expect walking into this hip and modern eatery that the food an the brew would set them so far apart from their competition.  Head Chef Ryan Bennett puts forth a menu designed to impress, and impress it does.  It is certainly one of the most unique menus I’ve encountered with choices to please all who dine here.  And if you happen to be a fan of uniquely crafted beers like I am, bar manager Sue Deck has put together over 30 craft beers to refresh and invigorate.

Craft Beer Sampler
Starting off this incredible dining experience, we were served Kettle Chips Supreme.  I’ve had homemade potato chips in other establishments, but never with perfectly cooked smoked bacon, creamy blue cheese and scallions!  They were like eating loaded potato skins with real crunch.  In order to get the full effect, they were accompanied by a tasting of a few samples of crafted brews.

Strawberry Field
I have to admit I like salads, especially salads as refreshing and satisfying as their seasonal Strawberry Field.  The strawberries were fresh and sweet, the feta cheese was creamy, the red onion and candied nuts had a wonderful sweetness, and the dried cherries added a wonderful chewy texture.  You can add chicken to make this a meal you’ll want to come back for.  Other salads include the Apple Orchard made with Granny Smith, dried cherries, goat cheese, candied nuts and red onions with balsamic vinaigrette.  If that doesn’t convince you to try a salad, they offer a Balsamic Glazed Salmon with roasted tomatoes, feta cheese and roasted garlic vinaigrette, Yum.  Our salad was accompanied with beer designed for the female market by Goose Island.  Sophie and Matilda are two beers with very unique flavor profiles, giving the taster a spiciness of white pepper and citrus that even the boys will enjoy, I did.
Fire In The Hole

For the sake of full disclosure I can tell you I'm a burger snob. I judge restaurants based on their ability to deliver a good burger, and my reasoning is that if the kitchen can deliver a good burger then it stands to reason the rest of the menu will be enjoyable.  The Fire In The Hole burger proved my point; it's exactly how a burger should taste.  The taste of the beef was center stage, while the Jalapeno and Sriracha Aioli added just the right amount of spiciness.  This burger is a 10, but if spicy is not your thing consider their Aloha Burger topped with Hawaiian BBQ sauce, grilled pineapple and provolone, or the Porky Pig topped with BBQ pork, cheddar cheese and onion straws.  You won't be disappointed with any burger you get from the Brew Garden.
Cleveland Press & Home Fries

Allow me to introduce you to the Brew Garden’s top selling sandwich, the Cleveland Press.  This slow roasted prime rib is topped with white cheddar and horseradish aioli.  It’s nicely toasted and melt-in-your mouth tender, truly smooth on your palate.  To make this sandwich even more over the top, it comes with a side dish deserving its own marquee, Brew Garden Home Fries.  I grew up loving my Grandma Rose’s German potato salad and I will say I've never found German potato salad this good, forgive me Grandma Rose.  This simply elegant side dish further demonstrates their commitment to quality and taste.  I only wish I asked for some to take home, instead it’s just another reason to go back.  The Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale was the perfect choice to accompany the heartiness of the potato salad and prime rib.  It's no wonder why this dish is so popular, you're going to have to come and experience it yourself.

Luau Pork

The Brew Garden has a large selection of sandwiches including our next indulgence of slow roasted pork, Hawaiian BBQ and pineapple on a coconut pineapple roll… the Luau Pork.  The sweet potato fries were perfectly matched as a side to compliment the sweetness of the pineapple and pork.  The sandwich board offers a large assortment assuring you'll find something to dig into.  Chicken, fish, pork, prime rib, pastrami and sausage are all represented in some very tasty and unique plates, far too many for me to list here.  Download your own menu here and see for yourself why the Brew Garden deserves to be recognized as an outstanding choice to satisfy your hunger pangs.

Greek Pizza
The Brew Garden is the kind of place you want to come with friends and hang out and socialize.  Both locations, Parma and Middleburg Heights, offer huge outdoor patios, a fireplace room and private bar room for any occasion on your agenda.  Their food menu is as diverse and unique as their beer menu, and what goes better with beer than pizza!  I was not prepared to experience pizza this good and I can see why it's the staff favorite.  The Greek pizza is a white sauce with grilled chicken, onion, roasted tomato, creamy feta cheese topped with greens tossed in Mediterranean vinaigrette.  This is not your average pizza and I want more of this light and refreshing pie.  The crust alone is worth the price of admittance on this pizza journey, and the toppings bring it to a whole new level.
Sweet Cream Cheese Pretzel

What else can possibly surprise me at this point?  Well, let me tell you about my new favorite dessert, the Sweet Cream Cheese Filled Pretzel.  Take a light fluffy pretzel and toss it in cinnamon and sugar, serve with ice cream and chocolate stout sauce and you get a salty sweet treat that beckons the question - Where have you been all my life?  And who would've thought the perfect way to enjoy this phenomenal dessert was to pair it with a rare release of Dogfish Head Burton Baton oak aged Imperial IPA (India Pale Ale).  You don't have to take my word for it, visit the Brew Garden and taste for yourself. Enjoy live entertainment on the weekends, or a DJ on Fridays and Saturdays.  I encourage you to bring a few friends, you won't be disappointed.

Brew Garden
18590 Bagley Road
Middleburgh Hts, OH 44130
440. 234.1001

5513 Pearl Road
Parma, OH  44129

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Authentic Italian Cuisine In The Valley

Artisan Salad
Named after a favorite grape in Italy, Frascati In The Valley brings the tastes of Italy to Valley View. Chef Rich Guild prepares authentic Italian cuisine in this quaint and inviting Italian pub and eatery. Sitting back and relaxing with the music of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Louis Prima and other Italian crooners adds its own flavor to the experience. I began my tour of Italy with the Artisan Salad, atop a half of Romaine lettuce triumphs perfectly cooked couscous, tomato and basil. The fresh Mozzarella cheese brought a freshness that imploded when you combined it with the Balsamic and tang of the banana peppers.

Fried Calamari
The true talent of a kitchen is never more appreciated when they put out Calamari like this appetizer. Getting Calamari cooked how it should be and with the right amount of breading and seasonings is a big treat. Now add a side of in-house Marinara that can stand on its own merits, just hits it out of the park. The house dip was the perfect accompaniment to the tender calamari.

Fettuccini Pescatore
The real taste of Italy comes through with Frascati’s Fettuccine Pescatore. Fresh calamari, mussels, shrimp and clams in a larger than life serving. I love the fresh marinara with whole tomatoes and the noodles were done perfectly with the seafood taking center stage. If you are a seafood lover this dish is a must try.

Chicken Romano
Frascati offers more than pasta and seafood; you’ll find beef, pork, veal, chicken and pizza.  The Chicken Romano is seasoned with a blend of Italian chesses then pan sautéed and baked.  The chicken was moist, the egg batter brought a nice crunch and the mushroom wine sauce brought it all together for a memorable dish.

Linguini and Clams
One of my favorite pasta dishes has to be Linguini and Clams.  The sauce is made from the juice of the clams and adds a layer of flavor that I just couldn’t get enough of.  The clams were perfection, and bountiful, every bite had clam in it.  True to Frascati’s form, the pasta was cooked like it should be.  This dish will certainly make me come back again.

Cavatelli and meatballs
Cavatelli and meatballs can’t get more traditional than this.  Talk about comfort food from your grammas’ kitchen, this dish delivers.  One bite of their homemade in the kitchen Cavatelli and you’ll see why this is one of Frascati’s biggest sellers.   The large meatballs are great and the melted cheese and sauce kick up the level of comfort in this signature dish.  If you are a pasta fan, Frascati offers a large selection of down home dishes from Ravioli, Eggplant Parmigianino, Gnocchi, Lasagna and Spaghetti.

You can’t come to this type of Italian eatery without trying the Tiramisu, especially this one.  This dessert gave me a whole new appreciation for this rich custard and coffee soaked bakery.  I can say with confidence that this was the best Tiramisu I’ve had anywhere.  If your sweet tooth is looking for something else, it won’t be disappointed with their Cannoli, carrot cake or assortment of cheesecakes.
Frascati is certainly a place where you can relax and enjoy great Italian cuisine and socialize with your friends and loved ones.  Every Wednesday is bike night from 7:00 PM to close with live entertainment and $2.00 domestic beers.  $5.00 will get you a pizza with one topping or a burger.  On certain nights $5.00 will get you a martini, house wine or selected appetizer.  Happy hour is Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 pm.  Every Friday and Saturday is live entertainment on the patio where you can enjoy music from the Doowop Kingz, Coast 2 Coast or a medley of other groups, or come in Wednesdays for Jam Night.  Sign up for Frascati’s e-mail club to receive notices for their 2012 tasting series from 7 to 9 PM.  It includes five tastes per event including delicious food pairings for only $30.00 per person (prepaid reservations required).  Regardless of what brings you into Frascati In The Valley, you’ll be happy you came. 

Frascati In The Valley
Italian Pub & Eatery
5143 Canal Road
Garfield Hts., Ohio  44125

Friday, May 11, 2012

Vote for Burgers 2 Beer For Best Burger In Hillcrest

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
Which Hillcrest-area restaurant serves the best burger?  Cast your vote for Burgers 2 Beer located at 6323 Wilson Mills Road.  For the past seven months Burgers 2 Beer has been packing them in for some of the most unique and tasty burgers you’ll find anywhere.  As far as I’m concerned the best accompaniment to a great burger is a cold beer, and they have 75 different beers to choose from.  The atmosphere is modern and inviting with extra large booths designed for comfort.  If all American comfort food is what you crave, B2B is the place to cast your vote.
Oh Cheesus Burger

"The Good, The Bad & The Ugly" burger with barbecue sauce, honey-peppered bacon, onion straws, cheddar, lettuce and tomato was first up.  The mild tangy barbecue sauce didn’t overpower the taste of the burger and the bacon was cooked just right.  This burger was a home run with the cold glass of Palm beer, a special European Ale that isn’t readily available except at B2B.  If this flavor profile isn’t what you long for, they have an extended selection of burgers, including one served on a glazed doughnut with honey-peppered bacon and sharp American cheese.  Who needs a bun when you can use a glazed doughnut?  Their burgers are a half-pound of Ohio-raised, grass-fed beef that are served with hand cut fries, coleslaw and a pickle.

Hawaiian Homewrecker Dog
Talk about unique; I’ve never seen burgers built the way B2B does it.  How about a breakfast burger piled high with corned beef hash, a fried egg and drizzled with hollandaise sauce!  Or perhaps “Not Momma’s Meatloaf”, a burger on mashed potatoes with corn and gravy.  Choose from 17 different burgers as well as a few creative specials.  For our next tasting came the “Oh Cheesus” a burger between two perfectly grilled cheese sandwiches then topped with sharp American cheese.    You can even bring a pitcher of beer home by purchasing the “Growler”, a reusable glass container that you can bring back and fill for only $5.00 plus the pitcher price.  The Growler is a worthy investment for trying their unique beers in the comfort of your home or man cave.

Hot Chick Sandwich
If hot dogs are more to your liking, consider a half-pound foot long hot dog topped with bacon, slaw, pineapple chunks, magical sauce and BBQ sauce called the “Hawaiian Homewrecker”.  Both sauces were a delicate balance to the bacon and pineapple and played a great supporting role.  Perhaps pastrami with baby potato pancakes, kraut and sour cream will satisfy your craving for comfort food.  If not, there’s barbecue pulled pork (the Hot Pig) or the “Turkinator Melt” or the “Italian Stallion” sausage sandwich to indulge.  Next up was the “Hot Chick”, grilled chicken with arugula, smoked Gouda, goat cheese, cheddar and caramelized onions.  The chicken was moist and flavorful, but went to another level with the Gouda and goat cheese, then the caramelized onions put it over the top.

Sloppy Tots
Oddly enough I completed this eating frenzy with an appetizer, “Sloppy Tots”.  Fried tater-tots smothered in sloppy Joe and nacho cheese, it’s not for the faint of heart and is a meal all to itself.  B2B has several unique appetizers along with some intriguing salads.  Plus there’s always something special going on like $5 burgers on Monday, tequila Tuesdays, 35¢ wings after 5:00 PM on Wednesdays, $5.00 martinis on Thursdays and happy hour every day from 4 to 7 PM.  Good news for those of you who live near or in Kent, B2B is coming to your town next year.

Show your support by voting for B2B on the online poll before May 13th to determine who serves the Best Burger in the Hillcrest area.

Burgers 2 Beer
6323 Wilson Mills Road
Highland Heights, OH 44143
(440) 446-1234

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Burntwood Tavern in the former Beach Cliff Theatre

Smoked Grilled Pork Chops
Walking into The Burntwood Tavern is an experience unto itself.  Your eyes are immediately drawn to the hand hewn beams, barn boards and reclaimed barn wood designed into the architecture of this beautiful eating establishment.  The wood decor, design and furniture throughout The Burntwood Tavern were designed and custom built by local artist, Christian Kalinyak.  You’ll also see glass blown light fixtures and bowls by local glass blower, Jason Wein.  The huge bar is a piece of art as well as a welcoming place to enjoy one of their infused cocktails.  My comfort scale was at an all time high, there are several cozy corners for intimate conversation or general bantering.  No matter where you’re seated, you’ll find it comfortable and inviting.

Let’s begin with one of The Burntwood Tavern’s signature dishes, their Smoked Grilled Pork Chops.  These large pork chops soak in brine for 24 hours then smoked to give it a subtle smoky element, then finally grilled for that perfect sear.  The chops are topped with peach jalapeno preserves and served with hand cut sweet potato fries and sugar snap peas.  The taste of the pork combined with the sweetness of the peach preserves, and a subtle smokiness, creates flavors you’ll return for on a regular basis.

Tuna Nachos w/Cucumber Margarita
A phenomenal appetizer that sets itself apart by creating elegant flavors with simple ingredients is the Tuna Nachos.  The nachos are homemade wontons that are cooked just before serving and are light, crispy and flaky, the perfect accompaniment to fresh sashimi tuna.  It’s topped with an avocado salsa, scallions and a drizzle of cilantro cream.  To me it’s one of those appetizers you don’t want to share although I’d encourage you to do so.  What made this such an over the top refreshing experience was the cucumber Margarita I paired with the tuna nachos.  You’ll have to ask for this by name because it’s not yet on the menu.  It’s made with cucumber infused vodka, tequila, fresh lemon and lime juice with a touch of orange juice.  The rim is treated with a mixture of sugar and Cayenne which gives it the perfect little zing.  This infused cocktail was so refreshing, it’s what I want the next time I cut the grass on a hot summer day.  I treasure this combination and look forward to having again soon.

Tavern Dip
Allow me to introduce you to the Tavern Dip—a melt in your mouth, juicy smoked prime rib sandwich unlike other French dips.  It’s crunchy French baguette smeared with a subtle horseradish sauce, and thinly sliced medium rare prime rib with a hint of smoke,
and Swiss cheese only gets better when you dip it into their homemade au jus.  The tenderness of the meat reminds you this is a unique sandwich.  It’s served with their monumental hand cut French fries.

Cedar Planked Salmon

Another signature dish of The Burntwood Tavern is their cedar planked salmon served under roasted tomato vinaigrette and accompanied by sugar snap peas and blistered asparagus.  The salmon was moist and cooked to perfection, while the fresh vegetables and smoked/roasted tomatoes were perfect partners to this luxurious piece of salmon, making it a dish that will “stay on your mind”.

I am a big fan of appetizers and The Burntwood Tavern’s Calamari should be acclaimed for its lightly breaded tender seafood.  A generous portion of Calamari is served with cherry peppers and a tangy homemade pomodoro sauce.  Other starters include Hummus, pumpkin ravioli, “fish sticks” made with beer battered COD, flash fried zucchini frites, cheese stuffed Angus beef sliders and more.  Check out their menu for their entire selection of starters, salads, sandwiches and featured dishes.
Tavern Ice Cream Sandwich

As challenging as it is to save room for dessert with so many delicious savory options, I recommend you try in order to sample some luxurious sweet treats.  The Tavern Ice Cream Sandwich is made with raspberry chocolate ice cream, stuffed between cocoa Belgian waffles, drizzled with chocolate and topped with homemade whipped cream.  The tavern cheesecake is also made in-house, or try their white chocolate cherry bread pudding.  Yum!

If I was using a rating system, I’d have to give The Burntwood Tavern all the stars I had to give.  They offer outstanding food, outstanding service and an outstanding environment to be enjoyed by all who visit. 

The Burntwood Tavern
19304 Detroit Road
Rocky River, OH 44116
Phone: 440-333-6700

Sunday, April 8, 2012

New Restaurant in Valley View

Murphy's Ale House
Located on Granger Road near Canal Road in Valley View is Murphy’s Ale House whose motto is “Sit Long – Talk Much – Laugh Often”, they certainly have the facility to do so.  Murphy’s is a large eating establishment that seats 200 not including the enormous outdoor patio where they will sponsor the Sand Volleyball Leagues as well as live entertainment.  This newly opened eatery is not only set to entertain you, but satisfy your hunger with down home comfort foods and unique appetizers.   Don’t worry- if you’re not in the mood to come in, they deliver.

Reuben Egg Rolls
I had a small tasting of their generously sized menu that made me want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day all over again.  It began with homemade Reuben egg rolls stuffed with corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and potatoes, fried golden brown and served with a wonderful Thousand Island dressing.  They had a pleasant crispy shell that put a unique twist on a Reuben sandwich.  If there was such a thing as a Reuben dessert, this would be it.  These corned beef poppers are made in-house and one of Murphy’s best-selling appetizers, one bite and you’ll find out why.

Reuben Sandwich
Even though I had a hankering for more Reuben egg rolls, it was time to move on to its namesake, Murphy’s own corned beef Reuben sandwich.  This is where a picture is worth 1000 words.  They slice fresh corned beef and pile it high on grilled Rye with melted Swiss and sauerkraut (Turkey Reuben also available).  I must say, a Reuben is among my favorite sandwiches and I’ve had a few, Murphy’s certainly does it right.  The taste of the sandwich was exactly what I look for in a fresh Reuben, the corned beef was moist and flavorful while the sauerkraut added the perfect finishing touch .  My experience was heightened with a side of fresh-cut in-house potato chips that were uniquely tasty.  Served with a side of French onion dip, there wasn’t a single potato chip left on the plate.  I wish I could buy them by the bagful and take home, just another example of Murphy’s attention to food quality and flavor.

Tropical Cranberry Chicken Salad
Now that my taste for corned beef has been satisfied twice, it was time to try something on the lighter side.  Murphy’s tropical cranberry chicken salad was a delightful experience for my taste buds.  The more I ate this salad, the more flavor combinations I experienced, the more I wanted.  Served upon fresh crisp Romaine and spring mix was moist grilled chicken tossed in raspberry dressing served with a side of blueberry pomegranate dressing.  Accentuating the meld of flavors were fresh cut apples, strawberries, mangos, crumbled bleu cheese, candied walnuts and sun dried cranberries.  Everything worked perfectly in this tropical delight and Murphy’s has a large variety of over the top salads to choose from.

Shepherd's Pie
We close our dining experience at Murphy’s Ale House with a staple for the British and Irish dinner tables beginning in the 18th century, and created by peasants looking for creative ways to serve leftover meat, Shepherd’s pie.  Although I have frequented many an Irish pub, this is my first experience with Shepherd’s pie, but certainly not the last.  This dish is prepared with beef and a medley of veggies served under redskin mashed potatoes, topped with provolone, cheddar and mozzarella cheese.  This is pure comfort food with a gourmet edge and goes brilliantly with a pint of Guinness, my new favorite flavor combination.  This dish is bursting with flavor and must be experienced, you won’t be disappointed.  Visit Murphy’s Ale House and tell us what you think.  In fact, the next time you are at the Cinemark in Valley View, bring your same day movie ticket for $2.00 off any sandwich or entrée.  One visit to Murphy’s Ale House is all it will take to make you a loyal diner.

Murphy’s Ale House
7503 Granger Road
Valley View, Ohio  44125

Monday – Sunday / 11am to 12am
bar open till 2am

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Luxe Kitchen & Lounge

Luxe does it right from beginning to end
The Gordon Square Arts District is growing with shops, galleries and of course restaurants.  One that stands out is Luxe Kitchen & Lounge.  Once you walk in you can’t help but notice the sleek contemporary design, but also with a touch of an eclectic feel.  The former site of a bank, its vault contains a large assortment of wines including Luxe’s own house wines.

Starting with one of their signature flavor infused drink is a must.  Pyrrhos is Tequila, blackberry puree, hot pepper essence, lime juice & simple syrup has a wonderful kick.  For something very refreshing the Bloom is citrus vodka/lavender lemonade topped w/ blueberry puree.  The Apollo is a twist on a classic Manhattan, Pecan infused bourbon, sweet vermouth, bitters, and a dash of cherry puree.

Kale Salad
Remember that sharing is a good quality; this is never truer when dining at Luxe.  We started with Fried Veal Stuffed Olives.  These green queen olives are stuffed with a seasoned ground veal mixture, breaded then fried to a golden brown with house marinara for dipping.  For this diner who’s not a big fan of olives, I found a new taste that I fell in love with.  Fried Brussels Sprouts is a dish many turn their nose at, but trust me don’t pass this up.  Deep-fried until the outer leafs are crisp, then finished with capers and citrus-soy-shallot vinaigrette.  Delicious!
Stuffed Risotto Balls

The Kale Salad was not only intriguing, but refreshing.  Black Tuscan kale topped with ricotta salata, shaved toasted almonds, with apple cider reduction and fresh grapefruit juice.  I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed a wonderful flavor. Next we experienced one of the unique “shared plates” from the menu.  Arancini Arrabiata is Gruyere cheese-stuffed risotto balls, fried golden brown with a spicy tomato sauce.  Absolutely a dish I want to experience again.

Potato Gnocchi
On to “The People’s Choice Award Winning” from St. John Medical Centers Top Chef Competition, the Potato Gnocchi.  Handmade potato gnocchi with braised short ribs, wild mushrooms, spinach and topped with a heavenly blue cheese cream sauce.  Do I really need to say anything else?  Well yes, this dish has been on my mind since the first bite.  I’m anxious to return with my friends and family just to see the expression on their faces as they partake in this award winning dish.

House Ho Ho
We finished dinner with two desserts, a trio of Crème Brulee and the House Ho Ho.  The Brulee was caramel, coffee and vanilla all delightfully creamy with that wonderful sugar crust atop.  The House Ho Ho takes you back to your childhood and then some.  It’s delicate chocolate cake and white cream is a real winner.  Chef Dallas Martinez’s passion for food during the time I was speaking with him came through loud and clear. Whether you dine indoors or enjoy their huge patio and outdoor bar, I invite you to make your way to Gordon Square and enjoy a true dining experience at the Luxe Kitchen & Lounge.

Luxe Kitchen & Lounge
6605 Detroit Ave
Cleveland, OH 44102
(216) 920-0600
Happy hour M-F 5pm until 7pm
Open Mon-Sat @5pm
Sunday Brunch 10-3 Dinner 3-9