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 entrĂ©e.  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