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