Sunday, March 24, 2013

Celebrate Sports at Brindaliers

Sports fans can cheer for all 3 of our home teams, Browns, Indians and Cavaliers at Brindaliers in Willoughby Hills off SOM Center Rd.  One thing for sure, everyone will be cheering for the food served at Brindaliers.  Chef Tom Immormino and owner Justin Sell, have created dishes that set them apart not just from sports bars, but upscale dining as well.  The atmosphere and wait-staff are both inviting.  The bar area is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a meal and catch “the game”.  If you’re interested in having a party or event, Brindaliers’ party room is equipped with large screen TV and sound system, plenty of space and even a few dart boards.

Calamari lightly breaded and served with Brindaliers’ sauce is the perfect way to begin your night supporting your favorite sport.  Their signature Brindaliers' sauce is a spicy teriyaki sauce that became my favorite new dipping sauce, for about anything you feel inclined to dip.  With a spicy bite to the sweet sauce, you just want to keep dipping!

Gourmet pizzas our one of the most popular dishes served and all types of restaurants, but I’ve never seen a Swiss Duck BBQ pizza. This unique and busting with flavor gourmet pizza is made with hand tossed pizza dough with a BBQ sauce base and topped with duck confit, Swiss cheese, caramelized onions and sliced almonds.  The sweetness of the caramel ice onions and BBQ sauce with the crusty dough made the perfect partner for the wonderful flavor of the duck.  The almonds added a great texture to the tenderness of the duck.  Rendering duck in duck fat (confit) makes for an outrageously tender product, putting it on a gourmet pizza is nothing short of genius.  Another gourmet pizza favorite is the buffalo chicken with a ranch and mild sauce base, grilled chicken, fresh mozzarella and diced tomatoes.  The Southwest has cherry wood smoked bacon and jalapeno jack cheese.  Or you can build your own with a large variety of toppings.
I don’t care what you put Gouda cheese on, it’s a home run.  That makes the Cleveland Philly a gourmet grand slam.  Smother a grilled French baguette with tender shredded steak and sautéed mushrooms, sautéed onions, and sauté green peppers hidden under melting Gouda cheese and you’ll be a fan.  Truly a sandwich with big flavor needs the perfect partner, delectable sweet potato puffs, move over tater-tots, these crunchy puffs score big time.  This is the perfect sandwich to dine on while enjoying beer or cocktail.  Brindaliers has a large selection of your favorite beers and libations, to those you’ll want to try for the first time.   A must try is Brindaliers own hot apple cider with 151-Rum, Fireball whiskey and cinnamon.  It will definitely warm you up regardless of the temperature outside.  Talk to any of the restaurant managers, Kris Davis, Tom Joseph or Jason Schmidt and they will gladly introduce you to Brindaliers’ spirits.
More gourmet sandwiches include the Garlic Gouda and Blue Apricot Roast Pork sandwich or the Horseradish Cheddar Pot Roast all served on a ciabatta bun.  My choice was the Swiss Duck Confit sandwich with the Brindaliers sauce I’m so fond of dipping with.  Topped with Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion straws, this first time experience with a sandwich with this much flavor is why you will want to come back to Brindaliers, sports fan or not.  This delight almost has me at a loss for words, which is not a good thing in my line of work.  If I have to summarize, I’d simply say “Yummy”… which also applies to our next dish, Mom’s Pot Roast.  Beef chuck roast is braised until it’s “fork tender”.  This dish had me sitting at the dining room table on Sunday enjoying my mom’s pot roast.  This entrée included chunky mashed potatoes and gravy that will satisfy your fondest memories on any day of the week.  The fresh asparagus roasted to just the right doneness was the perfect side.
 And since we are discovering comfort food, build your own Mac-N-Cheese was a real treat.  Pasta and Kielbasa are one of my favorite combinations. Include fresh veggies, Gouda, Swiss and Cheddar cheese and experience comfort and flavor in a bowl.  I can’t wait to go back and do this again.  There are a lot of items I’d like to put in my Mac-N-Cheese… like cherry wood smoked bacon, duck confit, pork or chicken, fresh Jalapenos, mushrooms, green and red peppers, tomatoes and even chili, are all ingredients I’d like to try and Brindaliers’ homemade Mac –N-Cheese.  The cheese sauce was creamy and the pasta noodles al dente, giving this dish a decisive victory.  Other entrees that contribute to Brindaliers’ success include 12 oz Cleveland Strip Steak, Bacon Wrapped Meat Loaf, Kielbasa & Pierogies, Apricot BBQ Bone-In Pork Chop, a Horseradish Cheddar Chicken Breast or Roasted Red Pepper Penne Pasta.

Fresh Dinner Salads closes out the innings with the Warm Crouton salad made with warm ciabatta croutons, fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, English cucumbers, red onions and fresh basil tossed in balsamic vinaigrette.  This unique salad absolutely caught my attention; it’s fresh, colorful and NOT a typical dinner salad.  I really enjoyed the bite size crispy croutons with same sized mozzarella balls and the cucumber and fresh basil puts this salad in my favorites list.

Rounding out our Brindaliers experience came in the form of a warm chocolate chip cookie stuffed with hot fudge holding up two luxurious scoops of vanilla ice cream topped off by a cherry.  I don’t know what to say… you have to try this for yourselves in order to understand how good it was.  This is one of those desserts that is OK to eat before dinner.

Sign up for Brindaliers email club and learn about their specials like Garlic Parmesan Walleye or Yuengling Beer Battered Haddock.  Keep updated with upcoming events like NCAA March Madness and Cleveland Indian games.  Bring your ticket for the home opener at any point of that day and receive 20% off your bill!  Get invitations to one of their Samuel Smith’s 5-Course Beer Dinner held in Brindaliers’ private banquet room.  Enjoy live music and a large outdoor patio at the premier sports bar and grill for Browns, Indians and Cavaliers fans, BRindALIERS.

Hours of operation
Sunday - Thursday 11 am – Midnight
Friday - Saturday 11am - 2am

Kitchen hours
Full menu served until 30 minutes before closing.
2749 SOM Center Road
Willoughby Hills, OH 44094
Phone: (440) 278-4486

Saturday, February 16, 2013

All for only TWO BUCKS

The pricing of Two Bucks menu may get you in the door, but the food will bring you back.  They have a unique business model with menu items selling for only $2.00.  All sliders are $2.00 or can be plated in threes for $6.00, and you can mix and match to your heart’s content.  Their menu includes sliders, flat breads, wraps, salads, snacks and a seasonal specials menu that changes every three months.  Chef Brian McNeff has created some of the tastiest morsels you’ll find around Cleveland.

Now this is what I call value, a shot of Crown Royal, a Rolling Rock and I half order of boneless wings for $8 bucks.  The chicken was super moist and the Buffalo sauce tasty.  Several flavors available include Sesame Hoisin, Cajun, Sriracha Glaze, BBQ, Spicy Mango, Jamaican Jerk and Garlic Parmesan.  If you’re looking for something else from their snack menu to go along with your next Rolling Rock and Crown, a highly recommend their beer battered pickles.  Dill chips and spears are beer battered and served with ranch dressing for a habit forming snack.  A couple perfect snacks to go along with your sliders might also include Two Buck Fries tossed with sage and garlic or Vodka Battered Onion Rings served with a cilantro ranch.  These are not your ordinary fries or rings-- they have great flavors you don’t typically expect from such simple snacks.

Without question, Two Bucks has elevated these snacks into something you may be inclined to eat for a meal.  Nothing represents that more than the Calamari served with Cajun Aioli.  Cooked to perfection and lightly coated makes this $5 snack into a must have, more than once.  One of the things I liked most about Two Bucks is that you can mix and match all day long with their menu.  They have a large variety of sliders and you’ll want to try them all.  I began with a Classic Burger with lettuce tomato onion and American cheese and a Black and Blue burger with Cajun Aioli.  These creative little gems perfectly represent what a slider should be, small and tasty!  The BBQ Bacon Burger is a big fan favorite.

I really like the concept of being able to enjoy what I’ll call finger foods while I’m enjoying a cocktail.  What’s amazing about Two Bucks is the quality cuisine they created for bite-size dining.  It’s a very apparent fresh ingredients and quality product are being used in the kitchen.  It’s also very apparent you won’t find these creative dishes anywhere else except for the Two Bucks location.  A shining example is Mac and Cheese made from smoked Gouda over Ziti noodles.  The long noodles cooked perfectly and the Gouda cheese sauce is phenomenal.  For $2 you have enough to share, but you won’t want to.  For another $2 you could add chicken or hot sausage, but the same rule will apply, sharing unlikely.  You have plenty of slider choices and amongst the favorites is the Turkey and Ham Club with smoky tomato ranch sauce.  What can be better, ham, bacon, cheddar cheese with lettuce and fresh tomato.  Another favorite is the Cheese Steak with peppercorn Aioli.  Moist slow roasted beef and cheese served in a fresh baguette.
Another small sandwich with a big flavor profile was the BBQ Pulled Pork with fried onions on top.  The pork was braised in house making tender pork soak up the sweetness from the BBQ sauce and the crunchy little fried onions added a wonderful element to this big in flavor slider.
The Sliders menu also included favorites like Grilled Cheese with bacon, tomato, cheddar & pepper jack cheese. For those fans of chicken, try the Sesame Chicken Burger with Asian slaw.  The crisp Asian slaw accentuates the moist chicken.  This is a very tasty morsel and eating 3 is not out of the question.
So far the sliders have been represented by beef, pork and chicken.  For you fish lovers, golden brown Pollack is topped with Two Bucks slaw for this delicate masterpiece.  Crispy on the outside and tender moist fish on the inside, makes this fish slider a real catch.

It’s a certainty people will remember their meals here because of their uniqueness and taste.  Their friendly and helpful wait staff and inviting surroundings makes Two Bucks the type of place you’ll consider a regular stop, I know I will.

Adding to the eclectic menu is Two Bucks’ salads for only $5.  You’ll find the classic, Caesar chicken salad with grilled chicken, romaine and parmesan with a creamy Caesar dressing.  Buffalo chicken and pulled pork are amongst their unique salad selection.

Coming to the end of our culinary journey, our experience is complete with several flatbreads.  One of my favorite flavor profiles include tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil and balsamic.  The Caprese is that flavor profile on flatbread, refreshing and satisfying.  Their Three Cheese flatbread includes mozzarella, provolone and cheddar over marinara sauce.  The Americana includes ham, bacon, sausage and provolone while the Buffalo Chicken has fried chicken, tomatoes and blue cheese cream, a favorite request from patrons.

Two Bucks has become one of my favorite spots for outstanding food and delightful company.  I’m not aware of any other establishment offering this quality of food at these prices.  Two Bucks truly has something special that I’m glad I found them.

They are open seven days a week from 11 am-2:30 am

Avon, Middleburg Heights, North Olmsted – Ohio
Milwaukee, Wisconsin