Monday, June 14, 2010

City Jewel: Cleveland

We're switching some things around this week. I made mention of a City Jewel Denver...but instead, we'll go north to Cleveland. Thank you to Rachel for submitting this fabulous piece.

The Greenhouse Tavern
2038 East 4th Street
Cleveland, OH
Reservations recommended


*Just rated as being one of Bon App├ętit Magazine’s Top Ten Best New Restaurants in America

*Food and Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs 2010 Award for Jonathon Sawyer

*First certified green restaurant in Ohio – created in collaboration with the Green Restaurant Association.

*Gravy Frites celebrated on the Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”

The Review:
Let’s just get it out... I’m a bad person. I was not looking forward to going to a ‘green’ restaurant. I thought that the theme of green would lend itself to rabbit-eating, non-tasting, small portioned food. I was so wrong that it is unbelievable! This restaurant is spectacular, and I definitely didn’t leave there hungry or my palate lacking from a flavorful meal. The Greenhouse Tavern is a real treat, offering French inspired dishes while using all local ingredients. The belief of the genius chef is that the proximity of farm ingredients and the restaurant directly correlate to the quality of the food.

The Details:
My husband and I have been there on three occasions since I’ve moved to Cleveland. Each time has been nothing short of spectacular. It’s a little pricey on Cleveland standards (which are low in comparison to other cities). But, for $35, you can do the chef’s tasting menu – a combination of any 4 items, each from a different course. I believe the first time that my husband and I went with our friend David, we all decided to do this and made sure that we all grabbed something different so we could try each other’s food. For our appetizer course, our three selections were a combination of an olive tapenade, house-made fromage blanc with fresh thyme, olive oil and grilled bread, and a tasty beef tartar. The “seconds” course consisted of Crispy Chicken Wings Confit (this was one of the most amazing parties in my mouth EVER with roasted jalapeno, lemon juice, scallions and garlic in the sauce), pumpkin ravioli (it was November), and Lamb Shank. Our “thirds” course (mind you, I’ve already eaten enough and am barely still hungry) was a dry-aged Ohio beef burger (with raclette cheese on top, served with pommes frites), a pork chop saltimbocca (spectacular gravy served on top), and a fresh fish of the day. Our final course, which is called a ‘half course’ and served simultaneously as the third was the gravy frites (this is a meal in-of-itself with mozzarella cheese curd and brown gravy), the egg frites (a beautifully presented meal with a 2 minute egg still in the shell surrounded by French fries), and something that I can’t seem to remember – but I’m sure it was fantastic.

The Wrap-Up:
Needless to say, we went home with massive amounts of food. Since we’ve returned, our food options changed slightly (though the gravy frites and chicken wings confit will always be on my menu choice), and we can both gladly say that all of the food has been spectacular. The menu changes with the seasons and ingredients available. Likewise, there are spectacular vegetarian and vegan options. The service has been ideal each of the three times we went. The first time, as mentioned with our friend Dave, unfortunately a glass of wine was spilled on his shirt. Our waitress not only reduced part of our meal but also gave Dave a dry-cleaning coupon for his shirt to be fixed. We were impressed. And we always have been. We can’t wait to go back.

***Follow-up Note:
We were really disappointed with our last visit there (as were some other friends of ours). We think that they either have expanded too much and can't keep up the fine quality or have gotten too bog for their britches.... The prices have increased greatly and the quality has decreased.

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