As you know M has been at her grandparents house all week so Mark and I embarked on our own little restaurant week, visiting a new establishment every night. With your help we narrowed down our selections to Lolita, Sarava, Crop, Ponte Vecchio and Greenhouse Tavern. We were so excited to have something to look forward to each night because while we truly enjoyed our kid-free week, the house was way too quiet in the evenings.
Sunday night was to be our first trip to Michael Symon’s famed Lolita. But the hostess refused to seat us so we sought out Tremont Tap House instead. (And for all of you who have asked, despite a call and email to the restaurant, no one from Lolita has contacted us in response.) The Tap House was pretty empty on Sunday night but that didn’t stop us from enjoying some great food and beer. We started with the Calamari with hot cherry peppers which were delicious. I didn’t even know a thing like hot cherry peppers existed but I am so happy to know about them now. The calamari were crispy on the outside with a great bite to the inside. The cherry peppers add that sweet/savory mix that pairs so nicely with calamari. We devoured the dish in just a few minutes.
Next we both ordered burgers – the Blue for me and the Joshua for Mark. We both laughed when they came out on tin plates because it reminded us of our favorite beer and burger place in Toledo – Nick & Jimmy’s – who served their food on the same plates. The resemblance didn’t stop at the plates because the burgers themselves reminded us of the fantastic ones at N&J’s – big, juicy and tasty. We both polished off our burgers and fries and were quite happy that the Lolita incident had led us to Tremont Tap House.
Monday night took us just up the road to Saravá. It’s a place we’ve been talking about trying every since we moved here almost 2 years ago. We were there quite early – around 5:30 and were seated at a booth in the bar area. We loved the ambiance of this place and our seats overlooking Shaker Square were perfect. We started with the Garlic-Parsley Shrimp which were perfectly cooked and mildly flavored. I moved on to the Shrimp Bainna which was a dish of more perfectly cooked shrimp and a sweet yet spicy coconut milk sauce. I loved the sauce so much I even ate all the vegetables in the dish, and I’m not a fan of veggies. Mark had the Oy Vey! Pizza with kosher hard salami and crushed red pepper. I’m not a big fan of meat on pizza but my bites were very well balanced and the crust was crisp and airy. We both got dessert – I opted for the Coconut Butter Cake which was every bit as good as you would imagine. Mark had the Brazilian Carmel Custard which was reminiscent of flan and very tasty. With a nice children’s menu I think Saravá will become a regular spot for us.
Tuesday night had us at Crop Bistro in W. 6th Street. I recently had a delicious lunch at Crop and was excited to go back for their dinner menu. First things first – we were seated along the long wall with banquette seating on one side of the table and chairs on the other. I get that the chef has gone for a NYC feel with the tables squeezed close together but I didn’t appreciate the fact that I could have easily reached my fork over and taken a bite of our neighbor’s meal. We were so close that it was hard to concentrate on our own conversation and not listen to theirs. The restaurant was only about a third full so I saw no reason for us to be sitting so close to another party – this is Cleveland, not New York, give us a little breathing room.
Anyway, I had heard great things about Crop’s Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras so I ordered that. I was velvety smooth and delicious, however I think I ate too much because I wasn’t feeling well later in the evening. I had the entree of Ribs in a Cherry Sauce and Mark got the Chicken Fried Chicken with Ohio Maple Waffles. Both were plated beautifully but I was a bit surprised at how few ribs I got for $28 – just 4 bones. While the ribs were nicely cooked – tender and flavorful they were lost under the thick coating of overly sweet sauce, I found that by scraping off most the the sauce I was able the enjoy the meat much more. The sides of slaw and cheddar sweet potatoes were very good. Mark’s chicken was perfectly tender and juicy but lacked a bit in the seasoning. The dish was drizzled with a maple sauce which was very sweet and lacked a savory counterpoint. Crop was the most expensive meal of the week and we were both a bit underwhelmed. We do want to try it again, but it may not be for awhile.
Still to come… discovering Ponte Vecchio and an amazing experince at Greenhouse Tavern